In celebration of the New Year, I decided to highlight a few films I liked that are centered on the holiday. As far as films are concerned, the holiday is largely ignored. However, I am pleased to say that the ones that ARE available are fun to watch and some are even excellent films overall. Those listed below are in no particular order.
The film has long been referred to as the British Big Chill
. I disagree. It is it's own film that doesn't copy any others. Every college reunion movie isn't going to be a carbon copy of one another. This film centers on a group of Cambridge friends that reunite for New Years' at the country estate of one of their more well-to-do friends. The cast includes Hugh Laurie, Kenneth Branagh (who also directed the film), Stephen Fry, Imelda Staunton, and of course, Emma Thompson. This movie is unbelievably funny and very British in its ways which is ironic considering it was written by Rita Rudner, an American. Oh, and don't miss the scene with Hugh Laurie playing the piano as the entire cast sings their own rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight." Imelda Staunton has an amazing voice!
A nice ensemble piece set in 1981 (the year I was born!) in New York City on New Years' Eve. This movie throws every young adult actor in from the Affleck brothers, to Christina Ricci, Kate Hudson, Janeane Garofalo, Courtney Love, Dave Chappelle, and many others. Long story short, it's a composite of stories with the centerpiece being a New Years' party this highly neurotic girl (played by Martha Plimpton) is hosting and is terribly afraid nobody will show up to. It's been a while since I've seen this film, but if I were this girl's friends, I'd probably ditch her party too. Besides, the
adventures all the characters go through seem far more interesting that some corny New Years' fiesta. Watch for those stories instead.
End of Days
If you are looking for a little bit of action and thriller, or if you just like Ah-nold that much, then this is the film for you. For those of you who don't know what this movie is, it's about the "end of days." It's New Years' 1999, the end of the 20th century and the dawning of the new Millennium. Satan has come to earth for his chosen bride who will conceive his child on the last day of 1999. The Terminator plays a retired cop turned bodyguard who finds himself thrown in the midst of the war between good and evil. Satan's potential baby mama is played by Robin Tunney who doesn't do much but look horrified, terrified, or both, with tears constantly in her eyes. I think you see where this is going. Ah-nold has to protect her from the Prince of Darkness AND from a group of Vatican zealots who want to kill Tunney before Satan can impregnate her. Why am I recommending this movie? Well, for Gabriel Byrne, of course. He plays the ultimate villain VERY well. I think the role of Satan is perfect for him.
Happy New Year Charlie Brown!
If you have children, this would be a good film for the whole family to watch. Peanuts is a classic for every man, woman, and child born after a certain year. It has fun humor to it that is kid-appropriate and even carries a little message: children, DON'T leave your homework until the last minute of Christmas break!
I personally have not seen this film, but a good friend of mine said that a list of New Years' films would be remiss to not include this one, so here goes. This is another ensemble film with four intersecting stories. The principal character that connects each story is the great Tim Roth who plays a bellhop stuck working in some posh hotel on New Years' Eve. Each story involves different rooms with absolutely insane guests. One room has a coven of witches, another a pair of misbehaving children that have been left in the room while their parents go to a New Years' bash, another has a husband and wife engaging in some bizarre fantasy hostage situation (where the poor bellhop is briefly held hostage at gunpoint), and the last room contains a famous director from Hollywood (played by Quentin Tarantino) with a strange request for a list of conflicting items (a club sandwich, a hatchet, some twine, etc.) He and his rowdy friends proceed to play this twisted game of dare with the bellhop where they will give him first a hundred bucks, then a thousand, if he plays along with their games. Each segment is directed by separately by Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Allison Anders, and Alexandre Rockwell. The large cast includes Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Beals, Ione Skye, and even a cameo by Bruce Willis.