The debate over the Christmas movie “Die Hard” is cursed


How the Grinch stole Christmas is a Christmas movie. A Christmas story is also a Christmas movie. White christmas is most definitely a Christmas movie. For generations we didn’t even have to say these things. There was more or less unanimous agreement on the question “What is a Christmas movie?” And that was great, because we don’t need to discuss everything.

Well, now, because of the dreaded social media incentives, we force debate on ourselves all the time, even at the most wonderful time of the year. And we do it even when our arguments offer no promise of resolution. By that I mean, again, people are logging in to a holiday argument they had several times before: did the 1988 action movie Die hard, in which Bruce Willis fights terrorists in a Los Angeles skyscraper on Christmas Eve, a Christmas movie? Once again, tweets and Facebook posts indicating whether Die hard is actually a Christmas movie are booming. Posts if it’s original or cool to talk about it Die hardChristmas movie status is also increasing. A family of influencers with 4.8 million Facebook followers recently shared a horrific musical “parody” in which they claimed to address “a heated debate” they had “every year” and asked viewers to take sides in comments. (Oh boy, did they do it!)

According to Google Trends, the phrase search traffic East Die hard a Christmas movie jumps every November and December. Somehow, in 2020 there was about as much research interest as in any previous year, although it’s pretty clear that Die hard can be a Christmas movie if you want it, that’s fine, and nobody cares, or nobody would in an ideal world. By January we will be able to more accurately assess the damage this year, but I am not optimistic. It’s a sad situation, but what are we going to do? Lecture people until they stop? This would, in its own way, continue the discussion.

The eternal revelation that Die hard is a Christmas movie appears to have first appeared online in 2007. An article on Slate titled “Now I have a machine gun.” Ho Ho Ho. ‘”- a reference to a key scene in the film Die hard– did the case. Through the eyes of Willis’ character, he argued, “the office Christmas party is revealed for what it really is: the false pleasure of capitalism, the dying sigh of another unnecessary year.” In a multiple discovery case, the same idea reappeared two weeks later, in a blog post for The Guardian titled “My Favorite Christmas Movie?” What would you say Die hard. “(Alright!) Over the years the guys saying that online have become a trope, to the point that there were t-shirts, and to the point where BuzzFeed‘s Katie Notopoulos had to beg, “Stop saying Die hard Is Your Favorite Christmas Movie ”, in 2013. Still, there was nothing to be done. A huge spike in “Die hard Christmas movie tweets and search traffic arrived in 2016, when a UK magazine ranked Die hard No.1 on its list of the best Christmas movies of all time and a British newspaper then published a rebuttal titled “Die hard is not the best Christmas movie. Fighting has been a Christmas tradition (and a marketing opportunity) ever since.

To be clear, this is an Internet problem. Speak privately to find out if Die hard, or any other movie, is a Christmas movie that doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s a wonderful life is, as we all know, not a Christmas movie, as its central drama stems from a series of decisions made over decades, at various times of the year, culminating in a bank error that doesn’t seem Really lead to a significant prison sentence (as the story suggests) and it has nothing to do with Christmas. Nonetheless, my family is watching It’s a wonderful life every year on Christmas day because it is so funny!

If I tweeted this, I would regret being born. Because that’s what social media does – it presents you with arguments over and over again, tricking you into thinking that you might be the one special person who can cut through nonsense and be rewarded for your clarity and insight with the attention of your fellows. We all know that’s not true and we’re going to fail, but it doesn’t make us stop. It’s almost like popping a pimple – it’s so satisfying in the moment, and comes with such a disgusting and delicious moment of relief (12 likes, maybe), but it’s not medically recommended. This is how many of us choose to live most of the year. Do we have to live like this at Christmas too? Yes.

Recently I called Michael Agger, the blurb author on Die hard in the 2007 Slate position and currently The New Yorkeronline culture editor, to ask him what he thought of the monster he had created. “I didn’t even know it had become a huge thing,” he said. “I had no idea.” He didn’t have much to say about the origin of the idea and only remembered “bullshit” in the office – out loud! pre-Slack! : I’m trying to find some easy content for the vacation week to feed the web. “Kind of like you do now,” he noted. (Okay!) Still, social media mechanics couldn’t leave this office riff alone. “There are a lot of unintended and chaotic effects of living online,” Agger said, although he didn’t have to live with some of them because he doesn’t spend a lot of time on Twitter. .

I had to tell him the tragic news that Die hard The Christmas speech has since produced a secondary market for “Is This A Christmas Movie?” Takes, where anyone can claim – for likes and shares – that any movie with a Christmas scene or atmosphere adjacent to Christmas (usually related to “comfort” or “family drama”) is in made a Christmas movie. It started with somewhat reasonable choices such as Carole (department store, gloves, snow) and Little woman (they give their Christmas oranges to scarlet fever patients); now everything can be sacred like a Christmas movie, and so much the better if reason is impenetrable. I have seen, in recent days, cited as Christmas films: the horror film Hereditary, the horror movie Dark red, the horror movie American psychopath, The Godfather, The Godfather II, Shawshank’s Redemption, Iron man 3, Charlie Wilson’s War, and the last installment in the dusk series. As well: Anastasia (a film about Rasputin), Lincoln (a film about Abraham Lincoln), and Mad Max: Fury Road (a movie about resource wars in the near future). The list goes on and on and doesn’t make any sense which is also the point, but not very fun or interesting.

The aim of such articles is hardly ever to shed light on something previously unknown and potentially exciting to the reader, as many of them do not even explain the Christmas connection that the author claims to have noticed. The aim is to establish that the publisher has a unique right to the powers of perception, or that he has an iconoclastic taste that will offend normal sensibilities. Or worse: that they are aware of the meme that “calls unexpected movies Christmas movies” and that they feel pressure to speak up and differentiate themselves according to its rules. It’s humiliating.

I’m still not trying to lecture. I myself have made a lot of stupid comments to this effect. I tweeted this once Social network is a Christmas movie because its first 20 minutes or so are set on a college campus in early December. I am sorry. I just didn’t think my Christmas movie post was obnoxious! No one ever imagines that their own dotted nothings are part of the same pile of dotted nothings that they may, at other times, call “overwhelming” or “hellish” or “erode my willpower. to live “. And no one ever deals with their own opinion on Die hard like a Christmas movie like helping to keep the powerful curse that is the conversation going on Die hard like a Christmas movie. Not even the person who started it all by accident.

After doing a Google search and seeing the extent of the mess, Agger compared himself to a guy who throws an apple core over his shoulder, then returns to the same spot years later to find a mature tree. A few minutes later, he emailed me to correct the metaphor: “I’m the guy who threw a cigarette out the window and accidentally burned the forest!”


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