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Sunday 28 May 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Movieclips/Youtube Spoiler Alert: Alan Rickman's character doesn't survive this fall.
# yippee ki-yay
Debate Room: Is Die Hard a Christmas film?
Two of our team had a heated disagreement about it and, here, they make their claims.

FROM TIME TO time, a quite innocent question asked in HQ can turn into a heated debate.

First, we had “can couples go out on dates?”

Now, as Christmas approached, a question of “are you going to be watching Die Hard this year” started a furious flurry of claim and counter-claim in the office on whether or not this masterpiece starring Bruce Willis is in fact a Christmas film.

Such were the passionate feelings on the matter, we got two of the team – Seán Murray and Garreth MacNamee – to give their take from both sides of the debate.

“Of course it’s a Christmas movie” – Seán Murray

Okay, what exactly makes a Christmas movie? Is it something you watch at Christmas time or is it a film that takes place during Christmas? I would argue both, and Die Hard is certainly one of them.

Right, first and foremost, it takes place over the course of one night.

What night is that? Christmas Eve.

Mr MacNamee will say that lots of films take place over Christmas time but that doesn’t automatically make it a Christmas film. But as well as having a Christmas theme it’s also a film that many of us feel is synonymous with Christmas.

Cinemas put it on their Christmas schedules and TV stations show it around this time.

John McClane is going to visit his estranged wife because it’s Christmas. He wants to see her. He wants to see his children. Heartwarming stuff.

Where’s he going to see her? At her Christmas party. Let’s not question how strange it is for a work Christmas party to be on Christmas Eve for a moment.

Already, we have a familiar, heart-warming, Christmassy premise. Person going to be reunited with family for Christmas. So far, I’m surprised Driving Home for Christmas isn’t the first thing that comes to our minds.

But then, things don’t go to plan. Terrorists, led by a wonderful Alan Rickman, take over Nakatomi Plaza and start running amok.

Grizzled cop McClane avoids capture, and sets about making sure the terrorists don’t have it all their own way.

He even takes one of them down in Christmas-themed fashion, as the below clip demonstrates.

Movieclips / YouTube

There’s loads of references to the fact that it’s Christmas too.

When the safe cracker is having trouble breaking into the vault, Rickman’s villainous Hans Gruber tells him: “It’s Christmas, Theo. It’s the time of miracles. So be of good cheer… and call me when you hit the last lock.”

When the vault finally opens, Gruber wishes his comrades a “Merry Christmas”. At the beginning when McClane is in the limo, he asks the driver to put on some Christmas music.

Yeah there’s quite a bit of violence and people die in it, but people die in It’s A Wonderful Life too.

My esteemed, and very wrong, colleague will argue it’s a film you can watch all year-round.

He’s right about that but it’s still a Christmas movie. It takes place at Christmas, is a staple of Christmas TV schedules and for many it’s a tradition every Christmas to sit down and watch a bit of Die Hard.

It’s as quotable as Elf, as charming as Home Alone and the film finishes with the song Let it Snow! as Bruce Willis and Bonnie Bedelia embrace for feck sake.

It’s a Christmas film, end of.

Over to you, MacNamee.

“You can watch it all year round, what are you on about?” – Garreth MacNamee

I have nothing but the utmost respect for my learned colleague. But in this instance, he’s talking nonsense. Utter nonsense.

Die Hard is set at Christmas – there are Santa hats, references to Christmas music. Yes, I can admit that. But there are loads of films which are set at this joyous time. That doesn’t make them Christmas movies.

Lethal Weapon, Rocky IV, In Bruges and LA Confidential were all set at Christmas. Would you consider them festive films? I think not.

Mr Murray makes the point that “for many it’s a tradition every Christmas to sit down and watch a bit of Die Hard”. I know families who eat duck at Christmas – that’s their tradition. But you wouldn’t call it a bona fide Christmas tradition like turkey and ham, would you?  Just because it’s a tradition in one person’s house doesn’t mean it’s traditional in someone else’s.

Now, let’s move onto one of the most glaringly obvious aspects of this so-called discussion. Die Hard was released in cinemas in the US in July 1988. JULY. That’s that then, surely.

If we need to dig deeper into this movie, we have to look at the thematic discrepancies between a warm, lovely Christmas feeling and what Die Hard is about.

Hans Gruber is a psychopathic and murderous thief. Die Hard is about taking what is not yours and shooting innocent people in the face. Not very Christmassy.

The fact that John McClane utters a couple of Christmas-based lines is irrelevant. Had it been set at Paddy’s Day – he’d have said Yippee-Ki-Yay Motherfecker and worn a leprechaun hat.

Oh, yeah. And another thing. Messing with dead lads’ bodies also features. Just because he’s wearing a feckin’ Santa hat doesn’t mean it’s alright.

Christmas movies are about getting the family down, opening the big box of Roses and putting on something like Back to the Future (the quintessential festive flick WHICH IS NOT SET AT CHRISTMAS).

So to sum up, Sean is wrong. I am right. I am on the right side of history.

Yippee-Kay-ay Motherfunkers.

So, what do you think?

After hearing the passionate arguments on both sides, we want to know: Do you think Die Hard is a Christmas film?

Poll Results:

Yes (6558)
No (1777)

Seán Murray and Garreth MacNamee
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