Three Ways ‘Die Hard’ Is Like Valentine’s Day

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Die Hard Valentines are a license to print money.

Die Hard Valentines are a license to print money.

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Luke McKinney  writes about games, drink, science, and everything else...
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by Luke McKinney

Bruce Willis has kicked the ass of terrorists, time travel, and asteroid extinction, but this February 14th he takes on his most dangerous enemy: romance. A Good Day to Die Hard is mounting an attack on love itself by launching on Valentine’s day, forcing fans of Die Hard (also known as “everyone”) to decide between dates and movies.

The ideal result is that both partners would watch the movie together. But by some inexplicable error in the human genome, some people don’t like watching Bruce Willis detonate cities. Scientists would be working on this terrible affliction, but every time they try to study it they end up just watching Die Hard again. Because scientists are smart, and therefore love Die Hard. They also theorize that any couple who do both like it had better live on the ground floor, otherwise everyone living below them that night is going to think earthquakes have become airborne. An idea which still won’t cause as much property destruction as John McClane.

The terrorists have Detective John McClane outnumbered ten to one. They're telling his wife he forgot to buy flowers. That's just the way he likes it.

The terrorists have Detective John McClane outnumbered ten to one. They’re telling his wife he forgot to buy flowers. That’s just the way he likes it.

So how do you cope with Valentine’s Day if you’re the only one who likes Die Hard? Simple. The entire point of Die Hard is “regular guy does what he has to, not what he wants to.” John McClane didn’t let Europeans blow up Nakatomi plaza because he was down the cineplex watching Coming to America. Because that’s a movie.  It’ll still be there tomorrow. In fact, the spirit of Die Hard can help you all the way through Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Make a Big Effort on the Day

McClane looks like his motivation is “being the fifth fundamental force of the universe,” but he’s not doing it just because it’s badass. If that was the case he wouldn’t be a police officer, he’d be a travelling explosives salesman in the world’s most dangerous monster truck. And when he met bank-robbers that would be the best movie ever. But he’s doing all this for his relationships, and the lessons are relevant to your Valentine’s planning.

Die Hards 1 and 2 are about one man making a huge last-minute effort to save his true love from having a very bad night. That’s the story of most Valentine’s nights. John McClane drops everything, including Alan Rickman, to make Holly’s dreams come true. Okay, her dreams at that point were “not getting shot in the head by terrorists,” but John realized them all the same. You won’t have to aim that high with your date, but on the downside, you won’t get away with turning up in a filthy undershirt.

The Most Awesome Day Ever Is Not Enough

Whisking your love away to an airport, and then blowing it up, sure sounds romantic. But there’s a reason Die Hard With a Vengeance starts with him separated and stupidly hungover. It turns out that one big effort leads to one big happy moment, but unless your life pauses at that exact moment as the credits roll you’re still the same arse you were a few hours ago. You still wake up beside them the next morning, and if your underpants are still hung on the TV “to air out” then they’re still going to be pissed off.

The couple are patched up by the end of the movie, because when Samuel L Jackson tells you to get back together with your true love you do what he got-damn says, but by Live Free or Die Hard John finally and utterly divorced. Because Mace Windu has more important things to do than hang around maintaining your marriage. The lesson here: make a big effort on Valentine’s Day, and then keep it up for at least another day. The more days you make an effort without Hallmark reminding you, the better the rewards get.

Greed Is Bad

The repeated lesson of Die Hard is that everything is always about the money, but the people who think like that are always unhappy. Sometimes not for long, what with “falling from the fortieth floor” and “sitting in exploding airplane,” but for those few seconds you can bet they were SPECTACULARLY displeased.

According to his daily planner, he was supposed to be rich by this time.

According to his daily planner, he was supposed to be rich by now.

Everyone knows that Valentine’s Day is a retrofitted corporate holiday, designed to sell chocolate and reclaim money from the lazy via the greetings card industry. Honestly, if you’re giving someone a card, make your own. Bruce Willis makes his own card. He went out and hunted his very own titanic Aryan machine-gunner. Sure, his arts and crafts ends up looking a little rough, but it put such a smile on Holly’s face!

It’s the personal touch that means so much.

It’s the personal touch that means so much.

Explaining Valentine’s corporate sponsorship is like challenging the sun: you can’t fight it, and any attempt to escape it will leave you cold. You have to spend on the holiday. Not necessarily money — spending effort and time work just as well.

Last, and most important of all, don’t demand credit for going to see your date instead of Bruce Willis that night. This will only upset them. Because, deep down, they know they can’t compete.


bonusround2 Three Ways Die Hard Is Like Valentines Day
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Hint: all of them.

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Come, m'lady, let my love, fire, and booze warm you, in reverse order.

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