Note: Despite what the byline says, this article was written by the conglomeration of Luke and Brian; two guys who watch Die Hard and Die Hard 2 every Christmas…and then over and over with unsettling frequency throughout the rest of the year.
The holidays can be a tough time for all of us. In-laws and extended family members coming into town, travel on snowy roads, and holiday weight gain are just a few of the landmines we have to navigate during December. While this iteration of FSR’s Cinematic Holiday Survival Guide won’t help you avoid your drunk Uncle Vernon or keep that turkey and mashed potatoes from expanding your waist line, hopefully it will come in handy should your holiday plans be thwarted by terrorists.
Some guys just can’t seem to catch break, even during the holidays. John McClane is one of those poor, unfortunate souls. Time and time again, this oneupsman of terrible Christmases runs afoul of the worst sort of scum and villainy; even without vacationing at Mos Eisley. Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, well, let’s face it you’ll probably kill yourself. But should you decide to be a McClanian style badass, just call to mind the following tips and tricks and you might just end up a hero…or dead…or, a HERO!
I just wanted to interject that my idea for this article involved drinking turpentine and seeing if we could actually walk barefoot across broken glass. But just as I was scattering the shards and making my third prank call to Alan Rickman’s house, Luke decided to be all not-get-arrestedy and write this article instead. Whatever, some people lack imagination…and the desire to receive an Ass-Kick-O’Gram from Bruce Willis.
Christmas Is The Most TerrorFul Time Of The Year
Apparently the only thing more prevalent than carols, presents, and egg nog at Christmas time is profiteering mercenaries and sociopolitical radicalism. Whether targeting a major cooperation or an international airport on its busiest of days, terrorists are essentially just Grinches with Glocks, so be at your most vigilant between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when the terror threat level rises from frankincense to mir. Also, make sure Santa brings you a machine gun (ho ho ho). – Brian
Reporters Are Scum
Ahhh the media, they just love that first amendment, and they’ve frankly been coasting on it for well over 200 years. The thing is that some reporters take that freedom to mean freedom to be a vicious, spotlight-hungry asshole. It’s unfortunate really, but it’s important to know that reporters will try to screw you over if it means getting their handsome mug on TV for an extra 15 seconds, even if they have to exploit your children to do it. When the day has been saved and the bright lights and microphones are stuck in your face, opt for the strong right cross over the stern “no comment.” - Luke
If there is one thing we can say about John McClane without fear of contradiction, it’s that he’s a fan of Annie Lennox. But no manner of shoelessness or broken glass will keep him from fighting terrorists. He doesn’t let a little thing like getting t0re-up from the toe-up stand in the way of his selfless heroism and neither should you. Helpful tip: when bleeding profusely from your feet after defeating a room full of gunmen, trying making fists with your toes. Should the toe-fisting fail, get to a goddamn hospital. - Brian
Don’t Be Afraid To Improvise
If terrorists are attacking your family Christmas party then chances are you’ve already given up on normality. Thankfully, improvisation can be your best friend. That fire hose? Looks like a rope and harness for scaling tall buildings to me. How about that leftover packing tape from wrapping presents? Seems like a great way to hide a gun on your back. Grandma’s made-from-scratch pie? Well actually that’s just good eating. But that dead body next to you? That’s the perfect greeting card! And improv is not just for materials either. It is very handy when it comes to creating punchy catch-phrases, provided you can reach deep and draw from your obscure knowledge of TV cowboys. Yippie-ki-yay! - Luke
Don’t Trust Germans, Especially When They’re Alan Rickman
When battling the leader of a terrorist cell, it is vitally important to know your adversary. In the case of Die Hard, that adversary is a smooth, crafty, studly muthafucker named Hans Gruber. Gruber is played by that old Snape-in-the-grass Alan Rickman. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by his dizzying intellect or hypnotized by his dulcet tones, this guy is the epitome of villains. He got expelled from a German terrorist organization for crying out loud! He’s so evil, he actually traveled into the netherworld and commanded the ghost of Beethoven to return with him; blaring sinister renditions of Ode to Joy as a herald of his every entrance. - Brian
Carl Winslow Is Your Friend, Sipowicz Is A Dick
It’s almost inevitable that a bumbling, chubby ex TV cop will show up at some point. Determining their personality and viability for a sidekick role is an important step for the burgeoning hero. Sipowicz will bitch and moan and get in your way at every turn to the point that a great many deaths can be directly attributed to his idiocy. Carl Winslow, on the other hand, will provide a radio-assisted shoulder to cry on as he listens to your every problem while oozing sympathy. Thankfully, this emotional support is not all he has to offer. A well-timed bullet from his Dirty Harry style revolver may well save your life. - Luke
Bullets Are Cheap, As Is Life
Taking a page from the John Woo playbook, it’s important to remember that bullets are cheap, as are the lives of terrorists. John McClane is never afraid to empty a full magazine even if it’s only to dispatch one European shampoo spokesman, and you should keep that in mind. While it’s important to have a weapon, it’s even more important to stay alive. Plus, if you use all your bullets killing a long, silky-haired foreigner, you can always take his gun and bullets afterwards. He won’t be needing them anymore. - Luke
Terrorists Have Very Progressive HR Departments
The thing about terrorists, as portrayed in the extremely plausible Die Hard films, is that they are equal-opportunity employers. You may think that since the leader of a given cell is German, you can put that German degree of yours to work and listen in on their radio conversations. But turns out that group includes Italians, Americans, Spaniards, Chinese, and Nerds. So that degree of yours will prove just as worthless in this circumstance as it would…in any another situation. In Die Hard 2, the terrorists even hired a Leguizamo and a T-1000 even before the controversial fair labor legislation was passed. - Brian
You Have To Crawl Before You Can Walk
As we all know, one of your biggest advantages in these types of situations is the element of surprise. Maintaining that edge is highly important and sometimes that means you’ve got to get a little dirty. Crawling on the floor to avoid detection and taking refugue hiding in air conditioning ducts will both require you to hit your knees or stomach and crawl around. You may want to stretch first to avoid cramping. And be prepared to run for you life at any moment. - Luke
Heroes Have The Worst Luck
You know that expression about lightning never striking twice in the same place? Well, if the lightning is terrorism and that place is anywhere near John McClane, the maxim proves quite dubious. Don’t ever become complacent that just because you were able to foil a terrorist plot last Christmas that your quota for heroism in this area is permanently satisfied. In fact, you could face the same situation three, even four, total times; the fourth time being laden with bad effects, weak-ass villains, and a stupid fucking script even a brain-damaged sea slug wouldn’t buy. I digress. In summation, happening upon, and subsequently having to deal with terrorism is not like chicken pox. - Brian
For more tips on making it to 2012, check out the rest of our Holiday Survival Guide.