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Bad Santa is one of the most twisted, disturbed, funniest movies of the past ten years. It ranks right up there on the funny scale with movies like Old School, Borat, and The 40 Year-Old Virgin. It’s simply put, pure genius. The film has become a holiday staple in my household, where Santa stamped celebrated is treated with the kind of disdain you usually only get from The Grinch. If you hate Christmas, it’s the perfect stocking stuffer. It’s also probably the best work of Billy Bob Thornton’s career.
So, maybe it’s not a surprise to hear that he’d like to do a sequel. Thornton recently spoke to IGN on the subject and hinted that the idea has been mentioned a few times, though nothing has ever fallen into place. He says, “I can say they're interested because it has been brought to my attention. But I don't know where exactly things stand with it. Right now I think it's still just nothing more than an idea.”
It’s just an idea, but one he likes. Billy says, “I'd probably do it. It was such a ball making the first film, I'd be more than happy to bring him back. The guy's just a really fun character to play.” Something about that quote is just vintage Billy Bob. I can see him in my head leaning back in his chair and drawling it out as if his Bad Santa character is just this dude he thinks is cool.
Of course, how do you make a sequel to it? I mean, the movie’s a pretty self-contained story. I don’t think it needs one. It’s lightning in a bottle, any attempt to drag it out for another movie couldn’t possibly work, could it? Thornton himself out one problem: “I suspect there might be a temptation to make him more of a softy or make him more of a likable guy. He's really just a bad guy, and if you mess with that, you're pulling the essence out of the guy. He's just bad. He'd still have to be bad.” Exactly. Except, if you don’t have the guy grow as a character, then you’ll just end up rehashing what you did in the previous film. If you do, then you ruin everything that’s great about the movie and the character. I really think there’s just no way for this to work and get a good movie out of it.
So luckily, even though Thornton is interested, there’s no sign of interest from the film’s writer/director Terry Zwigoff. I sincerely doubt Terry would have anything to do with it. In a way that’s good, since that makes it harder for them to get the sequel done. In another way it’s bad, because if they go ahead and do a sequel, it’ll be with someone less talented and less invested in the characters at the helm. Let’s just leave Bad Santa alone Hollywood.