Auld Lang Scenes

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It’s no secret that we often have incredibly high expectations for New Year’s Eve, trying to make it the best night ever to say a thankful so long to the awful year just passed and give the new one the best possible start. But don’t fool yourself – New Year’s will always, always, end in disappointment. That’s just the name of the game.

So rather than get your hopes up only to have them and the promise of a fresh start ruined, why not stay home and wallow, enjoying films that’ll make you appreciate your life not filled with murders, sibling betrayal and, oh…Vigo: The Scourge of Carpathia, The Sorrow of Moldavia, etc.

Here’s a list of films that either centre on New Year’s or have killer New Year scenes in them. They are in no particular order.

Sunset Boulevard
One of my favourite films, Billy Wilder’s classic film noir about the strange obsessive relationship that forms between a young screenwriter and a faded silent film star features an incredibly memorable New Year scene between William Holden’s protagonist Joe Gillis and Gloria Swanston’s wacko Norma Desmond. New Year’s Eve is spent at Desmond’s decrepit mansion. Holden, expecting a big party and decked out handsomely in a tux, finds things getting a little weird when he realises that the guest list consists of him and only him. You couldn’t write a New Year this awfully awkward. Oh, wait… well played, Mr. Wilder, well played indeed.

Ghostbusters II
Though vastly inferior to its progenitor, Ghostbusters II is still a lot of fun and features perhaps the most memorable New Year’s Eve New York’s ever likely to see on the big screen: a building covered in slime, the Statue of Liberty walking down main street to the tune of Jackie Wilson’s ‘Higher and Higher’, and the Ghostbusters once again proving they’re not hacks by Saving the Day.

When Harry Met Sally
The romantic comedy follows Harry and Sally (Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan) and their friendship that forms over a number of years, a friendship they fear will be ruined if they ever have sex. Tracking the progress of their lives and relationships as they keep running into each other, the film culminates in a big New Year’s Eve party where Sally looks great and Harry grows a pair, telling Sally how he really feels about her.

Terror Train
So you knew there was going to be a horror movie on any list I was writing up. When a college New Year’s Eve party aboard a train is interrupted by a murderer-in-masquerade—who might be someone from the students’ past – it becomes clear that there aren’t a hell of a lot of places to hide aboard a speeding train. Starring scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis and with a strange appearance by David Copperfield, Terror Train is a product of its time: bloody, thrilling and funny-as-hell. Don’t stop the train, I never wanna get off!

The Godfather Part II

One of the most iconic scenes from one of the most iconic films takes place as the clock strikes twelve, heralding both the New Year and the betrayal of a brother. ‘I knew it was you, Fredo… You broke my heart.’ is a goddamn quotable line of dialogue that I’ve found can be used for many occasions, provided you make-out with the person you’ve just said it to. So quite appropriate for New Year’s Eve, then.

200 Cigarettes
The only film on the list that tries to depict New Year in a more relatable sense, 200 Cigarettes shows a bunch of different characters on their way to the same New Year’s Eve party in New York in 1981. Starring an ensemble cast including Paul Rudd, Courtney Love, the Affleck dudes and Martha Plimpton—who was a huge part of my childhood and who I haven’t seen since – this indie flick shows how New Year’s Eve is often spent: with people that aren’t all that likeable, but are entertaining to watch nonetheless.

The Poseidon Adventure
Starring an all-star cast including Gene Hackman, Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the immortal Ernest Borgnine (seriously, he can’t die, and here’s why) this disaster film set on a ocean liner on New Year’s Eve is quite the adventure, which makes the title apt. Also, the name of the ocean liner is the SS Poseidon, so the title of the film should make complete sense to you now.

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