Die Hard Isn’t A Christmas Movie And Other Controversial Christmas Movie Observations

die hard.jpg* Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie because Christmas doesn’t figure into or drive the plot. It’s a movie that happens to take place at Christmas. The parts of the movie that incorporate Christmas could easily be replaced with something else.

* By this metric, Gremlins is also not technically a Christmas movie, per these rules I made up. Other movies I’d include in this category are Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Rocky IV, Batman Returns, and Lethal Weapon.

(Edit: My buddy Jimmy Meritt pointed out that there are several portions of Gremlin’s plot that relies on the film taking place at Christmas. Fair point, but I still feel like Gremlins in July, while a different movie, would retain the heart of Gremlins set in December. I came up with a better way to describe this: try to describe a movie in as few words as possible. If Christmas (or in the case of a movie like Elf, Santa Claus) doesn’t figure into the most succinct description of the film, it’s not a Christmas movie.) 

* Home Alone isn’t that good. It’s not a classic, anyway. As a kid’s movie, it’s fine, but it doesn’t hold up beyond nostalgic purposes. It’s supposed to be a comedy, but other than Frank,  John Candy and Catherine O’Hara, no one in it really says or does anything that funny. The main source of comedy comes from watching a child become a sociopath right before our very eyes. Call me old fashioned, but the older I get, the less I enjoy watching (admittedly deserving) adults get systematically tortured.  Think about this: you’re not just watching a kid defend himself. You’re not even just watching a kid harm and mutilate strangers with escalating levels of depravity. You’re watching a kid do all that…and he’s enjoying it. With every celebratory fist pump, he moves closer to fulfilling his destiny as a fully realized adult psychopath. 36 year old Kevin probably beats off to Zero Dark Thirty. 

* Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is worse than the original. It starts with the weird title. It’s totally inaccurate. It’s not the second time he’s home alone, it’s the first time he’s alone in New York. Just call it Lost in New York. Or call it New York Alone. Or how about New York Alone 1: Lost In New York For The First Time? Not as sleek, but it’s factual. I believe in movie titles that don’t lie to us.

* One Home Alone 2 subplot that mirrors (aka shamelessly copies) the original is Kevin’s relationship with the homeless woman in Central Park. Much like the way he misunderstands Old Man Marley, he starts out scared of her only to find she’s actually a gentle, kindhearted woman. They have a long discussion about not being afraid of trusting people and opening your heart despite the fear of getting hurt. Kevin later returns to give her a pair of porcelain turtle doves as a token of their friendship.

Then…that’s it. He just leaves, and she’s still homeless.

Okay…I guess she can…pawn those? Otherwise they do nothing for her, other than to remind her about the time she told a 9 year old all her problems. You didn’t really solve anything. The least you could have done was invite her back to the Plaza to celebrate with the family. Everyone would have been a little freaked out by Kevin bringing home some random bum, but considering the McAlisters are all but assured a visit from Child Protective Services after this, they’re in no position to question Kevin on anything at the moment.

* Every Christmas movie narrator should be legally required to speak in rhyme. It just sounds wrong if they don’t.

* The top five Christmas movies of all time are (in no particular order): Bad Santa, Elf, Scrooged, Christmas Vacation, and The Santa Clause. I’m sure I left a good one out; feel free to protest in the comments.

* You don’t like A Christmas Story as much as you think you do. The 24 hour TBS marathon brainwashed you into thinking it was funnier than it was.

* Speaking of The Santa Clause: when Tim Allen became Santa, did that  grant him some sort of diplomatic immunity? Because if not, he’ll definitely be facing a manslaughter charge for causing Santa to fall off his roof. You could argue that Santa’s technically an intruder so it’s a home invasion, but what jury is going to treat Santa like a common cat burglar? Allen is toast.

* And how cold-hearted were the elves in that movie? When Tim Allen brings the sleigh back to the North Pole for the first time,  none of them blink an eye at the fact that the old Santa is now dead. What?!? In fact, they all seem happy and somewhat relieved. Was the last guy that much of a monster as a boss, or are they all unblinking psychopaths? Have some compassion for a fallen comrade.

* The Santa Clause 2 introduces a new rule into The Santa Clause Cinematic Universe (or TSCCU): every new Santa has to find a wife to be his Mrs. Claus, otherwise he can’t be Santa anymore. Seems like just a cute little plot wrinkle for a sequel, but there’s something more sinister to consider: this means the Santa from the previous movie (who was  accidentally merked by Tim Allen) had a wife. What happened to her? Does she move away after cashing in Santa’s life insurance policy? Did the elves snuff her out to keep her quiet? Did she consider staying and marrying Tim Allen?

* Jim Carrey’s abysmal Grinch movie missed a golden opportunity to be a metaphor for modern day race relations in America. Seeing as how the Grinch is clearly just a different race of Who, they could have examined how tan Who’s benefit from institutional racism that manifests in tan privilege. You could also look at the disenfranchisement of the green Who population. Would’ve made for a much more interesting film, in my opinion.


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