I think we can stop with the discourse now. It is widely accepted (by the internet, which never lies) that any movie that takes place during the holidays is, in fact, a holiday movie. There are many holiday specific genres of course: romance (Die Hard), action (Die Hard), grumpy depressed boy (Die Hard), capitalism bad (Die Hard), copaganda (Die Hard), and Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands). I love them all. I really do. But I take serious issue with this whole “I’m a man action movie grrr sexism made it so I can’t enjoy holiday movies” business that has turned Die Hard into the ultimate Man Christmas Movie. First of all, there are plenty of perfectly acceptable non-traditional Christmas Man Movies: Batman Returns, Gremlins, Lethal Weapon. You just have to get past some casual sexism, racism, and homophobia (which, okay is a big ask). More importantly, the ultimate absolute bestest holiday action movie is obviously The Long Kiss Goodnight. Since cis dudes are afraid of women (and they should be), I’m going to go ahead and claim The Long Kiss Goodnight for the feminists and the queers. Heteronormative men can have their bigoted action flicks.
The Long Kiss Goodnight has got all the best action elements: shootouts, explosions, Samuel L. Jackson, a dramatic makeup/hairstyle change montage, knife fights. It also has (and this is real important) Geena Davis talking about deflowering virgins. Plus, as a treat, a general skewering of American law enforcement systems. They knew in 1996 that law enforcement was filled with a bunch of self-aggrandizing, violent terrorists who were perfectly content to “blame it on the Muslims” to get funding. How is this film not widely regarded as the holiday classic it was meant to be?
I’m so tired of us claiming that severe violence, gore, and profanity aren’t wholesome. I’m so tired of us claiming that mothers/kindly second grade teachers can’t stab dudes in the eyeball or flash low rent detectives to distract them or curse like motherfucking sailors without being considered indecent. Some dudes just need to be stabbed in the eyeball. And having Geena Davis flash you would be an excellent distraction. Hell, I’m distracted right now just thinking about it.
Now I understand that Die Hard and Die Hard 2 contain some very important holiday action tropes. There’s the classic lengthy fight scenes in the snow while our hero is only wearing a tank top. Well, I see your sweaty muscley Bruce Willis in a tank top and raise you a sweaty muscley Geena Davis in a tank top. We also have the highly regarded using a strand of Christmas lights to fly into the air while firing a machine gun (very Christmasy). And, of course, ice skating with a rifle. Like you do.
What makes this film feminist and queer af though, has to be the decidedly non-romantic, deep respect Samuel L. Jackson’s Mitch has for Geena Davis’s Sam. When he’s being held at gunpoint and she’s about to be tortured to death his parting words are “I’ll be waiting for you to come and rescue me.” This dude doesn’t even try. He knows the only things he brings to the team are quips and Newports. She has quips, Newports, and is a badass motherfucker. So he waits.
This year has been a real kick in the box. Nothing is normal. So why should we watch mediocre men engage in problematic behaviors and poor parenting and gratuitous violence for the good of America and Christmas and kittens? Instead, I propose we watch Geena Davis engage in problematic behaviors and poor parenting and gratuitous violence for the good of America and Christmas and kittens.