Like those mentioned in the intro, here’s another film that entirely takes place on New Year’s Eve and could offer a number of scenes we love, but the most memorable is Shelley Winters’ demise after heroically displaying her Olympic swimming talents, pulling a guidance line through a submerged area and rescuing Gene Hackman in the process. The clip below is unfortunately lacking in audio, but it’s not a dialogue-heavy moment so it suffices.
Ringing In 1944: Radio Days
Who needs a date for New Year’s when they can sit home playing solitaire while listening to Diane Keaton sing on the radio? One thing that Woody Allen’s nostalgic film does is show the magic of the medium that could only be heard, not seen. Are you able to feel like you’re actually in Times Square when you watch the ball drop on TV? Not quite. But in the New Year’s Eve scenes in Radio Days, it does seem like the characters can feel immersed in the ritzy places broadcast through the radiowaves simply with the sounds of the music and the emcees and the dancing and drinking in the background.
Ringing In 1950: Sunset Blvd.
Everyone would love to attend a New Year’s Eve party at the mansion of a famous Hollywood actress, unless maybe they’re the only person invited and the actress is creepily infatuated with you. Actually, the party for two (not counting the butler and musicians) thrown by Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) still looks like an interesting time in this second great Billy Wilder New Year’s scene. Still, how can you be friends with Buster Keaton and not have him at your New Year’s Eve party (or go to whichever one he’s at)? He’s probably a lot of fun, in spite of his age and stone-faced expression.
Ringing In 1983: Trading Places
Merry New Year! Who wants some beef jerky? It’s quite ridiculous that Winthorp, Valentine and friends thought their plan of blackface and accents and cleavage could work, but nobody fools Clarence Beeks. He’s so badass he’ll rip out your eyes and piss on your brain. Fortunately, he’s ultimately foiled anyway and in a gag that’s straight out of another Billy Wilder classic, he shrugs and bears the fact that he’s going to be raped by a gorilla. Hey, on New Year’s Eve, nobody’s perfect.
Ringing In 1989: When Harry Met Sally
Finally, we have everyone’s favorite New Year’s Eve scene, when Harry and Sally finally get together forever (until she dies, if you accept Funny or Die’s “When Harry Met Sally 2″ as canon). Personally, while I do love the movie and this ending, this scene specifically always frustrates me because of the fact that Meg Ryan has botoxed away that little crinkle above her nose. But if this moment teaches us anything it’s that admitting the imperfections of the things we love shows how much we really love them.
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