For years, I have maintained that the movie Die Hard was not a Christmas movie. Oh sure, it's set at Christmas, but it's an action movie that just happens to take place at Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love Die Hard. It's a great action movie. But a Christmas movie, I don't know.
Sure there are a lot of Christmas things in it.
|Bruce Willis with a ridiculously large stuffed bear for his daughter|
|Argyle, the limo driver, playing hip hop Christmas music,|
okay, he's talking on the phone here but he does at some point.
|Whole movie takes place at an office Christmas party|
|Now I have a machine gun, Ho Ho Ho.|
Most of my favorite Christmas movies have the main character having a change of heart from being touched by the Spirit of Christmas. In A Christmas Carol, pick a version, Ebenezer Scrooge becomes a better person because of being visited by the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch's heart grows three sizes that day. In Miracle on 34th Street, Natalie Wood learns that Santa Claus is real.
At the end of the Die Hard, Bruce Willis does indeed have a change of heart and becomes a better person. He learns that what is important is not being a cop in New York, but his family out in Los Angeles. But how does he learn this? Does he learn it from the Spirit of Christmas? No, he learns it from his experience fighting terrorists. My logic was without the Spirit of Christmas, it's not a Christmas movie. Doing the math on this, you get:
Mgenre is a Movie of any Genre
Sxmas is Set at Christmas
Xspirit is the Spirit of Christmas
Mxmas is a Christmas Movie
But then I started thinking, do all of my favorite Christmas movies work that way? Hmm, I don't know. What about It's a Wonderful Life? It's definitely one of my favorite Christmas movies. Does anybody argue whether It's a Wonderful Life is a Christmas movie? No, of course not, that's ridiculous.
In It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is visited by a spirit of sorts, an angel named Clarence. Does Clarence come to teach George the meaning of Christmas? No. He teaches George that he had a wonderful life. Even though he never traveled the world or built bridges or any of the things he dreamed of as a kid, he built the community. And that community wouldn't be the same without him. So applying that definition, where does that leave It's a Wonderful Life?
If Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, but an action movies set at Christmas. Wouldn't that mean that It's a Wonderful Life is just a Frank Capra movie set at Christmas? That means that if I have to throw Die Hard out of the Christmas movie pool, I also need to throw out It's a Wonderful Life. And I just can't bring myself to do that. I guess that makes Die Hard a Christmas movie.