Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The New Year

They say that how you spend New Year’s Eve is how you spend the rest of the year (and when I say they, I mean Summer from “The O.C.”) If this is true, I always spend the entire year watching movies and eating cold pizza… Okay, that is sort of true. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter if December 31st is a night just like any other or if it does set the tone for the next year because it’s all about how you spend it. If you are like me and don’t favor drunkenly tonguing the closest body when the clock strikes twelve, here are some suggestions to New Year’s Eve-oriented films to get you into the 2009 mood:

  1. Bridget Jones Diary: For Bridget, New Years is an opportunity for her to find a respectable boyfriend, lose weight, and lower her alcohol comsumption. Watching her romantic mishaps along the way are quite entertaining. “Bridget Jones’ New Year’s Resolution #1: obviously, will lose twenty pounds. #2: will find a nice, sensible boyfriend and stop forming romantic attachments to alcoholics, workoholics, commitment-phobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional f***wits or perverts.”
  2. Holiday: In this 1938 film, Cary Grant stars as Johnny Case, a laid-back guy betrothed to the daughter of a millionaire. When his fiancĂ©e Julia’s family (with the exception of her independent sister Linda and her drunkard uncle) begins to pressure him into the family business and make him their ideal son-in law, Johnny instead wishes to always be on ‘holiday.’ He begins to spend more time with the family’s black sheep Linda (Katharine Hepburn) and questions which life – and sister – would make him happier. On New Year’s Eve Johnny makes up his mind. Not to be confused with…
  3. The Holiday: This 2006 film is the last documented proof of Jude Law’s attractiveness. The story is about two unhappy women (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz – do they not own a mirror? If I looked like either of them I would be happy all the time) who switch homes for the holidays. The ending of them all happy and dancing on New Year’s Eve just sort of makes me bitter.
  4. When Harry Met Sally: Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan star in this film about two friends who are in love with each other but apparently just cannot see it. The New Year’s Eve scene, where there are sudden realizations by both parties about their true feelings, is apparently heartwarming to many people, but again, makes me feel bitter.
  5. The Apartment: Jack Lemmon is C.C. Baxter, an ambitious insurance salesman in love with a beautiful-but-suicidal elevator operator, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine). When Fran realizes that Baxter has been pining for her all along, she leaves her gentleman caller on New Year’s Eve and goes to him. The movie ends with both of them unemployed, unsure of the future, but nevertheless happy. Miss Kubelik offers the best advice for the New Year with, “Shut up and deal.”
  6. Ocean’s Eleven (1960): Though I am a fan of the 2001 remake with Clooney & Co., the Rat Pack version is still number one. The film has the motley crew robbing five different casinos – Desert Inn, Flamingo, Sands, Sahara, and Riviera – on the last moment of the last day of the year.
  7. 200 Cigarettes: Set on New Year’s Eve during the early eighties, this film follows something like sixteen different peoples’ New Year’s Eve-nings. The movie stars Ben & Casey Affleck, Christina Ricci, Courtney Love, Paul Rudd, Kate Hudson, Janeane Garofalo, Jay Mohr, Dave Chappelle and many other people. “200 Cigarettes” reminds me of “Reality Bites” if those kids were a little more social and didn’t sing “Conjuction Junction” (which was what had made Reality Bites amazing). That’s probably the best way to describe a movie about Gen-X “hipsters” that really aren’t hip. But Elvis Costello shows up and that makes it gold.
  8. Alfie (2004): There is only one little bit in this version of “Alfie” that is worthwhile in my opinion, and it is where he dates Nikki (Sienna Miller), the crazy/beautiful New York wild child who he finds on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately for little Alfie, New Year’s Eve is when Nikki first begins to reveal bits of her real, nonmedicated personality and only thinking of himself, he is quick to dump her in the forthcoming days. Well karma’s a bitch because Alfie ends up alone and I’m sure Nikki ends up in a happy relationship where she can wear her floppy hats, peasant skirts, fur coats, and black eyeliner in peace!
  9. Sunset Boulevard: When delusional silent-screen star Norma Desmond throws a New Year’s party for herself and Joe Gillis, a down-on-his-luck B-picture screenwriter, she chooses this occasion to profess her love for him. Scared out of his mind, Joe flees to a friend’s house where another party is occurring, and Norma, feeling rejected, attempts suicide. Maybe you shouldn’t watch this if you are feeling sad tonight…
  10. High School Musical: If I remember correctly, the first scene of this film is of Troy and Gabriella singing karaoke on New Year’s Eve. Talk about the “Start of Something New”…This film proves The O.C.’s theory on New Year’s; those two HSM kids were singing for the next few years after that one song.

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