The importance of Die Hard at Christmastime






A lot of people laugh when I tell them my favourite Christmas movie is Die Hard. I’m not going to lie, but there is a sort of ironic quality to the movie for a few reasons:

1)      It’s a ridiculous ’80s shoot’em up movie.

2)      It stars Bruce Willis who, besides the recent sequel in the franchise, hasn’t seen an action film in years.

3)      It features Reginald VelJonhson, you know, Carl Winslow, but before he was Carl Winslow, but still playing a uniformed police officer.

Because of these tidbits of hipster humour now associated with the movie, it often gets overlooked as a decent film. Hell, I found my copy earlier today in a $5 bin at Wal-Mart. But for all of its campiness and cheesiness, I have a very fond Christmas memory associated with this film.

                I think I was maybe 22 (oh the youth that has surpassed me) and my older brother and I were up late on Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning. He had just moved out to his first apartment but decided to come home to his old bedroom for Christmas. One of the Showcase superstations (I think it was the ACTION! Channel) was playing Die Hard and my brother and I just sat on our couches drinking Baileys and not really saying much except for the Mystery Science 3000-esque commentary whenever something funny happened. It’s funny how this is a very fond Christmas memory, yet, unlike most other Christmas memory stories, we were both adults, just doing what guys do on any given holiday.

Yes, it was one of those “I learned the true meaning of Christmas” moments as well, realizing it was just about being with the people you love and care about, but the circumstances under my discovery of this just kind of seem odd yet so perfect.

Die Hard really is a guys’ Christmas movie. Not just cause it’s an action flick that happens to take place on Christmas, but it’s almost falling into that guilty pleasure territory of admitting you like Christmas movies. It has all the clichés of a Christmas movie right alongside all of the action flick clichés. People helping each other out solely out of the kindness of your own heart, bringing family together, the sappy wishing a Merry Christmas, and the night time scenery contrasted by coloured Christmas lights. It’s all there! All it’s missing is some hinting that there may actually be a Santa Claus.

Let’s face it, no matter how much of a tough guy you are, you get weepy eyed at the sight of sitting in the dark with a few coloured lights on, looking out the window and watching the snow falling (this is of course, unless you have some horrible psychological association with snow, or coloured lights, or the dark, or for Christmas in general). Die Hard is like the gateway drug for guys to get into Christmas specials again. I know this Holiday season and even last Christmas I’ve been going nuts for Christmas specials, looking long and hard for the 1986 stop motion animated version of L. Frank Baum’s (you know, the guy who wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (which was on YouTube last year, but I can’t find it this year for the goddamn life of me! Put that back up!) and for the original Muppets Christmas special, A Muppet Family Christmas (which still isn’t on DVD. What the fuck? Seriously? There’s a Muppets version of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit yet you don’t have the decency to put the best Muppets special ever made on DVD. Fuck you, Buena Vista!). I’ve even been watching new family Holiday specials, like Prep and Landing, which turned out to be really funny and really enjoyable to watch (I even found a relating point in my own personal life… I relate to Christmas elves… What’s wrong with me?).

It’s odd because I tend to dote on Halloween, always claiming it to be my favourite time of year. But, even though I still miss Halloween being really fun, as I get older I find myself getting more and more into the Christmas spirit. I really think the turning point for me was that night, hanging out in my parents’ living room, watching Die Hard with my brother, and just enjoying his company. With two of my brothers moved out now, it can get kind of lonely in my house. I still bug my parents a bit, but it’s different from having my brothers at arm’s length whenever I’m bored. I guess I just realized how much I enjoy both of my brothers’ company and my family’s company in general, and with life getting busier and busier, I’m starting to slow things down whenever they’re around, especially at Christmastime, and especially whenever Die Hard is playing.


(For the record, as far as I’m concerned, Bruce Willis plays a minor character in this movie. Alan Rickman owns!)


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