Bad Santa (review)

So, when I attended a screening on November 14, I was already primed for *Bad Santa,* the meanest, curmudgeonliest, blackest holiday movie I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen most of ’em. It’s like, How much more black could it be? And the answer is None, none more black. I haven’t laughed at film this hard all year, and maybe not last year, either. And much of that laughter sprung from shock: I spent half the film saying to myself, ‘Holy crap, I can’t believe they did that!’ and ‘They did *not* just do that!’ It’s hard to be shocking in the era of the Farrelly Brothers, but *Bad Santa* is shocking partly because it’s so unrepentant and unapologetic. There’s no attempt to infuse the film with heart or soul or sweetness or light. *Bad Santa* unrelentingly twisted. And that’s just wonderful.

A Simple Plan (review)

I’ve raved over Bill Paxton before, and I’m gonna do it again now. Paxton is one of American film’s finest and most underappreciated actors — a fact obscured by his own supremely subtle talent. A Simple Plan, an outstanding film and an instant classic, should finally bring him the recognition he deserves.