It’s finals week again. This means that healthy habits slowly walk out the window as everyone resorts to eating warm soul food in the guise of cheap pizza. In this column, I shall attempt to examine whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Yes, I know this has been done to death before, but bear with me here. Spoilers ahead.
Die Hard is a 1988 film directed by John McTiernan. The action flick follows officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he makes heroic efforts to save his wife and other hostages while trying to foil a massive vault heist. The film is based chronologically around Christmas, but while this does not automatically grant it Christmas movie status, it is a nice touch.
Before I try and reason my way into this meme, it is worth of note that the studio, 20th Century Fox, has already stated that they think Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie. After they did that, Bruce Willis also weighed in, effectively scoffing at the sentiment and claiming it’s actually a Bruce Willis movie. That may well be, but I feel like there is a deeper symbolism here.
The bad guy is a very handsome German terrorist named Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). His only goal throughout the movie is to cause disruption during holiday season; the movie takes place over Christmas Eve. It is a bit of a stretch, but the name Gruber sounds similar to another character famous for being a mean spirit, especially during the holidays.
And thus, in classic Grinch fashion, Hans Gruber takes every step he can to make the lives of the people at Mrs. McClane’s workplace miserable. His only goal is to get to the vault in the building, and he cares naught about what he does or who he hurts to get to it. His calm demeanor throughout the film belies his utter disdain for everyone around him, and Rickman is fantastic at portraying this particular emotion, evident from his role as Professor Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies.
On the other hand, we have officer John McClane, a man sick of the world as it stands, and tired of everything going on around him. His weary interactions with a co-passenger on his flight to meet his wife are a great example of how — even with an exhausted attitude — McClane is a man dedicated to making his wife happy, and keeping the people around him safe. McClane is a cop, which means his existence goes practically unnoticed by everyone, unless it is a special occasion where he has to step up and do something. If this isn’t Santa coming out of retirement every year, it probably is something else, but for the sake of the argument, both are pretty similar.
A group of incredibly successful people at the mercy of a well-dressed misanthrope with a very specific scorn towards them, are required to look for help to an outsider whom they would ignore entirely on any other occasion. This outsider goes to lengths and is willing to sacrifice himself and fight great odds to bring his family together, which he does. I rest my case.