Every year Joy and I watch a special movie on Christmas Eve together. It’s one I thought I would be writing about right now, but instead this post is about a non-romantic movie. One you might watch at Christmas, but not likely with a significant other drinking eggnog and snuggling on the chesterfield. (Yes, I said it! Not sofa. Not couch. Not divan. Not even hideaway bed. Chester. Field. Anyone have a problem with that?)
But I’m not complaining. I love this movie. It isn’t one that typically brings fuzzy holiday feelings, nor does it have cheesy-but-embraceable moments, nor is it filled with holiday material or themes. This is one that is often labeled as a “guy movie.”
Just a quick side note on guy movies and chick flicks. As we all know, guy movies are usually violent with some comedy, or a comedy with some violence. There is also usually at least some sexual content. And chick flicks for the most part are either romantic or romantic comedies. There is also usually at least some sexual content. And usually the reason why either one receives its label isn’t because it fits the description above. No, it gets the label because it’s probably not the greatest movie in the world BUT a guy can appreciate it, or a woman can appreciate it. For instance, I watched Godzilla in 1998 and I can be very confident in my assessment that it sucked. HOWEVER, I can also tell you that I went with a fellow dude, and we had a great time. It’s got a giant lizard destroying a city–come on, how can it not be good? Similarly, I watched Never Been Kissed a year later. It wasn’t exactly an Oscar winner, and I think I could have enjoyed it if I had just started at the ending credits. HOWEVER, most women would say it was a good movie.
But here is the important thing to remember about guy movies and chick flicks: As I’ve mentioned before, if a romantic movie is done right it can transcend the genre of chick flick and be appreciated by everyone. This is also true of guy movies, and Die Hard is a perfect example of one that does it right.
Bruce Willis’s character John McClane is currently #12 on Empire’s list of 500 greatest movie characters. Pretty impressive, considering he beats out Yoda, Tony Stark, Harry Potter and Ron Burgundy. But this is for good reason. The character is perhaps the greatest part of this movie. After all, films featuring a lone hero who cunningly sabotages an evil plan devised by intimidating and seemingly unstoppable villains are a dime a dozen. But John McClane is just a guy doing his job. Like Indiana Jones, he grimaces when shooting a gun or taking a difficult leap. He is an average guy who does above average things just by using his street smarts and gritty determination. This is highlighted by his antagonist, Hans Gruber, a terrorist who appears comfortable with his twisted malevolence, exudes an air of affluence, and even has a foreign accent. This causes movie-goers, especially American ones, to want to see the humble “get ‘er done” McClane not only save the day, but to give Gruber what he’s got coming to him. Just talking about it makes me want to see it again.
Congratulations Die Hard, this is your week.
And the Oscar goes to:
Best actress: It’s gotta be Donna Reed. The scene where she and Jimmy Stewart and close to each other with the phone in between them and Sam on the line is perfection.
Best actor: I want to pick Jimmy Stewart, but I think Bruce Willis pulls it off this time. I mean hey, he’s John McClane.
Best quote: I promise you I won’t make everyone uncomfortable and pick the big Die Hard quote. This one goes to Toy Story: “To infinity and beyond!”
You know, every time I hear about Die Hard or see it in a video store, it always makes me think of the Chris Farley show where he interviews Jeff Daniels.
Chris: …Demi Moore. She’s married to Bruce Willis, right?
Chris: Did… did you see Die Hard?
Jeff: Yeah, yeah I did.
Chris: Remember when he has to cross all that broken glass without his shoes on, and there was nothing he could do about it so he just walked on the broken glass with his bare feet?
Chris: Did you like that?
Chris: Yea, I did too, it was awesome.