New Year’s Eve, a 2011 rom-com that takes place in the hours leading up to the New York City ball drop, is a terrible movie. You probably know it because every actor—save for those in a similar holiday-movie with an ensemble cast, Valentine’s Day—was in it. Still, with massive star power and a hell of a budget, New Year’s Eve was a trainwreck. Why do Lea Michelle and Ashton Kutcher’s characters live in such a nice building, but still manage to get stuck in their elevator for hours? Why doesn’t Sarah Jessica Parker’s character have a phone? And why is Jon Bon Jovi trying to act?
Readers, you deserve better. Below, a few of our favourite movies to get you in the New Year’s Eve spirit, including one cheesy rom-com that’s actually worth watching—we swear—and one post-apocalyptic film for the sci-fan in you.
The Holiday (2006)
There are lots of bad things about Nancy Meyer’s 2006 movie, The Holiday, a film about two lonely strangers exchanging homes during the holidays that could have ended so terribly had this been real life. The movie is predictable, Jack Black feels miscast alongside Kate Winslet, and Cameron Diaz stars as our archetypal type-A heroine who resigns to love as a means of figuring out her life’s answers. But folks, The Holiday is amazing. The score itself, composed by Hans Zimmer, will make you cry. Winslet will make you cry. Everything about this movie is so bad, it’s good, which is why I recommend it if you want something sweet, sappy, and so unrealistic you’ll lose your grip on actual reality.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
There probably isn’t a greater love story set around New Year’s than When Harry Met Sally. But I am recommending this film because this movie is better when you view it as a love story to New York City. It makes living in New York look like a dream born out of an ayahuasca high. If you want to convince your parents moving to New York is a safe and respectable decision, show them this movie. Or just watch it for Carrie Fisher. (And for those wondering, I prefer this Nora Ephron classic to Sleepless in Seattle, also set around New Year’s Eve, but to each their own.)
If you haven’t seen Snowpiercer, here’s the set-up: The world has frozen over and the only remaining people exist on a train that circles the globe. The front of the train, where the wealthy and elite are, is intentionally separated from the back where the stragglers and poorer citizens are left stranded. You might think to yourself, how much action can actually take place on a train? Well, a fucking lot. Technically, it’s not clear whether the film takes place during the holidays, but a war-cry during a pivotal fight scene suggests the new year is upon them. Watch it if rom-coms bother you and Chris Evans with a beard does not.
The much critically-acclaimed Carol is excellent, especially Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara’s performances. Without spoiling it—but assuming you at least heard about the movie during the awards season a few years back—the film takes place in the 1950s during the holidays and explores the romance between Blanchett and Mara’s characters. Exactly one scene takes place during New Year’s Eve and it’s easily one of the most memorable of the movie. Watch it if you’re in the mood for something a little heavier in theme and damn good acting.
Forrest Gump (1994)
There’s no point in sharing why Forrest Gump is a classic; it’s Tom Hanks at his best. Despite this, you might have missed the one scene that takes place on New Year’s Eve in which Forrest and Lieutenant Dan celebrate the day in New York City (and ends in a foiled sexual escapade). While the scene is short, the entirety of the movie is worth watching. Watch it if you want to watch a classic film in recent movie history.