Christmas Movie Smackdown: ‘Die Hard’ vs. ‘Gremlins’

To read more of Sharp’s Christmas Movie Smackdown, click here.

This contest isn’t about John McClane. We know he’d win. He’d kick everyone’s ass — Santa’s, Macaulay Culkin’s, that dumb kid from A Christmas Story’s — swiftly and thoroughly and with a disgusting grin on his face. That’s why we love him. So forget John McClane for a second. And forget Christmas, too. The only way to settle this completely mismatched matchup is villain-on-villain.

Consider: the bad guys in Gremlins were what? A bunch of fuzzy marionettes? Maybe I’m just too young to understand, but what was even happening in the ’80s? Were people really scared of mutated Furby dolls? Did Alf’s baby cousins actually anchor an entire series — a whole fucking series — of movies?

Hans Gruber, on the other hand, is a real villain. Maybe even the cinematic ur-villain. For one thing, Rickman played a terrorist before terrorism was even cool. For another, he had a preposterous German accent. For a third, if we even need a third, he’s Alan Fucking Rickman. The man was born to play bad guys. Even in Love Actually, the sugary smooth romantic comedy that rightfully got booted off this bracket in the first round, Rickman played a hateful, venomous character that was at least a dozen times more despicable and, let’s just say it, more bone-chillingly frightening than those silly gremlins.

And you know what else? I lied. This contest sure as hell is about John McClane. Because not even Alan Rickman — abetted by the bumbling antics of Carl Winslow and the LAPD — could keep John McClane down. So whatever. Die Hard obviously goes to the semi-finals. We knew that before we even started this thing.


07B_xmas bracket