I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. Papa says "If the movie is at Christmas, it is so." Please tell me the truth, is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
My Dear Virginia,
Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the fake news of a skeptical age. They believe nothing except that which they see in their Facebook feed, which tells you everything you need to know about just how little are their minds.
All minds, Virginia, whether they be officer John McClane’s or international super villain Hans Gruber’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, but not like Ant-Man who has super powers and should be set aside as an outlier for the purposes of this discussion.
Yes, Virginia, Die Hard is a Christmas movie as certainly as love and generosity and teams of international super criminals exist to provide bullet magnets for maverick outsiders like maverick New York police officer John McClane.
Alas. How dreary would be the world if Christmas movies could only be released at Christmas. Should we have no enjoyment, no eternal light just because of a scheduling issue? It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias! There would be no yuletide joy for most of the year, which is why the producers of Die Hard released it in July, which is often celebrated in the southern hemisphere as a second Christmas anyway.
Your friends do not believe in the murderously festive magic of Die Hard? You might as well not believe in fairies or the ability of a barefoot man to run across a room full of broken glass when most barefoot men will not even venture into a room with a single lego piece waiting for their unprotected footfall.
You might get your cynical little friends to watch Die Hard with you and play a drinking game in which they must throw down a shot every time Christmas busts a move in the Die Hard Christmas movie. Then, when they regain consciousness the next day and find themselves sickeningly hungover, point them at the 2015 edition of Empire magazine which voted Die Hard the greatest Christmas movie ever made. Not just a Christmas movie, Virginia. The greatest.
Ah, but what would that prove? Only that you and I are right and everybody else is wrong.
Nobody sees Christmas in Die Hard, who cannot find the joy of Christmas in 132 minutes of homicidal violence and gratuitous undershirt wearing.
The most real things in this world are those that neither children nor men can see, like why since the international super villains’ whole plan relies on the FBI cutting power to the building so they can open the vault to steal the bearer bonds, they don’t just use their own obviously extensive knowledge and control of Nakatomi Plaza to cut the power themselves?
Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and unseeable in the world, Virginia, particularly when they are found in Christmas movies, like Die Hard which is definitely a Christmas movie. For instance, you kill a criminal pretending to be a terrorist and send him back to Hans Gruber in an elevator with a snarky note because this is somehow a better plan to protect your wife, who’s already ticked off with you, than simply killing the guy and stealing his detonators to thwart a critical part of Gruber’s plan. But Virginia, there is a veil covering the unseen world and a Santa bonnet covering that dead terrorist criminal when the elevator doors open and the snarky note to Hans reads “Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.”
Virginia, not the strongest man, or even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could shift the immovable truth of that stiffening corpse in a Santa hat and the magic of the words "Ho Ho Ho”
Die Hard not a Christmas movie? Virginia, a thousand years from now, maybe ten times 10,000 years from now, maverick police officer John McClane will still be walking across broken glass, stealing machine guns and detonators, and humorously murdering Hans Gruber’s henchmen before dropping Hans a couple of hundred floors to his death and he will do it all and always on Christmas Eve, with complete legal impunity to make glad the hearts of children and those of us who are but children at heart.
Merry Christmas, Virginia.
From The Seven Stages of Drinking Martinis.