Around this time of year a certain argument starts to show up and it’s one we disagree with hard here at Experience Grind, it’s very rare when both hosts agree so vehemently so you know this argument at least has some thought behind it. We are here today to stop this notion that “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. That is not to say that it can’t be a part of your Christmas tradition, that’s the beautiful part about what makes a tradition, you make up the rules. “Die Hard” is not a Christmas movie but a movie that takes place during Christmas.
So without further ado Experience Grind presents the 3 reasons “Die Hard” is NOT a Christmas movie.
- Christmas is not ancillary to the plot.
The biggest argument against Die Hard as a Christmas movie is the fact that Christmas doesn’t matter at all to the plot. I know, I know, I already hear your arguments:
- “Yea it does! It’s the reason John is coming to town and the reason all the people are staying late in the building to have the party!”
- None of that is Christmas specific they could have been staying over to celebrate the opening of the building (a workable excuse given that the building was under construction at the time of filming) John coming to town is easily explained as trying to reconcile his marriage whether it’s for a Christmas party or grand opening doesn’t matter the main focus is reconciliation.
- It’s the reason why the police/Security guards are caught off guard!”
- The guards are caught off guard because the building isn’t open yet, again this could be easily replaced with a business opening party for the employees Christmas has not effect
- The police would never operate with less officers just because it was Christmas in fact it’s more likely they have more officers on duty because of that sweet Holiday overtime pay they would receive.
- There is no Growth for the characters.
In our opinion a requirement to be a Christmas movie is that a character needs to learn a lesson or a hard truth about themselves or the world that leads to growth for that character. Scrooge learns to help those less fortunate than himself, The Grinch learns to not isolate himself and to love his neighbor Rudolph learns to help peers when they need it and be the bigger person.
John McClane goes through no such character growth he is the same person at the beginning of the film and the end he has the same moral compass, convictions and motivations.
- There is none of that old fashioned “Christmas Magic”™
As stated in our opening argument you could change the holiday in Die Hard to literally any other time of year and it would have the same effect. Christmas has no outcome over the actions in the movie. Compared to “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation” where the central theme is the Christmas bonus Clark is hoping to receive to install a pool and his bosses understanding of how cold hearted it was to not reward his employees instead of press charges for being kidnapped, or the Red Ryder BB Gun Ralphie pines for throughout “A Christmas Story” which he gets at his lowest moment when he thinks he has been denied the one gift he desired most. John McClane overcomes all of his obstacles with wit and fortitude to not give up, it is his ingrained nature as a cop, there is no magic or helping hand giving him assistance.
Look, Die Hard is a fantastic action flick that we will watch anytime because we thoroughly enjoy it in every aspect, it is a well-paced and tight action flick that a lot of other action films could study to find out why it works so well (the recent sequels should have that’s for sure.) but it is an action movie that just also happens to take place during Christmas. Much like the difference between “Art” and “Pornography” it is hard to quantify a Christmas movie but you know it when you see it and “Die Hard” is as much a Christmas movie as “Lethal Weapon”.
Oh, what’s that? You didn’t know another classic action movie from the 80’s was also set during Christmas time? Weird, it’s almost like it had no bearing on the overall plot of the film…