The best Christmas movie there has ever been (yes, I’ll fight you on it), and the quintessential action movie that every other is still trying to follow, was first screened in the UK thirty years ago today.
Hell, it is quite possibly the greatest movie of all time. In any genre. Full stop. I am of course, talking about Die Hard.
Three decades on, and its simple but effective premise has yet to be bettered. The sequels, er… try hard to recapture that initial glory, and the franchise occasionally even comes close to hitting that big screen G-spot with some of the set pieces that follow, but the original eighties classic stands alone – as tall and proud as the iconic Nakatomi Plaza itself.
A Die Hard Christmasby Doogie Horner (illustrated by JJ Harrison) – 2017
Now I don’t make a habit of reading illustrated storybooks, much less receiving them as Christmas gifts, but this year in my festive stocking, I found this little marvel from my sister – something that I didn’t even know existed. Having read it and seen the presentation I’m surprised it took so long to turn this genius idea into a reality.
A Die Hard Christmas is based upon the greatest movie ever made* boiled down to thirty pages of rhyming couplets, complete with gorgeous illustrations throughout. There are some instantly memorable visuals that really (somewhat surprisingly) capture the action classic, and the story itself (even more surprisingly) actually works quite well in this condensed form.
Of course, it goes without saying that despite the surface appearance, A Die Hard Christmas is not for children. The visuals are filled with blood, and there’s a choice expletive to end the story, so please don’t mistake this for something written by Julia Donaldson.
When I started this, I didn’t think I had quite as many gripes as I (obviously) do…
People who say things like: “it feels like a Wednesday”, when it’s Thursday. Or Tuesday. Or even worse – when it is Wednesday. Is this really the intellectual level of your conversation? These are often the same people who proclaim —
— “but it’s really only five o’clock”, for days after the clocks have gone forward. How long can they continue to say that before it becomes irrelevant? No it isn’t five o’clock. Not here. You know where it is five o’clock? An hour to the west, that’s where. Across that imaginary line. But they never learn, because six months later when the clocks go back they say: “but it’s really still five o’clock.”
The guy who walks up to you in the office and wishes you a Happy New Year in April. Yes, April. Are you kidding me? And then he will try to shake your hand too. Give it a rest. From now on, Happy New Year well-wishes are banned once January is over… and even that seems generous.
Movie reboots. Stop doing it. Come up with new ideas. Not only are few of them any good, but recently re-imagined stuff like The Karate Kid or Total Recall invariably makes me feel old, because the originals reminds me of my childhood. If Hollywood ever even thinks about remaking Die Hard (the greatest action movie ever made), they will have to go through me first.
Self-service checkouts. They were invented to decrease the time it takes for you to buy your goods and increase traffic flow, but all I see is a bunch of machines that rarely recognise the item you try to scan, and an endless procession of people fruitlessly trying to peel apart the walls of those stupid plastic bags.
A friend has asked if these niggles are sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek, to which I said: