We’re a week into the new year and most everyone has likely returned to work and school, or will be doing so shortly. That means it’s time to stop wearing sweatpants every day and get back to a reality where cookies and ham don’t count as an adequate breakfast. Hopefully it means that everyone has recovered from whatever their New Year’s Eve plans entailed.
While it’s been a week, it’s still alright (my house, my rules) if today we take a look at five films that take place on New Year’s Eve and feature sometimes wildly different takes on ways to celebrate.
In Search of a Midnight Kiss
When Wilson (Scott McNairy) puts up an online ad looking for a companion as an alternative to spending New Year’s Eve alone he doesn’t expect to meet someone like Vivian (Sara Simmonds). The two meet for coffee and wind up walking and talking around Los Angeles all day, culminating in all sorts of soul-searching and hijinks. The trailer shows how that budding relationship grows over the course of a day. It plays a bit like a white people’s version of Medicine For Melancholy, only with both of them talking about their relationship problems rather than the impact of institutionalized racism but still presents a likable story about trying to live up to that “having someone to kiss at midnight” ideal.
New Year’s Eve
The holiday is merely the latest calendar-based excuse to get a bunch of stars together in a story that finds tenuous connective material binding a series of smaller stories into something that’s supposed to feel bigger. The trailer makes a big deal of playing up the magical nature of the day, but that’s only if you’re a relatively well-off white person. It’s meant to play very romantically, playing up the magical nature of the day, but you may overdose on saccharine if you’re not careful.
A much better execution on the same premise stated above, this one is all about a bunch of people who are out and about on New Year’s Eve looking for something, be it a party, some closure after a breakup or just good luck for the coming year. It’s impressive to watch the trailer and see just who was in this and how, as opposed to the previous movie, it’s more about smaller moments on the holiday and not big, life-changing times that will be broadcast on national TV. This feels so late-90s, even though it’s set in the early 80s.
The least conventional of the bunch, Miramax’s 1995 anthology movie featuring a handful of its top talent at the time takes place in a hotel on New Year’s Eve. As we see in the trailer, Ted the Bellhop (Tim Roth) has been left alone to take care of the guests, something he’s assured is a cakewalk of a gig. That turns out not so much to be the case, though, as he gets mixed up in the shenanigans of a coven of witches, a pair of out-of-control children, a party with some unusually high stakes and a married couple who are having some rough times. The trailer shows some of the insanity that takes place but doesn’t make New Year’s Eve a focal point, understandable when you have to fit in name-dropping the array of stars and the big-name directors who took part. Also, Bruce Willis shows up but is not mentioned among the starring cast. Huh…
The Poseidon Adventure
A New Year’s Eve cruise and celebration aboard a massive luxury liner turns tragic when that ship is capsized by a massive wave. The trailer sells this as one of the disaster flicks that were so prevalent in the mid-70s, most of which like this one featuring an ensemble of second-tier stars all fighting for their lives. You see a surprising amount of that struggle for survival in the trailer as they encounter one problem after another while trying to stay alive. The setting is only secondary, it’s mostly about selling the big-scale fight for life that everyone is engaged in.