Die Hard, Christmas Vacation

Ultimate Christmas Movie Showdown: Round of 16 Match 2

Welcome to the party, pals.

We’ve hit the half-way point in our search for the Ultimate Christmas Movie but that doesn’t mean voting has gotten any easier. In fact, today’s match-up might just be the toughest yet! It features two iconic movies from the ’80s: one a fantastic family farce set in a wintery Chicago suburb, the other an iconic action-er from within a Nakatomi Plaza skyscraper. That’s right, it’s Clark Griswold versus John McClane as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation goes up against Die Hard.

Start by reading up on the two festive favourites, then vote for your favourite!

Round of 16 – MATCH 2:

Die Hard (1988)


Yes. Die Hard is a Christmas movie. As much as It’s a Wonderful LifeChristmas 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%



National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

You know that episode of Friends where the gang is playing a trivia game, and Joey says that Rachel tells people her favourite movie is Dangerous Liaisons when it’s really Weekend at Bernie’s? I feel like people do something similar when it comes to Christmas movies. We all say It’s a Wonderful Life is our favourite holiday flick (because “an angel gets its wings” and blah blah blah) when it’s actually Christmas Vacation.

The crass and laugh-out-loud funny Griswold family Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving. Chevy Chase’s well-intentioned doofus is a modern-day George Bailey who just wants the best for his family. Sometimes this holiday cheer takes the form of a ludicrously overcompensating Christmas tree, an electricity-bill draining excess of outdoor lights, or a slightly over-greased sliding saucer. But every all-too-relatable gaffe amid Clark’s behaviour highlights the true holiday spirit: no matter how much our family members embarrass us, we happily return to them year after year. -Pat Mullen

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%




Christmas Showdown: Round of 16 Match 2

Which '80s festive flick gets your vote?

The poll has expired!

Voting ends December 12 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 two new face offs…

Brackets - Round of 16