Sports Dissertation – You Can Also Write One! At a recent party, I got into a heated discussion with someone I’d never met before about the merits of the different Die Hard films. I was much more supportive of the series’ most recent installment, Live Free or Die Hard, than she was. She swore that the proper order of the films, when ranked in terms of quality, was 1-3-2-4 (“if you’re right, it’s 1-3-2-4,” she said) but said she preferred 1-2-3-4 because she grew up on 2. I argued the ranking should be 1-4-3-2, but qualified that I’d only seen each film once in their entirety. At my advanced age, 24, the only sports I can still get off the couch for are men’s league hockey and golf. I could probably still throw down in a game of H-O-R-S-E if the opportunity presented itself, but let’s just say I’m not joining a league at the YMCA anytime soon. So how do I fill the space in me where ambition and hope used to reign as a child and adolescent? I watch sports. I talk about sports. I read about sports. I listen to sports broadcasts and sports podcasts. And as of today, I’ll write about sports. I chose that word carefully – entertainment. It’s almost limitless. What entertains you? For me, the ultimate form of entertainment is competition, sports. The discussion begins and ends with sports. RANKING THE DIE HARD FILMS (or: Why Live Free or Die Hard is the Second-Best in the Series) I swore to her that I would re-watch each film, one a day for four days, and report my findings back to her. So this is for you, Meredith. Prior to beginning my journey through John McClane’s adventures, I did a little research as to how different film critics and sites ranked them. Film critic Leonard Maltin (known to me because of Doug Benson’s The Leonard Maltin Game that he plays on every episode of his Doug Loves Movies podcast) gave each of the four films three stars. No help there. Thanks, Len. Rotten Tomatoes gives the films, in order, freshness ratings of 94, 65, 50 and 82. (In case you’re not familiar with RT, that’s not an average of the scores that the films were given, but instead the percentage of reviews that said the film was good. A film is considered “fresh” on the RT site if it has a freshness rating of 60% or higher.) That would certainly seem to lend my argument some merit. The final area I checked was IMDb’s user ratings; Die Hard got an 8.3, Die Hard 2 got a 7.0, Die Hard 3 got a 7.5 and Live Free or Die Hard got a 7.4.