As author Alonso Duralde reminds us in his new Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas, this 1988 action flick, which made a big screen star of Bruce Willis, is also very much a Christmas movie. Here, Willis plays a cop whose wife ... oh, forget it, you know the plot. Bruce battles the baddies in a big Los Angeles office tower; bullets and glass fly all over the place; and he and terrorist Alan Rickman basically have an acting contest to see which thespian can toe over the line into hetero-camp without the audience noticing. His TV apprentice years on Moonlighting made Willis a master of the softly delivered wisecrack, and here he added muscle to his résumé. Die Hard is dumb to its core and irresistible for that reason. In the post-Schwarzenegger pantheon of action heroes, only Willis could make a line like Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker almost sound clever. (R) BRIAN MILLER
Considered by many to be a benchmark in the action genre, ÒDie HardÓ will screen at a special 20th anniversary event on Wednesday, August 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesÕ Science and Technology Council, the evening also will feature an onstage panel discussion with several key members of the filmÕs sound and visual effects teams who will highlight the role of motion picture science and technology in shaping the movie. Film historian and author Eric Lichtenfeld will moderate the panel.
Pictured: Bruce Willis in a scene from DIE HARD, 1988.