A Very "Die Hard" Christmas

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is the fourth and final paper I wrote for my creative non-fiction class. The basic conflict is whether or not the original "Die Hard" is technically a Christmas movie. Its just silly little piece that I wrote in response to the suffocating amount of writer ego that was bogging down the class. It seems that everyone either wanted to be serious or comedic. Drowning in my own cynicism I found it detestable so I wanted to write something sparse, and neither sad/deep or intentionally funny. I chose the absurd. I stayed close to the truth and strayed away from self reflection. IT probably doesn't come off as awesome as I think it (and the rest of my writing) does.

Submitted: December 24, 2013

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Submitted: December 24, 2013

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“Let’s watch Die Hard next.” she said.

“I thought we’re suppose to be watching Christmas movies?” I said back.

My friend had invited me over to her apartment to help her decorate for Christmas. The apartment being nothing more than a small studio, the decorating was done in no time – a small neon blue Christmas tree, some lights, and some tinsel. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” played in the background as we put everything up and her cat schemed to tear everything down.
“Are you hungry? I’m getting a little hungry. Let’s go get a pizza from Walgreens. We can make some cocoa when we get back.” I liked her proposition and concurred that we should go.

“Okay, let’s go.” I had eaten a few hours ago but if there’s one thing that I cannot pass up is the offer of free food, especially pizza. I never did get my cocoa though.

We sped down the stairs, out to the street, and through Roger’s Park to get us some pizza.

“I’m telling you “Die Hard” is not a Christmas movie.”

“Yes it is. They have a Christmas tree in it and everything.” she said back. “In the end the two of them get back together.”

In case any of you reading this don’t know the plot line of the original “Die Hard” movie it centers around New York City police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) visiting his estranged wife in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve with hopes of reconciling. While visiting her at her office building, where a company Christmas party is being had, the building is taken over by a group intent on stealing money from the company’s vault. McClane, who was not rounded up with the rest of the hostages, is found by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). The rest of the film details McClane killing of Gruber’s team and freeing the hostages all by himself. At the end of the movie the couple reconcile and become a family again. In the second “Die Hard” movie McClane’s wife unfortunately once again gets put into a precarious position, she’s in a plane that cannot land and will crash due to lack of fuel if the terrorists who have taken care of the airport are not taken care of. She’s not shown in any of the other movies, and is mentioned to be divorced from McClane by the time the fourth film takes place. Good for her. 

“Just because it has a Christmas tree in it and just because it takes place on Christmas does not make it a Christmas movie.” I said.

“It totally is.”

“It’s not like it’s “A Christmas Story” or “Miracle on 34th St.” or any of those old stop motion Christmas cartoon specials. It’s an action movie, or at most an action movie that takes place on Christmas.”

Whenever I begin talking about something of interest to me I usually tend to get over excited – on one occasion I jumped up and down in joy that someone enjoyed the same part of History that I did. Of course there are always two sides to the same coin, for any good aspect of my personality there is a relatively bad side. Often when I get into arguments, I tend to vehemently oppose any idea that the other side could be right. It’s a fault of mine. I suppose this argument could be seen as one such instance. At the time I had never seen the movie, only heard about it, so it was mainly my argumentative nature that sustained this quarrel. After watching the movie, I still believe that I am right though. “Die Hard” is not a Christmas movie; it’s just an action movie that takes place on Christmas.

“Fine,” I said to her as we left out into the street. “Let’s ask some people.”

The first person we found was a woman.

“Do you think ’Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie?” my friend asked.

“You can’t just go up to people demanding that they answer your question. They’ll think we’re crazy.” I told her.

We told her and the subsequent people we saw about the debate we were having. She agreed that it was an action movie that takes place on Christmas. Next we found a man walking into his ground floor apartment, pizza in hand – I thought back to our main goal of getting a pizza that seemed so insignificant to what was going on now. We posed the same question to him. He agreed with me. 2-0. The third person we found said that he had only seen parts of the movie, so he couldn’t really speak with much assurance, but, if pressed that he would have to side with me. Since his opinion was ill informed I’ll count it as an indecision. 2-0-1. It seemed like the masses were agreeing with me. Despite who they, and subsequent people we asked, agreed with they always looked at these two kids asking them this ridiculous question with either fear or disdain.

Finally, we made it to Walgreens, but we did not leave our debate at the doors. Between viewing nutcrackers, perusing the measly selection of Advent Calendars, discussing the idea of White Jesus, and picking up Christmas Peeps, pizza, and RC, we found another victim – a white, young, blonde male.

Would you say that “Die Hard” is a Christmas film?”

“Or would you say that its more so an action film?”

He smiled at us. He had been waiting for this all of his life. “Definitely a Christmas film.” My friend looked at me as if she had just won the war. 2-1-1.

We checked out and made our way back to the apartment. The streets were empty so it was slim pickings when it came to inducting another unwilling participant into our argument. When we got up to the room the lights and tree were still up, the cat had not managed to get to them. We cooked the pizza but it came out burnt as it always does since there’s never any adequate cooking sheets in the house. The edges were a little burnt but the middle was warm and gooey and filled with goodness. I poured me some RC and ate some of the pizza, completely over looking the earlier promise of cocoa.

“So what do you want to watch next?” she asked.

“You want to watch ‘Die Hard’ so lets just watch that.”

“Okay.” She put the DVD in and turned on the small TV.

The credits rolled. “Professor Snape is in this?” she was referring to Alan Rickman who would go on to play Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.

“We’ll have to keep an eye out for him,” I said back. We found him eventually. Being the second name displayed in the opening titles we knew he had to be someone important in the movie. We figured out that he was the leader if the group that was holding up the office building. It was his eyes that gave it away. One of the reasons that I don’t believe this could be considered a Christmas is the important role that Rickman’s character plays in comparison to John McClane. In my own personal opinion Rickman is the both the most capable actor in the film and is the one that makes the film, not Bruce Willis who is supposed to be the focus. I feel this conflict between a protagonist that you really want to win, and a charismatic antagonist who had raised the stakes so incredibly high, causes the conflict to be more action focused than holiday based. Even if the events of the film take place on Christmas it doesn’t matter because it isn’t about any sort of holiday theme so much as it is about the conflict between McClane and Gruber. 

We ate the pizza. I did not care that it was burnt. I reluctantly ate some Peeps too. I’ve never been a fan of them, but I supposed it was time to step outside of the box.

Burnt pizza consumed, I hopped on the bed to get a better view of the television. The bed takes up 3/4ths of the tiny rooms so it was the best vantage point to watch from. It was also very comfy with its layers of blankets and millions and millions of pillows (on my bed there lies one measly blanket and one lonesome pillow.

I hadn’t slept that night working on a project so I was tired. On the train ride there I had fallen asleep multiple times. I couldn’t help occasionally nodding out to “Die Hard” as well. I would try occasionally to jar myself from slumber and try to get back into the movie, only to fall back asleep. Her cat was apparently tired to and thought that my bony legs would be the most comfortable place for him to lay his nine hundred pound body to sleep. I don’t think I would have minded so much if I couldn’t awkwardly feel his body contract and relax as he took a breath. I made it through the film though, only missing occasional parts due me dozing off for a minute or two.

Since that night I’ve been bringing up the argument to a lot of people that I know. I have at least asked ten extra people on my own time and they all seem to agree with my assertion that “Die Hard” is an action movie that just happens to take place on Christmas, and that it is not a Christmas. Despite the flaws in her argument she still insists that it is a Christmas movie. Since I’ve began writing this paper she’s accused me of wanting to make people watching boring old Christmas movies instead of an awesome Christmas movie like “Die Hard”.

 More recently she has also has gone so far as to say that “Die Hard” is in fact the best Christmas movie there ever was.  This whole experience has seemed so very surreal. I’m pretty sure that I’m just being messed with, that I’m being put on. I refuse to bring this up anymore since its all rather silly and pointless.  I mean what does one get out figuring if it is or isn’t a Christmas movie? There’s no important conclusion. Its not some universal dilemma that everyone is struggling with. Hell, there are plenty of people who have never even seen “Die Hard”.


© Copyright 2017 Bill Schultz. All rights reserved.

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