Happy 30 Years, 'Die Hard.' A Great Film. But Not a Christmas Film.

An 8-point plan for winning the dumbest film argument

By Kirk Miller

 
Die Hard
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30 November 2017

UPDATE 6/13/18: In honor of Die Hard's 30th anniversary on July 15th, we're restarting this argument from last December ... which originally provoked Maxim enough to fight back point by point and offer up some really unconvincing counterarguments.

I recently posited — hastily — that Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

Since it’s the holiday season, I hope you accept my deepest apologies. It is a gift of a film, for sure. But it’s not a Christmas film.

Apparently, the Yuletide debate about the classic Bruce Willis high-rise shoot ‘em up is “tearing the Internet apart.” (Nice clickbait, BBC!) And, like other holiday traditions, it’s an argument that seems to repeat itself every year.

As someone who’s held both positions on this and now sides with the non-believers, I present why Die Hard fails as an Xmas classic.

It was released on July 15th, 1988.
Christmas movies come out ... at Christmastime. Not in the middle of summer.

It’s set in sunny L.A.
I am aware that Christmas happens in warm locations. If you’d like to show me a few more classic Christmas movies that take place entirely in warm, non-snowy weather, be my guest.

You could shift the setting and it wouldn’t affect a single thing in the plot or outcome.
There is nothing in the movie — aside from a holiday party, a few unnecessary visuals (“Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho.”) and the soundtrack — that suggest this is Christmas. Pick any holiday and you’d get the same movie (Fourth of July: “Now I have a machine gun. Let the fireworks begin.” Etc.). That holiday shindig could easily be a closing-the-deal party, a company anniversary or a retreat. It only exists to get a wide swath of company employees together and — loosely — hint at family coming together. You know, like Thanksgiving.

Contrary to popular belief, an air vent is not a chimney.
John McClane climbs through one, bringing ... death and mayhem, not presents. This is a specious argument at best.

It is not “pure Dickens with machine guns.”
Is Hans Gruber playing the role of Scrooge, then? This is a reach.

Die Hard 2 is a far superior “Christmas” movie.
Dec. 24 at a snowy airport, waiting for loved ones to arrive? Now that works.

Mel Gibson has already explained the cynical reason why action movies happen in December.
His own not-really-a-Christmas film Lethal Weapon took place during the holidays for a reason: studio execs in the '80s thought that time of year visually worked. “Set it at Christmas! Lots of snow, funny little songs, music to kill by, you know?" he told E!  

Because arguments that theorize “There are 12 terrorists, like the 12 apostles of Christ ...” are insane.
The article continues: John McClane is “John” (like John the Baptist) and Holly is also the name of a decorative Christmas plant. Hey, LA Weekly, are you going to tell us that airplane fuel can’t burn steel next? Or something about the Illuminati? Or how hot dogs aren’t sandwiches?

Because they totally are.

Yippie-ki-yay — but not Ho Ho Ho — Mr. Falcon.

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