When the holidays roll around, as they’re doing very quickly at this point, one of the major symbols of Christmas that kids and even adults start to look forward to is the arrival of the red suit and white beard that denotes Father Christmas, announcing that Santa Claus is here. Throughout the history of the movies many men have put on the suit and made Christmas a fun and joyful time for many people, but there have been those that have presented some of the worst and in some cases most disturbing images of Santa that have ever been. In some cases it’s intentional, while in others it’s entirely accidental since the goal was to instill some sort of wonder and joy. However some films just kind of miss the mark and get a little creepy and downright pathetic. But again, sometimes that’s the whole point.
Here are some of the worst representations of Santa Claus when it comes to movies.
5. Fred Claus – Paul Giamatti
Let’s be at least somewhat fair since Paul Giamatti is a great actor and someone that you’d love to be buddies with when he’s in a good mood. He can act, there’s no doubt about this, but this was not his role, not by a long shot. The role of Santa might as well have gone to Vince Vaughn in this one simply because Paul might have had the girth but he certainly doesn’t have the right amount of merriment in his appearance that would make it work. Santa is supposed to be big and jolly but whoever did the casting seems to have left out the latter part of that description in this film. Plus, as many laughs as there were in this movie it still fell kind of flat.
4. A Christmas Story – Jeff Gillen
It’s really hard to criticize a favorite movie like this since A Christmas Story is one of the best Christmas films ever made. But the Santa Claus in this film is just downright scary since the red on his nose and in his cheeks looks like it might have come from something other than good cheer, unless you count ‘cheer’ as something that comes from a bottle with a screw-on cap. Add to that the fact that his ‘elves’ look like evil, human-sized Smurfs and are way too aggressive and you get a North Pole representative that seems like he’d be the Santa that would give kids nightmares rather than dreams of presents to come.
3. Jingle All the Way – Jim Belushi
When you look at all the guys that have done Santa over the years and what a thankless job it can be it’s easy to feel sorry for them, but honestly the disgruntled and less than honest guys that put on the suit and beard are the real problem since they give the legend a bad name. Arnold has taken on a lot of different things throughout his movies, so taking on the Santa brigade in this film isn’t exactly a challenge until the King Kong of Santa’s arrives. If you take a look at the face beneath the beard however you might get a nice surprise since that’s Paul Wight, aka the Big Show from WWE.
2. Trading Places – Dan Akroyd
This representation of Santa was meant to be dirty, pathetic, and just altogether foul since Louis has fallen on hard times thanks to the Duke brothers throughout this film. At one point he was a hardworking, upper class citizen that had more money than he knew what to do with, a good life, and everything he could ask for. When his bosses decided to place a bet on what would happen if they traded Louis’ life with that of a con man they effectively broke him since the guy hadn’t done a hard day’s work in his life and it showed. But reducing him to this level is something that is just short of the nuthouse.
1. Bad Santa – Billy Bob Thornton
This one is definitely on purpose and yet it goes so far over the top that it reached into a sequel where it finally seemed to crash and burn. Billy Bob as Santa is the kind of idea that would traumatize a lot of kids and possibly get them to stop believing in Santa Claus altogether since he’s so obnoxious that he makes every other Santa on this list look positively tame. In truth he makes Fred Claus look like a saint since he drinks, he swears, and he has no idea how to talk to kids since his own level of education isn’t much beyond the high school level when you really get down to it. He’s a decent thief but a lousy human being, and Billy Bob plays the role perfectly.
If you want to laugh at a bad Santa then these are the movies to do it to.