It’s Christmas eve! Aren’t you glad you’re not at some terrible 80’s LA office party filled with drugs and terrorists and feathered hair and a totally hunky undershirt wearing Bruce Willis? No? Well- you can visit that magical world by watching this all time great holiday classic.
William Atherton was the ultimate guy you wanted to punch in the face in the ‘80s. In Die Hard, 1988, the whole movie is John McClane vs. anyone who disagrees with John McClane. And this movie was at the cusp of Bush I, not even Bush II, I know, weird! I love how the press and the FBI are portrayed in equally unflattering ways as the terrorists in this movie. This is, of course when terrorists were just a motley group of long haired Germans who want money, and not the Terrorists they are today. Yes, Virginia, there was a time when terrorists were white and had hair the color of spun gold. And yes, I know one of them in this movie is African American, I’m making a point here! Geez.
Do I have to explain the plot? Ok, John McClane is a New York cop. His wife, Holly, played by Bonnie Bedalia, has moved to LA for a career opportunity with their children. John is arriving in LA to visit for the holidays, and is meeting Holly at her office. Things are weird between the two of them, we learn. Anyway, John gets to the office, an office party is going on, awkwardness, awkwardness, John goes into Holly’s office to conveniently take of his shirt and shoes and clean up. While his shirt and shoes are off, kablamoo! Gun shots, the office party is being taken over by terrorists! John quickly escapes the office before he is discovered, in just his bare feet and undershirt. Get it? He’s just in his undershirt and bare feet.
Cat and mouse ensues throughout the, still under construction, high rise. People are killed, things are said. One of those is: “Yippe-ki-yay mother fucker.” John befriends Sgt. Al Powell (played by Reginald VelJohnson, who later would go on to be Erkel’s foil in “Family Matters”) via walkie talkie. Al’s wife is pregnant and he hates guns cause he shot a kid. Doesn’t matter, though, because like all good ‘80s movies, it’s Al and John as the regular Joe’s vs. the FBI, the LAPD, a stern faced Paul Gleason, the terrorists, the press, the world. It must have been so hard to be a manager in the ‘80s because all of your employees thought they were infinitely smarter than you. Assholes. What’s worse is that they were! Dammit.
Anyway, the only person dressed as Santa in this one is a dead terrorist, but other than that, it still gets you in the mood for the Holidays. Right? Drunken office parties that go horribly awry? Check. The boss you sort of like and also sort of hate until he gets shot in the head by a German terrorist because he won’t give him the code to the safe and then you feel bad? Check. Bruce Willis in all of his ‘80s swashbuckling charm? Check and check. Exploding helicopters, people falling out of high rise windows in slow motion, stunts that are improbable at worst and totally awesome at best? Merry Fucking Christmas!