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 Facebook, Twitter 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 only the bleedin’ festive final! Twenty four films, twenty three match-ups and several thousand votes across four social media platforms have all led up to this, and now it’s time to make the final decision – what’s the best Christmas movie: Die Hard or The Muppet Christmas Carol. Pick now!
Die Hard vs The Muppet Christmas Carol
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.
The Muppet Christmas Carol, championed by Richard Kirkham from Kirkham A Movie A Day
If you are not considering The Muppet Christmas Carol as your choice for the best Christmas movie of all time, you must not have seen the film. Not only is it a great Christmas film, it is in many ways, the greatest telling of one of the most important Christmas themed stories of all time. Charles Dickens’ story has been filmed more than two dozen times, with distinguished Shakespearean actors and American Television Thespians. None of them can hold a candle to this version which succeeds because of two fantastic features. First, look at the title, “Muppets”. I have heard that there are people who do not appreciate The Muppets, I don’t want to know who those people are. The off kilter humor, the manic and deadpan delivery in the same scene, the plethora of weird characters are all things that make even the most mundane material watchable. Kermit the Frog is perfectly cast as Bob Cratchitt. Miss Piggy is surprisingly subdued as his wife and the mother of Tiny Tim. Meanwhile, subverting the proceedings by drawing attention to the narrative explicitly, Gonzo and Rizzo Rat are a Greek Chorus representing Dickens himself. You can’t beat that for creative story structure on this particular tale.
Muppets alone would be enough to elevate this to the status of Christmas classic, but there’s one other secret weapon here that should overwhelm any other objections, Michael Caine. In most versions of the story, Scrooge is ancient and closer to the end of life. Caine is closer to middle age, which means his arc of redemption will span the life of the Cratchit family more. Caine plays crotchety without being particularly old.We can accept that he has an old man disposition with a younger man’s vigor. He also sings. Maybe not the dulcet baritone that would be featured in a stage version of the story, but he has a “talk-singing” style that works perfectly for the amusing Paul Williams penned songs.
“Oh, Scroogey loves his money ’cause he thinks it gives him power,
If he became a flavor you can bet he would be sour.”