Die Hard (1988)
December 4, 2014 5:51 PM - Subscribe

 


Dear God, I love this movie with all of my heart. I'd probably put it in my top 10. The only sour note is Reginald VelJohnson getting his violent groove back by being able to shoot someone again.

I showed this film to my ex's 14-year-old last year and he was bored out of his mind at the beginning. A modern version would not have the "slow" lead-in that this film has. Which is a damn shame, as I think the pacing is perfect.

My favorite line.
posted by brundlefly at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


Oh, also I have been guilty of calling Die Hard my favorite Christmas movie, and it is a pretty hackneyed joke at this point.

Clearly Gremlins is the greatest Christmas movie.
posted by brundlefly at 6:02 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Fists with your toes?
posted by ODiV at 6:23 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


If you're over 30 but under 40 and Love Actually isn't tied with Die Hard as your favorite Xmas movie, what's your deal? #alanrickman

Boxing Day in our house is Love Actually followed by Die Hard followed by [wild card Christmas movie] (this year it's Nightmare Before Christmas) accompanied by lots of leftovers including Christmas cake and icecream.

Always a therapeutic start to the summer holidays -- even though this year, for the first time, neither of us falls in those age limits anymore :(
posted by prettypretty at 6:38 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


An obligatory link: Die Hard is also one of the best ever films about architecture.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:49 PM on December 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


One of Atherton's Asshole Trilogy, along with Ghostbusters and Real Genius.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:32 PM on December 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


"Just like in 'nam..." *chopper sounds*
"I was in third grade, asshole."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:57 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]




the most excessive film around. It piles every known element of the action genre onto the flimsy story,

Wow, that is the most dated quote ever. It's hard to remember how that could ever have been true! The average Pixar movie now has more action scenes than Die Hard.
posted by latkes at 7:24 AM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Die Hard has always been my family's favorite movie, and I am in the indicated age range, but I have never seen Love Actually. I have a good excuse.
posted by bq at 7:25 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


When they invent the Retroactive Oscar, the first one goes to Alan Rickman for redefining the action movie villain. Twenty-five years and counting, every great villain is at least a quarter Hans Gruber.
posted by Etrigan at 7:54 AM on December 5, 2014 [15 favorites]


every great villain is at least a quarter Hans Gruber.

The benefits of a classical education, presumably
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:15 AM on December 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


"Nice suit. John Philips... London. I have two myself. Rumor has it Arafat shops there as well."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:30 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's been way too long since I've seen this. I miss the action movies of the late 80s and early 90s.

I've read some interesting stuff over the years about the the film (the Rolex represents Holly's independence and it's only by her husband removing it from her that he's able to save her, etc) and I always mean to try to bring some of that critical thought in with me when I watch it, but... I just can't. I end up just turning my brain off and enjoying the film.
posted by ODiV at 11:28 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


"We're going to need some more FBI guys, I guess."

"Hey Roy, how you feeling?" "Pretty fuckin unappreciated, Al."

Some time after I saw the movie a few times in the theater, back in the late 80s, I went and got the book it was based on. Whoo-baby, is THAT a downer. I don't see "books included" in the tag so I won't spoil it but it has similar bones and a very different tone. Much more of a noir piece, IIRC. I should track it down again; I didn't really develop a taste for noir till later in my life.
posted by phearlez at 11:38 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It really is the best. I really wish they would stop making sequels (this comment can equally be applied to the Terminator franchise)
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:40 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Another thing about Die Hard is the idea of "Bruce Willis the indestructible bad ass" wasn't yet part of our rich cultural tapestry.
posted by ODiV at 11:54 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


the idea of "Bruce Willis the indestructible bad ass" wasn't yet part of our rich cultural tapestry

I'd modify that to "Bruce Willis, the infinitely erodable, yet somehow still indestructible bad ass". The only person who comes close to the same sort of world-weary "more of this bullshit?" affect is Harrison Ford.
posted by rocketman at 12:05 PM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


He was still "Bruce Willis the smartass guy from Moonlighting, and also those insufferable wine cooler ads."
posted by Chrysostom at 12:05 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd modify that to "Bruce Willis, the infinitely erodable, yet somehow still indestructible bad ass".

It's really striking when you compare the smartass, bloody and beleaguered John McClane of Die Hard to the grumpy and indestructible Terminator John McClane of Live Free or Die Hard. They might as well be different characters and different franchises.

I haven't seen A Good Day To Die Hard yet, but I gather it has similar issues.
posted by brundlefly at 12:43 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's really striking when you compare the smartass, bloody and beleaguered John McClane of Die Hard to the grumpy and indestructible Terminator John McClane of Live Free or Die Hard. They might as well be different characters and different franchises.

I timed my mid-tour leave from Korea to coincide with the premiere of With a Vengeance. I have bought the trilogy no less than five times (2x VHS, DVD, DVD set, Blu-Ray). It is the first thing I watch any time I upgrade my TV, VCR, DVD player, or sound system. I timed one of my mid-tour leaves from Iraq to coincide with the premiere of Live Free. I haven't even bothered to see A Good Day, because Live Free is no more a Die Hard movie than was Armageddon.
posted by Etrigan at 1:06 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Live Free is, dull climax aside, pretty entertaining. I did enjoy faux-McClane taking out the helicopter by launching a car at it, even if it's not as cool as Tony Stark doing the same thing with a grand piano.

But yeah, it is not a Die Hard movie, and from what I've heard, A Good Day is just genuinely awful from top to bottom.
posted by brundlefly at 1:48 PM on December 5, 2014


Live Free is, dull climax aside, pretty entertaining.

My biggest issue with Live Free was the SuperMcClane aspect, but a close second was the fact that it was yet another heist-disguised-as-terrorist-attack plot. It was forgivable in With a Vengeance because it came after Die Harder*, but I spent the entire movie thinking, Okay, what's the heist here? Because there's gonna be a heist, right? I hope it won't be a heist, but... oh, yeah, it's a heist.

* -- I know, not its official name, but shut up, that's what.
posted by Etrigan at 2:02 PM on December 5, 2014


Have we mentioned Die Hard's sassy sister movie? The Bob's Burgers musical mashup was a highlight.

Also in re books - there is another film adaptation of book about McClane. It stars Frank Sinatra. It is messed up.
posted by bq at 9:05 PM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have seen Good Day and while McClane is less super the film is a horrible turd where the central character could have been anyone, like they had got genetic crappy action film script off the shelf and called it's central character JM without relating it to the rest of the series.

DH2 is the better Xmas movie.
posted by biffa at 10:15 PM on December 5, 2014


Die Hard does a great job of using things most people are afraid of and making it necessary for the hero to overcome his own fears in order to accomplish the goal.
posted by drezdn at 10:26 AM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Welcome to the party, pal.
posted by nubs at 5:06 PM on December 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


DH2 is the better Xmas movie.

That's true. Of all of the action movies that incoporate Christmas into their settings (essentially: Shane Black's oeuvre* plus some Die Hards...Am I missing any? Maybe Batman Returns?), Die Hard 2 may be the only one where the Christmas season actually affects the events of the movie in any significant way...Just because the winter weather and a seasonably-overcrowded airport factor into the stakes.

* Actually I haven't seen The Long Kiss Goodnight since one time in the late 90s, so I don't know if maybe I'm forgetting something there that may affect my argument.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:21 AM on December 8, 2014


One of my favorite things about Iron Man 3 is that Shane Black was asked to make a movie in someone else's universe and he still said, "Fuck it. It's gonna be Christmas. Cause I'm Shane Black and that's just what I do."
posted by brundlefly at 11:47 AM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


If you enjoy Die Hard, a fun summer read is Christopher Brookmyre's One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night (1999), which imagines a Die-Hard-like event happening to a reluctant high-school-reunion attendee.
posted by blueberry at 10:48 PM on December 22, 2014




Went to see Die Hard as the office Christmas outing, which I still think of as basically a bright idea, but it got me out of the house. The Prince Charles (London repertory cinema) is showing it, and drunken young people come prepared to cheer Hans and Al's first appearances and laugh at the jokes before they happen (and laugh at anything that looks typically 80s - at one point some women started giggling at the touchscreen interface in reception) and I hated the experience. Still a very effective film, but I was surprised at how reactionary it is, being made when Reagan's body, at least, was still at home in the White House.

It did crystallise a thought I've been having about the coding of masculinity - badassness - in action movies isn't to do with the amount of damage a character can inflict, but how much he can take: compare and contrast the state McClain is in at the end of the movie with that Gruber is in (at least before the big drop). There are numerous other examples in cinema (and fiction - Ian Fleming seems to have specifically invented Bond with the intention of torturing him).
posted by Grangousier at 9:38 AM on December 19, 2016


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