This ought to help calm down at least one debate at the holiday gatherings: “Die Hard” director John McTiernan says the 1988 flick is a Christmas movie.
Thirty-two years of hand-wringing and spirited debates over whether the Bruce Willis classic is a Christmas movie can be settled by knowing the creator’s intent.
McTiernan gave a scattered 12-minute talk for the American Film Institute’s AFI Movie Club, appearing to stand outside a lake house as he pontificated on authoritarianism, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and royalty art at the Louvre in his explanation of why “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.
“What does this have to do with Die Hard?” McTiernan asked after five minutes.
Bottom line, toward the end of the winding soliloquy, he said, “We hadn’t intended it to be a Christmas movie, but the joy that came from it is what turned it into a Christmas movie.”
The argument was strong already for a movie that takes places on Christmas Eve. It opens with John McClane on an airplane landing at LAX and being wished “Merry Christmas” by a flight attendant as he carries a large teddy bear with a bow. He gets into a limousine with Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” blaring. These are only the first of many scenes with Christmas songs as backdrops, but holiday phrases were not limited to songs.
“Now I have a machine gun, ho, ho, ho,” McClane’s message reads on the sweatshirt of a dead guy whom McClane outfitted with a Santa hat.
McClane’s wife is even named Holly. So, time to move on. Is “Trading Places” a Christmas movie?