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Filtering by Tag: Bruce Willis

Pop Culture Happy Hour: "Glass" and What's Making Us Happy

Chris Klimek

Not Acting Enough, Acting Too Much, and Acting Just Right (Universal)

Not Acting Enough, Acting Too Much, and Acting Just Right (Universal)

I am chuffed to be back on the iHeartRadio Podcast Award-nominated Pop Culture Happy Hour this week to discuss Glass, fallen auteur M. Night Shyamalan's joint sequel to 2000's Unbreakable and 2017's Split. It isn't very good, but the movie has an anachronistic quality that's sort of... sweet. While it's made explicitly clear—every damn thing in this movie is explained and re-re-re-explained—that Glass is set 19 years after Unbreakable, Shyamalan acts as though superhero comics haven't become Hollywood's No. 1 source of grist during the back half of that period. (In the years since Unbreakable, we've seen three different A-list actors play The Incredible Hulk, for chrissakes.)

A goodly portion of those films have featured Samuel L. Jackson, who, to be fair, looks like he's having at least as much fun sitting in a wheelchair staring into the middle distance in Glass as he does when he's cashing another check as Nick Fury. After his brief return to acting in both Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and Rian Johnson's Looper back in 2012, I'd hoped maybe Bruce Willis would deign to open his eyes again, but no such luck. And the movie's top-billed star continues to perform his solo show Scares Ahoy with James McAvoy.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Never Say "Die Hard"

Chris Klimek

Alan Rickman & Bruce Willis both got film careers because of  Die Hard.  We'll always have  Die Hard.  (Fox)

Alan Rickman & Bruce Willis both got film careers because of Die Hard. We'll always have Die Hard. (Fox)

We had to do a Pop Culture Happy Hour discussion of Die Hard because it’s holiday time and because the beloved classic turned 30, uh, back in July and because we just had to. I thought I was being punk’d when I got the invitation but I’m so glad it was real. This was the awkward Christmas Eve holiday party/attempted spousal reconciliation I’ve been waiting to be invited to since I was 11 years old. Yippie kai yay, podcast lovers. (My punishingly long Die Hard Dossier is here.)

Where There's a Willis, There's a Way, or They Still Call Me John McClane: Being a die hard's guide to the Die Hard Galaxy

Chris Klimek

Hey, I didn't ask to annotate the Die Hard films for NPR Monkey See.  I'm just a good man, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No, I did ask. I was just delighted they were willing to run it at the obsessive, possibly excessive -- but by no means exhaustive! -- length at which I filed it.  It's here.

I didn't have any Nirvana posters on my bedroom wall in high school. I had this one.

I didn't have any Nirvana posters on my bedroom wall in high school. I had this one.

I wrote it in a fit of anticipation for A Good Day to Die Hard, a film that, after reading a dozen or so reviews, I've decided I won't be seeing -- not in the cinema, anyway, where movies live. "This is a Die Hard movie where no one is trying and nobody cares, which is depressing," wrote Deadspin's Will Leitch. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch Amour yet, so if I'm in a mood for depression-inducing viewing, I'm not gonna waste that on a movie that by all accounts debases a franchise and a character I've loved since I was a kid.

I know a lot of people in my demographic felt that way about, say, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (a film I think is better than its reputation), but it's clear that movie was doing its durndest to be a quality popcorn experience that left the Indiana Jones franchise intact. The new Die Hard does not seem to have been made with anything approaching that kind of goodwill, or indeed by anyone with any prior connection to the series -- except of course for Bruce Willis, who should know he'll bank more in the long run by holding out for a good script and a competent director.  Watching this film could only upset me.

When Johnny McTiernan Comes Marching Home

As I was getting this post together I was Tweeting with Mike Katzif, whom I know from when he was the producer of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.  We were talking about what a fun bit of casting it was to have the singer/songwriter Sam Phillips play a mute, knife-wielding assassin in Die Hard with a Vengeance, the Die Hard sequel I prefer. When I mentioned my memory from director John McTiernan's DVD commentary track (which I heard years ago; I didn't revisit it while writing this piece) of McTiernan saying he'd asked Phillips to sing a version of the Civil War-era folk song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" for the film, Ms. Phillips herself weighed in to set the record straight.

Cool! This potential for personal contact more than makes up for the Internet's abject failure to have a YouTube clip of the part in ...with a Vengeance wherein Ms. Phillips spectacularly fillets a terrified bank security guard with a very large knife. Thank you, Sam Phillips, for helping to make my Die Hard history that much more obsessive/excessive/exhaustive/DEFINITIVE.

...although this one is also pretty good: