What are the top three movies that have a New Years Eve theme? Well, obviously this is going to be subjective as everyone has different tastes. However, the following are my three favourite New Years Eve films (in reverse order, starting at number three).
Number Three – Trading Places (1983)
This is one of my favourite 1980s comedies, and this was Eddie Murphy’s break-out film (although Beverly Hills Cop was his best film). In addition to Eddie, the film stars Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche and Denholm Elliott.
Dan Aykroyd plays Lois Winthorpe (the Thiiiirrrrd), an up and coming young commodities broker, born into wealth and having every privilege and opportunity to foster his success. He works for the Dukes (Bellamy and Ameche), two brothers who have a large commodities brokerage in New York, and who eventually make a bet as to whether success and crime are tied to genetics or environment. In order to prove the bet, they arrange for Lois Winthorpe to lose everything (his house, butler (Denholm Elliott), his job and his girlfriend). He is set up and caught with angel dust while at a board meeting, and then arrested. At the same time, the Dukes arrange for Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) to take over Winthorpe’s place in the company, including taking over his house and car. Valentine is a down-and-out bum and small time hustler and the Bellamys met him when he was wrongfully accused of trying to Winthorpe’s briefcase.
Winthorpe befriends Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), a prostitute who feels sorry for him. She believes his story about being framed and tries to help him get back onto his feet. In the meantime Valentine discovers the Dukes are up to no good and eventually realises that he is part of a bet. Valentine contacts Winthorpe and together they plan revenge on the Dukes. The plan commences execution during New Years Eve celebrations, which significantly adds to the hilarity of the situation.
Number Two – Four Rooms (1995)
If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it. It’s got a great cast, including Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Beals, Quentin Tarantino, Madonna, and Marisa Tomei. It follows Ted (played by Tim Roth), who has just taken over the responsibility as bellhop of the Hotel Mon Signor (an old world hotel full of classic 1930s charm). The movie then splits into an anthology of four separate (but sometimes interconnected) stories, all of which take place during the same night, namely New Years Eve.
The first story, “The Missing Ingredient” is about a coven of witches who occupy the Honeymoon Suite and are working on a spell, but one of the witches has forgotten a vital ingredient (semen) which she needs to find within the hour.
The second story, “The Wrong Man” is about a couple seeking to role play a hostage situation, but where things don’t go quite right and it is unclear what is a real hostage situation and what is role play.
The third story, “The Misbehavers” is about two children that the bellhop has to keep an eye on for the night while the parents go out to a New Years Eve event. The children misbehave, start drinking and smoking and eventually find a disgusting mystery hidden inside the mattress of their bed.
The final story, “The Man From Hollywood” is set in the penthouse, where a famous Hollywood actor (played by Tarantino) and his friends have made a bet. They require a block of wood, ball of twine, three nails, a club sandwich, a bucket of ice and a very sharp hatchet. Basically the bet is that one of the friends can light his Zippo lighter ten times without failure. If he succeeds he gets the actor’s car. If he fails, he has to cut off his little finger.
Number One – Sunset Boulevard (1950)
I love old films, and this one’s a classic that you must watch. It stars William Holden and Gloria Swanson. Holden plays Joe Gillis, an out-of-work Hollywood script writer. Joe has to flee some debt collectors and ends up hiding his car in what appears to be an abandoned house on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. It turns out that the house belongs to a former big name Hollywood actress, Norma Desmond (Swanson). When Norma discovers that Joe is a screen-writer, she asks him to take a look at a new script she has written (she is hoping to make a come-back as an actress) and Joe lies to her that he thinks it is good.
Norma hires Joe to work as script doctor on her movie. She also arranges a New Years Eve party, where Joe not only discovers he is the only guest, but also that Norma has fallen in love with him (she sees him as her savior).
Needless to say, Norma is misled (in many cases by her own stubbornness to accept reality) into believing that Hollywood wants to turn her script into a film and have her as a star. Everything goes wrong, with fatal consequences.
There are a whole heap of other films that are New Years Eve related, that didn’t quite make my top three, but should get a notable mention, including Bridget Jones Diary, Oceans 11 (The original 1960s version, not the remake), Boogie Nights, 200 Cigarettes, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, and Untamed Heart.
I hope you all have a very Happy New Year 🙂