Die Hard

The 1988 action smash is so stupid it’s brilliant

Although it was the defining action film of its time, we think of Die Hard as one of the ultimate so-bad-it’s-good movies, one worthy of the River Oaks Theatre’s midnight run of wacky cult hits. The 1988 film, which launched Bruce Willis’s movie career, is sublime in its stupidity.

The screenwriters (and detective novelist Roderick Thorp, whose book was the basis of the film) came up with brilliant ways to make their protagonist, rough-and-tumble cop John McClane, do ridiculous things. They surrounded McClane, who spends much of the movie talking to himself, with an inept Los Angeles deputy police chief and a cunning gang of thieves posing as terrorists, then locked him in an incredibly well-secured, tall building during a company Christmas party.

McClane has to throw dead bodies out of windows to get anyone’s attention. He escapes a rooftop explosion by tying a fire hose around his waist and jumping off the building. Oh, and then there’s the time he has to throw a makeshift bomb down an elevator shaft before he kills two well-armed gunmen with just two bullets, all in order to save his estranged wife from the hostage situation. Seeing how well the plot has been constructed, you start to wonder what these writers could have done to tackle problems like symbolism, dialogue and character development. 11:55 p.m. today and tomorrow. 2009 West Gray. For tickets and information, call 713-866-8881 or visit www.landmark-theatres.com. $8.25.
Fri., Dec. 21, 11:55 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 11:55 p.m., 2007

 
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