Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Year's Movies

When it comes to Christmas Day, movie buffs have many movies to choose from, everything from inspirational films like It's a Wonderful Life (1946) to action films like Die Hard (1988). Unfortunately, when it comes to New Year's the pickings can be a bit more slim. With that in mind, here are five movies that I have always found suitable for viewing on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Here I must stress they are in order of release, not preference.

After the Thin Man (1936): This is the first sequel to the wildly successful The Thin Man (1934). In fact, it takes place immediately after the events depicted in The Thin Man. Since The Thin Man was set during the Yuletide, After the Thin Man takes place at New Year's Eve. In fact, the movie begins with Nick and Nora Charles (played by William Powell and Myrna Loy) returning home to find a New Year's Eve party unfolding in their house! Like all of the "Thin Man" films After the Thin Man is a good deal of fun. What is more, it features Jimmy Stewart in an early role (and a role like no other he ever played before or since at that)!

The Apartment (1960): I tend to think of The Apartment as a Yuletide movie (my favourite, in fact), but while Christmas plays a central role in the film, it actually takes place over a month. Indeed, the climax takes place at New Year's. This makes it perfect for a New Year's Eve movie. Of course, in my humble opinion, The Apartment is suitable viewing for any time of year. It has one of the best casts ever assembled for a film, from the leads (Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray) to the supporting cast (Jack Kruschen, Ray Walston, David Lewis, David White, and more). It also has an incredible script by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. Billy Wilder made some truly great films, but in my humble opinion, The Apartment is his very best, movie-wise.

Ocean's 11 (1960): For me this is the New Year's movie. It's not necessarily the best New Year's movie out there (although it certainly numbers among them), but it is the one I most identify with the holiday. In fact, Ocean's 11 could not possibly take place at any other time of year. Quite simply, Ocean's 11 centres on 82nd Airborne veterans (played by members of the Rat Pack) who plot to rob five different Las Vegas casinos (Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn, the Flamingo, the Riviera, the Sahara, and the Sands) on New Year's Eve. The film obviously has a great cast and it is a whole lot of fun. It even features performances by the two coolest members of the Rat Pack, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972): I am not a big fan of those all-star disaster movies of the Seventies, but The Poseidon Adventure is one of the best in the genre. The film centres on the ageing luxury liner Poseidon, which is capsized by a tsunami on New Year's Eve. Both the crew and the passengers must then find their way to safety. What lifts The Posideon Adventure above most disaster movies of the era is a solid script by Stirling Silliphant and Wendell Mayes (based on Paul Gallico's 1969 novel of the same name) and the direction of Ronald Neame.

When Harry Met Sally (1989): I will fully confess that not many films made after 1970 number among my favourites, but When Harry Met Sally is one. The film actually takes place over several years' time, but the climax is set at New Year's Eve. I cannot see how many classic film buffs cannot love this film. It owes much more to movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood than the rom-coms of the Eighties and Nineties, and it draws inspiration from films from It's a Wonderful Life to The Apartment.

1 comment:

Caftan Woman said...

Excellent New Year's flicks. I'm partial to After the Thin Man for the day, but have been known to go with Holiday or Holiday Inn. If one is in a romantic drama mood, there is always The Passionate Friends.

Most often, I like to start the new year with some of my B movie friends. A Dick Tracy marathon for instance.

Happy New Year!