Five New Year's Films to Ring in the New Year
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Five New Year's Films to Ring in the New Year

Looking for a movie to watch on New Year's Eve? Here are five very popular films perfect to ring in the New Year!

THE APARTMENT

The Apartment, the 1960 Billy Wilder comedy-drama starring Jack Lemmon (C. C. Baxter), Shirley MacLaine (Fran Kubelik), and Fred Mac Murray (Mr. Sheldrake), is a clever and witty story of a lonely New York City insurance company office worker (Lemmon) who in order to climb the corporate ladder, allows four company managers to use his Upper West Side apartment for their assorted extramarital affairs. Though unhappy with the situation he finds himself in--and his powerlessness to oppose his bosses--Baxter accommodates their demands, while hoping to catch the eye of love interest, elevator operator, Fran Kubelik. To ensure that Baxter will be out of the apartment for one of his trysts, his boss, Sheldrake, gives Baxter two tickets to the Broadway musical The Music Man, to which Baxter invites the fair Miss Kubelik--unaware that she’s actually Sheldrake's mistress. When Sheldrake later demands the apartment for another liaison with Miss Kubelik on New Year's Eve, Baxter quits the firm, causing Kubelik to realize that Baxter is the man who truly loves her. The plot culminates as Miss Kubelik unexpectedly appears at the apartment just as Baxter is packing to move, insisting on resuming a game of gin rummy they’d started at a previous time. Upon declaring his love for her, Miss Kubelik replies the now-famous closing line of the film, "Shut up and deal!”

THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE

The Poseidon Adventure is the phenomenally popular 1972 action-adventure disaster film directed by Ronald Neame, based on the novel of the same name by Paul Gallico, with an all-star cast including Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Jack Albertson, Leslie Nielsen, and many others. The plot centers around the ocean liner SS Poseidon, an aged luxury liner from the golden age of travel on her final voyage, from New York City to Athens, where she will be retired to the scrap yard. En route, at midnight on New Year’s Eve, she is overturned by a 90’ tidal wave caused by an underwater earthquake. With passengers and crew trapped inside, a reverend (Hackman) takes the odd mix of survivors on a journey through the bowels of the ship in an attempt to survive, requiring them to cooperate and risk their lives doing things they never dreamed themselves capable. Ultimately, they have to make their way from the grand ballroom--while struggling through steam, fire, and rising water--to the bottom (the propeller shaft), now at the top.

THE HUDSUCKER PROXY

The Hudsucker Proxy is a rather convoluted but clever 1994 comedy written, produced, and directed by the brothers’ Coen, starring Tim Robbins (as the dull-witted business-school graduate Norville Barnes), Jennifer Jason Leigh (newspaper reporter Amy Archer), and Paul Newman (company director Sidney J. Mussberger). When the head of the hugely successful Hudsucker Industries, Waring Hudsucker, commits suicide, his board of directors (led by Mussberger), devises a plan to make a lot of money very quickly for himself and his cohorts by appointing an imbecile (Norville) to run the company--who will ultimately send the company to ruin and make the stock plummet.  When the stock drops low enough, they’ll buy it up for pennies on the dollar, assume control of the company, and then restore its fortunes--getting rid of Norville.  However, while Norville is certainly inept enough to drive the company into bankruptcy, they don’t count on reporter Amy Archer, who suspects something is amiss and begins an undercover investigation of Hudsucker Industries, becoming a Hudsucker employee herself. Meanwhile, Aloysius, the Hudsucker janitor, discovers Amy's true identity and informs Mussburger, who then convinces the board that Norville is insane and must be sent to the local psychiatric hospital. On New Year's Eve, Amy finds Norville drunk at a Bohemian bar and tries to apologize for her involvement, but he storms out--escaping to the top floor of the Hudsucker skyscraper where he climbs out on the ledge and is locked out by Aloysius who watches as Norville is about to fall off as the clock strikes midnight. All of a sudden, Moses the clockman (played by Bill Cobbs) stops the clock--and time suddenly freezes--as which time Waring Hudsucker appears to Norville as an angel who tells him inside information that will save the company--and send Mussburger to the asylum instead.

MONEY TRAIN

Money Train is the 1995 comedy/thriller about a pair of New York City cops, Charlie (Woody Harrelson) and John (Wesley Snipes), who decide to rob a cash-packed subway train holding as much as $500,000 on New Year's Eve when subway security will be lax.  More than just two guys “on the job,” Charlie and John are also foster brothers, which compels John to agree to Charlie's far-fetched scheme aimed primarily at getting out from under his gambling debts; a plan that has the added bonus of enraging Charlie and John's abrasive and corrupt boss, Captain Patterson, played by Robert Blake. While a romantic interest in the form of fellow police officer Grace Santiago (Jennifer Lopez) adds to the storyline, the film's main focus is the series of violent events that surround the attempted heist--which naturally proves far more complicated than they'd planned.

STRANGE DAYS

Strange Days is the 1995 “cyberpunk” sci-fi film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and produced and co-written by James Cameron and Jay Cocks, starring Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Michael Wincott, Josef Sommer, and Glenn Plummer. Set in Los Angeles two days before the end of 1999, we are introduced to Lenny Nero (Fiennes), an ex-cop turned sleazy hustler who deals in the newest illegal thrill, a "squid," a headpiece that allows one to transmit digital recordings of other people's thoughts, memories, and feelings directly into their brain. Lenny, who’s nursing a broken heart since his girlfriend, punk singer Faith Justin (Lewis) left him, spends a lot of time reliving clips he recorded when they were together. Faith is now involved with Philo Grant (Wincott), a music business mogul who once managed Jeriko One (Plummer), a hip-hop musician and political activist whose murder has sent LA into a state of utter chaos. When a clip surfaces proving that Jeriko was actually killed by LA police officers, Lenny finds his life in danger and tries to escape with the help of his friend Mace Mason (Bassett). As midnight approaches, Lenny and Mace sneak into a private New Year's party at the Bonaventure Hotel Philo is hosting for the city's wealthy elite, where Mace hopes to deliver the clip to Deputy Police Commissioner, Palmer Strickland (Josef Sommer). Upon entering Philo's penthouse suite, however, Lenny finds a ‘squid’ disk that shows Faith apparently being raped and murdered. (Don’t wanna spoil the ending for you!)

References:

Jay A. Brown, Rating the Movies, Consumer Guide, Publications International

Roger Ebert, Video Companion, Universal Press

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Comments (8)

Happy New Year to you what ever movie you watch!

Indeed, Brenda . . . indeed!

I never saw two of your films here, but I loved the apartment. I grew up without a father and always fantasized that Jack Lemmon would have been a good father for me, in a way he looked like my real father.

Thanks for sharing that insight, Carol.

Ranked #1 in Popular Culture

Really inventive selection, James. The Apartment is a superb film.

Thanks, Michael. Hope your New Year is off to a great start!

The Money Train is a great movie but the Poseidon Adventure scares me.

Sandy, just keep saying, "It's only a movie . . . it's only a movie . . ."

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