The SparkNotes Holiday Movie Club Presents: Die Hard
According to the essay I wrote for my 7th grade English class, “Die Hard is my favorite movie.” When I say I "wrote" this essay, I mean I reworded the description on the back of the VHS box so that I couldn’t be accused of plagiarizing. In the 7th grade, I was not a good word maker yet, and without the back cover to guide me, the essay would have been:
Die Hard is so good! It’s about this building. It’s Christmas. That one guy got shot in the knee! Bruce Willis is in it and I saw the movie and I liked it. I sure hope Nirvana never breaks up. The End
Now that I’m a professional writer, I can explain in more eloquent detail why Die Hard is great.
It’s so good! And there’s this scene with the fire hose! And he jumps! And Snape is in it but this is before he was Snape and in the movie he’s German and he says, “Shoot the glass!” and I like when he says lines. And Bruce Willis is in it and he says a curse word! And then they shoot the glass!!! And his feet are hurt! HE THROWS THE CHAIR DOWN THE ELEVATOR AND IT GOES BOOM! It's a Christmas movie because it's Christmas. “Shoot the glass!”
Pulitzer Prize, you will be mine!
Now that I’m an adult, Die Hard is no longer my favorite movie of all time. I’ve matured. I think the classics such as Casablanca, The Godfather, and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army are superior films. But Die Hard is still my favorite Christmas movie.
For years I would watch it, along with its almost-as-good sequel, every December. It was my own personal tradition. It just wasn’t Christmas unless I saw the end credits roll and heard “Let It Snow.” And I can’t listen to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” without thinking of terrorists opening high-tech vaults.
Unlike other action movies from the 80s/90s, Die Hard still holds up. For one thing, the acting is solid. Bruce Willis is a chatty wise-ass, instead of the stoic turtle he’s become in recent movies.
And then there’s Alan Rickman. Before the Harry Potter films, Rickman was best known here in America as “that guy from Die Hard.” His character, Hans Gruber, is one of the great modern movie villains, and it’s all thanks to his cool, intelligent presence. If you think he's good as Snape, just wait until you see him as Hans.
And then there’s the action. This movie has scene after memorable scene of action, all done before the age of computer effects. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards for sound, editing, and visuals, and it’s easy to see (and hear) why. Turn up your volume and give your ears a treat as you listen to the perfectly pitched ka-booms and gun shots.
For this special holiday live-blog, we’re going to try something new: Video live-blog!
Using Justin.TV, I’ll be broadcasting my bearded face and saying wonderful words throughout the movie. You can type along in the chat window and I can talk directly to you! This is an experiment. It may not work out perfectly. But it may also be a lot of fun. We’ll see.
So, next Tuesday, December 20th at 8 p.m. (EST) I’ll begin watching the movie on Justin.TV. Here’s a link to my channel. Show up a few minutes early so I can work out any technical issues. We’ll post a reminder next week, and I’ll be promoting it on Facebook and Twitter so you won’t forget.
Die Hard is currently available on NetFlix Instant.
See you next Tuesday!