“You realize, of course, that we can never be friends.”
From When Harry Met Sally
Castle Rock Entertainment, 1989
New Year’s Eve Salutes
While I was compiling my Movie Junkie Watch List for this last week of 2013, I thought it would be fun to keep an eye out for some classics set around the New Year’s holiday. It would just be a matter of sorting through them all, right?
Not so much.
Unlike the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the free airwaves are crammed with heartstring-tugging, Kleenex-soaking, nostalgic holiday movie fare, there appears to be few films scheduled this week that are capable of stirring up so much as one soft, fuzzy dust bunny of New Year’s Eve sentimentality.
Could this be due to holiday fatigue?
Maybe so. (I know I’m ready for about a week-long nap.)
But I’m not ready to give up on holiday fare just yet. So, here’s a countdown of three of my favorite films that just so happen to include memorable New Year’s Eve scenes. Two are romances and the other? Well that one is a—there’s no other word for it—disaster.
3. The Poseidon Adventure (1972) Action Adventure. After a luxury liner is capsized by a tidal wave, a disillusioned minister leads a motley group of ten survivors up through the bowels of the ship in a desperate bid to be rescued before the liner sinks. Gene Hackman, Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine.
Why? This is the movie that kicked off the disaster film genre of the 70s and it still remains the best one for me. After 40 years, I still can’t tear my eyes away when that tidal wave hits and flips that colossal ocean liner—inverting the dining room where hundreds of passengers are in the midst of a rollicking New Year’s Eve celebration. Pre-echoes of that epic movie-to-come, Titanic? You bet. A 70s all-star ensemble cast is icing on the cake.
Showing this week?
Rats, no! At least, not for free on the major U.S. networks or cable channels, but it’s free on Amazon Prime. Netflix? Maybe. Go forth and search!
2. The Apartment. (1960) Comedy/Drama/Romance. A mild-mannered insurance clerk tries to rise through the corporate ranks by letting his bosses use his Upper West Side Manhattan apartment for extra-marital trysts. Complications develop when he falls for his boss’s quirky mistress, the elevator girl. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine.
Why? As may be deduced from the genre description —Comedy/ Drama/ Romance—this film aims high and it hits on all cylinders. It’s funny, cynical, bittersweet, honest, sentimental, and clever. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, it won five, including Best Picture and Best Director (Billy Wilder).
In the finale scene—on New Year’s Eve. of course—Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) finally realizes that true love … ah, right, right. No spoilers here.
Showing this week?
Alas, no! But do check it out wherever you can find it. You won’t be sorry.
It’s available on Amazon Prime.
And a drum roll, please, for my number one favorite New Year’s Eve movie …
1. When Harry Met Sally (1989) This romantic comedy follows the pessimistic but amusing Harry Burns and the persnickety but endearing Sally Albright through twelve years of post-college life, love, break-ups, divorce, friendship, spats and, finally, a painfully slow-to-bloom, utterly charming romance. Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby.
Why? This is the quintessential romantic comedy of the 80s. It has more quotable, iconic lines than a Woody Allen film and a season of Seinfeld combined, including, perhaps, the best New Year’s Eve Declaration-of-Love Speech Ever. Care to guess what song is playing in the background in that scene?
Showing this week?
Yes! Check it!
OXYGN – 10:30 am and 10:00 pm – Tuesday, December 31, 2013
What are your top New Year’s Eve movie scenes ever?
New York New Years Eve / Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Apartment / By Billy Wilder / United Artists / Mirish Corporation (DVD with the film and the trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons