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

Cherries

Member
Oct 27, 2017
369
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).
*snip*

This is from thefederalist, a very conservative online magazine.
 

Anoregon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,055
"Christmas movie" isn't some sacred, rigid thing. If people like watching Die Hard on Christmas and think of it as a Christmas movie I think it's pretty absurd for anybody to try and "well ahcktually" them about it.
 

Cherries

Member
Oct 27, 2017
369
Here's my not entirely serious way to tell if a movie is a Christmas movie:

If you search the movie's title + "Christmas" on Google Images and you mostly get Photoshopped images of the main character in a Santa hat, then it's probably not a Christmas movie.
 

WinFonda

Member
Oct 27, 2017
683
USA
the christmas setting and motifs are fairly overt, it dominates the atmosphere completely

it is a christmas movie and one of the best action movies ever made, these things aren't mutually exclusive
 

Z-Beat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,865
Die Hard could have taken place on any other holiday or occassion and the movie would still work without any major changes to the plot
So could Home Alone and It's a Wonderful Life. Shit, Home Alone 3 doesn't even take place on Christmas. It's just snowing.

And Child's Play was SUPPOSED to take place on Christmas and they changed it without any real alterations to the plot.
 

Protome

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,375

Leviathan

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,395
Imagine having to resort to insulting someone by saying they use internet shorthand on a video game forum
I said a whole lot more than that. If you were here to do more than troll and rile people up yourself, that would have gotten a response. You got a reply in the tone that you wanted and set, and I'm only going to give you another one if you want to talk about Die Hard.
 

Ryaaan14

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,832
Chicago
I said a whole lot more than that. If you were here to do more than troll and rile people up yourself, that would have gotten a response. You got a reply in the tone that you wanted and set, and I'm only going to give you another one if you want to talk about Die Hard.
Me saying it’s attention seeking behavior sure seems to have hit home w u. U seem super upset rn
 

HulkMansfield

Member
Dec 29, 2017
853
I just finished watching Die Hard for the first time last night and its just straight up unsettling that there are people who will claim that it's a Christmas movie. Just because the movie takes place on Christmas Eve doesn't mean that the movie is about Christmas. Die Hard could have taken place on any other holiday or occassion and the movie would still work without any major changes to the plot, but some people out there are still gonna call this a holiday classic just because John McClane put a santa hat on a dead terrorist.
Anyway, Die Hard is an awesome movie, but anyone who says it's a Christmas movie should never be allowed to watch it again. Yippie-ki-yay, motherfuckers.
History on this meme:

sometime around 15 years ago, someone would ask, what's your favorite Christmas movie. Some people would say Rudolph. Others would say The Year Without a Santa Claus. One guy would say Die Hard. Everyone would chuckle and then resume drinking eggnog. It wasn't any deeper than that.
 
OP
OP
Ballpoint Ren

Ballpoint Ren

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
474
Canada
I read it, you wrote a big list of rules that you've arbitrarily decided make a Christmas movie. And for you, that's fine. But nobody else needs to use your ruleset.
I don’t think anyone necessarily needs to subscribe to what I think a Christmas movie is, and if they don’t that’s fine. I think it’s silly to think that a clear-cut action movie is a Christmas movie though. To each their own ig.

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?
idk, just seems silly to pick on someone just because they’re using a short form of a word in a space that is largely informal. I’m sorry if my comment bothered you, but yours also rubbed me the wrong way.

anyway I’ve been replying to people ITT as best as I can, but I can’t spend every waking moment on ERA 🤷‍♂️

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.
Now this is a good argument for why it’s a Christmas movie. I don’t agree with it but this is the most constructive post ITT.
 

Protome

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,375
I think I'll have to watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang again tonight.
Same. I wish we could get a real sequel to it (although I also liked The Nice Guys.)

I don’t think anyone necessarily needs to subscribe what I think a Christmas movie is, and if they don’t that’s fine. I think it’s silly to think that a clear-cut action movie is a Christmas movie though. To each their own ig.
So action movies can't also be Christmas movies? What genres can be Christmas movies under your ruleset?
 

Cherries

Member
Oct 27, 2017
369
My favorite Christmas scene in Die Hard is when officer Carl Winslow tells McClane about how he woke up in the middle of the night and heard someone sneaking down his chimney. He fired his gun at the intruder only to realize it was his son in a Santa outfit. And that's how he found out there was no Santa.
 

Nerdkiller

Resettlement Advisor
Member
If Die Hard gets to be considered a Christmas movie, then where's Eyes Wide Shut? I like my Christmases to have orgies and the festive scent replaced with sex musk.

OP didn't put a poll on this post because it would reveal that people overwhelmingly agree this is a Christmas movie.
Meanwhile, in the real world...

 

Domcorleone

Member
Oct 26, 2017
536
Its definitely a Christmas movie, so is Die Harder. Both take place during the holidays. They play off that in the movies too. Home Alone 1 and 2 are Christmas movies too. DEAL WITH IT!
 

Merv

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,234
If people(including me) want to call it a Christmas movie so what?

What's to gain by arguing against it?
 

Nairume

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,671
Set around Christmas, has themes of a Christmas movie, has Santa stuff, ends on a Christmas miracle with Officer Carl Winslow getting his groove back after having shoot Urkel.

It's a Christmas movie.
 

Mezzaerin

Member
Nov 19, 2019
5
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.
I don’t know. They seemed pretty mended to me, at least as cinematic marriage reconciliations go. That said, I’m not earnestly arguing for it one way or another. Whether it’s a Christmas movie or not, it’s still a great flick.