10 New Year's Eve movies to get you in the mood

Published 8:22 AM ET, Tue December 31, 2013
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New Year's Eve -- it's a night of possibility. At least in the movies, anything can happen: Going to the best (or worst) party, falling in love or stopping the end of the world. Sometimes it's just a pivotal scene. Other times, New Year's Eve is the entire point of the film's existence (Garry Marshall's "New Year's Eve," pictured, for example). Here are some classics, should auld acquaintance be forgot: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
"In Search of a Midnight Kiss" -- "Misanthrope seeks misanthrope," begins a classified ad seeking a New Year's Eve date. "I guess I'm lonely and it's New Year's, and I'm willing to embarrass the hell out of myself with this ad." And so begins an atypical romance in the vein of Richard Linklater's walk-and-talk trilogy "Before Sunrise," "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight," in which two strangers meet, discuss everything and discover the city (and themselves) in the process. But don't assume because it's shot in black and white that it's old-fashioned. IFC Films/Everett Collection
"When Harry Met Sally" -- Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) party-crashes a lavish shindig so he can tell Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) that he loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her, just as the countdown to the New Year begins. "You see, that is just like you, Harry," she says. "You say things like that, and you make it impossible for me to hate you. And I hate you, Harry. I really hate you." And of course, she means just the opposite. everett collection
"The Apartment" -- Shirley MacLaine's "shut up and deal" is a little less clear than "I hate you, Harry." When her character Fran Kubelik goes to the apartment of C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) after ditching her married boyfriend/his boss, and the two drink champagne and play gin rummy, he tells her he loves her. But does she still see Baxter as just a friend? Is she giving him a cute response to deflect her lack of reciprocation? Or does she love him, too? Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
"Sex and the City" -- Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) calls Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), and tells her that she is alone on New Year's, eating Chinese food. Carrie gets out of bed, puts on impractical shoes for the weather, and rushes over to her friend's apartment downtown -- despite the snow and lack of taxis -- getting there just in time for the final countdown. "You are not alone," Carrie tells her, and they spend the night eating and laughing. New Line Cinema/Everett Collection
"About a Boy" -- Soon to be seen as a midseason television show, this first adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel involved a romantic New Year's Eve party, in which Hugh Grant's charming-but-directionless character meets Rachel Weisz's, and the two fall for each other. Of course, it's all predicated on a lie (that he, too, is a single parent). The real relationship in the movie is the one between Grant's Will and Nicholas Hoult's 12-year-old Marcus, the fatherless boy next door. Universal Pictures/Everett Collection
"Sunset Boulevard" -- Gloria Swanson is throwing a New Year's Eve party, but for a guest list of one. Her fading movie star character Norma Desmond hopes to seduce her kept man Joe Gillis (William Holden), but it's a little creepy to be the only pair dancing to the orchestra, so he bolts to a shindig for "a bunch of kids who didn't give a hoot." When he comes back, he finds a suicidal Norma, and stays. Big mistake. everett collection
"200 Cigarettes" -- Martha Plimpton is throwing a New Year's Eve party, but everyone is late -- Courtney Love is getting busy with Paul Rudd in a coffee shop bathroom stall, Christina Ricci and Gaby Hoffmann are lost wandering around the East Village, and Dave Chappelle's taxi driver is dispensing valuable advice to others en route. But it's Rudd's cynicism that might resonate with those opting out of the holiday this year, rejecting "the obligation to enjoy yourself." Paramount/Everett Collection
"The Poseidon Adventure" -- The cruise ship Poseidon is hit by a tidal wave on New Year's Eve. A group of survivors (including Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine and Shelley Winters) has to get to the bottom of the boat to get to the top of the water -- through explosions, fire and flooded compartments. And you thought your NYE party was a disaster. 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection
"Strange Days" -- "Cheer up, world's going to end in 10 minutes anyway," Tom Sizemore tells his friends during Kathryn Bigelow's sci-fi thriller, which takes place in the last day or so of the 20th century, when everyone was partying like it was 1999 (well, because it was). Black-market dealer Lenny (Ralph Fiennes) and his bodyguard Mace (Angela Bassett) try to solve a rape and murder caught on a tape that was recorded directly from the victim's cerebral cortex. Talk about a new way of experiencing other people's memories. Maybe some other New Year's Eve, this will be how we watch movies -- jacking in. 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection
"Repeat Performance" -- Kind of a "Groundhog's Day," but for the whole year. Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) murders her cheating husband, and then wishes she could take it back. At the stroke of midnight, her wish comes true, and she finds she gets to live the whole year over again, leading right up to her decision to kill him (again) or not. Happy new year, indeed. Everett Collection