Article: Die Hard IS A Christmas Movie, God Damn It!

Matt Streeter only likes one thing more than Baby Jesus in a manger. And that's John McClane.

I hate Christmas movies.  

They're boring, largely uninventive, and they telegraph their messages worse than a freshman quarterback's passes.  I also find Christmas “comedies” painfully unfunny, too, although as we all know comedy is hard even under the best of conditions.  Even so, the best Christmas has to offer is Home Alone or Elf or A Christmas Story, and I hate watching all of those. Okay, I'll give a free pass to 1994's Miracle on 34th Street, that was a cute enough movie.

But there is a saving grace.  God did decide that His son would not have to suffer under cinematic hell on the most important day of His life: His birthday.  And thus, He smiled upon us all and one of the greatest movies of the 1980s came into existence, and that movie is Die Hard, the greatest Christmas movie of all time.  Die Hard could not have been any better unless it starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and he wore a Santa hat the whole time.

Die Hard is so much more than just a movie that takes place on Christmas.  It is a Christmas miracle.  Something actually entertaining to watch, a true gift from God.  And it has more than a little Christmas spirit in it, too.  Bruce Willis shows how much he values the brotherhood of man by bonding with both the limo driver Argyle and LAPD officer Carl Winslow.  He sacrifices himself for the sake of innocents, something a very notable Christian once did a long time ago in a land far away, you know, that guy for whom the whole season is named for.

All I want for Christmas is a better sequel. 

He comes to Nakatomi Tower bearing gifts brought from afar.  He has thoughtful little items for his lovely children.  If things haven't changed since I've been out of the States, I know that generosity is a big part of Christmas.  And that is on top of the great love he has for them, for his whole family. Look!  Another big, important part of Christmas!  And all this without resorting to a bunch of tired, recycled Christmas cliches.

Let's get back to that whole Christmas miracle thing, though.  You see, if Bruce Willis hadn't gone to spend the holiday with his family that year, those “terrorists” would have had a good chance of succeeding with their plans.  Bruce Willis being there is a minor miracle.  And then there's how poorly he matched up with Hans Gruber and his crew.  It's a major miracle that he was able to pull it off the way he did.  A major Christmas miracle.

Just making the movie was a miracle.  It was a big risk on the studio's part to cast Bruce Willis.  He had been quite successful in comedic roles on TV (Moonlighting) and had only a couple of modestly successful movie roles and really had no business headlining an action blockbuster.  

And then there was the difficulty in shooting the scenes.  Bruce Willis' falling down the ventilation shaft was an accident, the stunt dude wasn't supposed to fall down like that.  It's a miracle *ahem* that it turned out to be one of the best shots of the movie.  Wikipedia tells me that the biggest one, the helicopter scene, took six months of planning for two hours of shooting.  That's a lot of pressure for one shot, but despite the limitations they got it right in three takes.  Three miraculous takes.  Everything came together for this movie to succeed, for Christmas to have at least one glorious film we can actually enjoy during this season.

No. I've never heard of Kevin McCallister. 

How could you possibly make an argument that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie?  There are plenty of holiday symbols and themes present to see if you look for them.  Just because a movie isn't a slave to every stupid gag or overdone message or banal line of dialogue doesn't mean it's not a Christmas movie.  Die Hard is the greatest of Christmas movies, in all the ways it truly matters.  That it's a joy to watch is just icing on the Christmas cake.  Yipee ki-yay, mother fucker.

PS, TV Christmas specials are amazing and I love almost every single one of them because they're not two hours of boring.

-Matt Streeter

Never heard of me? Game on, bitches.