Tag Archive: die hard

Ending the Season

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

The Christmas Season is almost over. Some of you might be celebrating later because of work schedules or travel schedules or various events.

Been there, done that.

christalkindl-marketThis past weekend we finally squeezed in a visit to the Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza. The traditional German Christmas market is one I have longed to go to and not just because parts of my family are German.

I love the smells of roasting nuts and mulled wine. There were sausages, potato pancakes, and hot apple cider. There were beautiful knits from Germany, Ireland, and Guatemala. I saw incredible wooden works of arts including a Santa nut cracker. One booth offered up embroidered table scarves that were quite stunning.

The entire village was lighted in beautiful yellow glowing twinkle lights. The effect was magical under the watchful eye of the Picasso statue. We had a long walk back to the car but the market was totally worth it and I can’t wait to go back again next year.

while-you-were-sleepingBut now that the season is almost over, if you haven’t watched certain movies, this is your last chance before it feels a little weird and out of place. You might want to get While You Were Sleeping out of the way. This Sandra Bullock movie is about a lonely CTA worker who saves her favorite customer from being run over by train.

In order to see him at the hospital, she lies about being his fiancee so that she can visit with him. Unfortunately, Peter Gallagher is unconscious and unaware he has a fiancee. Then his family show up and embrace Lucy as family. The woman, who had no one but her cat and a wannabe boyfriend, suddenly is surrounded by family and has a stocking on the mantle with her name on it. It is a heady experience which gets complicated when she meets his brother, Bill Pullman.

Now you know what happens next. It is pretty clear. For me, this time the journey is totally worth the ride. Our heroine is sweet but a little goofy. Her main love interest is gruff and wanting out of the family business. And the supporting cast is phenomenal, especially the old family friend who has to tell the patient he is a putz.

But I love it. It makes me laugh and cry. There are sweet moments and funny one. There are times that I swear I know which neighborhood each scene was filmed in and others that make me wish for the dreamland of LaGrange.

In case this movie is too happy, too sappy, too girly there is always the Die Hard series.

Yippe-ki-yay, indeed.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

We all need a bogeyman, something or someone to blame when life doesn’t go the way we want. But we also crave for a way to make life feel safe.

That is when certain movies are good for nothing more than setting up a villain and working to destroy him or her.

We all have some sort of action movie that is great for stress relief, that helps us see sometimes problems can be solved.

Bruce Willis Die Hard IMDb com

Bruce Willis as John McClane in Die Hard, picture from IMDb.com

I always felt that was the appeal of the Die Hard series. John McClane as the rogue cop always managed to take down the terrorists, the villain, the bad guy with smart aleck one liners and a profane cry to let his opponents know there was nothing he wouldn’t do to save his family.

We love it of course, as John McClane does it all by fighting the bad guys be it opportunistic journalists or foreign terrorists seeking to kill while getting away with the cash.

London_Has_Fallen_posterTo me, that is the appeal of London Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler. This movie is a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen in which disgraced Secret Service officer Mike Banning saves the life of the president and his son when terrorists attack the White House.

It’s two years later in London Has Fallen; Butler is now the personal guard of the president played by Aaron Eckhart. He goes along for every trip, including a funeral service for the Prime Minister of England. It looks to be a security nightmare that various agencies are working to prevent.

Until that is the worst does happen. Bombs explode on bridges, monuments, boats. Leaders from a variety of countries are killed. Many of the cops are not real cops but terrorists waiting to cause complete destruction.

I can’t tell you the number of things I could not believe Gerard can do. He hung out of a speeding car and shot at the other vehicles driven by the villains. He took over the driving when the other guy was shot while driving. He took on various enemy combatants and beat them at their own game. All the while, the personal guard of the President is doing everything he can to keep his charge alive. The nursery awaiting his child had six security cameras in it.

London has fallen 2Is this movie any good? Well, there are some great explosions as various buildings are destroyed. The unending supply of minions is humorous when you take the time to think about it. The movie is watchable with funny little moments thrown in, such as the president finding himself behind the wheel of an SUV after seven years of not driving and wondering if he can still do it.

I think there is an audience for this movie with some cheesy lines and an easy villain with whom we can relate. There is swearing and some bloody violence. It is not for the younger kids. My son wants to watch it and at 19, he is the perfect age for it. I have to admit, I will probably not look for this movie but if it shows up on cable, I will probably watch it.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Watching a Christmas Movie?

by Karyn Bowman

So what makes a good Christmas movie?

This time of year we all talk about what we like or don’t like in a Christmas movie. But it comes down to a few factors, two actually.

Redemption and Reconciliation.

After much thought and deliberation, it seems true that the best movies in this genre are all about the redemption of a lost soul or the reconciliation of a relationship whether it is between lovers or among family members.

Do I need to bring in a case in point?

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

Bruce Willis going through a window in “Die Hard.” Image from IMDb.com

How about Die Hard? In this movie the good guy, that’s Bruce Willis, is visiting his wife and children in California. He is a New York City police office unwilling to move to California but he still loves his wife. So he comes to visit at her Christmas office party.

To say things go horrible wrong as terrorists invade the party would be an understatement. But with a few smart moves and a partnership with a Los Angeles police officer, McClain is able to save his wife and most of her co-workers. In the end, there is a satisfying reconciliation between the couple.

If you need more, there is always A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer find redemption from being a miser who cares about no one to a man who keeps the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year-long. Granted, he needs the help of four different ghosts and to see what lies ahead in the future if he does nothing. We stick around for the journey because we love the destination of Redemption.

What other movies can we label this way?

Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

Elf   – Reconciliation and Redemption

It’s a Wonderful Life   –   Redemption

A Charlie Brown Christmas  – Redemption

A Christmas Story   –   Redemption

The Holiday  –  Redemption

Love Actually  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

The Cheaters  –  Redemption

Bad Santa  –   Redemption

The Santa Clause   –  Redemption

Miracle on 34th Street   – Redemption and Reconciliation

Any Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

We could go on and on like this. The truth is if movie makers could figure out the perfect Christmas movie we would have more of them that are great. But perhaps we must remember Bette Davis who once shamed a reporter who tried to say there were many great movies in the vaults. She responded by saying that about 5 – 10 great movies were made on any given year but the rest were crap.

Christmas movies get us in the heart whether it is about a reindeer, a journey to the north pole, or an old man who says he is Santa when logic tells you there is no way that man could be Santa. I love watching them and know I will be doing a lot of that this weekend.

So what about your favorite Christmas movie? Is it about reconciliation or redemption?


Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Last week, I talked about great holiday movies for kids or the whole family. This week I am talking about those holiday movies that are best suited for adults. Some are on my list because, context-wise, they are made for adults.

Poster image from IMDb.com.

Others are there because they are violent and/or filled with swear words. They are simply not suitable for the younger members of the family or to watch with your parents and/or grandparents.

Here it is.

#5 This is my favorite Christmas movie and when you think about when the movie was made, it is quite shocking. In Christmas in Connecticut, Barbara Stanwyck plays a Martha Stewart-type writer who cannot do anything she writes about. However, her publisher decides he wants to have an old fashioned Christmas at her farm and eat her delicious cooking. To make matters worse, he has invited a war hero to join them.

Now Stanwyck has to find a farm, a husband and a baby. When the soldier arrives Stanwyck finds herself falling for him while pretending to be married. How shocking, a married woman with a child flirting shamelessly with a war hero. And yet, I love it. I watch it every Christmas Eve.

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

#4 What is Christmas without Bruce Willis yelling “Yippee Ki Yay, &#*@^.” Well, probably a lesser time. Who can resist an NYPD officer going to L.A. for Christmas to visit his high-powered wife. Once he gets there he has to deal with a hostage-takeover and try to save her.

This movie is filled with violence. Willis swears enough to make him an honorary British actor. Best of all, we get to watch the delicious Alan Rickman as the dapper and cunning villain. 

#3 Love Actually is a British romantic comedy set during the month leading up to Christmas. It is an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Liam Neesom and Kiera Knightly. The stories are about love found, love lost, love beginning, and love strained.

The writing and acting are stupendous feats, much of the emotions of the characters are raw and tangible. BUT there is a lot of swearing. And one story follows two people who are movie stand-ins at a porno movie shoot. I only watch this one with the husband or by myself.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

#2 If you like black comedy and need a break from the sweetness of the holiday, you cannot go wrong with Bad Santa. Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic, cynical Santa who robs the mall he works at every year with his elf partner.

This time a bullied kid from the town invites Thornton into his home, and slowly this drinking and swearing Santa opens his eyes to what is around him. It might also help that Thornton begins seeing a pretty bartender with a Santa fixation.

There is a lot of swearing, drug use, violence and sexual activity. I am not watching this movie with my parents.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

#1 You might wonder why I am putting It’s a Wonderful Life on this list. After all, what could be questionable about this movie? Let’s start with the attempted suicide by George, the heavy drinking that takes place throughout the movie, the implied sexual behavior of Violet, the cruelty of Potter at every turn. There is a lot of this that is meant for adults.

Most young kids cannot relate to the worst that can happen to a person, driving them to such a desperate act. While this movie is about how one person can affect a single community, in the end it is also about how you live your life. If only we could all be a little more like George and Mary.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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