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‘Die Hard’ Is A Christmas Movie If You’re A Fan

December 25, 2019 Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on ‘Die Hard’ Is A Christmas Movie If You’re A Fan
Our leg lamp ornament — a reference to the 1983 classic: A Christmas Story.

The recent Sunday Poll was about the 1988 Bruce Willis action film Die Hard being a Christmas movie, or not. Here are the non-scientific results:

Q: Agree or disagree: The 1988 movie ‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie.

  • Strongly agree: 7 [31.82%]
  • Agree: 2 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree: 3 [13.64%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [4.55%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [9.09%]
  • Disagree: 2 [9.09%]
  • Strongly disagree: 4 [18.18%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [4.55%]

My husband loves this movie as much as Home Alone, so my opinion doesn’t really matter. The following comes closest to my own thoughts:

The film is a deceptively rich text that crucially hinges on John McClane flying across the country to reconcile with his estranged wife over the holidays. That is, all things considered, pretty damn Christmas of him. Pair that with the bond he builds with Sgt. Al Powell via walkie-talkie over the course of the film (the moment they finally meet at the end of the movie and greet each other as old friends gets me as good as any great Christmas Movie) and you’ve got the makings of all the naked sentiment and emotional exploration required of a Christmas Movie.

The catch is that while the events of Die Hard are technically instigated by the holiday season, Christmas isn’t the lens through which these relationships are explored so much as the trauma stemming from the attack on Nakatomi Plaza is. John and Holly don’t reconcile because it’s Christmas so much as they reconcile because they’ve both seen the other narrowly escape death (multiple times) and had to contemplate living in a world without one another. Al and John’s friendship stems from survival and personal growth, neither of which have any concrete tie to the holiday. It’s a great movie, a great movie that takes place on Christmas. But don’t get it twisted: it’s not a Christmas Movie. (Geek)

Being set during Christmas doesn’t make a movie a Christmas movie. At least not for me, maybe for you it does. I think a movie you like a movie set during Christmas can become a classic Christmas movie for you.

Enjoy your day!

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Is ‘Die Hard’ A Christmas Movie?

December 22, 2019 Featured, Popular Culture, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Is ‘Die Hard’ A Christmas Movie?
Please vote below

There are many films out that are undisputed Christmas classics. Esquire recently published a list of the top 40 Christmas movies, here’s their top 10:

  • 10. A Christmas Carol, 1951
  • 9. The Muppets Christmas Carol, 1992
  • 8. Bad Santa, 2003
  • 7. Miracle on 34th St., 1947
  • 6. Scrooged, 1988
  • 5. Home Alone, 1990
  • 4. White Christmas, 1954
  • 3. A Christmas Story, 1983
  • 2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989
  • 1. It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946

Further down the list is Meet Me In St. Louis, at #16:

Vincente Minnelli’s 1944 musical is comprised of vignettes set during a variety of seasons, but none are as famous as the one featuring star (and Minnelli’s future wife) Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” (Esquire)

You can watch Garland sing this here.

Today’s poll is about the movie at #25 on their list — Die Hard, 1988. Here’s an intro to the plot:

On Christmas Eve, NYPD detective John McClane arrives in Los Angeles, intending to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly, at the Christmas party of her employer, the Nakatomi Corporation. McClane is driven to the party by Argyle, a limousine driver. While McClane changes clothes, the party is disrupted by the arrival of a German terrorist, Hans Gruber, and his team: computer hacker Theo, Karl and Tony Vreski, Franco, Alexander, Marco, Kristoff, Eddie, Uli, Heinrich, Fritz, and James. The group seizes the tower and secures those inside as hostages except for McClane, who slips away, and Argyle, who gets stranded in the garage. (Wikipedia)

And this is the trailer:

I can’t think of a movie that has been debated more about being a Christmas movie or not.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Awaiting NCAA Rules on Collegiate Athletes Getting Paid for their Image, Likeness

November 13, 2019 Education, Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Awaiting NCAA Rules on Collegiate Athletes Getting Paid for their Image, Likeness

During part of my undergraduate days, mid-late 1980s, I worked part-time at Toys “R” Us — I was paid $5.90/hour at the end. I also had a small 401k plan. Not the worst college job.

For the top college athletes their sport is their college job. Their scholarship may cover tuition, books, room & board, but it doesn’t help them if they have family that needs financial help. And what if they get injured during playing college sports? Yes, they’re getting a degree that’ll help later on, but to stay in college many of the top athletes pass on a lucrative professional contract that would allow them to help their family now — while hoping they don’t get a career-ending injury.

Most college athletes aren’t anticipating a big contract after graduation, nor should they expect big endorsement deals during college. Though I could see local businesses offering sponsorship to popular team athletes. I can also see problems with male players getting more & bigger deals than female players who’re just as popular/talented.

Chaifetz Arena is home to the Saint Louis University (SLU) basketball team.

Here’s the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Should College Athletes Be Able To Get Paid For Their Name, Image, or Likeness?

  • Yes: 10 [47.62%]
  • Unsure: 6 [28.57%]
  • No: 3 [14.29%]
  • Don’t care: 2 [9.52%]

It’ll be interesting to see how the NCAA writes & enforces the new rules around college athletes.

Also, congrats to the SLU women’s soccer team for getting to play in the NCAA Tournament.

— Steve Patterson

 

New Book — ‘When The Blues Go Marching In: An Illustrated Timeline of St. Louis Blues Hockey’ (Championship Edition) by Dan O’Neil

October 14, 2019 Books, Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on New Book — ‘When The Blues Go Marching In: An Illustrated Timeline of St. Louis Blues Hockey’ (Championship Edition) by Dan O’Neil

Regular readers know I’m not a sports fan, but I can get caught up in the moment when a St. Louis team is close to winning a championship. When the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup one of my first thoughts was wondering when I’d see a Blues hockey book.

The answer was last Friday — that’s when I received a review copy of  ‘When The Blues Go Marching In: An Illustrated Timeline of St. Louis Blues Hockey’ (Championship Edition) by Dan O’Neil.

When I finished the first edition of this book, the Blues had gone 50 seasons without capturing the NHL’s ultimate prize. Then came their 51st season, unprecedented and improbable. Nineteen inconsistent games into the 2018-19 schedule, the Blues made a coaching change. Thirty-seven games in, they possessed the fewest points in the 31-team league. Playoffs were a pipe dream, and the Stanley Cup seemed more distant than ever. But steadied by an interim coach, lifted by a rookie goaltender, and sparked by a record winning streak, a storybook unfolded. And with it came a mandate to revisit this volume, to account for the most remarkable episode of all—the rags-to-riches tale of a Stanley Cup championship. (Reedy Press)

This is a new edition of a prior book. It’s entirely chronological starting  with the 1967 expansion of the National Hockey League (NHL) and concluding with the Stanley Cup win. In between these are important dates and the story behind that date — changes to players, coaches, and owners; memorable plays, etc.

There are some upcoming events that you might find of interest:

  • Presentation and Book Signing:

Wednesday, October 30; 7pm-8pm
Grant’s View Branch of the St. Louis County Library
9700 Musick Ave
St. Louis, MO 63123

  • Book Signing

Friday, November 8; 5pm to 8pm
Blend Salon and Spa
7401 Manchester Ave, Suite 200
Maplewood, MO 63143

If you’re a Blues hockey fan this is the book for you.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis’ MLS Stadium Will Be Built On Site I Proposed In February 2016

October 7, 2019 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Popular Culture Comments Off on St. Louis’ MLS Stadium Will Be Built On Site I Proposed In February 2016

In 2015 St. Louis officials were proposing razing historic buildings/districts in the North Riverfront area, between Laclede’s Landing and the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, to build a new NFL stadium to keep the Rams in St. Louis.  It never happened, in early January 2016 the Rams officially applied to relocate to Los Angeles.

The next month it was announced a group had formed to attempt to get a Major League Soccer (MLS) team in St. Louis — they were scouting for sites. I’d opposed the North Riverfront as a site for an NFL stadium, I also felt it wasn’t the best site for a smaller MLS stadium.

I weighed in:

The site they shouldn’t consider is the North riverfront one previously targeted for a significantly larger NFL stadium — we shouldn’t tear down buildings when we have vacant land available. We have land, mostly state owned, without any buildings and a target for redevelopment for years already. I’m talking about the 22nd Street Interchange area — an area on the West side of downtown I’ve written about numerous times over the 11+ years.

In that February 8, 2016 post I imagined fitting a stadium in between Pine, 20th, Market, and the hotel to the west. Busch Stadium fits in a space 2 blocks x 3 blocks, so a MLS stadium with less seating should fit in a smaller footprint. I emailed my post to a contact at St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC)

Looking West from the Pear Tree Inn at 2211 Market in February 2016.

That first group proposed a stadium in the 22nd Street Interchange area, but south of Market Street, not north. I don’t know if they were already looking at this location prior to my post & email, but the entire year before development officials were so focused on the North riverfront I can’t help but think they wanted to stick with what they knew and had so much time invested in.

When the state & city residents opposed public funding a of soccer stadium the ownership group was out.  When the current ownership group entered the picture in October 2018 they’d privately finance a stadium in the 22nd Street Interchange area many, including myself, assumed it’d also locate south of Market St.  In April 2019 they showed some renderings, but no site plan. Again, many of us assumed the larger area south of Market St.

I can now guess this view is looking east. The parking garage roof seen at the bottom is the existing Pear Tree Inn garage. Pine, to the left of the garage, would not go through from 20th to the new 22nd Street

We were wrong, it will be the area I’d proposed in February 2016! However, instead of stopping at Pine the site will go one more block north to Olive. A few buildings would be razed, businesses are already being forced to relocate on short notice.

The tenants of these buildings on Olive have been told to vacate. May 2013 photo
On the sidewalk in front of the buildings that’ll likely be razed. I’ve been a fan of the 2-story buff brick building for years. May 2013 photo.

I reviewed the ownership records for these and the remaining buildings to the west, none showed a recorded change of ownership — yet. I don’t like seeing businesses and/or residents forced to move. Hopefully they’ll be offered a financial package to compensate for their time, trouble, and loss of business.

I’m also not a fan of closing streets, though Pine has been an awful one-way street for decades. Hopefully the one-way couplet (opposite directions) of Chestnut & Pine will both be returned to two-way traffic as a result of the existing on/off ramps going away.

I still want to see an official proposed site plan. Despite holes from parking lots, Olive has clung to a urban feel with multi-story buildings on both sides. I also wonder if we’ll see a revised I-64 on/off ramp that ends at Market Street — I’d be disappointed, but not surprised.  Even if that happens, a lot less land could be devoted to highway on/off so the area would support additional development and tax revenue.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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