Here’s my reasons why I fall in the first category, that the 1988 Bruce Willis action film about an attack by Eurotrash terrorists/thieves during the holiday party of a Japanese company in an office tower in Century City (a k a One Fox Plaza on Avenue of the Stars, which was under construction at the time) in Los Angeles, is indeed a Christmas movie.
Your results may vary.
- It takes place on Christmas Eve, with many of the trappings thereto — Christmas trees, Christmas music, Santa Claus hats, lights, etc. Of course, there are a few not normally associated with Christmas, like gunfire and explosions and dead terrorists/thieves (not to mention profanities, if you watch versions not edited for broadcast TV), but there’s a definite snowfall of white paper at the end.
- The central figure is a good man whose wife’s life has taken a very different turn than he expected, causing him to wind up in a kind of marriage he hadn’t anticipated. St. Joseph knew a thing or two about that.
- It’s about self-sacrifice. NYPD Detective John McClane (Willis) suffers pain and injury, risks his very life, to save the innocent and those he loves. Christ knew a thing or two about that.
- The enemies of the good are the base human impulses of greed, pride and indifference to the value of human life. Christ knew a thing or two about those, too.
- It’s about bringing a family — specifically a Catholic family — back together, with husband and wife both showing guts and fortitude in the face of threats to that family (Holly McClane delivers a powerful right hook on a callous TV reporter at the end).
- It’s about redemption. LAPD Sgt. Al Powell made a terrible mistake — shooting a kid with a fake gun that looked real at the time — and he’s suffered for it ever since. As a man with his first child on the way, he needs to regain his courage and be forgiven. In overcoming his fear to kill the last terrorist and save John and Holly McClane, he is redeemed. And isn’t that why Christ came into the world on Christmas?
And as a bonus, it ends with “Ode to Joy” and “Let It Snow.”
A Merry Christmas to you all, and to all a good night.
Image: Courtesy 21st Century Fox