Die Hard (1988): A Christmas movie?
The action movie Die Hard (1988, US$139 million at the worldwide box office) appears in many favourite Christmas movie lists for some reason. Although set at Christmas it definitely does not belong in the same genre as A Christmas Carol (any version) or It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). It is full of coarse language (e.g. Bruce Willis says motherf*cker at least three times) and includes a hostage situation, explosions and many people being killed (mainly shot, including in the head). Moreover, women are sexualized: a bare-breasted woman lying on a desk in her workplace so that she can have sex with a male co-worker is manhandled by armed men; and a wall is adorned with pictures of topless women. Willis walks past them three times, so there is no chance of missing them. Hardly very Christmassy. Die Hard is only a Christmas movie in the way that The Lion in Winter (1968) is a Christmas movie (i.e. they both take place over Christmas). The best thing that can be said about Die Hard is that it passes the Bechdel test--a test that serves as an indicator of the active presence of women in movies—in the first few minutes and Willis admits he was a jerk (as a husband) and was not supportive enough of his wife. Both of those things are actually pretty rare, even now. A movie does not need to end with a child talking about everyone being blessed by god or angels getting their wings to be classified as a Christmas movie but is it too much to ask that it be devoid of topless women and pictures of topless women?
© 2018 Alline Cormier
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