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“Bad Santa 2” screenplay in the works (twice)

“Bad Santa 2” screenplay in the works (twice) (photo)

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I’m pretty sure we were the first ones to bring you the news that Billy Bob Thornton was in negotiations with Dimension to reprise his role as the best worst Santa ever, Willie “Tugboat” Stokes, in a “Bad Santa 2” when we spoke to him about his Willie Nelson documentary “The King of Luck” at South by Southwest 2011. Today The Los Angeles Times reported that the film is inching closer to fruition — or make that fruitions, with the development of not one but two different scripts.

“The companies [Miramax and Dimension] are engaging in the unusual move of commissioning two different writers, with the idea of choosing between the scripts or even using one script for ‘Bad Santa 2’ and the other script for a third film. (The two writers do know about each other.) A spokeswoman for Dimension Films confirmed the hires and the plans. The movie is being produced by Geyer Koskini, Thornton’s manager who produced the original and has been developing the sequel for several years.”

The Times reports the two writers are Johnny Rosenthal and John Phillips, young Hollywood scribes without any produced films to their names. I’ve heard of studios farming out marketing to more than one company — inviting multiple trailer houses to compete for the right to make the coming attractions for a major film and then picking the concept they like best, for example — but not script writing. That’s a new one for me.

I’m a huge “Bad Santa” fan; I was, frankly, a little annoyed when indieWIRE conducted a poll to find the best indie comedy of the last 15 years and “Bad Santa” didn’t even make the cut (you’re telling me “Slums of Beverly Hills” is a better indie comedy than “Bad Santa?” Away with you and your madness, indieWIRE!). I’d love to see Thornton back in the role of Willie, a role he should have been nominated for an Academy Award for. But having just rewatched all three versions of “Bad Santa” for my biweekly director’s cut column, I’m a little concerned about the practicalities of a sequel. Realistically — SPOILERS coming for “Bad Santa” — he can’t really even be a mall Santa anymore, and his life was kind of on the rebound at the end of the film. The only way to really recapture the original “Santa”‘s sublime dark humor would be to have Willie fall off the wagon and hit an even lower rock bottom than the rock bottom he hit the first time around. Which, come to think of it, might actually be kind of fun.

It could also be great to see Thurman — a.k.a. the innocent kid who befriends Thornton’s Santa — as a teenager, fully seduced to the dark side of booze and women by the corrosive parental influence of Willy. The two of them competing for the affections of a woman is another idea that could have some potential. Basically it needs to be squalid and sordid and disgusting. Anything less would be a missed opportunity.

We should also note that while Thornton is obviously very interested in reprising his role, according to The Times the movie is currently moving ahead without the participation of the Coen Brothers, the executive producers and developers of the original idea for “Bad Santa,” or the first screenwriters Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, or director Terry Zwigoff. Those were some prodigious creative forces. Filling their big red Santa boots will not be easy.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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