LAMBracket: Best Christmas Movie – Semi-Final 1

by Jay Cluitt · December 21, 2018 · Featured, LAMBracket, LAMBracket Christmas, Periodic Features · No Comments

From December 1st until Christmas Eve, here on the LAMB, we’ll be determining what is the BEST Christmas movie of all time. We’ve asked you all which films are the main contenders, and twenty-four of you replied with your choices, which will bauble battle it out for seasonal supremacy. It’s a head-to-head, single elimination tournament, so whichever film wins today moves onto the next round. However, here is not the only place to vote. No, head to FacebookTwitter and Instagram to see the same poll there, and it’ll be the total of all four results that determines the winner.

Today’s tinsel tussle is the first semi-final, between the winner of the Mythology group, It’s A Wonderful Life, and the winner of the Genre group, Die Hard, two very different approaches to a Christmas film, and a potentially impossible decision to choose between, yet here we are. No-one said this bracket was going to be easy.

It’s a Wonderful Life vs Die Hard

It’s A Wonderful Life, championed by Amanda Kirkham from Hollywood Consumer

It’s A Wonderful Life is the quintessential Christmas movie. Set on Christmas Eve, it is the ultimate story of Faith, Family, and Friendship. A broken man, desperate in his darkest moment contemplates suicide. Divine Intervention steps in just in time to show him how valued life is, and how much one person can touch so many others. We, as the audience, witness George Bailey’s life, and what he has viewed as years worth of sacrifice, in a series of flashbacks. Wishing to never have been born, Bailey is shown, thanks to his guardian angel Clarence, an alternate world in which his wish is granted. After seeing how the lives of his friends and family are impacted by his own by seeing how things would have gone were he never born, George Bailey finally breaks the spell by crying out, “I want to live!” The film closes on Bailey’s friends and family coming through for him, paying back all those years worth of favors and sacrifice. The film is full of the theme of the Christmas spirit of giving, which we see in George Bailey’s flashbacks when he time and time again chooses to do the right thing over following his dreams, as well as in the final scene when his loved ones come to his aid. It also heavily features the Christmas theme of faith in the divine and your fellow man. God literally intervenes in George’s life by sending Clarence to save him. Then, again, through flashbacks, and the final scene we see that people can be good, and that human life is precious and more influential than some would believe.

If that’s not enough to convince you, how about the fact that It’s A Wonderful Life is used as ambiance in other classic Christmas films including Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Christmas Vacation, and Gremlins? Even other films (including contenders on this bracket) recognize its status as the ultimate Christmas movie.

Die Hard, championed by Simon Appleton from Moustache Movie News

‘Tis the season to be jolly, which means lots of tinsel, wrapping paper, empty bank accounts and the same damn Christmas music playing over and over. But it also means we have the perfect excuse to watch Die Hard – the ULTIMATE Christmas movie – as many times as we want.
Now many of you are probably thinking; Die Hard? That’s not a Christmas movie! Well respectfully, you’re wrong. I don’t think Die Hard could get any more Christmassy. For one thing, it’s on TV every December. The story takes place during a party on Christmas Eve. There’s plenty of decorations, trees and music, not to mention the most inventive use of Christmas tape the world has ever seen. Our hero even sends his enemies a heart-warming Christmas message, “Ho-Ho-Ho”. And let’s not forget, McClane pulls off the greatest Christmas miracle in the history of Christmas miracles – saving 30 hostages…and his marriage. Wait, does that make it two miracles? Either way, if all that doesn’t make it a Christmas movie, I don’t know what will.

Granted, Die Hard isn’t warm and fuzzy like most Christmas movies. But who said all Christmas movies have to be warm and fuzzy anyway? With Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells and all that other Christmas stuff in overdrive, wouldn’t you rather watch a tired, pissed off cop run bare-foot around a building on Christmas Eve, killing terrorists? Let’s face it, Die Hard is the definitive action movie, a simple – yet fairly believable – story, with interesting characters, filled with great action set-pieces, shootouts and one-liners…never forget the one-liners! And even after all that, Die Hard still manages to leave you with that Christmassy feeling, every time. Filmmakers have been trying – and mostly failing – to re-capture that magic for 30 years.
Then there’s the underdog himself, John McClane, the fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench, the pain in the ass. He’s a man under immense pressure, up against seemingly insurmountable odds, who still manages to find the time to annoy the living shit out of his opponents, and in hilarious ways. Bruce Willis was the perfect choice for this role, he plays McClane in a way that’s not only believable, it’s relatable. McClane isn’t a superhero, or even a super soldier, he’s just an average guy trying to fix his marriage. He wasn’t supposed to be there, he certainly doesn’t want to be there, but he knows he’s the only chance those hostages have. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes – if that’s the right way to put it – but I love rooting for him every time I watch him fuck up Hans Gruber’s Christmas.
Short of putting up a Christmas tree, we don’t really have any Christmas traditions in my house. In fact, the closest we come is sitting down every Christmas Eve to watch the ULTIMATE Christmas movie…Die Hard.

Which is the better Christmas movie?

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