Real Christmas Music

Stop the presses! We have a new contender for Die Hard Christmas song this year.

Christmas in L​.​A. (Yippee Ki Yay) (explicit lyrics) from Yippee Ki Yay by Marian Call

…Well, it is new to me this year. We now return you to the regularly scheduled program.


GuyzNiteDie Hard Music Video NEW 4th Verse! – Apr 18, 2007

Makes you wish I had stuck with this song now, doesn’t it?

RAnt(hony)-ings

But wait! There is an actual Die Hard Christmas album!

Die Hard: Christmas Carols

Carols inspired by the greatest Christmas movie of all time: Die Hard. Die Hard marathon hosted by Reginald VelJohnson all day Christmas Day on IFC.

Posted by IFC on Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Facebook.com – IFC – 2018

Not really. I just wanted an excuse to post this video advertisement for the 2018 Die Hard marathon hosted by Reginald VelJohnson. It’s almost enough to make me subscribe to cable again just to be able to watch that, if they staged it again this year.

Hat/tip to the Merbrat for the Marian Call link.

A Die Hard Christmas Tree

Continuing the theme for this Christmas season, here are some Die Hard Christmas tree ideas.

Twitter

In case the Tweet isn’t visible, here is the image again.

The tree topper does not appear to be for sale anywhere. I will update this post if I find a store selling it. But you could make your own ornaments for the tree. Ornaments like this do-it-yourself job.

Not to mention buying other ornaments for the tree.

If you aren’t into new-fangled art pieces, there is always the more traditional ball ornaments.

I haven’t found any light strings that spell out yippee ki-yay motherfucker yet. But I bet if I look long enough, I’ll find some. I found all that other stuff just looking for the tree topper.

The Wife suggests that the perfect Die Hard Christmas tree would be a topiary sculpture in the shape of the Nakatomi building. It should have a garland that looks like a small firehose starting from the top that turns into the “Merry Christmas” wrapping tape seen in the movie, about halfway down the tree. The topper, in her opinion, should be a helicopter that circles the top of the tree/tower, occasionally exploding in colored lights along with the top of the tree. John McClane should be seen occasionally sliding down the garland and into the tree, as well as a couple of different figures falling from the tree every now and then, just to complete the entire spectacle. Sgt. Al Powell can drive backward around the bottom of the tree in his police car, with one of the fallen figures on his hood, while he eats a twinkie. I look forward to seeing some artist creating this display at some Christmas in the future.

A Hat/Tip is owed to the Merbrat, once again.

Proving Die Hard is a Christmas Movie

Stephen Follows ran the numbers through his three distinct perspectives for considering movies; Creative, Commercial, Cultural. He selected specific datasets for all three perspectives in order to determine if Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. I, as a lowly movie watcher, defer to his expertise on this subject. Here is a link to his article.

Stephenfollows.com

For those of you who cannot be bothered to read a few pages of text with some interesting graphs mixed into them in order to liven up the number crunching, I’ll give you a tl;dr quote from the conclusion.

[I]t’s certainly fair to say that Die Hard is regarded as a Christmas movie in popular culture. Like it or not, the association between Die Hard and Christmas is fast increasing and in years to come its Christmassyness will be beyond question.

Stephen Follows

Hat/tip to The Wife for the link to this article. When I mentioned I was doing a series of pieces on our Lord John McClane, she insisted I had to read Stephen’s article and include it in the series. I will be relying on his three perspectives consciously in the future when I review films, as I have been known to do. I was already taking the three of them into account when I wrote reviews or mused on the impact of various films, but I had never given the perspectives names before.

Stephenfollows.com

Constantine Did It

Nicaea. Yes. It’s still funny. Also, this.

Twitter

There is a whole lot more of these things on Twitter. Click the link if you dare.

Hat/Tip to Merbrat.

It's That Time of Year Again

I’ve mentioned before that The Wife has a particular fondness for this Christmas movie.

However, I never thought that calling it a Christmas movie would be controversial.

How about a soundtrack dominated by Christmas music? Does that make it a Christmas movie?

Vaughn Monroe – Let It Snow – Die Hard – Film Version

Making a Nakatomi gingerbread house? Does that make it a Christmas movie?

Imgur

How about an advent calendar? Is that good enough?

Reddit

I saved the best for last. Yes, there is a Die Hard christmas storybook.

Sideshow CollectiblesDie Hard Christmas Book with Steve Blum – Dec 17, 2018

Hat/Tip to Merbrat for all but the first image. I used to refer to her as a stoic (specifically an email stoic) when I mentioned her on the blog because I thought it was a funny joke to label someone as effusive and outgoing as she is with a philosophy marked by asceticism and reserve. I’m not sure why I thought it was a funny joke back then, but I did. What can I say? I have a weird sense of humor. The first image was added later after I stumbled across the nakatomistrong hashtag and followed it to his wall.

Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains

Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains (2019)

(No, it’s not that kind of movie)

Jacob Anders ReviewsVirgin Cheerleaders in Chains – Nov 13, 2019

This is how you do a movie review. The film he is reviewing is the one that I felt I had to write a Movie Rating for Dummies post for just to help the entertainment challenged understand that if you sat through the entire movie, it’s probably at least a three star experience. This guy gets it, and he understands how to mix praise with criticism.

Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains is better than three stars, as Jacob Anders does a much better job of explaining than I can. He’s nicer to the movie than I was, and he doesn’t have to sleep next to the producer of the film knowing she could kill him in his sleep if he trashes her movie.

Which I wouldn’t do to this movie anyway because it is hands down the best made movie she’s worked on. The credit goes to the writer, the director, the cast and crew, all of whom would never have found each other without the producer, the woman I sleep next to. So she gets credit too, even if she isn’t one of the named credits in the movie. The editing job is superb, the acting is excellent, the script won awards. It’s a great movie. Go see it.

I’m simply not a person who watches horror films and enjoys them. I’m still haunted by The Ring after watching it more than a decade ago. I laughed at and was traumatized by Scream when it came out. Halloween still gives me goosebumps, and I’m a certified John Carpenter fan. Don’t ask my opinion on horror films if you want more out of me than it’s not my kind of movie. I’m more at home with dry, intense dramas than I am with action and horror.

This movie scared me, too. So if you like scary movies, go see it. You’ll enjoy it.

RAnt(hony)-ings

If It Didn’t Exist, We’d Have To Create It Anyway

Yesterday (2019)

Picture the Emerald city as seen in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. Imagine that you had lived there all your life. Born there, raised there. It was what was normal for you. Then one day you wake up and you live in Kansas, the dull, drab black and white existence from the same film. No one has ever seen or heard of the beauty of the Emerald city. No one knows what the hell you mean when you say Emerald city to them.

Wouldn’t you try to create a version of the Emerald city? Just so that the beauty that you remember could be shared by everyone you know? So that they would know what you mean when you say the words Emerald city.

That is the essence of Yesterday. The story of a man who wakes up in a world in which the greatest influences of our past no longer existed. It is a movie with soul. A movie that makes you want to shout to the rafters about the beauty and inspiration that was the Beatles, and quite a few other things as well. Watching Yesterday was one of those rare instances when the movie that I’m watching is better than the movie I expected to watch when I queued it up. Give this movie a chance and it will surprise you.

Love is all you need.

Ratings Systems

For my own sanity, I feel that I need to say something about ratings systems and how to rate entertainment fairly. Specifically, rating movies fairly, although the descriptions for the basis of giving a particular rating can be broadly applied to more than just movies. But it’s movies that I’m going to be talking about here.

Full disclosure. The Wife’s latest film project has just been released. It is the fourteenth film she’s worked on, the second that she has produced. The title of the film is Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains. No, it is not that kind of movie. It is a horror-comedy with strong female leads, a reasonably well-known director and a reasonably well-known leading actor. I give the film a solid eight out of ten stars on IMDB, four out of five everywhere else.

Why did I give it this rating? There is a logic to it that most people should recognize. First off, I liked the film. When I got to the end of it, I didn’t feel like I had wasted my time, and I didn’t feel like I had been sitting there for too long. If you look on Netflix you can see that logic reflected in their star rating system. For those who don’t have a Netflix account, I’ll go through the generic descriptions using my own language.

One star – I hated it. A one star rating goes on films that you can not even sit through, or that if you do sit through it is simply to grasp the full extent of the filmmakers crimes so that you can testify to them later. If your eyes aren’t bleeding after fifteen minutes of viewing, the movie is probably not a one star experience.

Two stars – I didn’t like it. I made it to the end and for whatever reason, the movie didn’t make me feel the way I expected to feel at the end. This is not to be confused with feeling sad when the film is a sad film (See Schindler’s List) paranoid when the film induces paranoia (see the Matrix) Or angry when the film wants you to be angry (pick any work by Michael Moore) If you need happy endings, stick to solid hollywood releases. They are the movie creators that will feel compelled to leave you with a happy ending.

Three stars – It was OK. There was no particular reason why I couldn’t watch the entire film. It didn’t feel too long, it worked the way I think the creators wanted it to work, but it didn’t make me want to recommend it strongly. Most films are going to rate a solid three stars because most films are made by people who want the average moviegoer to feel like they weren’t wasting their time watching the movie.

Four stars – I liked it. The movie spoke to me in a way that was unique to the movie. A four star movie is one you can remember, and you can remember it fondly. A movie you might even watch again with a friend so that they can experience it too. This is perhaps the most unambiguous rating because most people know when they like something. Either they do or they don’t, there isn’t any uncertainty about it.

Five stars – I loved it. The film is near-perfect in execution. The soundtrack adds to the film, the cinematography is beyond reproach, the subject matter is something that people will relate to in later generations. You feel compelled to tell people to watch the movie, because it is just that good. For me, it’s hard to rate a movie five stars that I don’t feel was a singular experience. Few movies will rate five stars in my estimation. The vast majority of them simply do not measure up to that high standard, not even films made by a lifetime companion who could kill me in my sleep if she wanted to.

For a ten star system like IMDB, you double the star rating you would give it on a five star system, with some added granularity. Five instead of six stars because I really did feel like the movie lost me somewhere. Seven instead of eight stars because there were some technical flaws that I just can’t get past (see the duplicate droid scene in the original Star Wars) nine instead of ten stars because you don’t think the film will be that timeless, but it was damn good all the same.

You don’t, for example, give a film a one star rating and then offer a wishy-washy description of why the film was so bad that you felt like you had to gouge your eyes out rather than watch it. Either you hated it, and you can describe why, or you are trashing the film because the mood struck you and you went for it. Or you are simply an idiot that doesn’t understand what the correct star rating for the movie you just watched was. For those of you who made it to the end of this short guide, you can now be excused from the class of idiot that doesn’t understand what the star ratings mean. You are welcome.

I’m just sorry that I wasn’t in time to save the idiots that gave Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains a one star rating and then said I thought it was meh. Meh is three stars, moron.


I half-jokingly tell people that it’s kind of autobiographical. I had written a script called Creature From Blood Canal, which was an entry and official selection at the NoLa film festival screenplay competition, and that’s where I met [director Paulo Biscaia Filho]. Now Creature was a $100 million script, and I couldn’t get anyone to read it, and Hollywood wouldn’t read it, so basically that’s the same thing that Shane says in Virgin Cheerleaders.

Gary Ganaway in the Austin Chronicle the author of Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains.

Thriller on Halloween

Michael Jackson – Thriller (Official Video) I wish he hadn’t put a disclaimer on this.

Happy Birthday, Son!

A video from the year after I graduated high school, back in the time when Michael Jackson was just a really good dancer and singer. One of two albums of his that I bought and cherished, after listening to his and his families music all through my childhood.