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Mama Mia, it’s an Eclipse of the Twilight Moon!

That was the name of one part of “Stars on Parade,” the middle school production this year. It was made up of 13 mini-plays put on by students, and included a Stutz performer (just as it had last year).

This time around, it was Breck’s turn to take part, and he worked every Thursday afternoon with his groups preparing their performances. The first bit was a play on the song (and movie) Mama Mia, where instead of the love interest being a person – it was food! Very cute, as they sang and danced their way through tales of diet woe and junk food trauma!

The second piece he was in was called “Eclipse of the Twilight Moon,” of course in mocking reference to the vampire books and movies that everyone (in the middle school, at least) has read and seen. Breck plays a zombie who convinces Bella that neither the vampire Edward nor the werewolf Jacob are the ‘man’ for her, and he lurches off arm-in-arm with her, presumably to un-live happily ever after.

They showed the plays 5 times in the span of 2 days, so the cast really got a feeling for what it was like to put on a production multiple times. While cameras and video were not allowed at the performance (“No real theater allows recordings, and we won’t here either. A play should be remembered in the head and in the heart”), I was able to snag a few pictures that the yearbook photographer took during a practice run through!

Breck’s excuse

Welcome to India.

Breck’s band teacher caught me in the hall today, laughing about Breck’s reason for not having his sheet music in class: “My maid threw it away.”

Have we been out of the USA too long or what !! 🙂

Breck in basketball

Breck has been participating in an intramural basketball program this spring at school, and the teams held their internal tournament this weekend. He was one of only 2 6th graders to play, so going up against all those big 8th graders gave him a chance to “toughen up” a bit.

His team wore black, and ended up winning 2 out of their 3 games. He scored a bit, made some good defensive plays, and had a very good showing for his first ever experience with a basketball team. Good time!!

Indian inflation fears strike the Stutz household

So apparently the ill effects of the economy are now striking our family. Let me explain:

Breck’s hair was getting really long (bear with me – this will make sense in a minute). Susan volunteered to give him a trim this weekend, citing a couple of very rational reasons for getting the cut at home: most Indians have straight hair (so barbers would be less familiar with his curls), she speaks better English than most barbers (and thus would listen to what he said about what he wanted the hair to look), etc.

When he showed up at school today with a nice neat haircut, one of his teachers commented on it, and he replied that he’d had it cut at home “because Indian barber shop prices are rising, and we couldn’t afford to go there.”

Well, yes, Indian barbershop prices are rising, it is true. But I’m pretty sure we can still afford to go, seeings how the current (white man’s, inflated) price is Rs 50, or $1.10.

Hopefully the teacher doesn’t really think money woes are the reason we didn’t take him to a salon! I can only wonder what other stories people hear about us around town…

(I posted pictures from the haircut ‘saloon’ I go to a while back, if you’re interested).

Breck and the circus arts

Here’s the latest thing Breck has been spending time on: in PE, they are doing a unit on ‘circus arts,’ encompassing everything from unicycles to juggling to flicking around those sticks you see people playing with on the beach (obviously there is a more accurate name, but it is Friday afternoon and I just can’t think of it).

In any case, he has spent a lot of time practicing his juggling (and is getting good at it!), but decided to show off his stick skills in the school presentation. Because the theme was the circus and clowns, he put on a wig and had makeup on his face – and really did a spectacular show!

Breck with the sticks #1Breck with the sticks #2Breck with the sticks #3

Breck’s Band Bonanza

ASB 6th grade bandThe 6th grade held their “informance” today – part ‘performance’ part ‘information’ – for parents to check out the new sound. Breck’s been working really hard on learning to play the trombone, as our neighbors will attest! The trombone is tricky, as there are no valves to push or holes to cover. Instead, he has to figure out how far his slide should be sticking out from the instrument, an ‘eyeball’ method at best.

Breck on the trombone!But today, when the “lower brass” part of the band opened up, they sounded great! They provide the foundation for all of the other instruments, and their rhythm and intonation were fantastic. And to top things off, Breck got to introduce one of the songs – he is a natural emcee!

What a super afternoon get together – a perfect break in the daily routine.

The Low Brass section

Breck the Bonemeister

Breck playing his first notes on the tromboneAh, yes, the start of middle school and the beginning of another musical career. Alea joined band in 6th grade and took up the saxophone and was given a guitar by her friends this last birthday! Breck decided to pick band as well, but he was interested in a more, shall we say, ‘expressive’ instrument.

He got to bring the trombone home with him the other day, and we were all made suddenly aware of just how much power there is in it (and how LOUD IT REALLY CAN BE). Our poor little apartment will certainly rock and roll to the competing sounds of woodwind and brass this year!

Breck’s graduation – and the last day of school!

Breck and Susan at his 5th grade graduationIt is official! Breck finished elementary school and is no longer (sniff) a little kid – he is a Middle Schooler! That means both Stutz kids will be in the ASB middle school next year (although neither of them will have their father for a teacher!)

Breck’s graduation ceremony went awesome, with the teachers saying little blurbs about each student. The word that he said describe our boy was “Enthusiasm,” which Breck exemplified by his enthusiastic walk across the stage afterwards.

And now today is our last day. People are busy signing yearbooks, saying goodbye, and getting ready for summer travel plans. As is tradition, we took an “end of school” picture – which I had to bark at the kids to pose for – and add it here so all can see what great young people Alea and Breck are. (To see them in other years, check out our “school pix” archive!) Have a great summer one and all – we are off to the USA tomorrow night for family, fun, and fishing!

Alea and Breck on the last day of school, June 2010

Materials are daintiness

"Make a teaching fairyland"Breck got a cool model from a birthday party a few weeks ago – a cardboard stick-em-together military ship. We had a great father-son bonding afternoon, separating all the pieces and assembling them in the shape of the ship.

What made it even more exciting was the fact that there were no directions. We had to find 2 pieces that had matching numbers on them and then stick the pieces together. Of course, #1 was not the first bit to be assembled: oh no – the numbers had nothing at all to do with the order.

We did get things done, however, and it is now a part of his growing ‘modern military’ collection of toys. He has great battles between it, the Keralan backwater bamboo boat, the wooden tank from Bali, and the garage sale metal planes (ranging from WWII through modern jet fighters).

I suppose, however, that we really should feel happy not to have had any instructions. Judging from the text that appeared on the front of the box, I’m pretty sure written directions would have been more of a hindrance!

Free Verse Friday – Ode to the varieties of Indian stomach ailments

I have been neglectful in Free Verse Friday lately, so in honor of this week’s Caf-ASB, here is my ode to various regional stomach ailments:

Here in Mumbai, we sometimes get food sick
From restaurant, kitchen, or picnic.
The belly distends
Kicks out waste from both ends
Accompanied by internal music.

This year’s not been really all too rough
We’ve only had one round of that stuff
But with watery stomachs
And quivery buttocks
I swear once is more than enough.

The first hint is often quite bitter
A bubbling that shouts out “Don’t fritter!
You’ve no time to wait
You’d better go straight
And plop yourself down on the… toilet!”

But one thing we’ve noticed in three years
Is a pattern that constantly reappears:
The BMs reflect
The vacations they’ve wrecked
Like a matched set of runny brown souvenirs.

Our first trip, in a hotel so smelly
Alea’s tummy got sick from some jelly
In India’s heart
Ruined trip from the start:
An authentic case of real Delhi Belly.

The second time, as you will soon see-a
Was based on the self same idea
Poor Breck took the throne
In our very own home:
Struck down by Mubaiarrhea.

Dave’s ill was not like his daughter’s
But still was a set of the trotters.
Eating Cochinese shrimp
On his trip, put a crimp:
He sailed down the Kerala Backwaters.

Our last trip involved the ole poop pots
When we went to see Indian hot spots
In the desert a-cruisin’
The ailment caught Susan
And she got the Jodhpur Camel Trots

We’ve suffered on hikes, boats, and car rides
Strange stuff coming out of our backsides:
From Goan Groanin’ sick
To Jaipur Diaper ick
To colossal Himalayan Mudslides.

Pondicherry Derri-airy, Bangalore Blasts
Hyderabad Hot Squirts, Taj Mahal Gas
The Rajasthan Runs
Of course, Mysore Bum
The Calcutta Quick Step and Amritsar Ass.

Now, don’t think our stories pure unkind
We’ve usually had a real good time.
We remember our trips
Not by what we take with
Butt rather, what we’ve left behind!

ASB Aquathon

Today was the 5th annual aquathon at school – a fundraiser that includes swimming and running events. One of Breck’s buddies invited him to participate and ‘share the wealth’ in terms of the work, so Breck agreed to be the runner.

The Splash and Dash portion consisted of a 150m swim and 1.5km run (as opposed to the longer main Aquathon 300m-4km-300m event), which was just perfect for the guys. They had a great time, got a certificate and t-shirt, and had some fun on a Sunday morning!

There are more pictures posted on the main webpage – check out Breck’s eventful day!

Happy Birthday, Breck!

Even though today was a day off from school (due to India’s biggest holiday – Republic Day), we were all awakened early in the morning. He claimed that he “wasn’t really trying to make too much noise,” but Breck was pretty impatient to get his birthday started!

We’d brought out some presents the night before, so he knew that there was (probably) some good stuff waiting..
He was totally excited about the new Star Wars Lego set that he got!
But the thing that got his (stomach) juices really flowing? Good old American junk food – that bag of chips costs 6 bucks, so it is a real once-a-year treat.

Free verse Friday – Take your child to snow day

Alea on Winter Day
There is no snow in Bombay
I know this much is true
But for spirit week, which is this week
Alea’s clothes had wintry hue.

All dressed in icicle-y silver and blue
With Santa’s elves on her ears
Wrapped in a scarf of fine white mesh
She’s pretty beyond her years.

Breck "Take your child to work" DayAnd speaking today of growing up
Breck shadowed dad and mom
As grade 5’s “Take your child to work day”
At long last was finally on.

He got to see mom teaching,
Little faces bright with glee
But since dad had no classes then
We just went and got coffee.

So much fun, on a warm Friday
Before a big weekend –
The play tonight, the fair next morn
Welcome to the festive season!

Bandra Fair

Breck and I went to the Bandra Fair last weekend (the yearly event that we visited as a family last year) for a little guy time together. I decided deliberately not to bring a camera, as I find that can become the focus (ha ha) of what I’m doing, and I wanted just to hang out with him.

We did bring a Flip video camera, though, a device a little larger than a mobile phone, and shot a bit of video. Not too much, but enough to give a taste of the event. Enjoy a quick look at the Bandra Fair!!

Front page revisited

Well, it is official. Everyone in my family is certifiably photogenic except me. Our school has a rotating image front page to the website, and Alea graced the cover a few months ago. This weekend, while doing homework, we saw that the image set had been redone, and now both Susan and Breck get their shot at ASB stardom:

Susan on ASB's front page

Breck on ASB's front page

Way to go, my famous family!!

Be the best that you can be

Razor Sharp SignOr at least be 13th best!

We pass this local college every day coming home from school, and I just had to get a shot of this sign (BTW – billboards are called “hoardings” here, in case anyone ever asks you). They’d had the same ad last year, and I never took a picture, but it is back for another round, and I got my shot this time.

I suppose there is a very specific demographic to which this university is appealing – MBA students who want to attend a college in not just any part of Asia (it has to be South Asia) and have a school that is good but not too good.

I do wonder how they decided to advertise as the “13th best” as opposed to “One of the Best” or even “in the Top 15.” Of course, 13 doesn’t have the bad luck connotations as it does in the West, but that designator is still somewhat funny.

Oh well. Seeing this reminded me that I have a ton of pictures from this past year that have not yet been posted (yes, including the Egypt trip, but that is moving really slowly right now). These last few weeks are killer, what with end of the year hoopla, goodbye parties, report cards, packing, buying a house (surprise!!), etc, etc,etc. I’m not sure how much of anything I’ll get to, but I did put together another “Life in India” photo montage for the webpage, so enjoy the photos!

A rickshaw built for 8

A full rickshaw!On our way home yesterday from Alea’s band concert (see tomorrow’s post for a poem and picture combination!), our family of four took separate rickshaws. We figured we had too much stuff and we’d just be too crowded in one, so the girls took off and the boys followed behind them.

Now rickshaws are often full of things other than people: just the other day one was stuffed with dvd players. On other occasions we’ve seen goats, vegetables, even a toilet being transported in these things. At a light near the school, though, we saw a great example how a rickshaw is meant to be packed!

There were at least 8 people in it (counting the driver), and they thought it was quite amusing that we wanted to take a picture (luckily I had the camera from the band concert). One lady – the closest one, dressed in black – did duck her head out of the photo, but I still like the way you can see just about everyone looking at us.

Breck in a rickJust to keep things fair, I also took a picture of Breck’s face reflected in the side mirror as well!

And, when the traffic started moving, we waved goodbye and sped off to our apartment, about a half hour (and $1.40, including tip) away, where we celebrated the successful concert with an order of traditional Indian KFC.

Breck’s day in the pool

Breck in the poolFriday was the elementary school’s aquatics craziness day (that wasn’t the official name, but that sure sums up the goings on). The huge pool play stuff that Alea had used has been set up at the school, and our PE department was determined to get the most use possible out of it!

Breck’s class was part of the festivities, and so he was splashing around with the best of them. Susan made it down and apparently took hundreds of pictures – she printed out several great action series – but we left all the photo stuff at the school (and I forgot to pick it up after volleyball practice yesterday morning).

Breck's pool tongueSo here are a couple of pictures that were emailed to us by a proud mom, shots that she took of her son (one of Breck’s good buddies) that caught Breck in action. We’ll definitely add more to his webpage once we get our act together (and there’s even a rumor that he’s going to write an entry about it on his blog!)

Free verse Friday – Good news/bad news

The kids are busy growing up
Its hard to realize that
Where once they played with dolls and balls
Now its games and skype-based chat.

Double digit ages loom
They once were far off goals:
“You can use an ow-ey knife then,
watch unedited Disney shows.”

But time moves on, and kids grow up
The thought that leaves me cold:
Because they are no longer young
It means we are getting old!


Mr. Model

Breck SpidermanOur weekend turned out to be a crazy filled couple of days, with a play date after school Friday, the huge Family Fun Day at school on Saturday, and a modeling shoot for Breck on Sunday. In between all that stuff, we managed to barbecue, buy some shoes, go out to dinner, hang some new pictures, finish all our homework, and even play with our Kiara friends a bit.

Breck SpidermanSunday morning, Breck and I went to get him ‘shot’ again. I know Breck enjoys the prospect of some pocket money and the chance to eat a bunch of Dominos pizza! We asked what happened with all the photos that are taken, and the photographers took us to a nearby store that had pictures of Breck hanging all over the place!

Breck Black PantherThe employees were smiling when Breck walked in, pointed, and shouted, “That’s me!” The shoppers were giving him double takes as well as we walked around the place. No one asked for an autograph – this time!

His favorite shot was a huge poster with six different poses of him on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera along, so we asked one of the guys with us to take a picture on his mobile camera and send it to us – we’ll see if it makes it.

They did give us three of the extra pictures, however, so we can show off how Spiderman Stutz is taking the Indian scene by storm!

Free Verse Friday: Pig in a Sty

Breck and the PigOK, not really free verse, but more like “Poetry Friday.” Since that’s not really too alliterative, however, I’m taking creative license to change it. Thinking that we need a little shake up around here, we’ll be posting poems on Fridays to help ease us into the weekend.

The inaugural contribution comes from Breck, in the form of a limerick he wrote for class:

There once as a pig in a sty
Too happy to ever cry
‘Cause the oinking noise
He made with his voice
Was bright as the sun in the sky.

Surprise! Happy Birthday and a half…

Huge weekend plans for Breck – his birthday is on Monday, which is also Chinese New Year this year as well as India’s Republic Day. Since that is one of only two national secular holidays, it is celebrated with parades and fireworks and a day off from school; he is pretty darn excited about having no school on his birthday.

Since this is a great opportunity to have a lot of fun with him, we had a ton of stuff planned. On Friday he took treats to school and then went to a friend’s house to play (while mom and dad both had separate TGIF parties to attend). On, Saturday we had a birthday party for him at home with some friends, after which Dave took them all to a nearby mall (nearby meaning a little less than an hour in traffic each way) for video games and Pizza Hut. Today he is enjoying all his friends’ gifts – righ now he is trying to figure out how to play a new Star Wars computer game. And on Monday, we’ll do a family thing with him. What a lucky guy!

Susan was really annoying me, however, all day on Saturday. Because of the vagaries of trying to ‘time’ how long it will take to get anywhere, we had told kids’ parents that we’d be done around 6 in the evening. For some reason, Susan kept calling the whole time we were at the mall and coming home: “What are you doing now?” “Are you eating yet?” “How come you haven’t left yet?” “What’s taking you so long to get home?” etc… I was tempted to just shut off the phone, and was getting tired of being nagged so much.

We finally rolled in at 6:20, which I thought was pretty darn good. As I walked in the door, Susan grabbed me and said, “I need you to help Alea on the roof. She’s gotten into a huge fight with one of her friends up there and I don’t know what to do about them.” So here I am, after a full day of babysitting a bunch of 4th graders at the mall, being dragged into some kind of middle school catfight. Sigh.

Dave's party

When we made it up to the roof, I turned the corner and a whole bunch of people started singing, “Happy Birthday.” My first thought was that I needed to get Breck up right away, since he was missing his song. Then I noticed that they were all looking at me and laughing (which, granted, isn’t that unusual an occurence), so I figured that something else was going on. When the voices stopped, Susan explained that it was my half birthday, and since I have never had a full on birthday party (because we and our peers are always dispersed across the globe by the time June rolls around), she had set up a surprise “Half Birthday” party. Seeings how my next age change brings up the big 4-0, that fit even more splendidly into her plans.

Having a huge group of people waiting around explains her ‘nagginess’ during the day, as she wanted to make sure that I would be home at a reasonable hour, so I guess I can forgive her! It was a perfect evening for a party, and there was a ton of barbecued meat, catered snacks, and cold drinks. People kept saying “Halfy Birthday” which I thought was cute, and brought all sorts of fun gifts for an old man. One of the most original was “Four Teas for Forty” – a selection of herbal teas, each of which is supposed to help shore up different bodily functions for the elderly: mental agility, iron absorption, bowel regularity, and, ahem, “physical fitness for matrimonial relationship building.”

As things turned out however, that last tea wasn’t needed after the party. Nope, not needed at all:

It turned out that Breck’s teacher brought cigars, and Breck was so distraught at seeing his teacher smoking (having seen very graphic pictures of the effects of smoking during our trip to Thailand) that, after the party, he had to cuddle with mom all night.

So I ended up just kind of cleaning up on the roof after my own party. And then crashing, alone. Thanks alot, Mr. Jordan.

Animal Beers

Breck makes me so proud sometimes. We were riding on the bus to school, when he started pointing out the window at a poster and said, “Look dad – Tiger beer!” We admired the picture of the tiger for a while, and then he said, “You know, there sure are a lot of beers named after animals here in India. There’s Tiger, and Cobra, and Kingfisher, and even Foster’s.” I told him I understood all the others (Kingfisher is a type of bird), but was not sure why he thought Foster’s was an animal beer. “Because of the little kangaroo on it,” was his response. Ah yes, my son, the zoologist.

He did get me to thinking, however, about the beers that I’ve had which are named after animals (or birds, as the case may be). Here’s what I could come up with, keeping in mind that A) they had to beers I’ve actually had; B) they are beers I remembered that I had; C) they have an animal in the name (with one exception as noted above); and D) I didn’t really have to think too hard to come up with this list:

I might add to this list as I remember more (but probably not).

Goats in the basement

With the “Big Eid” celebrations taking place tomorrow, Muslims all over the country (and throughout the Islamic world) are getting ready for the day.

Remember the story of Abraham, and how he was told by God to sacrifice his son? He was all set to obey the Word of the Lord, only to have an angel appear just as he was ready to strike. Regardless of one’s personal opinion of the wisdom of obeying such an command from a supposedly loving deity, this holiday commemorates that event. Traditionally, then, animals are ritually slaughtered and shared out with the less fortunate.

Our guards, drivers (that is Iqbal sitting behind Breck, the driver who worked for us last year), and the Muslim family that lives in our building are keeping up with the spirit of the holiday, and procured 6 goats to serve as the sacrifices. The animals have been living in the basement for the last week or so, and Breck and dad went down tonight to wish them farewell on their last earthly night.

We won’t be able to join in the festivities, as they take place in the morning after we’ve already left for school, and I’m guessing that things will be all cleaned up by the time we get back. Oh well – maybe next year!

Breck, guns, and Christmas movies – oh my!

So I might have made a mistake in my conversations with Breck the other day. We were talking about Christmas movies, and I happened to have a brain flash about one of my favorite Christmas movies – Die Hard.

[Don’t believe me, that Die Hard is a real Christmas movie? Read the rest of the story below, after the tale of today.]

Now, you might think, “Even if Die Hard is a Christmas movie, why tell your kid about it?” Good question, one to which I have no answer.

In any case, Breck was asking what made it a Christmas movie and I was explaining it to him – you know, the lights, the music, the Christmas trees, all that good stuff – when I happened to mention that there was a guy in a Santa suit. Certainly you remember: Bruce Willis sends one of the bad guys down in an elevator with a Santa cap on and wearing a sign that says ‘Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.’

Admittedly another pretty questionable call according to the “What you should tell your kids as a father” handbook.

Well, I got my comeuppance. With all of the beefed up security at our school, guess what the guards are now carrying around? That’s right.

And guess what Breck shouted out in front of all the teachers and parents as we were coming into school today: “Hey dad, it is just like your favorite Christmas movie – Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho!”

Yes, I got some looks from people. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

(that’s the end of the main post; if you’re not interested in Die Hard (an action movie) then you can quit here)

Now for what makes Die Hard a Christmas classic. I’ve had the thought before, but this blog put it much more eloquently than I could ever hope to to do. Enjoy:

Here it is, the single greatest Christmas movie of all time — no joke, no doubt, no question, it’s Die Hard. And before any quibbling begins, can we agree, in general, that it’s a good movie? Seriously. Step back from the Christmas assertion for just a moment and consider the film as a whole. Die Hard is a classic.

Die Hard ranks 39th on AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Thrills list. Die Hard turned Bruce Willis from a television star into an A-list movie star. Die Hard spawned three sequels. Die Hard spawned countless imitators and wannabes.  And, Die Hard takes place during Christmas.

Sure, it’s not a “traditional” Christmas movie. But it takes place during Christmas, has Christmas carols, and has a number of standard defining characteristics of Christmas films.

First, let’s look at John McClane (Bruce Willis’s character) and who he is. To start with, there’s his name, John McClane. In Irish the prefix “Mc” means “son of,” making him John son of Clane, or J son of C, or, to shorten it further, JC. McClane is therefore a stand-in for Jesus Christ, something the “son of” portion only aids in, as he, Jesus, is the son of God.

And, certainly, McClane is a Christ-like figure. Where do we find him at the beginning of the movie?  In an airplane, returning to Earth. It’s as though he were descending from the Heavens, being sent, as it were, by God back to Earth. And, in Die Hard, it’s on Christmas that John McClane is reborn.

Additionally, this night also represents McClane’s walk in the wilderness, which was a crucially important time in the life of Jesus. Nakatomi Plaza (the building in which the movie takes place) is a perfect stand-in for the wilderness, and it is only after McClane leaves Nakatomi, exiting the wilderness, that he is a changed man. McClane has faced his nightmarish opposite in the form of Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). Gruber is everything that McClane is not; he is the anti-McClane, much as the Devil is often referred to as the anti-Christ. McClane, like Jesus, has been tempted, and has passed his trials.

One could say that JC has been ‘baptized in blood,’ and then comes back to life. In fact, when the ‘resurrection’ scene begins, John is shown bloody and backlit with radiant light. As he confronts Hans, who is holding his wife hostage, her response on seeing him appear is “Jesus.” Of course, as he gives himself up to Hans, McClane has an ace up his sleeve, but then so too did the son of God.

Putting aside this blatant analogy, the plot of the film as a whole is unquestionably Christmas movie-themed. Outside of their ornamentation, Christmas movies are all notable for having several common principles. Often there is a love story element to these movies (It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol serve as two perfect examples); these love stories always have the couple overcome their difficulties to be stronger in the end.  Check. McClane and his wife are estranged when the film starts, but by the end are together again.

Another similarity that the truly great Christmas movies all share is that they create phrases that enter our popular culture. Examples include “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings;” “God bless us, every one;” and “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Die Hard actually contains one of the most well-known entries into this category: “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf***er.”

It is also essential to note that the film itself is quite clearly trying to be a Christmas movie. It understands that it is not a typical Christmas movie, but it still wishes to be counted in the genre. Remember McClane’s discussion with his limo driver, Argyle, once he gets in the car? Upon hearing the up-beat rap music Argyle has on the radio, McClane asks Argyle about Christmas music, and if there are no carols on. Argyle laughs at McClane and says they are listening to Christmas music and turns up the volume. Sure enough, once the lyrics to the song start, they’re all about Christmas. True, it’s not your traditional Christmas carol, it’s updated, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing

So, to recap, Die Hard is a great movie and Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Is there anything then that separates a great movie that happens to take place during Christmas from being a great Christmas movie? Any number of criteria would push a movie from the former to the latter; chief among these criteria is that the movie should promote the spirit of Christmas and the holidays.

Die Hard, as a film, does just this. It is a movie about the triumph of good over evil; more importantly however, it is a movie the throws into stark relief the importance of family, particularly during the holidays. McClane makes his family, during the holidays, the most important thing in the world. He goes through hell in order to rebuild his family and strengthen those bonds. And McClane certainly makes Christmas morning one of the happiest days ever for those he saves.

It’s not easy to believe, but it’s undeniable. Die Hard just may be one of the greatest Christmas movies ever made.