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12 Days 12 Movies (Die Hard: Christmas Movie or Not?)

12 Days 12 Movies (Die Hard: Christmas Movie or Not?)

Strong coffee is needed today for this Christmas movie review. Put a little snake bite in it. I wrapped presents with wrapping paper as thin as hair. The hardwood floors were a massacred mess of paper and tape. Ribbons dangled limply from the edge of the dresser. Jingle bells cracked. Nutcrackers were watching from the mantle with fixed horror. The overall result on these boxes were Frankenstein scars. So I slapped a few bows on the uncovered spots and called it a day.

What do you say we take a break and enjoy the last remaining days before Christmas arrives? And what better way to enjoy the holidays than with controversy. Keep the arguments civil. We’re only two days away; wouldn’t want anyone getting coal this year.

Let’s stir the pot, shall we?

Die Hard

Die Hard movie poster Source: IMDB Die Hard

It had to be done. Sorry, not sorry. Kinda sorry. But not really.

The Bruce Willis masterpiece directed by John McTiernan garnered both praise and speculation. Die Hard has been the epicenter of hot debate since its release in 1988. The debate question…

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

Synopsis

NYPD cop John McClane travels to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to visit his ex-wife and revive his marriage. McClane finds his wife Holly Gennaro McClane (played by Bonnie Bedelia) at her office in the Nakatomi Plaza. Her workplace is throwing a Christmas party when McClane arrives. While McClane changes in private after meeting his wife, a German terrorist by the name Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) shows up with an army of 12.

Alan Rickman arrives Source: GIPHY

Gruber takes the building hostage. All except for John McClane who slips away. Gruber’s intentions are revealed not to be a terrorist attack, but instead a high-stakes robbery for millions of dollars hidden in the building’s vault. The terrorist attack is a ploy. But this doesn’t change the danger mounting. Without any connection to the police outside the Nakatomi Plaza, John McClane is the last hope for the hostages.

Bruce Willis smoking Source: GIPHY

Slowly but surely, McClane picks off the terrorists one by one when he can get them alone until he can get a message out to police to send help to the hijacked building. Frustrated by the NYPD cop, Gruber becomes impatient and takes more and more extreme measures to secure the building and kill John McClane.

Robbing the Show

There’s no doubt Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis are the stars of Die Hard, but Rickman and Willis go above and beyond stealing the show. Hans Gruber is one of the most diabolical villains in film and one of the most famous. Rickman’s performance as Gruber will turn your blood cold, and his interactions with Willis ramp up the movie’s intensity.

Hans Gruber: “You Americans are all alike. Well, this time John Wayne does not walk off into the sunset with Grace Kelly.” / John McClane: “That’s Gary Cooper, asshole.”

Bruce Willis’ nonchalant humor in the face of danger takes some of the edge off the suspense Die Hard creates. Not to mention it makes for numerous quotable lines that live on to this day.

John McClane: “Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.”

John McClane: “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.”

Bruce Willis in an air vent Source: GIPHY

It’s amazing to think this was Alan Rickman’s first movie role and Willis’ claim to fame. A Die Hard without either of these actors is hard to picture, and frankly, doesn’t seem nearly as good.

Is It A Christmas Movie?

Up to you, but yes, it is.

That’s me– two years ago when I was a sophomore in college and even more naive than I am now. Someone decided to have a poll in the dorm lobby on the best Christmas movie made. For kicks I wrote Die Hard. Take a guess at what won.

The Arguments

Both arguments have reasonable ground. Those who say it isn’t a Christmas movie point out its plot. Yes, it is set on Christmas Eve but it is not the main focus. Die Hard is an action thriller and the structure follows that of, you guessed it, an action thriller. Not a Christmas movie.

Another argument is that Christmas movies should represent peace on earth, coming together, hope, joy, and themes of that nature. This is where the argument gets cloudy. It’s A Wonderful Life is THE Christmas movie. However, the majority of the movie does not necessarily represent these themes. In fact, the plot punishes George Bailey so badly that he contemplates suicide. Dark, no? Out of line of joy and peace. George finds unrest and misery until the end of the movie when he realizes what he has in his life is important. Not to mention, the bad guys lose and the good guys win– A good Christmas message.

Strangely, Die Hard ends similarly. McClane wins, Gruber loses. McClane leaves with his wife, restoring their love, and a new friend in limo driver Argyle. That’s a positive Christmas message, and it comes at the end of constant punishment for McClane.

The argument for Die Hard being a Christmas movie is simple: it is set during Christmas. The whole movie wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for a Christmas party on Christmas Eve. No Christmas, no Die Hard. These are not mutually exclusive. It also features a dead man in a Santa hat.

Dead man in a Santa hat Source: GIPHY

Whether you believe Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not, I think we can all agree it is a great movie. In the very least, it provides the viewer with entertainment and lives on to this day with a string of sequels. We all know the name of John McClane. Who knows, without Die Hard, who would play Severus Snape?

Tell Us What You Think

Merry Christmas everybody! And Yippee Ki Yay! Two more days left. We’ll round out the holiday season with two more Christmas movie reviews! Stay tuned the next two days to find out which ones we pick!

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Let us know in the comments! Or tweet us @theHoneypop and give us your answer!

To Learn More About Die Hard:
IMDB | Twitter | Facebook

Featured Image Source: IMDB Die Hard

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Joshua McGovern

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