Bam Margera Presents: Where the #$&% is Santa?
Directed By: Joe DeVito and Bam Margera
Starring: Bam Margera, Brandon Novak, Jesse Margera, Chad I. Ginsburg, Mark Hanna, Joe Frantz, Missy Margera, Phil Margera, April Margera, Seth Meisterman, Matt “S---birdz” Cole, Jimmy Pop, Mark the Bagger, Jukka Hilden , Jarno "Jarppi
|Studio: Warner Brothers|
Film Length: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date: November 25, 2008
Bam Margera Presents: Where the #$&% is Santa? follows skater/reality star/professional "Jackass" Margera on his quest to bring his wife, Missy, the ultimate Christmas present: Santa Claus. Bam has it on good authority that Santa lives in the town of Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland on the Arctic Circle. He assembles a group of his masochistic friends and family including Brandon Novak, Jesse Margera, Chad Ginsburg, Mark Hanna, and Joe Frantz to accompany him on his Scandinavian quest, and they all head overseas with less than a week before Christmas. Along the way, they heap abuse on each other, pull cruel pranks, and generally laugh a lot at the misery they inflict on each other. While in Finland, they visit rock star friends including the bands HIM and Hanoi Rocks. Hanoi Rocks guitarist Andy McCoy even dispenses sage advice through an almost visible haze of intoxication. They are also joined by Jukka Hilden and Jarno "Jarppi" Leppälä of "The Dudersons" on their northern trek. Back home in West Chester Pennsylvania, Missy and Bam's parents prepare for an elaborate Christmas party that will include a lot of Bam's skater friends, while Jimmy Pop and Matt Cole tool around town trying to help Mark the Bagger with his pick-up lines so that he can win a bet that he will score more girls in Pennsylvania than Novak will in Finland.
If the above synopsis made any sense to you, then you will probably enjoy this movie. (Unless, of course, you were assigned to review this title and had to familiarize yourself with all of those names in order to write a review like I did). Fans of Margera who are familiar with his sycophantic masochistic network of friends and long-suffering family will be stepping into a world with which they will be largely familiar through previous projects including CKY videos, MTV's Jackass, and MTV's Viva La Bam.
The key ingredients of outrageous and ridiculous stunts, humiliating pranks, and general abuse for the purpose of amusement are all still in place, as is the balance between contrived situations and spontaneous reactions which is tilted somewhat towards the former in order to give the movie its plot through-line. The emphasis on the contrived plot still leaves plenty of room for goofy stunts and poses including head kickings, depantsings, human gift wrappings, eyeball eating, reindeer viscera fights, pony tail clippings, snow blower enemas, torso tattoos of maps of Finlad, pervasive profanity, slow motion walking with celebratory fists in the air, and the like. Borderline waste case Brandon Novak is far and away the number one target for pranks and abuse, and his naked behind is exposed frequently enough throughout the film for it to earn its own SAG card.
If you are not a fan of this particular brand of juvenile abusive humor, the movie's 93 minutes will seem like an eternity that eventually adds up to a soul-crushing, intelligence lowering, cinematic lump of coal.
The film appears to have been shot on a combination of video and Super-16mm film with just about everything captured documentary-style with handheld cameras. Quality is actually quite decent given the limitations of the shooting style, although you do get a certain amount of softness, color smearing, and other artifacts that will insure that nobody mistakes this for a big budget feature production. There is frequently a very thin haloing along high contrast edges which may or may not be an artifact of the cameras used to shoot the film. Compression appears to be very good with little added noise from the encoding.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is encoded at 384 kbps. One would expect a film shot documentary style to have a soundtrack that is anchored to the center channel, and that is frequently the case, but the mix comes alive at numerous points to present stereo rock music and occasional sound effects across the full 5.1 sound field. Fidelity does not sound significantly compromised by the relatively low bitrate.
The most significant special feature is a set of Additional Scenes (22:01) that are not selectable separately from the disc menu, but are chapter encoded. Descriptions as follow:
- Protracted destruction of Novak’s car
- Tree dragging followed by Novak baiting/car singing by Hanna and Frantz
- April asks for help with Santa ice sculpture, Novak is made up like a Christmas elf, the boys decorate the house for Christmas, they commission a crude ice sculpture that is something other than Santa, and Novak is sent down a steep skate ramp in a kayak.
- In Finland, HIM serenades Bam with the song “Dead Lover’s Lane” before he goes up north. A question mark and arrow keeps pointing to a big dude with long hair grooving to the music behind Bam
- Extended snowmobile bun-geeing sequence
- Hot Wax shot drinking competition at the Arctic Circle
- Cinematographer complains to his camera about doing time lapse shots of Finnish smokestacks while everyone else is sleeping
- Bam throws Novak into a very cold river in Finland and a big dude kicks him out of the trailer where he went to warm up
- A drunk Bam gives Novak a tattoo in a coat room.
- Multiple shots of skateboard wipeouts at Bam’s party and the painful aftermath.
- Bam injures himself giving Novak a flying kick to the head on a brick sidewalk
- A drunk Andy McCoy speaks some nonsense about publishing in the Finnish-English version of Pidgin Spanish
Trailer (2:25) Nearly the whole (admittedly slight) plot of the movie plays out in less than two and a half minutes including a couple of shots that did not make the final cut but did appear in the deleted scenes (Novak going down the steep skate ramp in a canoe and Novak going in the river).
The single sided dual-layered DVD is presented in a standard Amaray style case with a cover image of Bam poking a recumbent Santa Claus with a stick.
Bam Margera Presents: Where the #$&% is Santa? provides the expected adolescent high jinks from the skater/prankster/daredevil and his crew with a wisp of a Holiday-themed plot to hold it all together. Non-fans need not apply. Extras include a generous helping of deleted scenes as well as a collection of production stills and the film's theatrical trailer