Green Room

The ultimate Valentine’s Day film?

posted at 12:52 pm on February 15, 2013 by

My friend and fellow film buff John Hanlon argued yesterday that the perfect Valentine’s Day film is … Die HardFor guys, anyway:

The 1988 original stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, a sarcastic New York cop visiting his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) and his two children in California. When he arrives at Holly’s office Christmas party, the tension in their relationship is immediately evident. Holly is using her maiden name again and John doesn’t even plan to stay with his family while he’s in town.

There’s no doubt that John loves his wife and wants to rekindle the romance, but he can’t seem to admit it. But while John proves incapable of communicating his feelings to his wife verbally, an opportunity arises allowing him to prove his devotion to her. …

The story’s subtext recognizes the stereotypical, but undeniable fact that many men aren’t romantic or open with their emotions. Despite what many rom-coms and dramas suggest, a lot of guys don’t picture themselves courting a woman by blasting a boombox outside a bedroom window, as is done in “Say Anything.” (In fact, that’s probably illegal in most states.) And forget “Titanic.” Guys don’t want to get the girl of their dreams by freezing in the ocean while keeping the one they love afloat on a piece of driftwood. (That plan doesn’t actually work long-term, either.)

Men often imagine winning a girl’s affection by proving their worth in a battle against someone or something that threatens their loved one’s life. While many women want the men in their lives to be sensitive like Ryan Gosling’s “Notebook” character Noah, guys aspire to be like the renegade John McClane in “Die Hard.”

Hey, sounds great to me, but … then again, I’m a guy.  Somehow, I think this will be a tough sell as a date-night movie to the lady in your life, but feel free to try.  If that doesn’t work out, take her to see Warm Bodies, which has a bit more emphasis on romance, even if that’s not really the point of the film.

On the other hand, my wife just told me that she’s up for seeing A Good Day to Die Hard with me tonight, which I’ll review on Sunday.  Maybe John’s on to something here …

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On the other hand, my wife just told me that she’s up for seeing A Good Day to Die Hard with me tonight, which I’ll review on Sunday. Maybe John’s on to something here …

All the awesome women would do that for the man in their life!

ButterflyDragon on February 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Oh… and Beautiful Creatures is playing now too.

ButterflyDragon on February 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Thinking about taking my son to see this movie. Not only have all four previous Die Hard’s been great action films with strong characters, but I’d like to support Bruce Willis, one of the finite right-leaning actors in Hollywood. I appreciated his statement on the 2nd Amendment when asked at the German premiere of his latest film. It’s gonna blow up the box office this weekend, for sure.

Btw, have any of the Lib film critics skewered this film yet in protest of his views under the guise of film-critiquing, the most obsolete occupation in the US? Wouldn’t put it past them.

RepubChica on February 15, 2013 at 1:12 PM

i’m with mrs. morrisey…take me to see a good day to die hard

note to mr cmsinaz :)

cmsinaz on February 15, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Shoot the Glass.

portlandon on February 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM

The ultimate Valentine’s Day movie, the ultimate Christmas movie…is there nothing Die Hard can’t do?

DrAllecon on February 15, 2013 at 1:52 PM

On the other hand, my wife just told me that she’s up for seeing A Good Day to Die Hard with me tonight, which I’ll review on Sunday.

Oh, good idea, the Husband wants to go the movies also. To this day I might still be annoyed at being taken to “Death Wish” on my birthday but this one franchise is another story. Even with no hair I like this bad boy.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2013 at 2:03 PM

On the other hand, my wife just told me that she’s up for seeing A Good Day to Die Hard with me tonight, which I’ll review on Sunday. Maybe John’s on to something here …

Bad idea, Ed. The reviews are horrendous. And I don’t just mean from critics. It’s being almost universally panned.

As for the original Die Hard, I don’t really see it as a Valentine’s Day film. First because while the relationship between John and Holly is key to caring about what happens to the characters, it takes a backseat to the action for almost the entire film. And secondly because as the series wore on, they separated again and eventually divorced.

Doughboy on February 15, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Doughboy on February 15, 2013 at 2:13 PM

I generally make it a point not to read reviews of films I plan to review myself. I will sometimes peek at the Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer for an overall look at how it’s being received, but that’s all. I’ve heard that the reviews aren’t good, but in this case I think I’d like to check it out myself first.

Plus, it’s not exactly like Hamlet is opening this week. ;-)

Ed Morrissey on February 15, 2013 at 2:22 PM

I generally make it a point not to read reviews of films I plan to review myself. I will sometimes peek at the Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer for an overall look at how it’s being received, but that’s all. I’ve heard that the reviews aren’t good, but in this case I think I’d like to check it out myself first.

Plus, it’s not exactly like Hamlet is opening this week. ;-)

Ed Morrissey on February 15, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Understood. Just be prepared for a stinkbomb. It’s currently at 17% which is a score not very many high profile movies receive. Hell, Live Free or Die Hard which was itself a mediocre crapfest is rated at 81% on that site.

Doughboy on February 15, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Well, Doughboy, they could get back together in Die Hard 6, you never know. And Die Hard is a perfect Valentine’s Day movie. It has something for everyone — action for the guys and yummy Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman (never more suave)for the girls. Good dialog and a happy ending. Perfect.

IdrilofGondolin on February 15, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Well, Doughboy, they could get back together in Die Hard 6, you never know. And Die Hard is a perfect Valentine’s Day movie. It has something for everyone — action for the guys and yummy Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman (never more suave)for the girls. Good dialog and a happy ending. Perfect.

IdrilofGondolin on February 15, 2013 at 2:27 PM

I wouldn’t hold my breath for a Die Hard 6(Only the Good Die Hard?). If the 5th one is as bad as people say, the 2nd weekend dropoff will be massive and that’ll be all she wrote. Unless it does huge business overseas in which case I guess Fox could shove another one down our throats.

The problem is this series has shed all the talented creative people behind the scenes over the years to the point where they’re now hiring the hack director of Max Payne and the dude who wrote Wolverine and The A-Team to churn out the latest entry. We’ve come a long way since John McTiernan, Joel Silver, and Steven E. de Souza were running the show.

Doughboy on February 15, 2013 at 2:37 PM

I happened to watch the last hour or so of the movie this week. All the subtext is between McClane and Al the cop. Holly reclaims her married name only after McClane introduces her to Al using her maiden name at the end. She was threatened by Al and her husband’s subtle declaration of availability. Al then proceeds to save McClane after previously declaring that he could never draw his gun on anyone again.

If there’s a valentine in that movie, it’s between two dudes.

rw on February 15, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Grosse Pointe Blank

tom daschle concerned on February 15, 2013 at 3:11 PM

You just ruined Die Hard for me, Ed. Thanks.

Nomennovum on February 15, 2013 at 3:20 PM

I’m of a mind with Hanlon, but when I think romantic movie a guy might like, I get Casablanca. Lead character is a tough guy living a macho dream: mercenary, gun runner, opens a night club in an exotic locale. He’s also an honest alpha male in that he never seeks approval from others, while others seek him for his. So, yeah, once guys get past that “it’s an old movie” thing, they can get hooked.

There’s more, but there be spoilers for people who haven’t seen it yet — even if they have already seen parodies of the ending. BTW, if you get a chance to see this in a real movie theater, do it. It’s a lot of fun watching younger audience members get in this and watching coulples leave the theater walking a bit closer to each other.

apostic on February 15, 2013 at 3:48 PM

I actually prefer Payback with Mel Gibson.

Caiwyn on February 15, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Why, just today my wife suggested seeing the new Die Hard movie for date night. And I was the one who declined. Watching an aging Bruce Willis would be almost as hard as watching Harrison Ford reprise his role as Han Solo. But that’s another thread to address.

HiJack on February 15, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Don’t do it, Ed! My wife and I saw it at the Mall Of Asia in Manila yesterday (digital theater – at least the quality of the projection was _excellent_). What a disappointment. All of the ‘McClane quips’ fall flat. Willis phones it in. It appears they are trying to pass the franchise off to the new, unknown, _bad_ actor that plays his son.

After the first 30 minutes, you can leave and see a decent movie. The beginning action sequence is excellent, but downhill from there.

Timothy S. Carlson on February 15, 2013 at 7:57 PM

I’m of the opinion that Spartacus is the ultimate Valentine’s Day movie.

Sackett on February 15, 2013 at 8:22 PM

I lost interest in the Die Hard movies after seeing the third one. It was basically a live-action cartoon.

I wish Redbox would run older movies through their rotation. I’d consider renting and watching the first one again.

22044 on February 15, 2013 at 8:24 PM

Don’t do it, Ed! My wife and I saw it at the Mall Of Asia in Manila yesterday (digital theater – at least the quality of the projection was _excellent_). What a disappointment. All of the ‘McClane quips’ fall flat. Willis phones it in. It appears they are trying to pass the franchise off to the new, unknown, _bad_ actor that plays his son.

After the first 30 minutes, you can leave and see a decent movie. The beginning action sequence is excellent, but downhill from there.

Timothy S. Carlson on February 15, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Die Hard 6 will probably be called Die Hard: The Next Generation.

22044 on February 15, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Die Hard 90210

Timothy S. Carlson on February 15, 2013 at 8:39 PM

I actually prefer Payback with Mel Gibson.

Caiwyn on February 15, 2013 at 5:31 PM

“Hubba hubba hubba.”

I have a crush on Lucy Lui because of that movie.

Timothy S. Carlson on February 15, 2013 at 8:42 PM

I don’t know what people were expecting, it’s not an international relations treatise, it’s an action film, there’s a band of terrorists that have an ulterior motive, it’s chaotic in the way, the world is chaotic,

narciso on February 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Hey Ed, it was great to hear you and the First Mate on the radio locally last night. On a day when the gay activists were firing up in Minnesota, it was darn nice to hear you and your bride talk about real marriage….God bless you richly in what you are doing.

crosshugger on February 15, 2013 at 9:06 PM

I always liked the 1967 film, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, with Jason Robards and George Segal. But, then again, I’m a guy.

moc23 on February 15, 2013 at 11:34 PM

Just saw “Crazy, Stupid, Love” yesterday; since I had it on DVR for a few months. It was pretty good. Only caveat is the gratuitous adult humor that involves kids. That adult humor was funny but could’ve moved the film into family territory without it. I’d recommend it to someone looking for a movie. It would pass as a chick-flick and won’t make the guys produce estrogen.

Saw “One Day” as well, what a long drawn out insomnia cure. There was a single point that I made a joke…and then it occurred. I was stunned, if you can stick to the end, last half hour or so, it might be worth it. First hour and half…good luck.

John Kettlewell on February 16, 2013 at 5:54 AM

“The African Queen” with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.

Or “Green Card,” with Gerard Dipardieu and Andie McDowell. As for that, Dipardieu’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” is marvellous.

theotherone on February 16, 2013 at 10:35 AM