Before Mike & Mike ended in 2017, I listened to (and watched in-person) the popular ESPN Radio program for many years. Although the duo did talk a lot of sports, they also had recurring pop cultural debates. Like clockwork, once December rolled around, the Mikes would always go back and forth about a certain hot button issue.
Is “Die Hard” a Christmas movie?
Every damn year I listened as Greeny and Golic hashed out the same old arguments about Die Hard’s Yuletide merits. The redundancy was borderline embarrassing but I kind of admired the passion with which they debated. However, the back and forth never stimulated me intellectually because of one main reason: I had never watched Die Hard before.
After about a decade of being aware of the Die Hard controversy, I finally watched the film this week. Over the course of a couple nights, I watched it on Peacock. I have a brief, but strong, opinion.
I don’t believe Die Hard is a Christmas movie. In order to be a Christmas movie, the film must be about Christmas. Die Hard happens to take place on Christmas (Eve) but it is definitely not about Christmas. Jack in the Box serves tacos but that doesn’t make it a Mexican restaurant, right? Okay, that might be a bad example.
But bottom line, Die Hard contains no Christmas themes. The holiday is mentioned, you see a couple decorations, and a carol is played at the end…that’s it. There is no Christmas vibe whatsoever.
Let me put it this way. If a person was brought into your midst who had never heard of Christmas before and you had to explain the American commercialization version of the holiday by showing them a movie, would you ever in a million years choose Die Hard? Not in a million years.
As for the movie itself, I got more invested as it went on. My first reaction was that it was corny and really outdated. But it started to pick up once Sgt. Al Powell/Carl Winslow/Reginald VelJohnson was introduced and the tactical game of chess started to transpire between the bad guys, law enforcement, and Bruce Willis’ character. The climax with the attempted helicopter assault, the detonation of the roof, and the death of Alan Rickman’s villain character was really entertaining and the effects pretty good for the late 1980s.
However, no matter how good the action scenes were I wasn’t feeling holly and jolly at the end of Die Hard. Come on everyone, it simply isn’t a Christmas movie. Don’t Blink.