Pin It

Die Laughing 

Why Die Hard and other dated action films provide more laughs than gasps as the years pass

click to enlarge Yippie-ki-yay...
  • Yippie-ki-yay...

The Inlander's Suds and Cinema series has thus relied wholly on comedies, mostly because we figured people would want to laugh while they drank their locally made beer. But what if, we thought, you could laugh at something that wasn't a comedy? What if you could yell out lines like "What kind of terrorists are you?" and "Yippie-ki-yay mother------!" with a bunch of other people also shouting out those lines? And what if we were allowed to collectively remember that the dad from Family Matters was supposed to be taken seriously?

Those possibilities were more than intriguing, and that's why we're showing Die Hard on Sept. 10 at the Bing Crosby Theater.

Die Hard was not a joke when it came out. It was the action movie of the late 1980s, even if the technology-assisted blockbusters of the early '90s made us forget its status. Bruce Willis, already a TV star thanks to his role opposite Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting, became a certified action god thanks to his role as John McClane, which he'd go on to reprise for four sequels, each more disappointing than the previous one. The original Die Hard, though? That was about as badass as you could get in 1988.

You can't blame the fact that Die Hard is silly when viewed 26 years after it was filmed, because that's how action movies were made in those days, and for a few years to follow. Bad guys were always written just a sliver less evil than Satan, and good guys flirted with invincibility and were seemingly required to provide at least a dozen puns by film's end. Laws of physics were abused and the plot holes, wow, they could swallow you whole (like why did the bad guys have to pretend to be terrorists in Die Hard? Just to cut the power? Why not just cut the power?).

Action movies, with a few exceptions, remain ridiculous even today, and I think you can attribute at least some of that to Die Hard, its sequels and its imitators. That grandiose, explosion-fueled ethos of the 1980s action film never fully died, even if they've found ways to cut down on the cheesiness.

But hey, if they put a shoeless, bleeding, off-duty cop in a ventilation shaft to fight off terrorist bank robbers for the next big holiday blockbuster, people would still lap that stuff up. And they wouldn't laugh a bit. ♦

Suds and Cinema: Die Hard • Wed, Sept. 10 • 6:30 pm doors and beer sales, 7:30 pm movie • $4 entry, $4 pints from 12 String Brewing Co. • Bing Crosby Theatre • 901 W. Sprague

Tags: , ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Film, Event

Latest in Film

  • Swing and a Miss
  • Swing and a Miss

    Hands of Stone can't carve out a distinctive space among boxing biopics
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Texas Heat
  • Texas Heat

    Hell or High Water is the crime drama you've been waiting all summer for
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Gun Show
  • Gun Show

    Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are armed and dangerous in the true story War Dogs
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon

All of today's events | Staff Picks


More by Mike Bookey

Most Commented On

  • Still Celebrating

    Boy George and Culture Club paved the way for genre- and gender-bending rock stars
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Behind the Music
  • Behind the Music

    The Grammy Awards are about much more than what you see on TV
    • Feb 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation