New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on the past year and to make promises for the future that will invariably be broken. In that spirit, why not fire up the old DVD player and watch some movies from the past that have some or all of the action taking place on New Year’s Eve. It’s a pretty visually compelling holiday, what with that big ball and the huge crowds of drunken revelers.
“The Godfather, Part II”
Michael and Fredo Fredo had to go and ruin it by accidentally revealing his treacherous dealings with Michael’s enemies. So the famous line “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.” ends up putting a cap on the year. Anybody got a noisemaker?
Billy Wilder‘s romantic masterpiece is also one of the best depictions of what it’s like to be miserable when everybody around you is having a great time. In the case of the climax of this movie, it’s New Year’s Eve, but neither Jack Lemmon or Shirley MacLaine are feeling very festive. Proof: When she dashes to his apartment to profess her love, she hears a loud banging noise, which she then naturally assumes is Lemmon killing himself. It’s just him opening a bottle of champagne, though. Happy New Year’s.
“Ocean’s Eleven” (1960)
When the Rat Pack decide to pull off a heist in Las Vegas, they do it on one of the biggest party nights of the year: New Year’s Eve. The sequence of the denizens of Las Vegas singing “Auld Lang Syne” while the heist is pulled off is one of the more memorable scenes in the movie. It also makes “Ocean’s Eleven” one of the best New Year’s Eve movies to watch on the holiday itself. Just make sure you’re not getting ripped off while it happens.
“The Hudsucker Proxy”
New Year’s Eve is often a dramatic time, as one takes stock of one’s life up to that point. For Norville Barnes, it’s a little more dramatic than he’d like. He’s been ruined personally and professionally thanks to the evil corporate world he ended up shackled to. He decides to kill himself, but before the clock strikes 12 he’s rescued by a friendly angel (is there any other kind?).
“The Time Machine”
New Year’s Eve isn’t always a time to get drunk and hook up with strangers. Sometimes it’s reserved to try to convince your friends you’ve designed a working time machine. That’s how it goes down in this science fiction classic–and while most of the action takes place in the distant future, the spirit of New Year’s runs heavily through the movie. What better holiday to embark on a journey to the future? It’s where we’re all headed anyway.
It might seem weird to consider this Brian De Palma psycho-thriller a New Year’s Eve movie since only one sequence takes place on the holiday, but it’s so memorable that it would make a great movie to watch as the ball drops. Watching the ball drop is what Steven Bauer is doing in the movie, alongside his dying wife and her nurse in the hospital. As per tradition, there’s a kiss at the stroke of midnight, but it ain’t with his wife. His wife sees it, though, and ends up going into cardiac arrest. Uh, Happy New Year, again?