Bam Margera Presents: Where the !@#$ is Santa
Back when I was a young man just out of high school I made an acquaintance (through a friend) who had a lot of money. I’m not sure where the money came from — a lawsuit or inheritance or something — but the guy let it be known that basically, he never had to work again. This guy was annoying to be around and yet, one by one, I watched my friends start spending more and more of their time hanging out with him. Sure, the guy footed the bill for everything from booze to pay-per-view specials to other stuff, but it all came with a price. Everything had strings attached, and when this guy needed a favor you jumped, else you were cut off from the on-going party. From the minute I met the guy I always felt like I was being bought, a feeling I hated. One by one my friends got tired of being bossed around as well. No one’s seen that guy in years, but rest assured, he’s living in a mansion somewhere, surrounded by a new set of cronies.
That must be what it’s like being friends with Bam Margera. Near the beginning of Margera’s latest direct-to-DVD project, “Where the !@#$ is Santa,” Bam wakes up one of his house guests (Brandon Novak) by pelting him with flour and snow. When Novak leaves the house to head to a local bar, Margera and his pals follow him. When Novak talks about how proud he is that he finally bought a car, Margera and company head outside to cover it with spray paint, kick in the windshield and bust out the windows. When Novak says he’s sick of Bam’s treatment, Bam first sneaks up behind him and smashes two plates of food into his head, and later arranges to have a giant tree dropped on his car with a crane. The next morning, Bam wakes Novak by pouring hot candle wax on him and coerces him into skateboarding outside in freezing weather wearing only a pair of girls panties. When Novak finally reaches his breaking point (“This is enough; I want clothes, a shower, and warmth!”), Bam’s pals proceed to hose him down with freezing water from a garden hose.
This really begs the question — who wants to be friends with Bam Margera? The answer is, no one. Noticeably absent from Margera’s latest release are Ryan Dunn, Brandon DiCamillo, Raab Himself, Rake Yohn, Don Vito, and all the other CKY regulars we’re used to — maybe they finally got tired of the abuse. Instead, we get a whole new crowd of morons, second-rate stunt men and outright losers, all willing to be Margera’s personal punching bag in exchange for rides in his fancy cars and the privilege of being humiliated on film. It is amazing to me what people will endure in exchange for fifteen seconds of fame. I’m telling you right now, if any of my friends cut my hair off and then take a crap on me while I’m sleeping, our friendship is over. There is no amount of money in the world that would get me to endure that.
“Bam Margera Presents: Where the !@#$ is Santa” hangs itself on is a silly one; it’s a week before Christmas and while drinking at a local pub, Bam comes up with the idea of flying to Finland to kidnap the real Santa and bring him back to West Chester as a gift for his wife. Bam’s parents and wife express their concern that Bam will not return in time for a big planned Christmas party (which might actually be a blessing), but that would show compassion for someone else and the next day Bam and his pals are en route to Finland in search of Santa. By the way, anyone who suggests to Bam that Santa lives at the North Pole instead of Finland gets punched or shoved to the ground.
The journey of course is just an excuse to hang Margera’s two favorite pastimes on; abusing his cohorts, and hanging out with his friends from the bands HIM and Hanoi Rocks and goofballs the Dudesons (you know, the guys Margera and company stole their shtick from). When the group worries about getting lost, a map is drawn on Margera’s pal’s stomach in Sharpie. Later, the map is tattooed in place as the poor fellow is fed Jack Daniels while being held down and screaming repeatedly in pain. When the tattoo is complete, Bam rewards his friend by slapping him so hard his knees buckle and he collapses to the floor.
Again, I ask — who wants to be friends with this guy?
The film’s subplot revolves around a bet between two sub-stooges over who will have more sex; one, Brandon Novak (who looks like he is strung out on heroin) travels with Bam’s group while the other, a mentally-deficient (at best) fellow named “Mark the Bagger” stays behind in West Chester. The thought of a woman talking to either one of these losers without the presence of a camera crew nearby is laughable, and even with the lights turned on we get to see plenty of female rejection even as both of them use the same tactic repeatedly: “I know Bam Margera!” Footage of Margera’s northern adventures are interspersed with shots from West Chester, as Margera’s friends spend the week before Christmas harassing Margera’s wife and parents. It makes you wonder why his family wasted all that time preparing for Christmas party instead of enlisting in the Witness Protection Program and getting the heck out of town while they had the chance.
I won’t spoil the film’s ending, not that it matters. There was a time when Jackass, CKY and the like were funny. “Bam Margera Presents: Where the !@#$ is Santa” just comes off as mean-spirited Throughout the film, Margera plays a meaner version of Moe Howard without any likable Stooges. He’s a wealthy bully who takes advantages of people down on their luck by giving them a little cash while exploiting them on camera. The only people he treats with any respect at all are his idols (read: anyone with money). Anyone else — friend, family, or random stranger — is fair game. It’s hard to enjoy the film’s antics when the people around him aren’t even having fun. This isn’t comedy; it’s just sad.
Bam Margera has certainly found his market with direct-to-DVD. Without the restrictions of cable television, Margera and his pals are free to curse it up and slap each other around with severed reindeer penises without any fear of censorship. These films cost almost nothing to produce and I’m sure they sell like hotcakes. My guess is next year we’ll see another one. My other guess is, it will involve a completely new set of friends as I doubt any of his current ones could take another round of this abuse.
I know I can’t.