We’re kicking off our run of holiday films at the Paramount this Sunday with a double feature that might get us all added to the naughty list.
Have you ever spent an entire Saturday stringing up Christmas lights, only to have one blown bulb keep the whole thing from working? Have you ever gone up to the attic for Christmas decorations and come back down through the bedroom ceiling? Have you ever spent the holidays with your family? If you have, then you can commiserate with Clark Griswold, Chevy Chase’s hilariously empathetic everyman in CHRISTMAS VACATION, the finest entry in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series.
Clark’s boundless Christmas spirit is being tested. His wife has just informed him that the in-laws are going to be staying at the Griswold house for the holidays, cousin Eddie (a disaster of a human being memorably played by Randy Quaid) has shown up unexpectedly, and, to top it all off, Clark still hasn’t received that Christmas bonus he was hoping to get from his miserly boss. The woes continue to add up for Clark, while the laughs add up for us.
CHRISTMAS VACATION is a holiday tradition in many homes every Christmas. But when’s the last time you enjoyed this classic comedy unedited, commercial-free, and on glorious 35mm? This year, change things up and join us at the Paramount as we celebrate the Griswolds’ highs and lows and remind ourselves that Christmas is about friends and family and making life miserable for the neighbors. Don’t miss it on Sunday December 9 at 7:00pm and Monday December 10 at 9:00pm.
For our second feature, we’ve got a cast of characters that make the Griswolds and their troubles seem like a walk in the park.
It’s not easy to make a modern holiday classic. Many have tried to recreate the joyous atmosphere and heartwarming pathos of standard-bearers like WHITE CHRISTMAS or IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, but few have succeeded. Enter director Terry Zwigoff (who championed social outsiders with his renowned documentary CRUMB and indie favorite GHOST WORLD) and writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who decided to go in a different direction with BAD SANTA, easily the naughtiest, bawdiest Christmas comedy you’ll ever see.
Billy Bob Thornton gives a career-topping performance as Willie, the titular “Bad Santa,” a drunken, foul-mouthed con artist posing as a department store Father Christmas in order to make off with the store’s loot. The only question is: with all the misery and depression (and hard liquor) coursing through him, can Willie hold it together long enough to make the score?
Speaking of stealing, Brett Kelly just about runs away with every scene as an awkward, cherubic kid who is convinced that Willie is the real Santa Claus. You’ll come for Thornton’s maniacal turn, but you’ll stay for Kelly, the heart and soul of the film who carries this dark yuletide yarn into the light and, ultimately, into the pantheon of holiday favorites.
And be sure to get your photo taken with Bad Santa Sunday night from 8:30-9:00pm or Monday night from 6:30-7:00pm. For those of you who prefer the “good” old-fashioned Santa, he’ll be there Monday from 6:30-7:00pm, too!