‘Die Hard’ lives on as favorite movie

Loving movies as much as I do, I’m often asked the question, “What is your favorite movie?” My instinct is to jump straight to “Star Wars,” the film that defined my childhood. I might then consider a Sidney Lumet film such as “Twelve Angry Men” or “Dog Day Afternoon.” Both are classics in their own right and exceptional films, but they don’t have the edge-of-your-seat fun one film has. “Die Hard” will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Monday after four sequels have been released of this comedic-action film franchise. I love “Die Hard”; it is basically a perfect summer movie that deserves a big bowl of popcorn and attentive eyes and ears to catch all the great ‘80s action and Bruce Willis’ wordy quips.

In “Die Hard,” John McClane (Willis), an officer for the New York Police Department, attempts to save his wife and her co-workers when the villainous terrorist Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) holds everyone hostage at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles during a surprisingly eventful Christmas party. What results from this attempted rescue is multiple beaten and bloodied bad guys and enough sarcasm to make anyone crack a smile.

“Die Hard” originally came out on July 22, 1988, and was directed by John McTiernan and distributed by Twentieth Century Fox. The film was nominated for four Oscars and went on to make $140,767,956 worldwide at the box office with only a $28 million budget. This film also marked the arrival of Rickman, a British actor who would go on to play Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” film series. Rickman kick started a film career, but one actor threw his into overdrive!

Willis quickly became a household name after his superstar role as John McClane. The actor has since been featured in nearly 100 films and still has clout as an action star even at 58 years old. This is certainly not bad considering the relatively unknown film actor wasn’t even featured on the original “Die Hard” poster.

“Die Hard” has everything an action lover should want from beat-’em-up brawls to full-on firefights. What makes this particular film a modern classic, though, is the dialogue that was both in the script and improvised. Additionally, this film has holiday flair with it which makes it a perfect holiday film to contrast with the 60th viewing of “A Christmas Story.” The film was released in July originally so give yourself a treat and have a little Christmas in July with “Die Hard.”

The action is still fresh after all these years and the two main actors bring to life a wicked story of deception and power. If you’re looking for a modern classic that is constantly copied by current action releases, but is never quite matched, then I highly recommend “Die Hard” whether it’s your first time watching it or your 58th time. Director John McTiernan and screenwriters Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza successfully bring together both action and comedy, but never skimp on anything or make the plot or characters too ridiculous. If only our action heroes were more like John McClane today and less like the muscles on top of muscles behemoths today. I miss those witty quips coming from an everyman like Bruce Willis.

Patrick White

Movie fan Patrick White doesn't spare anyone's feelings when deciding if the latest Hollywood offering is trash or treasure. Catch his reviews on the latest theater and DVD releases in Saturday's paper.

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