Willie T. Stokes is a washed-up, wisecracking Department Store Santa who can’t help but be more naughty than nice. Underneath his ill-fitting red suit, Willie is actually a safecracker who makes one big score every year – on Christmas Eve. As shoppers head home from the mall, this Santa and his ingenious Elf – Willie’s midget partner-in-crime Marcus – crack the store safe and make off with their own holiday stash. But then comes Phoenix. Here Santa and his Elf find their annual heist endangered by a pesky store manager, a savvy mall detective, a sexy Santa fan and an innocent but beleaguered 8 year-old misfit who decides to believe that Willie – as intoxicated, acid-tongued and felonious as he seems to be — is the real Santa he’s been seeking. —Cannes Film Festival
Singular filmmaker Terry Zwigoff showed his talent for giving both real life and fictional outsiders their cinematic due in his as yet small but distinguished oeuvre.
A San Francisco resident, Zwigoff held numerous jobs, including musician, shipping clerk, printer, and welfare office worker, before he made his first foray into film in the 1980s with his documentary short Louie Bluie (1985). A portrait of an obscure blues artist, Louie Bluie revealed Zwigoff to be an able documentarian and presaged his personal passion for blues and jazz music that would give his feature Ghost World (2001) its extraordinary soundtrack. Zwigoff subsequently co-wrote two screenplays with his long time friend, underground cartoonist Robert Crumb, in the late ’80s but neither got made.
Instead, Zwigoff made Crumb himself the subject of his first feature-length documentary. A Sundance Film Festival sensation and art house hit, Crumb (1994) proved to be a devastating examination of a family utterly… read more