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  • Top 5 New Year's Eve Movies

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    Posted on: 30/12/2014

    Stolen a first kiss at midnight or been in bed by nine? Whether your New Year’s Eve is divine or a dud, December 31st is often a momentous occasion. With the past year in the rear view, it’s time to gaze ahead and prepare for the future. At such a time of personal reflection and rejuvenation, it’s no wonder filmmakers have found fertile emotional and dramatic ground under the glitter ball.

    Because films that take place on New Year’s Eve (like this one) can be as disappointing as the night itself, we’ve narrowed down our list to films you can safely raise a glass to.

    Boogie Nights (1997)
    What better way to announce the 1980s than Jack Horner’s (Burt Reynolds) NYE party in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights? Okay, so it’s not the most uplifting party scene, but it does herald the end of the party for the crew of pornographers in this 90s classic. 

    You might have a friend that’s a bit of wet rag on New Year’s Eve but none of them compare to Little Bill (William H. Macy). Having suffered the constant humiliation of his porn star wife fornicating with other men in public, Little Bill resolves to end the embarrassment by with a New Year’s bang no one could’ve expected.

    Paul Thomas Anderson’s single-take tracking shot is also a cinematic masterclass.

    Boogie Nights

    Sunset Boulevard (1950)
    Billy Wilder’s 1950 film noir masterpiece about a fading silent film star, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), trapped in the past uses the New Year holiday to chilling effect. Having accepted her offer to work as a script doctor after literally taking a wrong turn, struggling scribe Joe Gillis (William Holden) begrudgingly moves into Norma’s mansion (at her insistence). Though there’s something off about Norma, it’s not until a New Year’s Eve party for two that he realises how ensnared he really is.  

    Strange Days (1995)
    Before she won an Oscar for The Hurt Locker, Kathyrn Bigelow spent the 1990s churning out action movies and cult classics, including Near Dark, Point Break and Blue Steel. In 1995, she added the sci-fi thriller Strange Days to her oeuvre. 

    Set in a dystopian Los Angeles, ex-cop turned hustler, Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), navigates heartache and conspiracy in a city at siege, fending off corrupt cops and betrayal while peddling digital transmissions of other people’s thoughts. Co-written and produced by James Cameron, this subversive, post-modern gem was originally panned but has since achieved cult status. Set on the eve of the New Millennium, the film reaches a crescendo just as the clock strikes 12 in 2000.

    Always ahead of the curve, Roger Ebert gave the film 4/4 stars.

     

    When Harry Met Sally (1989)
    Before things get too bleak, it’s good to remember that New Year’s Eve can inspire people to finally make the right choice. Most people promise to exercise or butt out, but in the case of Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan), these two decade-long friends realise they’re the ones for each other – sealing it with a New Year’s pash. 

    Aside from being the atypical rom-com (or perhaps now the template), When Harry Met Sally introduced concepts like high-maintenance girlfriend and the transitional lover into the cultural psyche. And then, of course, there’s this…

    The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
    And you thought your New Year’s Eve sucked – spare a thought for the passengers and crew aboard the S.S. Poseidon. Just as the champagne is flowing and ‘auld lang syne’ is starting up, a huge tsunami crashes into the unlucky vessel, capsizing it and sending its inhabitants scrambling for safety in what the poster billed as ‘Hell, upside down’.

    Of those inhabitants, five are played by Academy Award-winners including Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Albertson, Shelley Winters and Red Buttons. Luckily, if it is indeed Hell, the survivors are in good stead, with Hackman playing Reverend Scott, who asks of his fellow passengers:

    “So what resolution should we make for the new year? Resolve to let God know that you have the guts and the will to do it alone. Resolve to fight for yourselves, and for others, for those you love. And that part of God within you will be fighting with you all the way.”

    However, after watching the passengers he’s trying to save slowly get picked-off, Scott begins to question whether God has the survivors in his sights at all.

     

    What's your favourite movie featuring New Year's Eve? Tell us in the comments below.

    From everyone at ACMI, have a happy new year! 

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