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Yippee ki-yay, How Die Hard became a classic Christmas movie

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Its not about Christmas, seldom shown at Christmas, and Bruce Williss vest isnt red with fur trim but this action blast is as essential as tinsel and telly

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Nakatomi Plaza, not a creature was stirring well, except for those crazed Euroterrorists led by Alan Rickman and the loose-cannon New York cop played by Bruce Willis. There is nothing terribly seasonal about Die Hard, despite its Christmas Eve setting. It takes places in Los Angeles, so theres no snow. Theres a tree in the building, and a few items of Christmas clothing allowing McClane, when he knocks off his first terrorist, to put him in a Santa hat, write the words Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho on his top and send him in the lift to Rickman.

There is nothing terribly seasonal because Christmas doesnt matter in Die Hard: its just a McGuffin, a convenient reason for McClane to be travelling across the country. It was such a good McGuffin that it was recycled for Die Hard 2, the one set in the airport on Christmas Eve. Yet Die Hard 2 is just the second movie in the Die Hard series, while Die Hard has become a Christmas movie. That doesnt necessarily mean you watch it at Christmas, or that its on prominently in the Christmas TV schedules.

But Die Hard most certainly is indelibly associated with Christmas. It crops up in polls of peoples favourite Christmas films: earlier this year, the readers of Empire magazine rated it the greatest Christmas movie ever. The internet is awash with thinkpieces explaining why exactly it is a Christmas movie. If thats not enough the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, appeared on breakfast TV in Toronto last Friday, where he asserted: Yes, Die Hard is absolutely a Christmas movie. Theres no doubt about it.

So lets take that for granted, whether or not we really agree with the proposition: Die Hard is a Christmas movie. And it is one because so many people passionately believe it is. Whats more interesting, though, is why it has become regarded as a Christmas movie, because it certainly wasnt made as one.

Die Hard was released in the US in July 1988, and reviewers made only passing reference to its Christmas element why would they, given they were writing in the heat of midsummer? It came out in the UK the following February, and only received a December release in Argentina, Portugal, El Salvador, Uruguay and Denmark.

Nor was it one of the movies selected by the UKs terrestrial broadcasters in the days when viewers only had the choice of four channels and no internet to be a tentpole of their Christmas schedules.

See? Festive watch the trailer

So theres nothing in Die Hards history to make it into a Christmas movie. Yet a Christmas movie it has become, but not to everyone. Earlier this month, YouGov released a poll about the movie surely the founders of psephology did not foresee the day that pollsters would be earning a crust assessing the seasonal status of old action films which found that only 30% of people thought it was a Christmas film, while 52% didnt.

The age breakdown, though, was more telling . The only age group in which more people thought of Die Hard as a Christmas movie than didnt was 25- to 34-year-olds (44% against 37%), while 35- to 44-year-olds were narrowly against the idea (42% said it was a Christmas film, 47% said it wasnt). So Die Hard is most likely to be seen as a Christmas film by those who were too young to see it at the cinema (where it received an 18 certificate).

Interestingly, 18- to 24-year-olds, the first generation for whom the box in the corner is not the main provider of visual entertainment, were overwhelmingly against the idea of it being a Christmas film (52% to 28%).

If you add in some data, you can see when the association of Die Hard with Christmas begins or at least make an educated guess. Google Trends goes back to 2004, but when you look at its search trends for Die Hard, you can see the first noticeable spike is in December 2006, with small spikes every December since (the two massive spikes are tied in to the release of sequels, and nothing to do with the original film).

Something else was happening around the time of that first spike, too: Facebook launched in 2004, and Twitter launched in 2006. Suddenly, social media gave people a chance to share their own perspectives, and while some people communicated about politics or society, others really wanted to tell their friends that Die Hard was a Christmas movie.

This ties into an observation the film historian Matthew Sweet makes about how the context of films changes when people share a single observation, or a single image. Films now have this other afterlife in tiny clips and gifs, he says, so a particular image from a film like the dead terrorist in the Santa hat in Die Hard can break free from the film and have this other life online that might be its most vigorous form of life.

Die Hard is really only a Christmas film to a narrow band of people, and YouGov knows exactly which ones: the ones between young adulthood and early middle age for whom Die Hard has been a constant presence. They think of it the same way as I think of Where Eagles Dare: I know I have seen Where Eagles Dare at Christmas I have a vivid memory of Isla St Clair from the Generation Game making it her Christmas pick in the Radio Times but Ive also seen it lots of other times. Yet its associated with school holidays in my mind, and so it became a Christmas film.

Thats a point Sweet makes, too, suggesting that films associated with some special childhood event get associated with Christmas, because Christmas is the most special time: You might find some Christmas films were really Easter films, you just saw them when you were off school, he says.

Not
Not down the chimney Bruce Willis comes through the window. Photograph: 20th Century Fox/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

I suspect that what has really made Die Hard into a Christmas film is its familiarity. Christmas is about routine, about doing things the same way every year, about being able to slip into familiar roles with barely a thought. A film as boundlessly familiar as Die Hard slips into that same part of the mind. It makes no demands: once seen, it is a film one can begin watching at any point without the slightest trouble. It almost doesnt matter whether or not Die Hard is actually on at Christmas: the very certainty of it makes it seem as if it should be, and that is backed by the example of another non-Christmas film, the Wizard of Oz.

On both sides of the Atlantic, there are many who regard the Wizard of Oz as a Christmas film, because they think they saw it on TV at Christmas. In fact, of 39 screenings of the film on US network TV between its premiere in 1956 and 2002, only four were in December. It was much more commonly shown at Easter just as Sweet says, the association of holidays and film makes one think of Christmas. And routine and familiarity reinforce that impression. Since 2003, the Wizard of Oz has been shown much more frequently in December, but that postdated its Christmas status.

So Die Hard: not a movie released at Christmas, or about Christmas, or necessarily associated with being shown on TV at Christmas, but a Christmas movie. Thats the magic of film.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/dec/21/die-hard-christmas-movie-bruce-willis

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‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman opens up about Hollywood racism in SAG speech

Charmaine Blake

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“Chadwick Boseman is a superhero, and you’d better believe he gave a speech worthy of a superhero after Black Panther picked up the SAG Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture on Sunday.

“To be young, gifted, and black,” Boseman, who plays the lead role of T’Challa, said to the crowd. “We all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured — yet you are young, gifted and black. We know what it’s like to be told, to say there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above.

“And that is what we went to work with every day. Because we knew — not that we would be around during Awards season and that it would make a billion dollars — but we knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world.”

Read more: https://mashable.com/video/black-panther-chadwick-boseman-sag-awards-speech/

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A complete guide to watching all 53 of the 2019 Oscar-nominated films

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May the bingeing commence!

Image: disney/marvel studios

Alright, film buffs. It is go time.

“Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross and The Big Sick‘s Kumail Nanjiani took to the microphone Tuesday morning to announce the official nominees for the 91st Academy Awards. While the races may be tight, one thing is clear: we have got a lot of watching to do before the big show on Feb. 24.

To help you dive into your marathon of 2018 cinematic excellence, we have compiled a list of all 53 nominated films with details on where and when you can watch them within the U.S. Of course, availability is subject to change.

Best picture nominees have been denoted with an asterisks (*) and short film availability has been explained at the end of the post. A quick heads up: As of right now, Showtime, STARZ, and Cinemax have none of the nominated films available — we checked.

Now, get started on that 4,601 minutes (aka a little under 77 hours) of viewing! Oh, yes. We checked that too.

Currently streaming

All of these films are ready to be streamed by you right now. Click a link to go directly to the film’s streaming page. Purchase or rental fees may apply………………………………………………………………………”

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/oscar-nominated-movies-2019-where-to-watch/

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Razzie nominations skewer ‘Fifty Shades Freed,’ ‘Holmes & Watson,’ and the Trumps

Charmaine Blake

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Smile and wave … just smile and wave.

“Entertainment’s most dishonorable honors are back and this time their public shaming is focused on the White House.

Mocking the worst of the worst in last year’s cinema, the 39th Annual Razzie Awards announced their nominees today with President Donald J. Trump notably front and center. Nominated for his “roles” in documentaries Fahrenheit 11/9 and Death of a Nation, Trump is in the running for 2018’s Worst Actor as well as half of 2018’s Worst Screen Combo. (The other half? “His Self Perpetuating Pettiness.”)

Also appearing in Fahrenheit 11/9, First Lady Melania Trump and Counselor for the White House Kellyanne Conway are going head-to-head for Worst Supporting Actress.

In more traditional Razzie fashion, box office flops The Happytime Murders, Holmes & Watson, and Gotti — garnering six nominations a piece — are set to compete against Robin Hood and Winchester for Worst Picture.

The Razzie “winners” are due to be announced Feb. 23. Check out the official announcement as well as a complete list of nominees below.

Worst Picture
Gotti
The Happytime Murders
Holmes & Watson
Robin Hood
Winchester

Worst Actress
Jennifer Garner / Peppermint
Amber Heard / London Fields
Melissa McCarthy / The Happytime Murders and Life of the Party
Helen Mirren / Winchester
Amanda Seyfried / The Clapper ………………………………………………………….”

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/2019-razzie-awards-nominations-list/

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