I am here to make the case for Die Hard as a Christmas movie.
At the dinner table tonight as one of the fam declared Elf as his favorite holiday film, I brought up Die Hard as a personal fav of mine. Everyone stopped eating and looked at me.
“I don't think that's a serious Christmas movie.”
‘What the hell?’, I thought. How could anyone not see that Die Hard is a perfect movie for the holidays? In fact, I submit to you, the jury, that John McTiernan’s 1988 action masterpiece about a group of terrorists who take over a Los Angeles skyscraper and hold 30-40 hostages at gunpoint on Christmas Eve, has all of the essential qualities that make it America’s and Santa Claus’s himself, first choice to watch on December 24th with a glass of eggnog and a fully loaded Beretta 92F by your side.
To prove it I will now list the ways that Die Hard meets all the necessary criteria for holiday categorization:
1. It takes place on Christmas Eve (duh!). Yes, it's California, but we still do celebrate it out here in our beautiful 60 degree weather.
2. It has a kick-ass Xmas soundtrack with such breakaway hits like Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis”, “Let it Snow” and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.
3. At its heart, Die Hard is really a movie about family and how the McLane’s are brought back together by John’s undying commitment to save his estranged wife by ensuring she gets home to their kids. Even if it means he has to kill every single terrorist on every single floor of Nakatomi Plaza.
4. “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho.”
5. Every character has been living with a moral crisis of some kind (Al killed a kid and can't bring himself to shoot someone again, John is a misogynist who can't come to grips with the fact his wife is more successful than him, the Deputy Chief, Dwayne T. Robinson is just a douchebag) but they all are changed irrevocably by this most important of holidays. Al blasts Karl away, John saves everyone and his wife learns her place, and Deputy Chief, Dwayne T. Robinson? Well, he's still a douchebag, but he met some FBI guys who were bigger a-holes then him.
6. Hans Gruber (played by the late, great Alan Rickman) is possibly the greatest Christmas villain of all time. F the Grinch and his plans for Whoville. You think Mr. Potter was evil? Hans is out to destroy everyone’s holiday (and make a few hundred mil in the process) by blowing up a building with dozens of innocent people inside. And, by the way, death by Rolex is the most 80’s way to bite it on any day of the year.
7. “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho.”
8. So, Matt has picked It's A Wonderful Life as his favorite Christmas film of all time. A solid choice, I must say. But let me ask you this, Matt, do you think George Bailey could take John McClane in straight up fight? Because that's what's really important here. Bruce Willis would backhand Jimmy Stewart off of that bridge and tell him to stop f’n whining damnit! Do you think McClane would have given up when things got tough? No way! Old Johnny Boy doesn't need any Clarence the Angel to tell him how bitchin’ he is. He would have lifted Mr. Potter out of that wheelchair and pistol whipped him through the streets of Bedford Falls.
9. So, I said this is America’s Christmas movie and that's true. Think about it. An off-duty New York cop, takes on a group of foreigners who dare to come into OUR country and ruin the Christmas Party of corporate America. All he has is a pistol, a wife beater, no shoes and the grit and determination to outsmart all of them. Thank goodness, that in the future, thanks to “extreme vetting” no groups like Hans Gruber’s killers will get through our borders and allow another Nakatomi to happen.
10. “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho.”
So, that's my case for Die Hard as the best Xmas movie to watch with the family this year and every year. Force them if you have to. And if you still think it doesn't qualify, then ……