Merry Christmas and Yippy Ki Yay 3.5 motherfuckers!
It’s time to talk about why Die Hard should be your favorite Christmas movie:
#10 – First action film where the hero didn’t have almost super hero like powers. In the 1980s, Schwarzenegger and Stallone put out a shit ton of flicks where they’d shoot ten million bad guys without ever reloading and never get a scratch on them. Meanwhile, McClane is a cop, so he has training, but this one man vs. a terrorist organization is a situation that your average cop couldn’t handle on his own. Though I love Arnie and Sly, I can relate to McClane.
#9 – Hans Gruber is a bad ass, a gentleman super thief who is all about the money. He love suits, love talking about gentlemanly activities, and calmly enjoys a shrimp cocktail he snagged from the Nakatomi Christmas party as he informs the guests they’ll be shot if they try anything funny. RIP Alan Rickman.
#8 – It launched Reginald VelJohnson’s career and gave us Family Matters. In Die Hard, Reginald plays working class father/cop Al Powell, McClane’s only friend on the outside. While all the law enforcement big wigs worry about rules and procedures, McClane and Al share that same cut the BS mindset. Carl Winslow is so similar to Powell that you could, if you want, just assume that Al couldn’t take all the heat after Nakatomi, so he moved to Chicago, transferred to the Chicago PD, and raised a family next door to a nerd named Steve Urkel who lusts after his daughter and blows up his house with his harebrained science experiments.
I really feel there should have been at least one episode where Carl should have shouted, Yes, Steve! You did do that! And living next door to you is worse than the Christmas I spent talking John McClane through the Nakatomi Tower terrorist bank robber attack!”
#7 – Argyle plays Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” as he drives McClane to the Christmas party. It is truly the best of all Christmas rap songs. One might argue that “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses qualifies but…eh, it’s really an 80s love ballad disguised as a rap. The Waitresses were great, but they didn’t represent Queens.
#6 – McClane is also relatable because of his marital troubles. Sometimes a couple can have a fight and there is no easy answer as to who is right. Holly got a great job that took her to LA. Yes, McClane could have supported her but then again he had his own career as a New York police officer and she signed up to be with a man based in New York when she married him. Reverse the situation and you might think McClane to be a dick if he were hired for a job with the LAPD and demanded that his wife give up a job she enjoyed in NYC. Hell, if she makes enough, maybe McClane could have just left police work all together and moved to LA with his wife and taken a job as a security guard at Disney Land or something, though I doubt he would have enjoyed that.
#5 – McClane and Powell both have the same receding hairline, yet Hollywood suits allowed them to be main characters in a movie anyway. Sigh. If they ever remake Die Hard without Bruce Willis (blasphemy, for it really is a perfect movie) they surely will hire some hot stud muffin douche with a full head of hair.
#4 – Great lines that have worked their way into pop culture. “Yippy ki yay motherfucker!” because, after all, McClane was a baby boomer and baby boomers loved their cowboy films. A similar hero today might quote from a comic book movie or something. Also, I have found myself saying, “Welcome to the party, pal” on occasion, usually when someone realizes something way later than they should have.
#3 – Die Hard with a Vengeance is really the best sequel in the franchise. Die Hard 2 is ok and/or acceptable. However, in 4 and 5 (the films that take place in the 2000s), the franchise takes a bad turn when they do break the “average guy caught at the wrong place at the wrong time” as we see McClane starting to have those Arnie/Sly-like supernatural action hero powers. Yes, I think a plucky young cop might be able to suck it up and run through a floor full of glass with no shoes on and survive (as it happens in the original). No, I don’t a cop could hang onto the nose of a fighter jet and survive (as happens in 4).
#2 – Dick Thornburgh is an epic douche, as most media types are. See? Reporters were douches like before social media. All about hype, not really caring if they hurt anyone (i.e. barging into the McClane residence and broadcasting that Holly is married to John, thus making the situation much more dangerous).
#1 – Arnie was originally considered for McClane’s role. Arnie was great, and very much the John Wayne of the 1980s, but I’m glad Willis got the role. Die Hard might have been ok with Arnie, but a massive Austrian weightlifter who probably could rip terrorists in half off screen as well as on screen just isn’t as relatable as an average cop with a receding hairline and a wife he’s separated from.
In conclusion, Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie and it should be yours too. Thanks, 3.5