A series of action movies. If you haven’t seen them, then you aren’t an action movie connoisseur. If you wish to be taken seriously by other action movie watchers, you must have seen all of them at least once. Also, you must have seen the original movie at least once on Christmas day.
Continuing the theme for this Christmas season, here are some Die Hard Christmas tree ideas.
In case the Tweet isn’t visible, here is the image again.
The tree topper does not appear to be for sale anywhere. I will update this post if I find a store selling it. But you could make your own ornaments for the tree. Ornaments like this do-it-yourself job.
Not to mention buying other ornaments for the tree.
If you aren’t into new-fangled art pieces, there is always the more traditional ball ornaments.
I haven’t found any light strings that spell out yippee ki-yay motherfucker yet. But I bet if I look long enough, I’ll find some. I found all that other stuff just looking for the tree topper.
The Wife suggests that the perfect Die Hard Christmas tree would be a topiary sculpture in the shape of the Nakatomi building. It should have a garland that looks like a small firehose starting from the top that turns into the “Merry Christmas” wrapping tape seen in the movie, about halfway down the tree. The topper, in her opinion, should be a helicopter that circles the top of the tree/tower, occasionally exploding in colored lights along with the top of the tree. John McClane should be seen occasionally sliding down the garland and into the tree, as well as a couple of different figures falling from the tree every now and then, just to complete the entire spectacle. Sgt. Al Powell can drive backward around the bottom of the tree in his police car, with one of the fallen figures on his hood, while he eats a twinkie. I look forward to seeing some artist creating this display at some Christmas in the future.
Stephen Follows ran the numbers through his three distinct perspectives for considering movies; Creative, Commercial, Cultural. He selected specific datasets for all three perspectives in order to determine if Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. I, as a lowly movie watcher, defer to his expertise on this subject. Here is a link to his article.
For those of you who cannot be bothered to read a few pages of text with some interesting graphs mixed into them in order to liven up the number crunching, I’ll give you a tl;dr quote from the conclusion.
[I]t’s certainly fair to say that Die Hard is regarded as a Christmas movie in popular culture. Like it or not, the association between Die Hard and Christmas is fast increasing and in years to come its Christmassyness will be beyond question.
Hat/tip to The Wife for the link to this article. When I mentioned I was doing a series of pieces on our Lord John McClane, she insisted I had to read Stephen’s article and include it in the series. I will be relying on his three perspectives consciously in the future when I review films, as I have been known to do. I was already taking the three of them into account when I wrote reviews or mused on the impact of various films, but I had never given the perspectives names before.
Hat/Tip to Merbrat for all but the first image. I used to refer to her as a stoic (specifically an email stoic) when I mentioned her on the blog because I thought it was a funny joke to label someone as effusive and outgoing as she is with a philosophy marked by asceticism and reserve. I’m not sure why I thought it was a funny joke back then, but I did. What can I say? I have a weird sense of humor. The first image was added later after I stumbled across the nakatomistrong hashtag and followed it to his wall.
I’m hoping the people who try to burn down our neighborhood every 4th of July will finally make friends in the country so they can go out there and frighten the wildlife. Either that or get someone to drive them downtown for the city’s fireworks display. My dogs hate the explosions and I haven’t celebrated independence day for almost a decade now. Between the dogs and my own disabilities, there is little sense in mucking up the air with burnt offerings to the gods of independence. All of us are dependent on somebody. Some of us are just more cognizant of this fact than others.
The episode of On the Media that was playing in my headphones when I started writing the reply to the above status post was topical for the looming July 4th holiday. A similar holiday also happens on July 1st in Canada. Canada is celebrating 150 years as a nation. Except they really aren’t. Celebrating, that is. Not in the way Americans would recognize.
“Canadians kinda don’t need [patriotism] we have hospitals”
Snark aside, there is something about the July 4th holiday and the near-manic manner in which it is celebrated that leaves the outside observer and likewise the cynic wondering “what do they have to celebrate?” With incomes at all-time lows for the average American, with poverty on the rise and the mega-rich in ownership of the entire US government; with popular denial of science leading to defunding of scientific ventures like the SSC, the international space station and the space program which in turn has led to Europe breaking new ground in science exploration over the last decade, one really wonders what it is about America that we really are celebrating.
I mean, we aren’t the free-ist. We aren’t the happiest. We aren’t the richest. The one thing you can put your finger on that we do better than anybody is build an impressively large military, spending more on our military than the next 8 countries combined. We pay a lot more for healthcare than any other country, and we get some of the shoddiest results from this overspending. We consume the most. We throw away to most. We throw away so much usable stuff that there are countries whose economies are benefitted by buying our cast-offs and putting them to use.
I set this piece up with the chorus from Jackson Browne’s song I am a Patriot several years ago. Before Trump. Before Obama’s second term. That is how long I’ve been stewing on these ideas I’m putting down here, the conflict at the heart of America’s need to scream their love of themselves at the world. There is something really, horribly wrong with this picture.
I am a patriot And I love my country Because my country is all I know I want to be with my family The people who understand me I’ve got nowhere else to go
This observation is at once achingly true and laughably simplistic, which is why this song rings true with me. Most people are patriots because, what else would you want them to be? Hate their lives and where they live? Who lives long in that state of mind? Not too many people. Consequently, everyone is a patriot and no one is, simultaneously. This is a truism just as everyone is as free as they want to be is a truism. Absolute freedom is to be released from constraint, to not have to eat or sleep or breath. Not have to feel pain or feel anything at all. Absolute freedom is death, to not know constraint of any kind. Are the enslaved then to blame for their own enslavement? Only if you believe death is a preferable state of being. Of non-being. Embracing freedom as a concept that can unite all people in the third verse is an acknowledgement of the universal appeal of these fuzzy concepts, and yet freedom is as indefinable as patriot in the real world.
So I don’t hate my country anymore than the next fellow. I just don’t understand why it is we in the US feel compelled to try to burn the whole place down every 4th of July. If I had to pick one thing, just one thing, that I thought was superior about the US, about America, I can give that answer without much thought. The best thing about our country is the first amendment to the constitution. Freedom of speech makes everything else possible, because the ability to form concepts and communicate them to another is possibly the most human thing we do. The most distinctive thing about us as living creatures. It is the first of the four freedoms for a reason.
That is why when the US fails to live up to the promise of the First Amendment, it can be so devastating to those caught in the crossfire. People like Aaron Copland.
“Copland’s scores and recordings were banned in hundreds of overseas libraries. Access officially denied.”
Every Independance Day for the past decade and more I have sat down and watched movies with The Wife. My go-to film is 1776on laserdisc. I like this version better than the streamed or bluray offering because it is actually a statement on the divisive nature of American life. Visible across the length of that film are splices and ink-marks and scissor cuts where Jack Warner at the direction of the Nixon White House cut scenes and whole songs from the film. Nixon didn’t approve of the apparent cowardice of the conservatives as portrayed in the play. Their stated willingness to allow others to risk so that they could preserve their wealth and security. The words may be placed in the mouths of the actors on the stage, but the sentiment of the time is beautifully captured in the verse of the songs, the fervor of John Adams, the melancholy of the (real) dispatches from George Washington in the field. Franklin’s open pragmatism. The feeling that America must be free to find her own destiny, not ruled over by Europeans intent on subjecting it for the purpose of profit for themselves, no matter the cost. This version speaks to me in my soul, the tension and conflict then and now. The pulls in different directions, to risk for the sake of principle, to recoil at the prospect of loss. This is life in the US and possibly life as it is throughout the world.
The Wife watches either ID4 or Live Free or Die Hardsometimes both of them. Over-the-top explosions, hammy one-liners and the good guys winning in the end. I think she shares more with the sentiment of the average American than I ever could just in her choice of movies. Nothing in life has ever been that simple for me, and maybe that’s the point. She seeks escape in her movies. I seek new ways of looking at the world and myself, insights that have never occurred to me before. That I haven’t driven her screaming mad in 30 years of life together is more a testament to her strength than it is to my willingness to compromise on what movies I will sit and watch repeatedly.
I started watching this film series at the very beginning; Tim Allen was just coming off his Home Improvement high, and clearly wanted to get into movies.
The Santa Clause was one of his first films, and in my opinion it remains one of his best. This film came out about the time that I was stuck in a quandary about whether to subject my child to the mythology around Santa Claus, and just what I would want to say on the subject (previous Christmas rants are here) the story of Scott Calvin struck a chord with me. Many of the problems that I had with Christmas were summed up quite nicely in the beginning of the film, and the fantasy that followed the film’s very ordinary beginning made me a believer in the Santa Claus myth again. I could see how this would work in my own life and family.
This, in a nutshell, is what distinguishes a good film from a bad one. Do you identify with the characters? Do you sympathize with them? Does the situation of their imaginary lives address some issue that you are struggling with? Outside of proper story construction (Theme, plot and pacing) these elements are crucial. These are the elements that make you want to like a film.
To that point, I think every father wants to be Santa Claus; and through movie magic, they can be. I won’t go so far as to say this is a great film; it’s a good film that I happen to like a lot.
The Santa Clause 2 was a film that I actually dreaded. Having invested myself in the first film (this is a consistent problem with me and sequels) I really didn’t want to have my cherished memories tampered with. Thankfully SC2 was light on the tampering aspect. Other than the introduction of the Council of Legendary Figures which I found more intriguing than I did offensive (and that because of the linked literary reference below) there was very little meddling in the story that evolved in the first film.
The need to establish the mythological Mrs. Claus alongside Santa, as well as the chance to make Scott Calvin a little less reprehensible in the relationship department, was the major subject of this film. I have to admit that I haven’t re-watched this film recently, but it hasn’t been because I didn’t like it.
I don’t know why Piers Anthony left these particular immortals off his incarnations of immortality list (other than Time and Mother Nature, that is) but I don’t think he needs to add them. Don’t need a book (or a movie) about the legendary figure of the Easter Bunny. Perhaps it’s time for a series of films about the Incarnations of Immortality series itself.