by Jim Ridley
In this week's Scene, we talk to film critic Alonso Duralde, a former Nashvillian who's written a book called Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas — a guide to offbeat seasonal cinema ranging from the sublime (the exquisite Preston Sturges-scripted romantic drama Remember the Night, with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck) to the ridiculous (the Mexican Santa Claus, a movie that has scarred countless children over the years thanks to its surprise guest star — SATAN!!!).
Duralde will appear tonight at Sarratt Cinema for a book signing and a free screening of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas — but it was another cinematic Yuletide tradition we asked the author to explain:
Q. Die Hard: great Christmas movie, or greatest Christmas movie?
Well, it's Top Five for sure, and definitely greatest Christmas movie where lots of stuff blows up. It's been fascinating to find out from so many people that Die Hard is an annual movie tradition in their house.
We found an ode to this holiday favorite in a past Scene article listing a canon of unconventional Christmas movies:
DIE HARD (1988) In a just world, this would get shown every year right alongside It's a Wonderful Life. Inside this prototypical action blockbuster beats the heart of a Yuletide classic, as heroic cop Bruce Willis infiltrates his wife's high-rise Christmas party to squash the Scrooges holding the skyscraper hostage. He comes bearing gifts of iron will, tough feet and a witticism for every dangerous occasion. And he's not afraid to take a stand against the commercialization of the season. The bad guys open an elevator to find an unlucky comrade dead in his Santa suit. "Now I have a machine gun," reads the attached note. "Ho ho ho." Eat that, George Bailey.
Got any to add to the list, naughty or nice?