Are You A Die Hard Denier?
Hi, I’m Matt, and welcome to Steady Beats. If you like to walk for a better life, and also like Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” you just might like this newsletter.
Yesterday, I had every intention of spending a couple of solid hours putting together a thoughtful end-of-year retrospective newsletter.
Instead, I watched Die Hard.
In my personal grand ranking of Christmas films, Die Hard probably sits second behind the clear number one Christmas film of all time.
What, what? Some people don’t think Die Hard is a Christmas movie?
Film historian Jeremy Arnold says indeed Die Hard is a Christmas movie*, and the debate isn't really about Die Hard, but the definition of a Christmas movie itself:
*My apologies for linking something from CNN. But it’s useful here.
Die Hard is inextricably built around Christmas thanks to its family plot thread, dialogue, music, sound effects and frequent visual references to tropes of the season. It adds up to an overriding tone of cheer and joyousness — even through the story’s grand action and suspense.
“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,” he told the American Film Institute in 2020.
Of course, the Die Hard Deniers have their visible spokespeople as well, including some guy named Bruce Willis:
Love Bruce, but … he is incorrect. Yippee Ki-Yay.
This is a movie rooted in traditional Christmas and biblical themes. The visuals. The music. As Arnold said, the movie plants itself at the outset in a theme of family reconciliation during the holidays. We see classic biblical tales of good triumphing over evil. We are repeatedly shown the dangers of greed. (You could be shot or tumble dozens of stories to an inglorious end.)
Let’s stretch it all the way out: John McClain appears as an unlikely savior for a flock of people, who, in watching their behavior at the office Christmas party, maybe don't deserve saving. “Jerkweed” Harry Ellis even goes full Judas, turning McClain over to the enemy as McClain works to save the group:
Maybe John McClain as Jesus is too much for you. But there are lots of biblical themes here, if obscured by lots of bullets.
In any case, if you celebrate: Merry Christmas. All the best to you in 2024.
Even if you’re a Die Hard Denier.
Thank you for reading.
Let’s keep the Steady Beats going. 💚
If you enjoyed this edition, would you mind giving the heart below a click? If you didn’t enjoy it, tell me where I went wrong.