There's one recent film that stands above the others, one movie made in the last ten years that has truly become a holiday classic that will still be enjoyed by audiences of all ages generations from now. That movie, of course, is Christmas with the Kranks.
Actually, it's Bad Santa. But how well I recall how coldly that brilliant yuletide comedy was greeted by certain folks in the media, folks whose loyalties lie, shall we say, on the more conservative side. Neil Cavuto, I'm looking in your direction, you fat-headed goon. Apparently, portraying Santa Claus, that beloved symbol of Christmas, in a negative light is going too far, crossing some sacred line that must never be crossed. I think that attitude is horseshit, and kept a lot of people from enjoying Bad Santa, the best Christmas movie made in quite some long-ass time.
It's horseshit not just because it's square and narrowminded, but because there are plenty of instances of Santa being portrayed unflatteringly long before Billy Bob Thornton and Terry Zwigoff teamed up to bring us the heartwarming tale of Willie Soke, mall Santa and safecracker extraordinaire. These portrayals go unnoticed because they occur in films intended to be viewed by young children, most of whom rank between a brain-damaged guinea pig and a bag of potato chips on the stupid scale. The best example is one I mentioned last Saturday, Santa as he appears in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Turns out I wasn't the first to think of it. Here's a video posted to YouTube by mattpaleboy which illustrates what is a commonly recurring theme in Christmas-themed film and television, and not one originated by or confined to Bad Santa: Santa Claus is a dick.