McClane-hanging-from-a-fire-hose-Die-Hard

Action Jackson

10 Reasons Why Die Hard Is the Best Action Movie Ever Made

Catch Die Hard as part of IFC's July 4th action movie weekend.

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Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Forget all the sequels, which have morphed from carbon copies of the original to blue tinged exercises in bland action. For our money, the original Die Hard is the greatest action movie ever made. With Die Hard and Die Hard 2 airing as part of IFC’s Independence Day weekend action extravaganza, we thought we’d look back at the original ’80s classic, and figure out once and for all why it was the best of the best. So welcome to the party, pal, let’s do this!

10. The Title Kicks Ass/Makes No Sense.

Die Hard
20th Century Fox

Here’s a fun fact: Die Hard is based on a novel called Nothing Lasts Forever by the awesomely named Roderick Thorp. Here’s another fun fact: Nothing Lasts Forever is a terrible title. Seriously, it sounds like a late period Sean Connery Bond film that would’ve costarred, say, Daryl Hannah.

So clearly the title had to be changed, which gives us Die Hard, aka the perfect movie title. But what does it actually mean? Is it because it’s “hard” to make John McClane “die,” much like it was “hard to kill” Steven Seagal in the 1990 action thriller of the same name? The phrase “die hard” usually means someone who cannot be swayed from a point of view, no matter the evidence. So…was John McClane unwavering in his belief that he was a badass? If that’s the case, he was right, but it’s still sort of confusing. Whatever the title means, it is amazing, and as a die hard fan of Die Hard, we can’t picture this movie called anything else.


9. Every Character is a Classic. Even Argyle the limo driver.

Die Hard cast
20th Century Fox

How many movies have such a memorable collection of side characters? From ’80s douchebag master William Atherton’s sleazy newscaster, to doomed cokehead Harry Ellis, from limo driver Argyle, to Special Agents Johnson and Johnson, no matter the part, every character makes an impression. Has there ever been a more delightfully Eurotrash collection of random bad guys than Hans Gruber’s killer crew? Heck, even Nakatomi Plaza has a distinct personality of its own. Just think about the fact that this movie has the bad guys from Ghostbusters 2 and The Goonies AND The Breakfast Club all in supporting roles, and we haven’t even gotten to Reginald VelJohnson, aka lovable dad Carl Winslow from Family Matters, playing his first of many cop roles here.


8. It birthed the entire “Die Hard on a…” genre.

Die Hard
20th Century Fox

You have to wonder how the filmmakers originally pitched this movie. Every action movie that followed simply used it as a reference point. Speed is Die Hard on a bus. Cliffhanger is Die Hard on a cliff. Snakes on a Plane is Die Hard on a plane with snakes. How easy it would have been if they could have just pitched Die Hard as Die Hard in a…building? The fact that countless other movies got their green light by aping the premise of this movie speaks to how brilliant it was. All you need is a location, a bunch of bad guys taking it over, and one guy crazy enough to try to stop them. It’s the perfect action movie premise, with no frills — just the ultimate engine for righteous violence.


7. Yippee ki yay, mother…

Die Hard
20th Century Fox

Has a movie ever had a more memorable collection of one-liners than Die Hard? “Welcome to the party, pal!” “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho.” “Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.” “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.” “Yippi-ki-yay, motherf—er.” While Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme were stuck delivering cheesy puns as they dispatched forgettable villains, John McClane and Hans Gruber’s lines always felt genuine, hilarious and cool at the same time. This was a real world, filled with people who also happen to be badass mofos.


6. The Action!

Die Hard
20th Century Fox

Holy Jamoley, the action! How a movie can have such over-the-top action, and yet keep it grounded, is a miracle of writing and directing. Die Hard still has some of the best action ever committed to film, without the help of CGI, superheroes or karate kicking on wires. Characters get hurt here, and when they die, you feel it. McClane needing a pair of shoes becomes a major plot point when he’s forced to run across shards of glass, and then has to spend a scene picking the remnants out of his shredded feet. By the time we reach the explosive finale, the gritty, grounded action had set a highwater mark that has yet to be topped.


5. Hans Gruber is a bad guy with style…

Hans Gruber
20th Century Fox

There’s never been a better action movie villain than Hans Gruber, the slick European terrorist who reads Time Magazine and is an expert on both hostage taking and tailored suits. Amazingly, Die Hard is Alan Rickman’s first film, having made a name for himself in theater and television. Bringing a certain intelligence and class to what could have been a typical heavy, Rickman created a stone cold killer with ice in his veins. Nothing could fluster him, not even John McClane. Even his final plummet to his death is a moment of pure action movie style and grace. Speaking of…


4. …Who dies in spectacular fashion.

Hans Gruber death
20th Century Fox

Spoiler alert, but Hans Gruber dies. I know, shocker. But while action movies too often look for the most overblown way to take down their villains (like when Travolta took a missile to the stomach in Broken Arrow), Die Hard went the other way. After building up a complicated rivalry between Gruber and McClane throughout the movie, John had a chance to save this killer’s life. Instead, he let gravity take its course. Great villains deserve great deaths, and none are more memorable than the panicked look Alan Rickman gives as he takes one last look at Nakatomi Plaza from the outside.


3. It has a simple premise filled with twists and turns.

Die Hard gun
20th Century Fox

For a movie with such a straight-ahead, good vs. bad plot, the movie has a remarkable number of twists and turns. A brutal scene in which McClane is forced to sacrifice one egotistical cokehead in the name of saving countless other lives. Hans Gruber pretending to be a goofy American businessman in over his head, talking McClane into giving him a gun, only to realize that the NYPD cop was one step ahead of him the whole time. The fact that Gruber was playing terrorist, while actually there to pull of a heist. Even the ending, with McClane seemingly losing, only to pull a Christmas surprise off his back just in time. Ho, ho, ho, indeed. This movie, with its silly premise and overblown action, has no business being as clever as it is.


2. John McClane is all of us having the worst day ever.

Die Hard party
20th Century Fox

It was the era of the steroid freaks as supermen. Arnold. Sly. Action heroes were more than human, thanks to a gym membership and a syringe. Thankfully, Die Hard zigged when everyone else zagged, giving us a relatable protagonist who bled when you pricked him, and always felt like he’d rather be taking a nap than having to deal with this crap. Bruce Willis, with his rapidly retreating hairline and sarcastic New York attitude, was someone we could relate to.


1. It’s a freakin’ Christmas movie!

Die Hard Christmas
20th Century Fox

It’s Christmas! Who doesn’t love Christmas? While most action movies take place in a sort of all purpose season that allows for lots of rippling muscles and skin to be seen, Die Hard goes all in on Christmas, with our favorite jingles, and some Yuletide joy. You can keep your Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story — we want a little blood and badassery with our eggnog.

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SAG Life

Rappers Act Up

Watch the Yo! IFC Acts Movie Marathon Memorial Day Weekend.

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Everett Collection and the '90s)

Memorial Day weekend: how to celebrate? Nothing quite says “screw spring—let’s do summer” like blockbuster movies starring rappers who ditched lucrative music careers in order to become actors. It happened a lot, remember? Especially in and around the ’90s. Will Smith, Eminem, Ice Cube, Ice-T, Marky Mark Wahlberg, Ludacris…icons with the hubris to try the silver screen instead and have it totally work out.

But what if more rappers had made the leap? That’s a rhetorical question—movies (and life) would’ve been better, obviously. To prove it, here are some movies that totally would’ve been more memorable with rappers.

The Godfather

Starring Biggie, not Brando.
Godfather-BIG

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Only Coolio could improve upon Gene Wilder’s performance.
Coolio-Wonka

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Billy Elliot, with a dose of Missy Elliott.
Missy-Billy-Elliott

Robin Hood: Price of Thieves

Low hanging fruit, Hollywood.
Robin-Hood-and-Lil-Jon

And of course…

Kanye-of-The-Lambs

See NONE of those movies and a whole bunch of real ones this Memorial Day weekend on IFC’s rapper-filled movie marathon.

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Brock Hard

Brockmire’s Guide To Grabbing Life By The D***

Catch up on the full season of Brockmire now.

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GIFs by Giphy

“Lucy, put supper on the stove, my dear, because this ballgame is over!”

Brockmire has officially closed out its rookie season. Miss the finale episode? A handful of episodes? The whole blessed season?? You can see it all from the beginning, starting right here.

And you should get started, because every minute you spend otherwise will be a minute spent not living your best life. That’s right, there are very important life lessons that Brockmire hid in plain sight—lessons that, when applied thoughtfully, can improve every aspect of your awesome existence. Let’s dive into some sage nuggets from what we call the Book of Jim.

Life Should Be Spiked, Not Watered Down.

That’s not just a fancy metaphor. As Brockmire points out, water tastes “awful. 70% of the water is made up of that shit?” Life is short, water sucks, live like you mean it.

There Are Only Three Types of People

“Poor people, rich people and famous people. Rich people are just poor people with money, so the only worthwhile thing is being famous.” So next time your rich friends act all high and mighty, politely remind them that they’re worthless in the eyes of even the most minor celebrities.

There’s Always A Reason To Get Out Of Bed

And 99% of the time that reason is the urge to pee. It’s nature’s way of saying “seize the day.”

There’s More To Life Than Playing Games

“Baseball can’t compete with p0rnography. Nothing can.” Nothing you do or ever will do can be more important to people than p0rn. Get off your high horse.

A Little Empathy Goes A Long Way

Especially if you’ve taken someone else’s Plan B by mistake.

Our Weaknesses Can Be Our Greatest Strengths

Tyrion Lannister said something similar. Hard to tell who said it with more colorful profanity. Wise sentiments all around.

Big Things Come To Those Who Wait

When you’re looking for a sign, the universe will drop you a big one. You’re the sh*t, universe.

And Of Course…

Need more life lessons from the Book of Jim? Catch up on Brockmire on the IFC App.

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Oh Mama

Mommie May I?

Mommie Dearest Is On Repeat All Mothers Day Long On IFC

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The cult-classic movie Mommie Dearest is a game-changer. If you’ve seen it even just once (but come on, who sees it just once?), then you already know what we’re talking about.

But if you haven’t seen it, then let us break it down for you. Really quick, we promise, we’ll even list things out to spare you the reading of a paragraph:

1. It’s the 1981 biopic based on the memoir of Christina Crawford, Hollywood icon Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter.
2. Faye Dunaway plays Joan. And boy does she play her. Loud and over-reactive.
3. It was intended as a drama, but…
4. Waaaaaay over-the-top performances and bargain-basement dialogue rendered it an accidental comedy.
5. It’s a cult classic, and you’re the last person to see it.

Not sold? Don’t believe it’s going to change your life? Ok, maybe over-the-top acting isn’t your thing, or perhaps you don’t like the lingering electricity of a good primal scream, or Joan Crawford is your personal icon and you can’t bear to see her cast in such a creepy light.

But none of that matters.

What’s important is that seeing this movie gives you permission to react to minor repeat annoyances with unrestrained histrionics.

That there is a key moment. Is she crazy? Yeah. But she’s also right. Shoulder nipples are horrible, wire hangers are the worst, and yelling about it feels strangely justified. She did it, we can do it. Precedent set. You’re welcome.

So what else can we yell about? Channel your inner Joan and consider the following list offenses when choosing your next meltdown.

Improperly Hung Toilet Paper

Misplaced Apostrophes

Coldplay at Karaoke

Dad Jokes

Gluten Free Pizza

James Franco

The list of potential pedestrian grievances is actually quite daunting, but when IFC airs Mommie Dearest non-stop for a full day, you’ll have 24 bonus hours to mull it over. 24 bonus hours to nail that lunatic shriek. 24 bonus hours to remember that, really, your mom is comparatively the best.

So please, celebrate Mother’s Day with Mommie Dearest on IFC and at IFC.com. And for the love of god—NO WIRE HANGERS EVER.

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