Forget biomass subsidies and paid family medical leave. Here at New Hampshire Journal, we’ve dragged Granite State politicos into the most hotly-contested throwdown debate of the day.
No, not Donald Trump. Die Hard.
Christmas movie or not?
If you live your life away from social media, you may not be aware of the ongoing national argument over whether Bruce Willis’ action-hero hit, Die Hard, is in fact a celebration of the Christmas season. Proponents insist that Die Hard isn’t just a Christmas classic, but it’s the best Christmas movie EVAH! Opponents just roll their eyes.
According to a December poll by Morning Consult, most Americans remain unconvinced that the tale of NYC Detective John McClane foiling a Christmas Eve robbery at Nakatomi Plaza is, in fact, heartwarming Christmas fare. Only 25 percent of Americans agree, while 62 percent say no.
One of the naysayers? Bruce Willis himself who, at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the movie’s release (in July, by the way), told the crowd “Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie! It’s a g**damn Bruce Willis movie!”
That hasn’t been enough to dissuade the most die-hard (sorry, had to do it) of fans. One trolling website used movie website data and other information to create what they claim is a map of the Christmas movie each state is most obsessed with. Die Hard, they claim, is number one in Virginia, Missouri and Washington state. But they also claim that the top Christmas flick in Florida and California is Batman Returns. (That’s the one with Michael Keaton and Danny De Vito. Yikes.).
New Hampshire’s top flick? A Christmas Carol.
Meanwhile, the controversy is all over the media, with articles in the Washington Post and profiles on NBC News. The Portsmouth Herald recently ran a column, “Die Hard Is A Christmas Movie,” arguing that the true Christmas classic Home Alone “is essentially Die Hard for kids.”
So as the national debate rages, where do New Hampshire politicians stand? Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
“Absolutely!” Gov. Chris Sununu told NHJournal. “Everything about it says ‘Christmas.’”
Sununu, an admitted Die Hard fanboy, made a strong case. “What’s the theme song? The Christmas classic, ‘Let It Snow.’ When does the sequel [Die Hard II] take place? Christmas. And what does John McClane use to strap the gun to his back? Christmas packing tape. Case closed: It’s a Christmas movie!”
And while Sununu may struggle to get bipartisan support on energy policy or business taxes, on this issue he’s got plenty of allies across the aisle.
“Yes, of course Die Hard is a Christmas movie. But I hear Russian bots are spreading lies that it isn’t,” NH Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley told us via email.
“It’s one of the top 10 movies of all time, and it’s a Christmas movie,” says new State Senate majority leader Dan Feltes. “It’s a story of redemption and family and action and adventure all wrapped into a classic American story.”
The Granite State spirit of bipartisanship in this debate reflects national polling: 26 percent of Democrats and Republicans agree with Sununu, Buckley and Feltes.
Oh, and House GOP leader Rep. Dick Hinch: “Oh, definitely a Christmas movie,” he told us. “The entire background of the movie is Christmas.”
So who then is New Hampshire’s voice for the silent majority? The 62 percent who think this is nonsense?
“Die Hard a Christmas movie? My answer is no,” says newly-elected Speaker of the House Rep. Steve Shurtleff. “To me, a Christmas movie will always be films like It’s A Wonderful Life,” Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story.
(Granite State 2nd Amendment advocates, take note: The new speaker is down with the “Official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.” An opening for cooperation and compromise?)
NH DNC National Committeewoman Kathy Sullivan is having none of it, either. “No. My idea of a great Christmas movie is Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, with music by the great Jules Styne. ‘Razzleberry dressing!’”
“Die Hard isn’t on my list,” says state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, who, like Speaker Shurtleff, is a Miracle on 34th Street fan. “When the court rules that, ‘if the Post Office says Edmund Gwenn is Santa that’s good enough for us,’ I love that part. But I’m a Democrat. I like it when the government solves problems,” he said with a laugh.
The Die Hard debate could even become an issue in the upcoming race for NHGOP vice chair. Pam Tucker is a solid no: “Of course not! It’s an action-adventure movie. There’s shooting. There’s killing. There’s swearing! Where are the family values?”
Her opponent, Kate Day, tells NHJournal: “Christmas, Fourth of July, you name it. For me, Die Hard is an anytime movie. Yippee Ki Yay!”
Interestingly, the political-consultant class seems to embrace the pro-Christmas-movie case whole-heartedly. Joel Payne, a DC Democrat and former advisor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign tells NHJournal “Die Hard is absolutely a Christmas movie. In fact, I would argue that Die Hard is the best Christmas movie. It’s built around an office Christmas party and (villain) Hans Gruber is the human embodiment of The Grinch.”
Locally-based GOP strategist Dave Carney echoes his sentiment. “It’s one of the top five, for sure. Only a Grinch lover would deny such a cultural fact.”
And yet the vast majority of Americans—and almost certainly Granite Staters—disagree. Is this another case of out-of-touch arrogant elites undermining our basic American values?
Or is Die Hard just a really, really good movie?