Holiday Movie Junkie… New Year’s Eve Salutes

New Year Celebration New York

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

“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.

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 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.

The Apartment 1960

Shut up and deal…

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?

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Credits:

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

Holiday Party Convo and Classic Movie Junkie

Did I say last week that the holiday season had begun?

XmasOkay. What I meant to say was, the pre-season had begun. The holiday season doesn’t really get cooking for me until the day of my writers’ group holiday party. That day came and went too quickly yesterday as about twenty of us gathered at the home of one of our esteemed members to share good food, good fun, and good talk.  Only in the company of fiction writers do I hear snippets of conversations like:

“… but, in reality, she was a Celtic princess…”

“…dead within days after she slipped poison into his….”

“…abducted by aliens…”

Fun, huh? (And I didn’t even mention the sexy snippets. 🙂 )

So, what unofficially kicks off your holidays?

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Classic Movie Junkie

Here’s what’s on my watch list this week.

Sunday Dec 8

2:00 pm  Scrooge (1970)  Holiday Classic. TCM. No synopsis needed. Albert Finney, Alec Guinness.

Why? It ain’t December if you don’t watch The Christmas Carol, right?  This one is a nice rendition for a cozy Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday  Dec 10

6:00 pm   Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Drama/Comedy. TCM.  An older white couple’s liberal principles are tested when their daughter announces her engagement to a black doctor. Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katherine Houghton.

Why? This movie is touching, thought-provoking and funny, but my reasons are more sentimental. This was the last time Hepburn and Tracy appeared together in a film. Tracy’s performance earned a posthumous Oscar nomination.

Friday  Dec 13

1:00 am  Chinatown (1974) TCM.  Neo-noir/mystery. A private eye in 1930s Los Angeles stumbles into a web of murder and deceit when he’s hired by the wife of a cheating spouse who isn’t what she pretends to be.  Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston.

Why?  In this hardboiled period piece, Jack Nicholson not only measures up to the gold standard set by Bogart as Philip Marlowe, he sets his own platinum standard as Jake Gittes. Faye Dunaway also scores as the femme fatale with a devastating secret. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

Saturday Dec 14

10:45 am   The Cowboys (1972)  Western.  AMC.  An aging rancher is forced to hire a group of schoolboys when his own men desert him before a 400-mile cattle drive. John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Bruce Dern.

Why?  A great boys-to-men story and a sentimental favorite of mine from among the last ten films made by John Wayne. Entertaining performances by Roscoe Lee Browne and Bruce Dern, too.

This week’s Amazon Prime Pick:  Chinatown
I could expound at great length on why I adore this film, but for today I’ll  just say,

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

Have a great week!

(Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule. Or here for AMC.)

Resolutions… Schmezzolutions

January 1, 2013

Dear Diary:

  1. Get ass back to fitness club.
  2. Get ass back to yoga class.
  3. Write, write, write.
  4. Stop fooling around on the internet.

January 9, 2013

So, here I am, fooling around on the internet and coming to you fresh off my first week back at the fitness club, where I haven’t graced their presence in … oh, I don’t know… mmmmmmm…

But it was grrrrrreat to be back!

Really.

It only hurts when I move.

So, before I return to slathering myself with more Icy Hot®, here’s a last glance back at 2012 and another glance ahead.

  • In the pinch-me department, Broken Vows continued to appear on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Western Romance list in December.
  • Always is now available on Kobo and iTunes.
  • And looking ahead to February, I’m excited to be joining contemporary romance author Sara Walter Ellwood’s blog hop, “Romancing the West.”Why do so many of us love writing and reading Western romance? Find out what some of your favorite Western romance authors and bloggers have to say about that and take a chance on winning some prizes, too!February 22 – 25 at Cowboy Charm … Blog Hops for the Cowboy Lover.

Until then, happy trails!  (Oh, and pass me the Icy Hot®…)

December already?

Ah!  Will you look at that? It’s a new month. Doesn’t time fly?

So, what’s new?

I’m thrilled to say that Broken Vows appeared on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Western Romances list several times in November.  A Touch of Camelot and Search for Camelot are now available at Smashwords, and last but not least, I’ve finished the first novel in a new romantic mystery series. It’s now under consideration with a digital publisher. (“Under consideration” means they probably haven’t opened the email yet. Yes! [Insert fist pump.] Times are good.)

In the meantime, I confess that I haven’t begun my holiday shopping. Yeah, I’m one of those wild-eyed people who will still be out combing the malls on December 24th. (Not pretty.)

But never mind that. To divert our (by which I mean, my) attention to more festive subjects (by which I mean, procrastinate on the shopping thing), here follows a list of some stuff I love most about the holidays.

  • It’s a Wonderful Life (Sorry, this will always make the list.)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (No apologies.)
  • New fuzzy slippers
  • Tree ornaments with history
  • Cat-sitting. (Odd, I know, but my son travels, so the grand-cat spends time here every December. Here’s a snap of Hanna’s first holiday visit. No, that’s not a weird Cat Head ornament.)Hanna the Holiday Cat
  • “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Days off work (Not that I don’t love my job. [Insert fist pump.])
  • Other people baking cookies

What fun things do you love most about the holiday season?

A heartfelt thanks to my readers in 2012, both those who knew me before and those who didn’t. Thanks especially to those who took a chance on a new name.

May you and yours have a blessed holiday season.