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Why do people think that Die Hard is a Christmas movie?

SugarDave

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,212
I watched It's A Wonderful Life for the first time last year and it honestly didn't seem as Christmassy as Die Hard. Didn't seem like that much of a Christmas film at all.
 

BLEEN

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
6,276
The first music heard is Christmas bells.
Multiple characters sing Christmas songs.
Multiple Christmas songs are on the soundtrack.
The movie takes place at a Christmas party.
The main characters motivation is to get home to his family for Christmas.


It's a fucking Christmas movie!
This pretty much seals it. There's way more stuff too sprinkled throughout.
 

Br3wnor

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
2,474
What is a Christmas movie?

What is the checklist?
There isn’t one. For me and my wife, a ‘Christmas movie’ is one that we watch once a year between thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. They are some of our favorite movies and watching them helps add to the overall joy of the month long Christmas season. Some movies that we only watch around Christmas but aren’t by definition ‘Christmas movies’ are Godfather, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got mail, Good Will Hunting, just to name a few. We also have actual Christmas movies like Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, Family Stone, Santa Clause, etc. that we try to watch as well.

Christmas movies can mean different things for different people.

All that being said, Diehard, IMO fits purely as a Christmas movie for all the reasons already pointed out in this thread.
 

Border

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,639
Themes and content don't properly really fit. There's kinda just too much murder for it to really be a Christmas movie.
 

Border

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,639
My local Reagal Theater is playing Die Hard as part of their Christmas classic movies.
Not sure if that is actually going to happen. Disney has yanked the entire catalog of past FOX movies from theatrical distribution. My local theatre wanted to play both Home Alone and Die Hard, and could not get permission to screen either film.
 

bionic77

Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,034
Dysfunctional family trying to be together during Christmas interrupted by some foreigners who try to take everything. This is all resolved by guns and violence.

Sounds like an American xmas to me.
 

Dyle

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
9,411
Wisconsin
The themes of the film are an excellent counterpoint to the rampant consumerism of the modern holiday and it's loaded with references to the holiday season. The only way to not consider it a holiday movie is if you think a holiday movie has to be a positive, family friendly depiction of the holiday, which is far too limiting for my tastes
 

Mezzaerin

Member
Nov 19, 2019
5
It’s about a man trying to mend things with his wife and bring his family together for Christmas. He is beset upon by one obstacle after another in pursuit of this goal.

The fact that his obstacles are dangerous criminals rather than something either mundane or magical doesn’t change the theme of the movie.
 

Border

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,639
It’s about a man trying to mend things with his wife and bring his family together for Christmas. He is beset upon by one obstacle after another in pursuit of this goal.
Except that by the end of the movie nothing has really been mended. He's just killed a bunch of criminals. Whatever has ended his marriage still exists and remains unaddressed.

If George Bailey had simply chucked Mr. Potter off a bridge, It's A Wonderful Life wouldn't have been much of a Christmas movie either.
 

zma1013

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,629
If it didn't take place on Christmas then he would never have gotten invited to the Christmas party since there wouldn't be a Christmas party, thus Christmas is integral to the story.

Check mate
 

kubev

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,793
Pacifica, CA
You can say the same about It's a Wonderful Life.
I love It's a Wonderful Life, but I've never understood its supposed role as a Christmas movie. If people should take any message from It's a Wonderful Life, then it's the fact that you shouldn't take advantage of your friends' kindness and generosity, and you should be more aware of what they want and ensure that you're not actively holding them back from achieving their dreams. I know that a lot of people are probably like, "Oh, look, the spirit of Christmas came through," at the end, but I'm more like, "Uh, you guys nearly drove your friend to suicide after years of [admittedly unintentional] mistreatment. Thanks for stepping in at the end before he successfully killed himself, I guess."

By the way, I wouldn't consider Die Hard to be a Christmas movie, either, but it at least mostly takes place during Christmas; It's a Wonderful Life doesn't.
 

Casualcore

Member
Jul 25, 2018
616
The annoying part isn't that people consider it a Christmas movie. It's that people say, "Oh, we watch Die Hard at Christmas! Did you know it's a Christmas movie? My family is so quirky and unique!"
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,771
I don't consider it a true "Christmas movie" like A Christmas Story or Christmas Vacation but yea there's definitely some Christmas in that movie.
 

KojiKnight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,476
It used to be a joke, but like all good jokes, some people took it too seriously and ruined the fun part of it. Now people say it without a hint of irony.
 
OP
OP
Ballpoint Ren

Ballpoint Ren

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
474
Canada
Does it really matter?



I, and many others consider it a Christmas movie.



Why do you care so much?
Because I think that it’s wrong. If it really doesn’t matter then why reply to my thread?
I don't think of it as being much of Christmas movie because hardly any of the most memorable scenes of the movie have anything to do with Christmas. It's the dead terrorist in the Santa hat and that's just about it.
To me a Christmas movie is about Christmas, as arbitrarily vague and subjective as that is. Die Hard isn’t about Christmas, the holiday is just a superficial trapping that gives the movie some extra flavor.
Part of what made Halloween so scary is specifically because it’s Halloween it allows Michael Meyers to walk around in the mask without people immediately freaking out and calling the cops or whatever. It’s hiding in plain sight.



There is nothing instrically Christmas about Die Hard. Just like many Shane Black movies (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) use Christmas or the time around Christmas as a way to make the movie more visually appealing. The fact that it’s Christmas is not even secondary to the narrative, it’s tertiary.
I mean if a Christmas song and a joke or two about Christmas is enough for some people to view it as a Christmas movie then all power to them.


I don’t get why people get so upset by this. It’s a movie set on Christmas so people consider it a Christmas movie. It’s not a hard concept to understand and it’s not worth crying about if you have some different abitrary standard for what a Christmas movie is.
No, I understand why you and everyone else itt thinks it’s a Christmas movie. It’s an easy concept to understand. And it’s even easier to see that it’s wrong.
They show Die Hard on tv around x-mas every year, so yes it is one.
My local Reagal Theater is playing Die Hard as part of their Christmas classic movies.



Sorry OP, it IS a Christmas movie!
If the bar for Christmas movies is that they play during Christmas lineups on TV channels and theatres, then The Harry Potter movies are Christmas movies by that logic (They play those all the time up here in Canada around Christmas anyway).
This is reminiscent of the argument about whether or not super smash Bros is a fighter.







That doesn't make sense to people outside America though, we don't have Thanksgiving.



I can't recall a single thanksgiving movie actually. So it has to be Christmas if it wants to appeal to a larger audience.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles could have just as easily been about Christmas, therefore it is not a Thanksgiving movie



Did I parse the logic correctly here
No, because Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a holiday movie, and Die Hard is not.

Funny enough, I think that Planes, Trains, and Automobiles would work better as a Christmas movie, but I accept that it’s a Thanksgiving movie.
Lets flip this around. What *does* make a Christmas movie to you? Doesn't that limit it to movies about Santa Claus? Otherwise anything just set at Christmas doesn't count. Its a wonderful life - nope he could have been sad anytime.
A Christmas movie is a movie that is primarily about Christmas in both plot and characterization. Die Hard is not about Christmas because, as I’ve said before, it’s about a cop who gets caught up in a hostage situation. Though John arrives in this situation because of Christmas, he is not motivated to fight back for the sake of Christmas. He’s fighting back because, like any other action movie, it’s the right thing to do in the face of evil. I even called it in my OP that people will point out the “ho ho ho” scene as evidence that it’s a Christmas movie, but it’s just John using the time of year (read: the setting) to toy with Hans and the terrorists. The setting is Christmas, but as McScroggz said, it’s tertiary to the film. Christmas is brought up in passing, through jokes, or offhanded remarks (such as Hans’ Christmas miracle quote), it has no bearing on (let’s say) John trying time kill Karl by hanging him with a chain.

I’m gonna use Home Alone as an example for a minute, because so many people in this thread love to use it as their “Aha!” response.

Home Alone is a movie about a large family who is going away on a Christmas vacation, but accidentally leave their son home alone in all of the hustle and bustle. The wet bandits are trying to rob the McCallister home during this time to take advantage of the family’s absence. I would even go as far as to say that they’re trying to steal Christmas from this family (upon their return).

As the protagonist, Kevin, has to cope with the fact that he’s alone for the holidays and takes up the task of defending his home, protecting Christmas for his family. On top of all of this, there’s the side plot with the scary old man who learns what Christmas means again thanks to Kevin’s efforts. The setting provides set pieces and scenes throughout the film that work with the plot because it’s a Christmas movie. Like the glass ornaments trap, or the the fake Christmas party. The movie doesn’t even have Santa Claus himself, so no, a movie doesn’t need Santa Claus to be a Christmas movie (and I wouldn’t really argue against a movie that does).
For those who like to compare them: Die Hard lacks a lot, if not all, of what Home Alone brings to the table. It’s a disingenuous comparison in regards to Christmas movies.
 
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ZackieChan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,279
Man, her Christmas present (the watch) is even the thing that kills the villain at the end, if I remember right. McLane takes it off and Hans falls, right?
 

Leviathan

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,395
Ppl who say it’s a Christmas movie are desperate for attention
People have been calling it a Christmas movie since it came out. My now 60 year old father introduced it to me as such back in the 90s and while that doesn't make it a Christmas movie, I guarantee you he isn't part of any memeing or online communities. For most people, it just is and has been one. Why are users in chat acting like this is just some modern joke for hipsters?

A lot of people genuinely believe that it is a holiday movie, due in part to the fact that the first two in the series take place on Christmas and that both make frequent reference to the season.

It is also consistently offered and marathoned by TV networks during the holidays and, again, has been for decades. For most people viewing or airing it on TV, it will be in the context of the holidays.

I'm not going to sit here and say that it is Jingle All the Way, but if Era could have just a little less weird disdain for the reasonably well-founded opinion that it is a Christmas movie, it would be great. Don't be assholes.

Edit: They also straight up play Christmas music at the end.
 
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OP
OP
Ballpoint Ren

Ballpoint Ren

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
474
Canada

CoolestSpot

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
15,717
Since the question hinges on there being a difference between a Christmas movie proper and a movie set around Christmas, it seems that a Christmas movie proper is a film that has some thematic element of Christmas as a central part of its story, while also linking this theme with the Christmas holiday itself. For instance, generosity and kindness are Christmas themes, but a film is not a Christmas movie for featuring them, only if they are linked with the Christmas season (otherwise something like “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” would be considered a Christmas movie).

So a Christmas movie is a movie specifically about Christmas and the related ideas of love, generosity, family, and so on. “Miracle on 34th Street” is a Christmas movie, not only because it is set during Christmas and features Santa Claus, but because it is all about putting innocence, generosity, and kindness ahead of modern cynicism and consumerism. It would be going too far to say that “Die Hard” has the same moral premise as “Miracle on 34th Street,” but it wouldn’t be wholly inaccurate either, because “Die Hard” is all about the clash between love and materialism.

The film, as most of us well know, follows New York cop John McClane as he flies out to Los Angeles to visit his family for Christmas. He is separated from his wife, Holly, who moved to LA to take a lucrative job with the Nakatomi Corporation. Soon after he meets her at the company Christmas party, the building is taken over by terrorists led by the intimidating Hans Gruber, who are looking to rob the high-tech vault of half a billion dollars.

One of the perennial temptations of the Christmas season is losing sight of the actual meaning of the holiday and becoming too preoccupied by the materialistic desire for gain (Black Friday gives us yearly examples of this sort of thing in action). The celebration of Christmas, and even visits with family and friends, turn into rote, mechanical exchanges, in which we simply go through the motions, without considering any deeper purpose to the holiday. “Die Hard,” in its own way, is all about this phenomenon, about losing sight of what is truly important amid the commercial, the material, and the automated.

This theme is established from the start of the film. John and Holly McClane’s marriage is on shaky grounds because neither is willing to compromise on their careers for the sake of their family. Holly moved across country and even adopted her maiden name (“Gennaro,” evoking “generic”) to pursue her corporate job, while John accepted the separation to continue his job as a cop in New York. John is understandably angry with her for dropping his name, yet he thinks nothing of eying attractive strangers, showing that neither puts a high priority on their marriage.

The Nakatomi Corporation itself is likewise thoroughly commercial, although not necessarily in a heartless way. Holly’s genial boss, Mr. Takagi, jokes, “Pearl Harbor didn’t work, so we got you with tape decks,” while cheerfully saying that they’re celebrating Christmas as “opportunists.” For the company, it’s all about profit, and while this doesn’t make them the bad guys by any stretch (Takagi is a thoroughly sympathetic character), it helps to set the stage.

This same pattern plays out in the police, FBI, and press. It takes a long time for the police to even understand that John’s frantic calls for help are genuine, and when they do show up the arrogant police chief mindlessly throws expensive, hi-tech, and obviously unsuitable equipment at the problem. Later, the FBI agents simply follow the anti-terrorist playbook and callously shrug off the possibility of losing a fair percentage of the hostages. All the while, the press is only too happy to commoditize the disaster with sensationalist coverage, like interviews with a self-promoting and hilariously inaccurate “expert,” and forcing the McClane children into a live interview.

None of these characters (except John’s contact, Al) seem particularly concerned with their ostensible duties. The police and FBI show little concern for the hostages they are supposedly sworn to protect, instead showing more concern for their careers and egos. The same is true of the press, who don’t care about informing the public, but about what they can get out of the situation.

It’s just like how John and Holly McClane each selfishly pursue their careers at the expense of their family. This is a world where everything from family and marriage to the law to Christmas itself is automated and commoditized, not done from real passion or principle, but for what can be gotten out of it.

This very fact, much more than their weaponry, is what gives Hans and his men so much power. Hans knows full well how both the police and the corporation think and how to exploit them. Time and again the authorities fall into his traps because they simply follow mindless routines, just as he expects them too. His whole plan, in fact, depends upon the authorities being “regular as clockwork,” just as it depends on the building being largely automated.

The end goal is the same as Nakatomi corporation’s: money. Hans disguises his greed by playing the role of an ideological terrorist (something the film implies he once was) to throw off the police. He is thus commoditizing his once-sincerely held principles in order to make a profit. In other words, he’s doing exactly what so much of the modern world does to Christmas itself.

That brings us to the other side of the equation. Against these forces of entrenched materialism are the more basic and meaningful factors of good and evil, family, love, and devotion. John McClane is established early on to be out of step with the modern, techno-corporate world. He doesn’t like flying and doesn’t know how to use the building computer, nor does he appreciate the fancy drink a waiter offers him at the party (he’s the only man not in a suit and tie).

All this is to signal that John is not quite like the other characters, because at the end of the day, and in spite of his rough edges, he is a principled man. This is definitively demonstrated in an early scene where he gets the drop on one of the terrorists and, despite the man being armed and uncooperative, John refrains from shooting him, opting to try to subdue him physically instead. This comes shortly after a scene where Hans cold-bloodedly murders an unarmed man, highlighting the difference between the two characters.

John, unlike Hans, the police, the media, and the corporation, has not lost sight of his principles. This means that when the fighting starts, he isn’t wedded to a mechanical formula. He is working towards one specific goal after another— to summon help, evade capture, and stop Hans’s plan, all with the guiding end of saving his family. That John is working for a principle rather than a routine allows him to see past the obvious and improvise solutions on the fly, as demonstrated by how he works his way up to more and more unconventional methods of summoning the authorities.

Over the course of the crisis, both John and Holly come to understand what they really value and how superficial and unimportant their argument is. Hans essentially forces the question upon them by putting both characters in a situation where the questions of life and death and love and hate are unmistakably real, and the fact of their marriage is inescapable. Both also express disgust when they learn Hans is “nothing but a common thief.” Having realized what truly matters, his materialistic goals seem ridiculously petty to them.

In summary, we have a story where one man is after pure material gain, using once-sincere beliefs as a disguise to get what he wants, while another man opposes him, fighting for his family and his principles. The bad guy depends upon people following routines because they’ve lost sight of their actual principles, while the hero succeeds because he hasn’t lost sight of them, and it all takes place on Christmas Eve. That sure sounds like a Christmas movie to me.
 

Leviathan

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,395
You don’t go on the internet much, do you?
That...that was the only part of my post to which you responded? No one is entitled to a response from the OP, but it is reasonable to expect said OP to at least put on a show of pretending to give a damn about their own thread when they give one.

A half dozen calm, responsive points in your own thread about network presentation, soundtrack, cross-generational opinion, themes, and the longevity of this view and you had the confidence to cherrypick a quip about someone else's scramble to insult people and respond to it with half-assed snark?
 

Tobor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,647
Richmond, VA
She really got it cause he wants to sleep with her.
I’ll add to this conversation, not being Christian or religious, it’s nice to have movies around Christmas time that have all the musical and physical trappings of Christmas but isn’t actually about Jesus or miracles.
Right. That’s what I was saying earlier. It’s easier to think of Die Hard as a secular Christmas movie.

It’s not a Christmas movie. It’s an Xmas movie.
 

Betty

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
9,877
Ends on a christmas song.

Set during christmas.

Has christmas themed jokes.

It's a christmas film, deal with it.