By Leigh' O Connor.
As many of us bunker down during July due to the ongoing COVID situation, we turn to our screens to binge watch our way through isolation. Is there anything better than a movie set during Christmas that delivers bodies and action, just like presents from Santa?
Here’s our top six picks for a knock ‘em down, shoot ‘em up kinda Mid-Winter movie session:
Yep…Die Hard is definitely the number one badass Christmas movie. High above the city of LA on Christmas Eve, a team of terrorists has seized a building, taken hostages and declared war. One man has managed to escape…an off-duty cop, hiding somewhere inside 40 stories of sheer hell.
He’s alone, tired…and the only chance anyone has. Who else could pull off the role of John McLane than Bruce Willis, as he takes on a group of highly organised wrongdoers, who make the mistake of taking his wife Holly hostage?
The Long Kiss Goodnight:
Geena Davis plays an assassin who gets amnesia and forgets about her old life, after washing up on a New Jersey beach eight years earlier, pregnant with daughter Caitlin. Settling in to the trappings of a suburban housewife, Samantha hires lowlife private investigator Mitch Henessey(Samuel L. Jackson) to discover her past.
During the Christmas holidays, she is involved in a car accident and suffers a brief concussion; on recovery she discovers skills with a knife that can’t be explained. When the family home is broken into by an escaped convict who recognises Samantha on TV, she kills him bare-handed and embarks on a journey to discover the truth about her past.
Rumour has it, in an early cut of the film Henessey dies, but at a test screening an audience member shouted "You can’t kill Sam Jackson!” and the final cut was changed, so his character survived.
Remember that scene where Martin Riggs attempts suicide while watching the Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales? Riggs (then rising Hollywood star Mel Gibson) loads his piece and holds it to his head, before finally putting it down.
Turns out that scene took four weeks to film…Mel shot it twice but wasn’t happy. Instead of making him work on it until they go what they wanted, the crew waited around the set for weeks until Mel finally asked to shoot it.
And as for the scene where Murtagh’s desk is covered with condoms, manufacturer Ramses paid $10,000 to have their product featured.
Behind Enemy Lines:
Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean the troops get the day off. In this case, Lieutenant Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson) plays a naval fighter pilot who gets shot down over Bosnia on Christmas Day; a group of well-armed secret police are after him as he took a photo of their hidden camp.
Meanwhile his commanding officer (Gene Hackman) is struggling to get approval to launch a mission to save Burnett; eventually going against orders by sending a squad to get him and the photos to safety.
Based loosely on the 1995 Mrkonjic Grad incident during the Bosnian war, where Serb Volunteer Guard soldiers were photographed burying massacred Muslim civilians in mass graves, this movie was shot on location in Slovakia; while some footage was also shot on the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier featured in the film.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang:
This quintessential LA Christmas movie is told from the perspective of transplanted thief-turned actor Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jnr), who gets a crash course in the city’s oddities as he takes on his first case as an accidental detective.
The discovery of a corpse brings Harry, his childhood crush Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan) and big-time private eye Perry Strike (Val Kilmer) together during the holidays to solve a murder and unearth a sinister Hollywood conspiracy.
As well as a soundtrack loaded with Christmas tunes, this movie has it all – villainous Hollywood actors, goons and an adorable finger-eating dog, for maximum lockdown binge watching fun!
The Ice Harvest:
Two thick thieves skate on thin ice in this black comedy, starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton and Connie Nielsen. On Christmas Eve in Wichita, Kansas, mob lawyer Charlie Arglist (Cusack) and crooked businessman and pornographer Vic Cavanaugh (Thornton), gather together $2 million they have stolen from their mobster boss Bill Guerrard (Quaid).
When icy roads stop them escaping out of town with the loot, a series of complicated events are set in motion from goofy to gruesome scenes, including a mobster locked inside a trunk (boot) still managing to shout out muffled death threats.
Based on the novel of the same name by Scott Phillips, this is a great movie to while away iso blues and celebrate Christmas in July.
Merry Mid-Winter Christmas everyone!