We are entering the final stretch of the Movies of 1988 bracket game! It’s down to action hero Bruce Willis against of trio of very different comedies. Can any of them stop John McClane on his march to victory? Just like in Die Hard, the “fly in the ointment” finds himself opposed by a motley band of criminals led by a suave European. But the gang from A Fish Called Wanda is a whole lot sillier than the terrorists who invaded Nakatomi Plaza. Still, if Detective McClane isn’t careful, he is in imminent danger of having chips shoved up his nose.
Today’s match-up features two movies which slyly sent-up corporate culture in the 1980’s. In Working Girl, Melanie Griffith played a put-upon secretary who finds that her hair style and tacky clothes have impaired her ability to break through the glass ceiling. Bonnie Bedelia’s character in Die Hard experiences similar career frustration. She has to go so far as to move across the country and revert to her maiden name in order to advance. And then she ends up working with some coked-up jackass who gets himself killed by terrorists. Come to think of it, if there was one thing Working Girl could have used more of, it was terrorists. Imagine Han Solo and Ellen Ripley teaming up to take on some intergalactic mercenaries. That sure would have pepped up Mike Nichols’ rom com. Where was I again? Oh yeah, today’s match features to movies with almost nothing in common.
Okay, so this one might be a teeny bit lopsided. I fully expect Die Hard to win its way into the final four and I won’t be the least bit surprised if it makes it to the final round. Heck, it’s probably the odds-on favorite to take the crown. Pretty much anything I might put up against Die Hard in the first round was going to get steamrolled. One of the reasons Die Hard was able to redefine action movies is that the genre wasn’t in the best place in the late 80’s. Take a look at the other action movies of the year and you will see what I mean. Other than Midnight Run, my best options were They Live, Bloodsport, Above the Law and Action Jackson. I like some of those movies and I know they all have their fans. But Midnight Run is better than all of them. It’s a near-perfect buddy comedy that had the misfortune to come up against John McClane.
Before Fast And Furious or Michael Bay came along the original Die Hard set the standard for the action movie genre. It also introduced us to Bruce Willis as police officer John McClane, an everyman hero who stood in stark contrast to the muscle-bound action stars of the time. Although the series and the character are beloved, most of the Die Hard movies are really not all that great. Of them all, one stands as a classic, one’s pretty good, two are just okay and one’s quite awful. Let’s rank ’em and see which is which.
“If it’s on the internet, it must be true.” – Sarcastic Person
The internet is a marvel of modern technology. Never before in human history has so much information been available so readily. Unfortunately, it also follows that misinformation spreads more rapidly than ever. Someone writes something on-line and someone else repeats it. Before you know it, the story is accepted as fact despite having no credible sources.
I come across these kinds of tall tales and internet legends all the time while researching articles for the site. Despite the fact that sites like Wikipedia have a team that theoretically monitors updates for proper sourcing, an amazing number of errors slip through the cracks. The purpose of this series is to separate fact from fiction.
John McTiernan was a Julliard graduate who became one of the biggest directors of the later 80’s and early 90’s. His directing career got off to a quick start. Within a few films, he was directing the biggest movie star in the world and reinventing genres altogether. He directed the movies that made Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis into viable action stars. But soon after, the hits stopped coming. But McTiernan’s troubles didn’t end with his career cooling off. The former A-list director spent 328 days in prison!
What the hell happened?
Some co-workers and I were discussing the newly announced title for Die Hard 5, A Good Day to Die Hard. Once the fits of laughter died down, one of my co-workers commented that his favorite Die Hard movie was Die Hard With a Vengeance. Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I had to fight the urge to beat some sense into this co-worker John McClane-style.