Welcome, Christmas! Or we should say, welcome to the Quarter Finals of the Ultimate Christmas Movie Showdown. You’ve voted in the thousands and the 32 contenders have been whittled down to the final eight. Up first is a truly epic battle of beloved holiday classics as beloved gem How the Grinch Stole Christmas takes on the exceptionally popular Die Hard.
So trim up your tree with Christmas stuff, like bingle balls and Whofoo fluff, and maybe avoid any invitations to parties at Nakatomi Plaza if you prefer your Decembers explosion free. Instead, take time to read up on this pair of festive faves below and decide which one gets your vote!
Quarter Final #1:
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1968)
Bursting with silly rhymes and tantalizing tongue twisters, How The Grinch Stole Christmas first aired in 1966. Based on Dr. Seuss’ 1957 children’s book, this non-religious holiday tale is nonetheless filled with the joys of the season, complete with its very own Christmas miracle and a batch of signature Seussian carols.
This is the story of an evil Grinch (voiced with a sinister delight by horror star Boris Karloff), sitting atop a mountain, looking disdainfully down at the Whos down in Whoville, gentle creatures that love Christmas and rejoice in the celebrations.
Dreading yet another, he hatches a dastardly plan to steal all the things – the toys, decorations, even taking the crumbs not big enough to feed a mouse—in order to stop all the “noise, noise, noise” that is Christmas. Even a chance meeting with that most innocent child, “Cindy-Lou Who, who was no more than two” doesn’t faze him.
But this creature with a heart “two sizes too small” learns something vital that day—transforming him—and instead spreads an enduring magical message of holiday cheer that resonates every year. – Barbara Goslawski
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Die Hard (1988)
Yes. Die Hard is a Christmas movie. As much as It’s a Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, or Home Alone are. And no, the limited characters remaining in this blurb will not be spent trying to make that argument yet again.
But what is there to say about Die Hard, really? I’d be content to state that it remains one of the greatest action movies ever made. However, as a snapshot in time—as a film object—Die Hard is a fascinating piece of work. Consider that in the course of its runtime, a TV star becomes a movie star, an action auteur fully comes into his own, a little known British actor makes one of the all-time feature film debuts, and a cavalcade of actors and stuntmen turn in incredibly memorable performances as henchmen, conmen, and sidekicks. Family Matters owes its existence to the sweetness of Reginald Vel-Johnson’s performance here. No Die Hard, no Urkel, is all I’m saying. And don’t think I’m not greatly enjoying the fact that RVJ is the only actor being mentioned by name here.
Bringing it back to the holidays: Ultimately Die Hard is a movie about a fuck-up of a guy trying to make amends with his family at a time of year that’s supposed to be all about family. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about? He just has to work a little bit harder for it than most. – Will Perkins
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Voting ends December 19 at 11:59 EST.
The elimination showdown runs from December 1 until the 23, with the Ultimate Christmas Movie being unveiled on Christmas Eve! You can vote here, on Twitter, or on Instagram. Check out where things stand and then tune in tomorrow for a new face off…