‘Die Hard’: Still Not a Christmas Movie

Welcome to the party, pal.

Important update about classic summer blockbuster Die Hard, courtesy of Mr. Die Hard himself, Bruce Willis:

Bruce Willis, the star of Die Hard, has come out and stated some real, true facts: "Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. It's a god damn Bruce Willis movie."

Those were Bruce Willis' exact words at the conclusion of his Comedy Central Roast, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ed Norton and Demi Moore among others.

Bruce Willis is the latest member of the Die Hard team to reject the reading of Die Hard as a Christmas film; as I noted two years ago around this time, one of the film's editors and one of the film's costars shot down the label as absurd.

Willis's claim comes with typical Willisian bravado, but it has an important kernel of truth: Die Hard doesn't really work with another actor in the John McClane role. Bruce Willis is integral to Die Hard in a way that "Christmas" is not. Christmas is just scene dressing, flair, flavor; you could set that movie on pretty much any day of the year and it would be exactly the same. (Indeed, it might even make more sense on, say, July 4). Bruce Willis, on the other hand, is the heart and soul of the picture, the thing that makes it tick, the reason it works. His rugged masculinity and physical vulnerability, combined with his patented chucklesneer, are what make Die Hard the movie it is. Too much tougher (say, with a Schwarzenegger in the role) and you don't buy that he's in danger. Too much older (say, an Eastwood) and you don't buy that he could pull it off. Willis, with his non-action background and non-overly-muscled build, was just right.

Anyway, I'm glad we've settled this. And while there will certainly be some science-denying dead-enders out there who continue to insist that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, we can safely ignore them from now on. Pat them on the head and cluck your tongue and just laugh with the proper tone of condescending sadness whenever they prattle on about their nonsensical opinions. Some people can't be reasoned with. Let them have their delusions.