New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve are not exactly known for having movies made about them, at least compared to the volumes of movies made about Christmas. However, there are some movies about that transition time and some of them are great to watch during that short period after Christmas and before life returns to the usual humdrum of work and responsibilities. Here are a few of our favorites:
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! (1986)
Seemingly, every major holiday has a Charlie Brown special. Well, almost. New Year’s is not to be left out and got its own Charlie Brown special in 1986. While most folks will think of Charlie Brown as a Christmas cartoon or a Halloween one, this special is actually quite good. In the story, Charlie Brown doesn’t want to celebrate, he wants to be left alone so he can read “War and Peace”, however, he is forced to go to Peppermint Patty’s party. As any good introvert would, he wants his peace and not to party. He does end up going and having a good time. This one is a film all about friendship and celebration, Charlie Brown style. It’s one of the rare few New Year’s films that is 100% family friendly without being boring.
End of Days (1999)
Satan is looking to get hitched, and he hits up New York City at the end of last century in hope of finding the right lady. Of course, this is not something that will bring peace on Earth and joy to all, so a cop must stop it from happening. That cop is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger of course and he will save the world! This one has aged so-so, but it’s still fun to watch on a quiet New Year’s afternoon, in your PJs, eating leftovers from the night before. While this is not exactly a timeless film, it’s still plenty entertaining and Schwarzenegger makes it fun in his own way. Fans of the man should love this film. Fans of apocalyptic films should love this film. People who just love to watch movies that feel a bit insane, dated, and bring a weird nostalgia about the end of the last millennium should adore this one. It’s a bit odd, it’s a bit cliché, but it’s also a lot of fun.
Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Another film about a being coming to New York City to find the perfect person. In this case, it’s a baby he’s looking for and the child’s mother is just collateral. However, this time, he does get to face off with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but with everyone’s favorite band of ghost hunters, the Ghostbusters, are on the case! Of course, many other things go down and many awkward situations happen, like is tradition with Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddemore. Here, the film takes place around the holidays with the ending taking place right at New Year’s, complete with a crowd of New Yorkers wearing tiaras and singing to encourage a walking Statue of Liberty to go to the museum, breaking in, and help save the day! This is one of those sequels that both feels lesser than the first and absolutely fine on its own. It’s a fun film to watch and it should be better known and better loved. The Ghostbusters along with their band of co-stars make for a great crew to spend the holiday with.
Strange Days (1995)
Released in 1995, this film is set in 1999, so the near future for folks back then. However, now it’s set over 20 years in the past and some of the “futuristic” bits are way off. That aside, the film is an interesting and entertaining one. It is absolutely not a family movie, and it has content that will shock some, making the case for it being a 1995 film. The cast here is what should sell any viewer on watching this film. It includes Juliette Lewis, Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D’Onofrio, and more. These lovely folks are directed by Kathryn Bigelow and working from a script by Jay Cocks based on a story by James Cameron. The talent behind and in front of the camera here is tremendous, making this a must-see film. The setting is interesting and the fact that it’s supposed to be futuristic yet comes off more nostalgic adds to the entertainment value. It’s one of those films many seem to have missed or completely forgotten, so it’s a great one to put on and check out this year.
Four Rooms (1995)
Another 1995 film with a fantastic cast that includes Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Tim Roth, Jennifer Beals, Alicia Witt, Salma Hayek, Quentin Tarantino, and so many more. The film is an anthology taking place on New Year’s Eve in a hotel in The Big Apple. Yep, another NYC set NYE film. There is something about the city and its connection with New Year’s that inspires filmmakers. Here the directors are Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino (who also wrote their respective sequences), with Chuck Jones directing the animated sequences. There are some heavy hitters here and they do great work as usual. This is one of those films that understands what an anthology should be like, it’s one of those movies where each segment works on its own and once they come together, they just fit. This is the kind of anthology that just works so great, it makes the viewer want to see more anthologies made this way.
Christmas seems to get all the love sometimes, but these movies show that New Year’s is also a great time to set films. The fact that most of them are either violent, apocalyptic, or more mature in content just shows that the holiday is more geared toward adults. Of course, the fact that 4 of the 5 films above are set in New York City says something about what audiences and creatives connect with that time of year. What are your favorite New Year’s holiday films?