There will be no political commentary from me this week. This week is going to be all about Christmas. I’ll have something serious later this week, but today I need to dive into a debate that has been raging for 34 years without a satisfactory resolution. Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
I’m an engineer. It’s impossible for me to give a simple answer if I can dream up a more complicated one. So, bear with me.
I think determination of whether a movie fits the Christmas genre depends on more than its musical score and the timing of its release. The plot has to include certain critical elements common to all Christmas movies. To determine if Die Hard checks all of the necessary boxes, let’s compare it to a movie that is indisputably from that genre – A Christmas Story.
Every Christmas movie has to have a protagonist on a quest for something critical to their life. John McClain in Die Hard is a cop who travels from New York to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to get his estranged family back.
Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story is a young boy on a quest to get the perfect gift from Santa – the coveted Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun with a compass in the stock.
Our holiday protagonist must face insurmountable odds. John single-handedly fights against a building full of violent offenders, armed with assault rifles (gasp), missiles, explosives, and nasty attitudes. And he does it with no real help from the Los Angeles police department or the FBI. Shockingly, the murderous gunmen aren’t even led or organized by federal confidential human sources. I guess the plot doesn’t have to be completely believable for a Christmas movie.
Ralphie must overcome the mother/teacher/retail-Santa axis of gun control. Frankly, compared to A Christmas Story, Die Hard may be a little weak on the “insurmountable odds” thing – but I’ll give it this one.
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At some point in every Christmas movie the main character’s belief system is challenged. They discover that the world is more cynical than they knew. John finds out that his foul-tempered adversaries have no misguided but idealistic goals. They’re just common thieves, with an impressive armory and enviable hair. They’re not trying to achieve some political objective; they’re just stealing money. What’s the world coming to when freedom fighters don’t want freedom for their compatriots – they just want some rich capitalist’s ATM card.
Ralphie discovers that the decoder ring he has waited for weeks to receive doesn’t make him privy to secret operational communications. It makes him privy to a daily Ovaltine commercial. Little Orphan Annie didn’t make him part of the national security infrastructure. She made him part of the commercialization of Christmas conspiracy. Drats.
At some point in every Christmas movie, the main character has to make a big mistake. It’s essential to the spirit of Christmas – acknowledging that all humans are imperfect yet receive gifts anyway. John McClain tells his wife that his career is more important than hers – huge rookie mistake. Ralphie gets frustrated and says, “Oh, fudge” in front of his father. “Fudge” being a euphemistic substitution to portray a differently spelled but similar sounding meaning, while retaining a “G” rating. Ralphie gets a mouth full of Life Buoy for his indiscretion. John gets the “stink eye” and a very cold shoulder from his wife Holly (hmm, is her name a screen writer’s hint that Die Hard is a holiday movie?).
Every Christmas movie has to have one memorable line which defines the movie. In A Christmas Story it’s, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” The axis of disarmament says it more times than a harpy on The View can say “Trump” and “racist” in the same sentence. In Die Hard it’s, “Yippee ki-yay, mother fudger.” Except he didn’t say “fudger.” That’s my euphemistic substitution (wink, wink) to retain a “G” rating for this posting.
Every Christmas movie, without exception, must include a measure of comedy. In Die Hard, one such instance of comedy is provided by John’s wife Holly. Upon seeing a gunman throwing a toddler grade temper tantrum, she comments:
He’s still alive. Only John can drive somebody that crazy.
She is clearly in awe of her now beloved husband’s ability to annoy even the most hardened of humans.
In A Christmas Story, comedic relief is provided by an ethnically insensitive scene sure to send leftists scrambling for the nearest safe space (duck and cover, snowflakes). Three presumed men of presumed Asian ancestry attempt to sing Deck the Halls.
Deck the Harrs with Boughs of Horry
Fa ra ra ra la, ra ra ra ra
I’ve seen the movie dozens of times and that still cracks me up. I know it’s not politically correct. So, sue me. I didn’t write the screenplay. But, before you leftist twits get your cancellation tweets written, my wife is Asian and she thinks it’s hysterical too – so there.
Every Christmas movie reaches a satisfying conclusion due to the actions of a guardian angel. In Die Hard the guardian angel is a lone LA cop, who has been encouraging John throughout his tribulations, and ultimately kills the last remaining gunman, to save John and Holly.
In A Christmas Story the miracle is provided by Ralphie’s father, who has been watching his son throughout the movie, understands his boyhood craving, and gives him his prized Red Ryder for Christmas – without even requiring certification from a state sanctioned gun safety instructor.
So, is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
- Protagonist on a quest – check
- Protagonist faces insurmountable odds – check
- Protagonist is an imperfect human – check
- Movie has a memorable line – check
- Movie includes comedy – check
- Plot is resolved with a Christmas miracle – check
Yup, Die Hard is most definitely a Christmas movie. Don’t forget that both plots are satisfactorily resolved by a good guy with a gun – and yet the liberal networks still show both movies. It’s another Christmas miracle.
Author Bio: John Green is a political refugee from Minnesota, now residing in Idaho. He has written for American Thinker, American Free News Network, and The Blue State Conservative. He can be followed on Facebook or reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.