29/12/2010

The Only Film You Should've Watched This Christmas

Ahh Christmas, the perfect time to spend with family, friends and go through the bumper edition of the Radio Times with a pen and construct an airtight schedule of film watching. One of the highlights of the season is to catch up on the many films which somehow passed me by due to occasionally having a life. I'll bore you in due course with all the films I watched but for now, I'll go on about what you should have been watching at 9pm on Christmas Day (gawd bless you Film4). Sure, we all love A Muppet Christmas Carol, Scrooged and It's A Wonderful Life but Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without watching John McClane's white vest get dirty as hell and end up wrapped around his foot as he systematically takes out immaculately dressed German terrorists.

That's right, Die Hard is without doubt the best Christmas film ever. And action. And possibly of the 80s. And of all time.

Several have tried to copy, emulate, be inspired by and plonk it on other modes of transport but the greatness of Die Hard cannot be stopped no matter how many bloody sequels they churn out. Adapted from Roderick Thorp's novel 'Nothing Lasts Forever' (which, in case you're wondering, cannot be found ANYWHERE), Die Hard had several incarnations and failed attempts to reach the big screen before Cybill Shepherd's partner did us all a favour and knocked her up, forcing the production of Moonlighting to a halt and leaving her co-star with a few months to take the role he previously declined. Hurray for unprotected sex!

So what is it about Die Hard that makes it so knicker-wettingly good? The cop out answer would, of course, be everything. It's hard to think of a film in which every aspect, every line, every character and wonderfully constructed, smoothly edited action sequence is pitch perfect. People of my age may find it difficult to understand since we grew up with some awesome action films that learned from Die Hard, but I've been readily informed by my father (who incidentally, let me watch this when I was about 5), that before Die Hard most action films were a bit shit.

While Michael Bay seems to think that you can create excitement simple by being loud as fuck and throwing shit at the screen, Die Hard delivered on all accounts. It's brilliantly written and contains more than a bit of wry humour to keep it moving along nicely and even manages to capitalize on America's fear of Japanese businessmen taking over everything in the 1980s. Everytime I watch Die Hard I see something new and every thread is effortlessly followed up so you don't end up in the pub afterwards asking, "Why didn't he take the dead guys trainers?". Oh no, they've got that shit covered.

Honestly, I could write a dissertation level post on everything that makes Die Hard so magnificent. Times may have changed and the special effects may have aged but y'know what Die Hard has that your modern, CGI laden, multi-million dollar, possibly available in 3D movie doesn't have?
EVERYTHING
Merry Christmas.