Point of No Return — It’s time we tackle one of life’s greatest riddles

Date Published: 
Dec. 15, 2017

We are, quite obviously, a nation divided.

As obvious as it appears at first blush, it would be lazy and unimaginative to chalk it all up to politics. Sure, we break off into our Republican and Democrat teams, and we formulate most of our personal opinions based on what the party leaders instruct us our personal opinions are, but there is another, more vast division that prevents us from unifying as one strong, impenetrable nation.

Religion? Not for this discussion, but one does not have to look to hard to find divisions amongst us based on how and to whom we pray. Genders? Well, yes, we do have different genders, and zillions of questions surrounding the inherent equality between the genders, but that is not what I’m talking about today, either. Is the hot dog a sandwich? This might be too controversial to tackle in such a limited space. But we promise to revisit that in the future.

No, the topic that truly rips us apart, exposes our biases and creates massive angst over our abilities to work together for any common cause in the future is the following question: Is “Die Hard” a Christmas movie?

This has been debated all over my social media feeds in recent weeks, which tells me that it is either a very-serious point of contention between thinking people, or a way to have fun and blow off steam during a time when we could all use a distraction to have fun and blow off steam. Either way, I’m in.

To really break this down, we first have to set up some qualifiers as to what truly constitutes a Christmas movie.

• Does the movie, in fact, take place at Christmas?

Yes. Yes, it does.

And there you have it. A movie that takes place at Christmas is technically a Christmas movie. So, using that logic, “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. I’d like to rest my case here, but I sense that some people are probably not satisfied yet. Let’s dig a little deeper here, focusing our attention next as to what constitutes a “good Christmas movie.”

• A good Christmas movie make you feel warm in your soul by the end of the film.

Um, John McClane killed about 719 terrorists and jumped from a giant explosion. Yes, again, “Die Hard” passes the test.

• A good Christmas movie displays how the spirit of Christmas pulls a family together.

John McClane and his wife seem to pull back together through his terrorist-killing ways, and hopefully he becomes a better father now that the Christmas bug is inside him.

• A good Christmas movie involves some memorable Christmas music.

No holiday has spurred better songs than Christmas, and Die Hard features “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-DMC. Case closed. Not only is “Die Hard” a Christmas movie. It is a fantastic Christmas movie.

So, yeah, I might have been having a little fun there. Though I admittedly love the movie, I wouldn’t necessarily consider “Die Hard” when I think about my favorite Christmas movies of all time. I mean, there was a scene in “Lethal Weapon” when Mel Gibson busted up some bad guys at a Christmas tree lot, but I wouldn’t throw “Lethal Weapon” in there with “White Christmas” or some of the other classic Christmas films.

Though, now that I think about it, maybe we should have this debate. “Lethal Weapon” featured a family element that warms the heart and...

But I digress.

So, what are those Christmas movies that I just love to watch each and every year? There are actually several, and missing any one of them does leave a kind of hole in my heart. These movies can become part of our tradition, and traditions mean an awful lot this time of year.

For instance, my family and I have made a point of watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Christmas Story” nearly every year we have been together for the holiday. If either was missed, it was because of circumstances (only having it in VHS) or because we were too tired to stay up past 8 p.m. to watch it (this seems to happen with more frequency these days).

Since I was a little kid, the original “Miracle on 34th Street” has been a personal favorite. There’s something about the chemistry between a young Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle that gets me every year, and I can watch just the courtroom scene and consider myself satisfied.

Obviously, Rudolf, Frosty, Charlie Brown and all the other animated classics hold a special place in my heart, and it’s especially satisfying to watch those movies now with my 3-year-old. Of course, I was a little discombobulated when she kept refering to Frosty as Olaf, the snowman from the “Frozen” movie, but what are you going to do?

Personally, my all-time favorite Christmas movie is “Scrooged,” with Bill Murray. It’s a more-modern version of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” but with Bill Murray. And, honestly, someone could film a commercial for hemorrhoid cream, and if it’s starring Bill Murray, I’m going to TiVo it. Did I mention it has Bill Murray?

As for new movies, I took the little one to see “The Star,” and we both really enjoyed it. It’s a great family view, and reminds us why Christmas is Christmas, while offering plenty of silliness and animals to keep a toddler engaged. And there was popcorn. That keeps me engaged.

’Tis the season for giving, and for classic movies. Try to enjoy some of both this year.