The New Year's Eve countdown is only hours away. The built-in suspense of it all, along with the opportunity for pathos via a lonely celebrant, or a doomed couple exuding cheery optimism, has been catnip for moviemakers.
There have been some great New Year's Eves in the movies. Here are five of the best.
5. 200 Cigarettes
Quite the cast here: the Affleck brothers, Paul Rudd, Dave Chappelle, Janeane Garofalo, Kate Hudson, Courtney Love, Christina Ricci and Martha Plimpton. And that doesn't even count the cameos by Elvis Costello and novelist Caleb Carr. It's the usual ensemble cast whirl of interweaving plots, but it all ends up in a raucous New Year's Eve party that the hostess -- who'd spent the movie paranoid that no one would show up -- cannot remember a single moment of.
4. Ocean's 11 -- The original, dammit
You've heard about this one, if only in the context of the George Clooney franchise. A recent re-viewing shows that the Rat Pack-iness of it all holds up, which means cheese galore. We especially like the large map which gives them the idea to blow out all the power in Vegas at midnight, since we have to assume, like the moviemakers did, that the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce would put out a tourist map that mostly highlighted the city's electric pylons.
3. Boogie Nights
Little Bill puts somewhat of a downer on this New Year's Eve celebration, what with the killing himself and all. But frankly, that music would have had us pulling out a pistol as well. Sure, we might have aimed it at the DJ rather than ourselves, but then again we probably would not have just killed our wife and the guy she was fucking. The only clip online of this is in German, and we don't know the German word for "embed." We're guessing it's 37 letters long, though.
2. The Poseidon Adventure
Is this the world's dreariest New Year's Party ever? Ernest Borgnine making merry? Red Buttons pathetically alone until Shelley Winters offers a mercy-hug? Awful `70s tuxes? The only New Year's Eve party in history to play "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" instead of "Auld Lang Syne"? (They eventually get around to it.)
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The answer is yes. Bonus points, however, for Leslie Neilsen's hardboiled captain, on the bridge looking at a massive tidal wave on the radar, saying "It must be mountainous -- by the way, Happy New Year" to an underling.
1. Godfather II
The best New Year's Eve on film -- Batista urging everyone to pay no attention to that Castro-led army about to bear down on Havana, the senator making a quick exit, and -- of course -- the greatest Judas Kiss outside of the Bible, except this time it's Judas getting the smooch.