ON-SCREEN SAN­TAS

Real-life Santa-for-hire Mike Facherty rates TV and films’ most iconic Fa­ther Christ­mases

Shortlist - - CONTENTS - WORDS: RALPH JONES IL­LUS­TRA­TION: GUY SHIELD

A real santa rates his big screen coun­ter­parts.

BILLY BOB THORN­TON, BAD SANTA

“His look is ap­palling. He of­fends peo­ple in front of chil­dren, he’s just bad – all the stuff that Santa shouldn’t be. When you’re in the uni­form, you do not do any­thing other than be kind – be­cause a child might see you do­ing this. It breaks down the il­lu­sion that you might be Santa. You don’t stop – you’re in char­ac­ter all the time. Ev­ery­thing he lacks high­lights what Santa should have.”

HOMER SIMP­SON, ‘SIMP­SONS ROAST­ING ON AN OPEN FIRE’

“He was more Homer than he was Santa. He re­flected the worst stereo­type peo­ple have of some San­tas: just there for the money, isn’t both­ered about the kids. He’s got a wafer-thin con­trol of his tem­per. You do get an­noy­ing kids and you have to think, ‘I like this child.’ I don’t think it’s in him to be a good Santa. He wouldn’t even give you the shirt off his dad’s back.”

COCA-COLA SANTA

“He has been the vis­ual in­spi­ra­tion for gen­er­a­tions of San­tas. It wasn’t Coca-Cola that ac­tu­ally started the red suit, but it very much pop­u­larised it. It’s not de­signed to give you strong feel­ings. It’s just an ad­vert; it’s not a story. You can get more in­volved with a story. It’s a nice-look­ing Santa, but you don’t get any deep feel­ing of char­ac­ter from him. On the other hand, he’s not a bad Santa. I’ve got noth­ing against him.”

RAY­MOND BRIGGS’ FA­THER CHRIST­MAS

“In my tiny grotto I’ve got three ver­sions of the Ray­mond Briggs books. I loved the Briggs ver­sion as he comes over as very English and he’s got that grumpi­ness. We see him sit­ting on the toi­let, which is not a ver­sion of Santa you of­ten see. You’re glimps­ing be­hind the scenes: Fa­ther Christ­mas get­ting ready, do­ing the prep and do­ing the de­liv­ery. He’s got that con­cern of mak­ing sure ev­ery gift is de­liv­ered.”

HULK HOGAN, SANTA WITH MUS­CLES

“His out­fit, with the sleeves torn off so you can see the Hogan mus­cles, is ap­palling. Ob­vi­ously it’s a de­lib­er­ate man­gling of the idea of Santa. I don’t think it’s go­ing to af­fect any child’s be­lief, be­cause they’re go­ing to know full well it’s Hulk Hogan. Santa is not a world-sav­ing fig­ure. You have to ac­knowl­edge that chil­dren want things you can’t give them. All you can do is say, ‘Aren’t the grown-ups silly?’”

PAUL GIA­MATTI, FRED CLAUS

“He looks like a good Santa. He comes across as a more mod­ern Santa; a bit of fam­ily life. It’s an­other side to Santa that you didn’t nec­es­sar­ily used to see. He’s a bit up­tight, and the Fred char­ac­ter [his brother] brings a slight loose­ness that eases his char­ac­ter. Them fight­ing is against the grain of what peo­ple think of Santa as be­ing like – but we do have fights with our broth­ers. It’s good that he’s three-di­men­sional.”

RICHARD AT­TEN­BOR­OUGH, MIR­A­CLE ON 34TH STREET

“The best Santa on the list. I’ve seen him crit­i­cised by San­tas for his short beard, but it’s more prac­ti­cal for chim­neys – you can get the soot out eas­ier. There’s so much warmth. The fact that he uses sign lan­guage to talk to a deaf girl shows that he can com­mu­ni­cate with any child. At one point he shows a bit of anger, which proves that he’s not just a sac­cha­rine old man.”

TIM ALLEN, THE SANTA CLAUSE

“A good, mod­ern Santa. He’s got a bit of an edge – at the be­gin­ning he doesn’t re­ally want to be Santa. He’s been stuck with be­ing Santa be­cause he did a good deed. The look is re­ally very good. It’s such a good fake beard be­cause it’s film. By the end, he loves be­ing Santa. If you don’t love be­ing Santa, you’re never go­ing to be a re­ally good Santa. You’ve got to love the chil­dren.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.