1. Most bittersweet New Year's Eve
The Apartment (1960)
Billy Wilder's Oscar-winning dark comedy takes advantage of New Year's "no one should be alone" theme. Just as lonely, lovelorn Jack Lemmon is packing up his apartment to move, Shirley MacLaine leaves a raucous party and rushes through the streets to reach him in time for the couple to play cards before midnight. Not everyone is impressed by this romantic conclusion: Paul Mavis at DVDTalk.com calls it a "phony, undeserved ending."
2. Best New Year's Eve kiss
When Harry Met Sally (1988)
Although New Yrear's Eve is perhap better known for slurred speech than eloquence, the final scene in Rob Reiner's romantic comedy features a classic Wilder-esque monologue where Billy Crystal persuades on-again-off-again girlfriend Meg Ryan that she's the one he wants to marry. Cue: Big kiss. "What woman could resist a speech like this?" sighs blogger Brad Ruggles.
3. Worst New Year's Eve kiss
The Godfather Part II
The traditional stroke-of-midnight smooch takes on ominous tones in the second Godfather film when Michael Corleone, the new head of the mafia family, gives his weak-willed, lying brother Fredo the "kiss of death." Listen for Al Pacino's half-whispered "you broke my heart" — one of "cinema's most famous moments," according to the Huffington Post's Kim Morgan.
4. Least auspicious New Year's Eve
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
In the iconic disaster movie, the passengers of an ocean liner are attempting to celebrate the new year when a massive tidal wave quite literally crashes the party, capsizing the ship. (A mournful, pre-disaster live performance of "There's Got to Be a Morning After" doesn't help either.) Roger Ebert calls Poseidon "the kind of movie you know is going to be awful, and yet somehow you gotta see it." Watch for Leslie Nielsen's matter-of-fact New Year's greeting in this clip.
5. Funniest New Year's Eve
Trading Places (1983)
Wealthy investor Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) has been forced to swap places with impoverished Bill Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) in a ruse cooked up by the elderly Duke brothers. The two hatch a plan to take revenge on New Year's Eve so as to take advantage of the year's first day of trading. Time says this sequence "moves the audience to the wilder shores of farce."
6. Creepiest New Year's party
Rosemary's Baby (1966)
In a scene that captures the oppressiveness of enduring a New Year's party against your will, a painfully pregnant Rosemary attends a fete with her husband's friends — the cheery, geriatric Satanists who are plotting against her. The feminist analysts at PAB outlines all the other way's Rosemary's husband is a jerk. Party scene begins at 4:59.
7. Sappiest New Year's Eve Montage
Sex and the City: The Movie (2008)
In a scene which Slate's Dana Stevens says encapsulates the show's "utopic vision of female bonding as the greatest love of all," heroine Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) appears at workaholic Miranda's (Cynthia Nixon) door to tell her "you're not alone" just as the ball falls in Times Square. Meanwhile we see how the rest of the famously frivolous foursome spend their final seconds of the year...
8. Most Dystopian New Year's Eve
Strange Days (1995)
Director Kathryn Bigelow is being touted as a possible Oscar winner for her 2009 Iraq drama, "The Hurt Locker," but earlier in her career she made this gloomy sci-fi pic written by then-husband James Cameron (of "Avatar" fame). At the cusp of a new millennium, an ex-cop (Ralph Fiennes) sells virtual memories to sensation-hungry yuppies. Inspired by the L.A. riots, this film was described as "flawed, but often brilliant" by Time Out's Derek Adams.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Rise of the machines
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's time to kill school picture day
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- Why you should absolutely watch this confounding, wonderful World Series
- Ban PowerPoint!
Subscribe to the Week