Before watching Die Hard this week, the closest I had come to seeing the holiday classic was having seen the Stella short “Office Party” roughly one hundred thousand times. Now, after having watched Die Hard, I can say that I think watching that short pretty much counts! It has just about all of the parts. (“I’m looking for Mr. Patrick G. McGillicutty, the CEO of your organization. Educated Cornhole University, Poopiebutt Law School class of ’75.”) One thing it did not prepare me for, though, is the fact that the grandmother from Parenthood plays Bruce Willis’s wife in this movie. What?! If you had told me that, I would not have watched this movie any earlier, but I would have looked up a picture of her in it! How did everyone let me float through this stupid world without letting me know that? HOW HAS THAT NOT BEEN IN SOME STUPID LIST? “7 Grandmothers From TV Who Played Bruce Willis’s Wife In Movies.” “13 Women And How They Have Aged.” “8 Things Parenthood Characters Used To Do.” It’s just upsetting. Next thing you’re going to tell me is that Craig T. Nelson did something before he was on Parenthood! (Just kidding, I know he was in The Family Stone.) Anyway. So. Die Hard. It’s kind of like Holiday In Handcuffs in that it’s about people being kidnapped and the only Christmas-y thing about it is that it happens during Christmas time,  except instead of Melissa Joan Hart it’s Alan Rickman, and instead of Mario Lopez it’s Bruce Willis, and instead of falling in love with his kidnapper, Bruce Willis straight up murders all of them.

I have to say that if I were in the position to watch a Christmas movie with someone and that someone lobbied heavily for Die Hard, that someone would have to just give me the biggest break in the world because this does not count as a Christmas movie. I basically knew that before I watched that, and I know it still. Menacing Christmas music does count, but it doesn’t count for much! Could one of the thieves not be dressed up as Santa? Could more of the catchphrases not be Christmas themed? “Both of our last names are Santa Claus. YES, BOTH OF US! NO, THE OTHER ONE! YES, ME, MR. SANTA CLAUS!” Could there not be more garland around?! COULD THE SHITTY 911 OPERATOR NOT GIVE THE EXCUSE THAT IT WAS CHRISTMAS EVE?!

It is crazy how not helpful everyone except eventually Reginald VelJohnson (Carl Winslow) is in this movie. Like, I know we’re talking about Die Hard and that that is a movie that everyone has seen and I guess we all know that no one is helpful and maybe that is a running joke in all of the Die Hards, but please just relax because I had never seen it, and uh, lady answering the protected walkie taklie line? YOU HEARD A GUNSHOT, YOU DUMB-DUMB. WHO CARES IF HE SHOULDN’T BE ON THIS WALKIE TALKIE LINE?! DO YOUR JOB!! Also, when a guy falls out of the building that is supposedly under attack, and the deputy police chief says, “It’s probably some stock broker who got depressed”? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF, YOU MANIAC?! Everyone in this movie needs to get fired right away! Including Mr. Driver and including Mr. Television. In fact, the only people who don’t need to get fired in this movie are Bruce Willis, Reginald VelJohnson (even though he shot a kid) (PS: it was very very funny when he said “I shot a kid”) and all of the terrorists they murder. The terrorists at least DID THEIR JOB.

Police Chief. I can’t even look at you. One thing that struck me while watching this movie is how thin of a line there is between a good action movie and a laughable action movie. It seemed like all of the parts were there for Die Hard to be a laughable action movie — Christmas, an intense amount of catchphrases (“Didja get that?”), Bruce Willis being so loud and smoking all the time when he should really be hiding more carefully, an intense amount of post-murder joke lines, laughably incompetent people in power situations, funny accents, Bruce Willis not going to the hospital immediately when he 100% desperately needs to and also getting patted on the shoulder by everyone when he was just shot in that shoulder, easy German spoken slowly. And yet, it isn’t a laughably bad action movie, and is instead it is a good action movie! LOL. That is genuinely pretty much the only place I was going with that, plz send this to film schools so they can use it in classes, don’t be greedy! I think it helps that the only two people that could play Alan Rickman’s all-knowing character without it seeming completely ridiculous (how did he know the FBI would arrive and cut the power at the exact time the drill was cutting through the whatever level?) (?!) are Alan Rickman and Benedict Cumberbatch, and they did get Alan Rickman. So. I believed it! It also helps that Bruce Willis is so stupid good. It’s a good movie.

Do tell your dad that it barely counts as a Christmas movie, though. And EAT YOUR HEART OUT, CHANNEL FIVE!

Comments (69)
  1. It was also my first time watching this movie. My review: (o_o)-b

  2. I have still never seen this movie, sorry! My actiony-movie-set-at-Christmastime-but-not-about-Christmas of choice is Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Also I forgot we were talking about this one today! Oops!

  3. Why did Parenthood’s grandma’s suitor mention Ice Age 3 in the beginning? Was Ice Age 3 another thing besides the movie with the Skrat?

    Why didn’t John McClane buy the huge teddy bear in LA? Did they not have huge teddy bears in LA in the 80s? Was it cheaper to pay the luggage charge and bring the bear from NY in the 80s?

    I loved the “I shot a kid” part, it reminded me of the sappier Family Matters episodes, which were so much cheesey goodness.

    • Hahaha! There was no “luggage charge” in the 80s! You just handed over your giant non-wheeled suitcases and walked in your shoes right past the 1-2 security guys!

      • In Die Hard 2 the wife is sitting next to an elderly woman carrying a live tazer that shoots electricity as she holds it to show off to the wife how serious she is about fighting off Christmas Even airplane rapists because it is the 90s. That may be my favorite Christmas moment of any Christmas movie ever minus drunk Winthorp eating lox dressed as Santa on the Philadelphia bus and growling at the old lady giving him the stink eye… and the stockbroker Gremlin giving financial advice in Gremlins II. It’s a toss-up.

        So yeah, that’s basically airport travel in the 80s. And we all dressed like Sigourney Weaver — usually as Zuul but sometimes as her role as Working Girl. (No, not like he role in Alien!!)

  4. Tonight the traffic was typically annoying so when I got home the first thing I did was take off my shoes and make little fists with my toes on the carpet. A+, would make little fists with my toes again.

  5. Also, another great thing was Bruce Willis being shoe less. Really brought some humanity to his 80s action star character in a quirky yet believable way.

  6. I have seen this movie more times than any other movie. If it is playing on a TV that I notice, I have to stop and watch at least 5 minutes. It is perfect (in terms of what it is), and so is this review (in absolute terms).

    Did you know they wanted to cast Schwarzenegger as McClaine, originally?!? That would have been so dumb. You never believe Schwarzenegger is really hurt! So who cares! Bruce Willis made 16-year-old me believe. So it IS a Christmas movie.

  7. Best Lifetime Holiday Movie ever.

  8. I have been waiting for this post all day so I could share this:

    You’re welcome.

  9. Should I watch the other Die Hards, do they hold up as well as this one? Are they all Xmas themed and with terrorists or are they all about the McClanes having PTSD?

    • They get increasingly fantastical. In the first one, McClain is an everyman thrust into an extraordinary situation. Later on, he’s practically a superhero. That said, Die Hard movies are a fun proposition in general.

    • Die Hard 1 is the best. Die Hard 2 is set at Christmas in DC (VA?) and the special effects are terrible, it’s the worst in the series but still makes me cry. Die Hard 3 is set in NYC, not at Christmas, and features Sam Jackson at his best plus lots of racial slurs that definitely cannot be used in movies anymore. There are some good riddles and high stakes. Die Hard 4 is my second favorite because there’s a good villain, fun action and the guy from the Apple ads who dated Drew Barrymore is somehow pretty likable. Die Hard 5 was a total miss because it doesn’t make much sense and the stakes don’t seem that important. The twist is lame and his son sucks, second worst installment in the franchise. If the filmmakers are reading this, call me, I’ll give free consulting for Die Hard 6.

      • Fun fact – During their 1995 playoff series against the Pacers, Pat Riley took the Knicks to see Die Hard With A Vengeance (Die Hard 3) to get them psyched up. They came back from a 3-1 deficit to force a game 7, but ultimately lost the series.

        • Reggie Miller is the real terrorist.

        • That is a fun fact and I forgot that I knew that. Now I’m trying to remember why I would know that but I will just assume that my high school boyfriend enjoyed sport. Actually I think he just enjoyed fun facts, which is why we got along so well. He definitely liked Die Hard and that’s a fun fact about Die Hard III… And we both watched A LOT of television. That might be the only fun fact about sport that I vaguely remember, though I once got a Ted Williams score trivia question right because I got to write a lot about the frozen head debacle when it happened and, well, you tend to remember details about custody battles over the proprietary inheritance rights of a frozen severed head, some of which include things on baseball.

    • WHY WOULD YOU WASTE THE TIME YOU COULD BE SPENDING WATCHING THEM BY WRITING THIS?!?!?!

  10. My mid-school English teacher looked a lot like Hans Gruber and once we got him to say something about his detonators.

  11. “Police Chief. I can’t even look at you.” A+++ Would scroll up and read and laugh at again and again.

  12. Fun fact: the Die Hard source novel, Nothing Lasts Forever, is a sequel to the book The Detective, which was made into a movie starring Frank Sinatra. So the original character is named Joe Leland, but they changed his name to John McClane in the movie so it didn’t seem like a movie sequel.

    Also in the book, he goes to the party to visit his adult daughter because his wife is (spoiler). And while the movie is mostly ripped straight out of the book, there is some (spoiler) shit that goes down that they couldn’t put in the movie. I stayed up till four am every night while I was reading it, that’s how good of an action book it is. Can we get this on the Monster Book Club 2014 reading list?

    This is a great CHRISTMAS movie (sorry Kelly but it is also the best Christmas movie) and the book is great, too.

    • DOWNLOADING TO KINDLE AS WE SPEAK…

      Do I have to read The Detective too? Will I be lost, like if I just picked up the book that inspired Jaws IV: The Revenge without reading the Jaws I-III books?

      • No, the two books are practically unrelated except for featuring the same character. I’ve been slogging through the Detective for two months; it is not the same pace or style as the Die Hard book.

      • Oh, I will say that the first bit of the Die Hard book is a little slow, but once it gets going — goodbye, sleep!

    • Because of this, I just read the Die Hard wikipedia page and it has made my life so much richer.

  13. Lets cast the Die Hard remake:

    John McCLain: Bruce Willis
    Mrs. McClain: Sarah Ramos
    Hans Gruber: Will Ferrell
    Carl Winslow: Eddie Winslow
    Agent Johnson: Shia Lebouf
    Other Agent Johnson: Jaden Pinkett Smith
    Other Other Agent Johnson: My brother, Darryl
    Hacker: Julia Stiles
    Terrorist 1: Vincent Gallo
    Terrorst 4: Adam Sandler
    Terrorist 5: The Rock
    Terrorist 7: Jennifer Lawrence
    Terrorist 8: Adam Sandler in drag
    Terrorist 12: Sir Ian McKellan
    Police Chief: Sheldon from The Big Bang Thoery

  14. Terrorist 13: Rebecca Black

  15. I definitely saw this when it came out and I was like 7 (I had really cool parents) and immediately thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen.

    “I liked the parts where they died hard.” – 7 Year Old’s Review of Die Hard

  16. Dying Hard or Hardly Dying?

  17. Bruce Willis, man. It’s too bad he’s apparently such a jerk in real life, because he is one charming dude onscreen.

    • Also, how many terrible “Died Hard” headlines are we going to have to deal with when he actually dies (a long time from now, hopefully. I wish you no ill, Bruce!)? So many.

      • “Famed Ghost Actor Bruce Willis Now Dead, Spoiler Alert” – CNN

        Last Man Standing Actor No Longer Standing, Or Doing Anything Else”

        “Look Who’s Not Talking – Voice Actor Bruce Willis Dead at 102″

  18. Once I was on a not good Match first date at a restaurant, and the guy got SUPER excited when we figured out we were both at a Die Hard + Die Hard 2 screening a few months earlier. He moved everything to the sides of the table, leaned over it/toward me, and said something along the lines of, “I need a kiss.” I was very confused, and responded, “What – for Die Hard?” He nodded. My thought process was something like, “I don’t want to kiss this guy. But Die Hard is the best. But I don’t want to kiss this guy. What is happening? Man, Die Hard is the best.” So I reluctantly leaned in and let him kiss me.

    TL;DR I once kissed a guy for Die Hard, because Die Hard is the best.

    • Was he one of those dudes who thinks you’re soul mates just because you like some of the same (extremely popular) stuff? Lots of those dudes out there. And probably lots of those girls, too, but I don’t have to deal with them.

      • I say dude too much.

      • HATE those guys…the “we’re ordering the same thing from the menu…we must be destined to be together!!!”

        • I am that dude, except lady version. Sorry. I like it when I have things in common with people!

          • Aw, no, it’s totally normal to bond over shared interests! I’m talking about the guys (and again, I’m sure there are women who do this too) who instantly decide you’re their manic pixie dream girl just because you’ve seen Star Wars like everyone else on earth or something.

          • “He likes Newsies! Who else on earth likes Newsies!??!?”–me after a date, pretty sure me and this dude were going to get married and watch Newsies together forever.

          • Like, I actually had a guy, in all seriousness, use “but we both love Lord of the Rings!” as a reason why I was wrong to not want to continue dating him.

          • I get more excited when I learn that I hate the same things as people because the stuff I like is pretty standard. Plus I assume people who don’t like the stuff I like are weird because that stuff is great! Who doesn’t like Airplane! and The Simpsons and dogs and hiking and wine and bourbon and Sleepy Hollow? Jerks. That is who.

          • Me too!! Let’s kiss!

          • badideajeans, that’s how flanny and I bonded. We’re opinionated modern ladies who hate the same things. We’re delightful!

          • Aww!! That’s my favorite way to bond!
            I’m jealous.

          • Ugh, I’m totally like that too. Except very popular things in the States may not be so popular elsewhere. So I get really excited when people like a whole bunch of the same movie/books/films than I do.

            #culturalimperialism

          • *that

            Double ugh.

          • Anustart, I LOVE cultural imperialism!!!

      • My failed reply is below. I’ll put it here, too!

        He absolutely was. I really really hope he found some other girl who was also at that screening, because otherwise he’ll always feel like something’s missing. And let’s be honest – there will be.

        • That’s why I stand at the exit and introduce myself to every person leaving after the movie (if it’s a movie I liked, duh). Don’t want to let “the one” get away!

  19. I studied this script in a screenwriting class and it IS good. The way they introduce his tense marital situation without any cheesy voice over narration or non-natural conversations is great! And maybe I had a big crush on Bruce Willis from his Moonlighting days. Maybe.

  20. He absolutely was. I really really hope he found some other girl who was also at that screening, because otherwise he’ll always feel like something’s missing. And let’s be honest – there will be.

  21. I watched Hudson Hawk instead and let me tell you it ain’t got nothing on Die Hard

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