NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Issues at WGLT's transmitter site are temporarily limiting our broadcast signal to low power. Thanks for your patience as we make repairs.

Yippee Ki Yay: Normal Theater Launches Holiday Film Face-Off

Bruce Willis in Die Hard
"Die Hard" was the No. 8 seed in the Bedford Falls Division of the Normal Theater's Holiday Film Face-Off. It lost (valiantly) to top-seed "It's A Wonderful Life."

America is polarized. For evidence of that, look no further than … well, everywhere.

But sometimes, a good old-fashioned disagreement can be fun. Like, John McClane or George Bailey? Clark Griswald or Buddy the Elf?

The Normal Theater is running an online Holiday Film Face-Off leading up to Christmas. Movie fans are voting for their head-to-head favorites in a five-round, 32-film March Madness-style tournament. You can vote in each round on Normal Theater’s Twitter account, and updates are available on the theater’s Facebook Page.

“We were excited to follow a trend that’s been happening on social media this year, of people being able to vote on their favorite pop culture titles,” said Adam Fox, the Town of Normal’s civic arts manager. “We thought this was the perfect way of settling some debates once and for all that our audiences have been having about holiday films.”

Like many other parts of our arts community, the Normal Theater has largely been dormant this year because of COVID-19. It has offered a series of virtual screenings for home viewing.

“We knew we weren’t going to be able to show our usual slate of films in December that we’d love to welcome people in for … we knew it was gonna look a little different at the Normal Theater this year,” Fox said. “So this is a way we could still have a conversation about those films that we love, in a way that engages people, makes it active, makes it fun, and encourages a little competition. Which is ultimately what you want at the holidays.” 

The four No. 1 seeds in the tournament are “Elf,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas” and “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.” So far, they’ve avoided upsets from less traditional holiday movies like “Die Hard” (yes, it’s a Christmas movie) and slasher film “Silent Night, Deadly Night.”

Learn more about the Holiday Film Face-Off in the interview below:


There's no subscription fee to listen or read our stories. Everyone can access this essential public service thanks to community support. Donate now, and help fund your public media.

Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.