Being touted as "the greatest Christmas movie ever made," Die Hard was the first film of choice for this challenge especially coming off the holiday season. I mean, there are Christmas movies and then there’s Die Hard which, now, for me, is in a holiday cinematic class of its own. I'll even go as far as saying if Die Hard isn’t in someone’s top three Christmas movies of all time, then you shouldn’t be friends with them anymore.
While most holiday moves fail to escape the time-honored tradition of teaching you important life lessons about the value of family and the heart-warming act of charity and giving, Die Hard gives you more explosions than a Bruckheimer film by using more weapons than all Grand Theft Auto video games combined. The closest we get to seeing Santa Clause in this movie is a terrorist with a broken neck donning a Santa hat with a bloody message written on his sweatshirt that reads, "NOW I HAVE A MACHINE GUN. HO-HO-HO." Classic.
Die Hard really is a once-in-a-generation iconic action movie that's so kickass you can't help but love it. But for the purpose of my challenge, I need to scrutinize and have a more critical eye than a right-winger judging Miley Cyrus. So even with the level of badassery only a movie of this caliber can generate, there are 5 facts uncovered during my research that make our main characters look like pussies.
#5. Alan Rickman Was Consistently Frightend by Gunfire
Before joining the movie cast as "Hans Gruber," Rickman was a stage actor — Die Hard was actually his feature film debut. And one thing that classically trained Shakespearean actors don’t normally do is pull out an arsenal of firearms and start blasting away. Every time Rickman fired a gun on set he recoiled in sheer horror, which isn't exactly ideal for a character that's supposed to be an intimidating career terrorist. Director John McTiernan was forced to cut away from Hans Gruber’s face every time he fired a gun because of Rickman’s uncontrollable habit of flinching from the noise and muzzle flash. That's why you rarely see his face when he pulls a trigger. If you watch Rickman closely enough when he executes Mr. Takagi, you can see him slightly wincing like a toddler holding a sparkler for the first time.
#4. Bruce Willis Wasn't The First Choice
Nor was he the second... third... forth... fifth... or sixth choice for John McClane. As iconic as Bruce Willis's performance is, it's hard to imagine anyone else yelling, "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!" with as much unflinching carelessness as he did. John McTiernan originally planned to make "Commando 2," but Arnold Schwarzenegger turned down the idea. McTiernan then set his sights on "Die Hard," offering Schwarzenegger the role of McClane, but he again declined, presumably because he was too busy banging the bottom out of his housekeeper. The role was then passed from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Richard Gere, Harrison Ford, and Mel Gibson before — that's right, before — Bruce Willis nabbed the part. See, Willis was universally considered a "TV actor," causing the studio to have concerns that he might prevent box office success because he wasn’t a movie star yet. But offering the roll to Richard "Gerbil-in-the-ass" Gere is just a slap in the face to the entire character.
#3. And Speaking of "Yippee-ki-yay"...
The line has been used by John McClane in all of the Die Hard movies, and in 2007, was even voted as #96 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere. But what the hell does it really mean? Well in Urdu it means, “Here, eat this,” which sounds more like something my vegan friends say when they're trying to convince me that vegan chocolate chip cookies taste the same as the original. No, they fucking don't! (note: Some translations even say "Mother, here eat this.") Now although it certainly seemed like McClane baked a lovely bullet casserole to dish out to every god damn German he saw, we still would have better off not knowing the translation. Doesn't really have the same impact anymore, does it?
#2. Bruce Willis Goes Deaf
For a guy who spent his entire Christmas Eve running barefoot through shards of broken glass, being shot at from 360 degrees, taking a bullet in the shoulder, and standing within close proximity to multiple explosions, you wouldn't think the simple act of shooting a gun would cause irreparable hearing loss. But that is exactly what happened during the scene where McClane is hiding under a table and kills a terrorist by turning his testicles in to Swiss cheese via shooting him through the bottom of a table. Director John McTiernan wanted to use extra loud blanks to achieve “hyper-realism,” because the pre-recorded gun blasts coming from a studio library of sound effects were recorded in the 1950s and he decided they would "sound a bit corny." Looking at how close Willis was firing the gun next to his own head, I can understand some temporary hearing loss... but permanent? Pussy.
#1. Wait... Who's In Federal Prison?
The most climatic scene of the entire movie is when Hans Gruber (pretending to be "Billy Clay") and John McClane (pretending to give a fuck) are face-to-face for the first time engaging in a lovely game of share-a-pack-of-cigarettes and hold my gun. This is the showdown of all showdowns — someone is going to jail! Who will it be!? The villainous Gruber or the rogue agent McClane? Or how about director John McTiernan? ... Whaaaat? That's right, director John McTiernan is currently serving a 12-month sentence in federal prison for perjury and lying to the FBI during the investigation into a complex scandal of wiretapping stemming from Anthony Pellicano. Meaning the movie's director is way more badass than John "I'm afraid of flying" McClane or Hans Gruber who died from playing a game of chicken with his face and the concrete from 30-stories up — allegedly died, since we didn't see a body (and I haven't seen part 2).