Ten Things I Love About Die Hard: The Best Christmas Action Movie Ever Made!
by: Protoclown

In December there are few things I like more than curling up on the couch and enjoying the smell of terrorists roasting on an open fire as I watch Die Hard, which is pretty much my favorite Christmas movie. And yes, it absolutely is a Christmas movie. It takes place during Christmas time, and one of the deaths even makes a reference to Christmas. Criminals posing as terrorists come into the Nakatomi Plaza building and take over during their annual Christmas party, but they only do it because they want to spread around a little yuletide cheer. There are many reasons to like this movie, but I've listed ten of the reasons I enjoy it most below.

1. Argyle, The Limo Driver.

When John McClane gets off his plane and lands in Los Angeles to go to his wife's company's Christmas party, he is surprised to discover a limo driver waiting for him near the luggage pick-up. The driver introduces himself as Argyle, but his name should be Ernest, because he's got to be one of the most earnest limo drivers out there. McClane rides up in the front, seemingly uncomfortable with the swank ride, where Argyle grills him with all kinds of invasive personal questions that most limo drivers would either not possess the nerve or have too much decency to ask. But it's all good with Argyle, who does it all with a shit-eating grin on his face. Argyle spends most of the movie sitting in the limo, talking on the phone and listening to music while sitting next to a giant teddy bear, but the film keeps cutting back to him on occasion, because dammit, the audience demands to know what he's up to. And maybe I'm just confused about the set up of the Nakatomi Plaza, because I thought he had his limo parked in the parking garage--but at one point, the limo is outside so that we can see a cop car flying by in the background. Do I have this all wrong, or does Argyle possess magical teleporation powers? I think you know what the real answer is.

2. Terrorists Lie.

Shortly after the "terrorists" take control of Nakatomi Plaza, they get wind of the fact that John McClane is running around the building and send this guy Tony to investigate. Tony walks into the room where McClane is hiding wearing gray sweats, a snarl on his face, and a haircut that means serious business. He hears McClane making noises and slowly stalks through the room. And immediately after promising not to hurt Mr. McClane in a thick German accent that I can easily hear promising "don't worry, I assure you that is only laughing gas" to a line-up of nervous Jews, you hear the loud KA-CHAK as he cocks his submachine gun. But surely this is just to protect Mr. McClane, should there be any bogeymen or werewolves loose on the floor. Oh, but then he rounds a pallet of construction materials and opens fire before he even has a chance to see what's there? Empty promises? Or does this guy know his werewolves well enough to be confident about where they will hide?

3. A Threat With Christmas Cheer.

After John McClane kills Tony, he's about to head off when he notices a red marker laying nearby. At this point he does what any decent red-blooded American would do, and decides to fuck with the terrorists. So he sends Tony's corpse down in the elevator wearing a Santa hat and with the words "Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho." printed on his sweatshirt. This is one of the most memorable moments in the whole film, and the phrase on the shirt has been quoted and referenced countless times. It's especially funny hearing Hans as he reads the message aloud, the way he emphasizes the "ho's". At this point Gruber and his group have no idea what they are up against. It could be Santa himself, for all they know. And you don't fuck with Santa when he's in an eggnog frenzy.

4. Carl Winslow.

After McClane takes Tony's radio, he uses it to contact the police, who send Officer Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson), who will always be Carl Winslow to me. So we'll just call him that from now on. This guy plays a cop in pretty much everything I have seen him in, and he always plays the exact same cop. Oh sure, they call him different things in different movies, but that's only because they'd get sued if they didn't. When he gets the call from dispatch to go check out the disturbance at Nakatomi Plaza, he's in a convenience store picking up a sizable stack of ho-hos (catch the subtle Christmas reference?). The clerk insults his choice in foods right to his face and all he can do is utter a jolly laugh about it and tells the clerk to bag 'em. Because that's how Carl Winslow rolls.

5. Terrorists Give Surprisingly Good Advice.

Gruber sends a few more of his men to stop McClane after he uses his radio to call for the police, and McClane drops one of them before he even gets through the door. The other guy, Marco, gets into the room and he and starts shooting at McClane with a semi-automatic weapon. McClane dives under the table for cover, so Marco hops on top of the table and starts shooting through it. Right when he gets to the end of the table, where he knows McClane is right under him with nowhere to go, he reloads, and tells McClane while doing so that the next time he has a chance to kill someone, he shouldn't hesitate. Marco was probably one of those guys whose friends never really listened to anything he had to say. So he probably wasn't expecting McClane to follow his advice. What a dumb idiot.

6. It's Raining Men.

After Carl Winslow checks out the Nakatomi building and determines that everything there is quiet and it was just a wild goose chase, McClane sees him getting back in his cop car to head off and buy more fatty snack cakes. So he takes the body of Marco and throws him out the window and onto the cop car. This is surprising, as McClane is a cop as well, and I would imagine that throwing a corpse at a cop car has to be a felony at the very least. But he's beyond caring at that point. If you need to get a police officer's attention, throwing a corpse at them is usually a good way to do it. Winslow freaks out at this, puts the car in reverse and starts rolling, just as one of the thugs starts shooting up the car and turns it to swiss cheese.

7. Ellis, King Of The Douches.

One of Holly McClane's coworkers is this beardy guy named Ellis, who totally wants to sleep with her. It is clear to everyone within the first five seconds of meeting Ellis, that he is a total douche. The actor is so exceedingly good at being exceedingly douchey that he's honestly a joy to watch in that role. Particularly when he comes into Han's Gruber's temporary office to offer him a deal. He uses flamboyantly douchey hand gestures and calls him "bubby". At that very moment you know beyond all doubt that this man is going to die. He constantly has a grin that says "I eat shit for breakfast" on his face, and is blissfully unaware of the fact that Karl is giving him a cold death stare the entire time he is in the room. So he calls McClane on the walkie talkie and tells him to return the detonators to the bad guys. What a douche move. McClane of course doesn't do it, so Hans and the others kill Ellis for being so unbearably douchey.

Ellis also appeared in I-Mockery's "My Favorite Christmas Movie Assholes" article, and rightfully so!

8. Agents Johnson and Johnson (no relation).

After a while the FBI shows up at Nakatomi Plaza and the two agents in charge introduce themselves as "Agents Johnson and Johnson (no relation)". You kind of get the impression that these guys don't like each other very much, but they tolerate being partnered together just so they can continue making that "no relation" joke every time they meet someone new. They pretty much continue to fuck everything up in their arrogance, and eventually they end up in a helicopter shooting at John McClane while he's on the roof (that's wired to blow) trying to get all the hostages to go back inside the building. I suppose it was just an innocent misunderstanding, their trying to kill him and all, but they're still a couple of assholes, and nobody feels bad for them when their helicopter explodes.

Also, let's not forget that Special Agent Big Johnson (Robert Davi) was Jake Fratelli in The Goonies. This guy was born to play an asshole.

9. Hans Gruber's Slow Fall.

Spoiler Alert! If you haven't seen the movie Die Hard yet, the bad guy dies at the end. (Also, why in the fuck haven't you watched Die Hard yet?) I know this is a shocking turn of events for an American action flick, especially one from the 1980s, but try to wrap your head around this crazy concept. There are certainly no shortage of films in which the main antagonist dies by falling at the end, but in my mind, Hans Gruber does it with a style that few others can match. Before he was Severus Snape or the Sheriff of Nottingham, Alan Rickman played a German criminal pretending to be a terrorist who at one point pretends to be an American with a really unconvincing accent, and who does all of this in a really nice suit, because he believes that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing in style, up to and including your death. When Hans is dangling out the window gripping Holly McClane's wrist, he's got his gun pointed right at her, because he's got that bitch right where he wants her. But then he falls, and his mouth gapes open and his hair slowly flutters out, as if he's underwater, and he slowly and gracefully drops to his doom.

10. Zombie Karl.

At the end of the film, when all of the bad guys are dead, the police and rescue people are swarming all around the building, and McClane and his wife are being escorted away, who should come shambling out of the building but Karl, who McClane basically hanged from a chain near the top of the building. His hate is so strong that he survived being hanged and being blown up with the roof, just so he could come back downstairs and take one final shot at McClane, who he wants revenge on for killing his brother. And of course, you know that it's going to be Carl Winslow who saves the day, because earlier in the film he makes this emotional speech about how he hasn't fired his gun in years because he accidentally shot a kid (here's hoping it was Steve Urkel). You see this kind of "oh, the bad guy wasn't really dead and makes one final desperate flail at the hero at the very end" thing all the time in movies today, but I don't recall seeing it much before Die Hard. The interesting thing is that with the way Karl looks and with everything he's been through, I think he really might be a zombie. Which actually means that this isn't the end of Die Hard; it's the beginning of a new film, where something in the Nakatomi building caused an outbreak of zombieism. John McClane versus zombies? Could've been awesome.

Those are some of the reasons I enjoy Die Hard so much. If there's something you love about it that I didn't mention, let us know in the comments below! Or if you have any other non-traditional Christmas movies you enjoy, tell us and let us know what you love about them.

Have any questions or comments about this piece?


If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:

My Favorite Christmas Movie Assholes!

Reader Comments

taco loving zombie
Dec 24th, 2011, 03:00 PM
die zombies hard the unofficial sequel to die hard a new christmas movie by tim burton
frappez le cochon rouge
Dec 24th, 2011, 03:35 PM
Pickled Patriarch
Dec 25th, 2011, 04:40 AM
Damnit, now I want to Die Hard remade from zombies sooooo badly. Yippie ki yay, undead motherfucker.

As far as non-traditional Christmas films go, Gremlins is definitely one I try to watch every season. I could watch them butcher Christmas carols all day long.
frappez le cochon rouge
Dec 25th, 2011, 10:01 AM
I started the Die Hard tradition in my family. We watch the first two around Christmas time and pretend the others don't exist.
I shot Wilhelm.
Dec 25th, 2011, 02:13 PM
I just had a discussion last night about Die Hard being one of my favorite Christmas movies. And no one thought it counted as one. What awful people.
Pickled Patriarch
Dec 25th, 2011, 02:33 PM
ChaiTea - We have a word for those kind of people: morons.
Forum Virgin
Dec 26th, 2011, 03:45 PM
Watched it again last night. Another scene I love is when McClane is being chased off the roof after calling the police and as he's passing the pinup on the wall, takes a quarter-second to kiss his hand and touch the girl's boobs. Sure, he's running for his life, but still has time to register and appreciate a nice pair of tits.
Forum Virgin
Dec 27th, 2011, 08:15 AM
Watched it over the weekend with my whole family. I must have seen this movie a hundred times, but this past watching was the first time that I noticed that Vigo from Ghostbusters II is one of the terrorists.

Letahl Weapon is another great non-Christmas Chirstmas movie.
The face of trapped wind.
Dec 27th, 2011, 01:07 PM
Next christmas I'm gonna sport a generic grey sweatshirt with "now I have a machine gun. ho ho ho." scrawled across it in red marker.

also, even though its not true I always like to believe that family matters was loosely spun off from this film.
Billy Champman's Friend
Dec 27th, 2011, 05:21 PM
Admiral of the Undead
Dec 28th, 2011, 02:16 PM
Required Christmas viewing! Die Hard is a quintessential holiday classic. You must do Die Hard II next Christmas!
Forum Virgin
Jan 5th, 2012, 01:09 AM
Hey, Arglye punched the terrorists's hacker's lights out. Don't forget that!
Forum Virgin
Jan 8th, 2012, 03:32 AM
I love this movie dearly but there is just one thing that bugs me every damn time I watch it. It happens at the end when Argyle rams his limo through the gate blocking the garage. If a limo can do that why didn't the cops ram that tank through it instead of it getting hung up on the stairs like fucking ED209 from Robocop?
Reality bores me
Jan 9th, 2012, 01:47 PM
I like how the reaction of Rickman falling is genuine, when they filmed the scene the stuntman dropped him on the count of 2, not 3 so he wasn't expecting it.
Forum Virgin
Jan 13th, 2012, 01:44 PM

This is Christmas music!
Jan 30th, 2012, 02:34 AM
No love for Lt Dwayne Robinson?

For shame!

Wasn't he the teacher from Beakhast Club?
Jan 30th, 2012, 02:35 AM
*Breakfast Club

Dam you stubby fingers!
Forum Virgin
Feb 10th, 2012, 11:41 PM
Vigo was in Die Hard, and Carl Winslow was in Ghostbusters

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