Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What defines a Christmas movie?

Every year at this time I get into the debate about what defines a Christmas movie.  I have always said that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, but very few people agree with me.  So let's examine this more closely.

First, for a movie to be considered a Christmas movie, it has to take place during the holiday season.  Die Hard takes place on Christmas Eve.  Check.

Second, many Christmas movies include a staple of the holiday season, Santa Claus.  Die Hard doesn't have an appearance by Saint Nick, but many other holiday classics don't either.  Christmas Vacation has no Santa.  Home Alone, no Santa.  A Christmas Carol, also no Santa.  And those three movies are three of the most popular holiday movies of all time.  So, the inclusion of Santa is not necessary to be considered a Christmas movie.  Therefore, Die Hard is still in the running.

Third, there needs to be classic holiday music of some sort.  Die Hard includes the Christmas classic, "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC.  Plus the movie ends with Sinatra's rendition of "Let it Snow".  Another check for Die Hard as a holiday classic.

Next, most holiday movies teach some sort of lesson or moral or give advice of some sort.  A Christmas Carol teaches to not be so greedy and Scrooge-like.  It's a Wonderful Life shows the importance of each person in the larger world.  Home Alone stresses the importance of family.  Now I know what you're thinking: what lesson could Die Hard possibly teach?  Well first, Die Hard gives the excellent advice that making fists with your toes helps relieve apprehension about flying.  That's good to know.  Second, it shows that being the right guy in the right place at the wrong time can lead to heroism.  Or maybe it's the wrong place at the right time.  Or wrong place at the wrong time.  Oh, you get the point.  The bottom line is that there is a valuable lesson to take away from Die Hard.  Another check for inclusion in the holiday canon.

Finally, Christmas movies always have a happy ending.  What happier ending could there be than a terrorist plummeting to his death from a skyscraper, hostages being saved, and a man and his wife rediscovering their love for one another?  And Die Hard wins again.

So, anyone who argues that Die Hard is not in fact a Christmas movie need only look at the evidence.  And with that I say, "Merry Christmas and Yipee Ki Yay!"

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