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Why ‘Die Hard’ Is The Greatest Christmas Movie Of All Time
The holiday season is a time for family, gift-giving, and most importantly forgiveness. Unless you’re John McClane, then it means all that, plus a ton of mayhem and violence.
The 1988 holiday classic centers around John McClane, a New York City detective who’s in Los Angeles to try to save his marriage when all hell breaks loose. A group of heavily armed villains break into McClane’s wife’s office building during their Christmas party and take the staff, including his wife hostage. Side note: her name is Holly, as in “deck the halls” and “fa-la-la-la-la” holly — subliminal messaging on the part of the movie’s screenwriters, no doubt.
It’s left to McClane, played by Bruce Willis, to save the day. Crawling around in air ducts and crashing through a number of windows, he takes out the bad guys one by one before dropping their leader Hans Gruber, played by an acerbic Alan Rickman, some 30 stories to his death.
It may not seem like a Christmas movie at first, but “Die Hard” hits all the marks, if you think about it, it’s basically “Home Alone,” but with live ammo. McClane sneaks about, setting traps, like Kevin McCallister from “Home Alone.” He’s even rescued by an unassuming ally, Sgt. Al Powell, the beat cop who comforts him over the radio and shoots one of the villains at the end, saving McClane. If this doesn’t sound familiar, think about the old man with the shovel who rescues another holiday hero at the end of a different Christmas classic.
Yep, “Die Hard” has more in common with “Home Alone,” than it does with “Lethal Weapon,” another 1980’s action movie set during the holidays. There’s the line — “Die Hard” qualifies as a Christmas movie, “Lethal Weapon” does not.
For the naysayers who argue that two-hours of violent shootouts with terrorists isn’t a solid basis for a Christmas movie, well, they’re not actually terrorists. They’re thieves who planned a massive heist of hundreds of millions of dollars in bearer bonds during a holiday season meant to celebrate charitable giving. It’s like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” but with guns; and in this case, Santa’s little helper drops the Grinch from the top of Nakatomi plaza, which in real life is the headquarters for 20th Century Fox. But the point is that the bad guy is a thief who not only steals on Christmas, but is so possessed by greed he’d commit murder. That’s the ultimate Christmas villain.
Then, there’s our protagonist, John McClane, a loveable but still rough-around the edges father flying across the country to meet his wife (they’re separated) and two kids for the holidays. Hoping to patch things up, McClane comes bearing gifts, like a gigantic teddy bear for his kids, and a dead bad guy bedecked with a Santa’s hat and a message for Hans Gruber.
Photo via 20th Century Fox/Task & Purpose photo illustration by Matt Battaglia
McClane even goes so far as to “wrap a present” for the bad guys. At the end of the film, McClane tricks Gruber and one of his cronies by taping a pistol to his back with Christmas gift wrapping tape. It brings a whole new meaning to “Secret Santa.”
Even the film’s musical score is largely Christmas music, with “Ode to joy” playing intermittently throughout, and occasionally in a different key to make it sound more ominous.
Like any good Christmas movie, the main character discovers the importance of family and friendship by the end, with McClane tearfully making amends with his wife, and hugging it out with his new best friend, Powell.
Yes, it may be unconventional, bloody, and have more swear words in it than people are used to hearing in holiday movies, but don’t be fooled “Die Hard” is without a doubt a Christmas movie, and since it’s one of the few that has partial nudity and tons of dead bad guys, that also makes it the best.
So, in the words of John McClane: Yippee-ki-yay, mother fuckers (and Merry Christmas).
Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."
"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.
"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."
Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.
Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.
No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.
Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.
And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.
But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.
As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.
Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.