There are so many movies with New Year’s Eve scenes that we might be able to make a list of 2,013 of them. Especially if we separate each scene from movies completely set on the night, such as New Year’s Eve, 200 Cigarettes and the Assault on Precinct 13 remake. But we’re going to keep it simple and exclude 2000 of those to share only 13 favorite moments of movie characters ringing in the new year. None of them are from those three aforementioned films, by the way. And since we’ve obviously left a bunch of scenes out, at some point before you go out to party or get situated on your couch ready to watch the ball drop, do tell us which New Year’s Eve scenes you love.
Oh, and merry new year!
Ringing In 2002: About a Boy
This scene, perfect for anyone upset about not having a date on New Year’s Eve, seems in isolated form to be a sweet romantic meeting. Of course, it’s focused on a lie (one that I swear author Nick Hornby swiped from an episode of Growing Pains). It also has the humorously dated line that I’ve always want to obscurely say to someone named Rachel at a New Year’s Eve party: “Rachel, darling, East Coast or West Coast rap?”
Ringing In 1960: The Apartment
Also somewhat deceiving, this final scene from Billy Wilder appears to be a happy one for its two leads, and to a degree it probably is. But there’s no way that Baxter (Jack Lemmon) and Fran (Shirley MacLaine) are really romantically together in the end. Obviously, while she realizes that he’s a better New Year’s Eve date than Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), she still just sees Baxter as a buddy. When she replies to his profession of love with “shut up and deal,” it’s not a cute implication of endearment like “I know” or “Ditto” might be. She’s telling him to deal the cards and also to deal with her lack of reciprocation.
Ringing In 1980: Boogie Nights
Little Bill’s murder of his wife and lover followed by his suicide is not really a pleasant scene, but it is a great one nevertheless. Paul Thomas Anderson follows Bill (William H. Macy) in a single take through the house, with the background action of the film’s ensemble players perfectly blocked and the song “Do Your Thing” by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band dominating the soundtrack. What a way to close out and say goodbye to the dark decade of the 1970s.
Ringing In 1989: Ghostbusters II
The end of the world is not often foreseen as coming on New Year’s Eve. Sure, there was the ridiculous Y2K worry with the arrival of 2000, but otherwise it just seems too neat to have the apocalypse happen with the close of the Gregorian calendar. But that’s the date Chloe Webb says the world will end in the first (and still only) Ghostbusters sequel. It doesn’t actually happen, but that’s just thanks to Peter, Ray, Egon, Winston and (let’s just pretend) Louis defeating Vigo the Carpathian with help from the Statue of Liberty and the drunken spirit of New Yorkers.