Cut the vagina subplot: 12 great movies made from bad books

For as long as cinema has looked to literature for inspiration, there’s been someone around to study the results and helpfully remind all of us that “the book was better.” Usually, they’re right: Moving a story from page to screen doesn’t tend to improve it, if for no other reason than the things you might love about…

Die Hard, Titanic, The Goonies, and more added to the National Film Registry

The 2017 edition of the National Film Registry’s annual list of films to be saved first should American culture catch on fire—a joke we make every year, and which feels a little more prescient every time—was released earlier today. And, as usual, it stands astride the worlds of populist entertainment and rarefied…

A slayer’s lineage: 9 pop cultural precursors to Buffy

When Buffy The Vampire Slayer debuted on The WB in 1997, it signaled a new direction for the fledgling netlet, a pivot toward audiences who could see themselves reflected in Buffy Summers and her Sunnydale High classmates. Of course, it’s the distinctions between Buffy and all previous TV teens that made all the…

The co-writer of Die Hard finally cleared up a major plot hole

It’s been 29 years since Die Hard exploded into theaters, inspiring any number of arguments about whether it counts as a Christmas movie, plus a whole genre of “Die Hard, but on a _______” action films. Now, the film’s co-screenwriter, Steven E. De Souza, has revealed the answer to one of the film’s most nagging…

In praise of Shane Black, the godfather of all badass Christmas action movies

Every year, at some point someone trots out the old chestnut that Die Hard is the greatest Christmas movie. And it is, objectively speaking, a truly great one. (No one ever picks Prometheus, strangely.) But a new video essay explores the actual inspiration for Die Hard’s Christmas setting: writer-director Shane Black,…

Dan Harmon’s universal theory of storytelling gets an animated explainer

Grand, unified artistic theories don’t get much grander and unified than Dan Harmon’s storytelling process. As detailed in an article on Wired some five years ago, Harmon boiled down Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the hero’s journey into a simple circle. And once he grasped this storytelling principle he couldn’t stop…

Die Hard director John McTiernan calls superhero movies “fascist”

For one reason or another (maybe one reason in particular), Die Hard director John McTiernan hasn’t been around much these days. He made what is arguably one of the best action movies of all time, and though he’s had some reasonably big hits since then, people aren’t exactly screaming for the next John McTiernan…

Exclusive: See a page from Doogie Horner’s Die Hard coloring book

When artist and comedian Doogie Horner was asked to pitch adult coloring book ideas to Harper Collins, he suggested doing ones based on ’80s movies. His theory? “They are adult coloring books so it’s sort of this weird nostalgia thing,” he told The A.V. Club. “So I thought, what was actually happening when we were…

100 snappy movie one-liners to use immediately after killing someone

If there’s one thing more important for a movie action hero than coming up with a witty remark directly before killing someone, it’s coming up with a witty remark directly after killing someone. After all, as Eli Wallach said it in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: “When you have to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk!” And…