best movies to watch on new year’s eve

If you end up not going out this New Year’s Eve, you probably won’t be interested in watching the usual romantic kiss at midnight movies.  So, here are my top 5 non-romantic New Year’s Eve movies in alphabetical order.

Diner” (1982) – A group of Baltimore childhood buddies grapple with their approaching adulthood as they prepare for one of their weddings on New Year’s Eve 1959.

This is the very first movie written and directed by Barry Levinson and it’s one of his best movies.  Starring a great cast all at the start of their careers including Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Daniel Stern, and Ellen Barkin.

I will admit that the last time I saw this movie was about 20 years ago, so my rating of 7 out of 10 stars could change when I rewatch it.

Four Rooms” (1995) – What’s going on in 4 different rooms of a hotel on New Year’s Eve.

Four different rooms with four different stories.  The only connection is the rooms are all in the same hotel and they all have at least a brief appearance by Ted the bellhop (Tim Roth).  One story is written and directed by Allison Anders (titled “The Missing Ingredient”), the second is by Alexandre Rockwell (“The Wrong Man”), the third is by Robert Rodriguez (“The Misbehavers”), and the fourth is by Quentin Tarantino (“The Man From Hollywood”).  There are also a couple funny scenes where the bellhop calls his boss or his friends telling them about all the problems he’s having. 

The stories get better and better.  The first two stories are OK, the third is good, the last one that Quentin Tarantino wrote, directed, and stars in is very funny.  Overall, I give the movie a 6 but the final story I give an 8 out of 10.

Oceans 11” (1960) – A group of war buddies rob 5 Las Vegas casinos at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve.  

The most famous movie starring the “Rat Pack” which consists of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.  Despite some corny improvised dialogue and some musical numbers (that I usually skip if I can), this movie is MUCH better than the remake or it’s sequels.  The movie also has some great cameos including Red Skelton (playing himself) and an uncredited Shirley MacLaine.

I give it 7 out of 10 stars.

The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) – A passenger ship on its final trip before the scrapyard is struck and capsized by a 90-foot tidal wave on New Years Eve.  

Of all the disaster movies from the 70s which includes “The Towering Inferno” and “Earthquake”, I think this is the best.  It’s really incredible what they filmed for this movie WITHOUT ANY CGI.  They constructed a bunch of rooms upside down that can get flooded with water in seconds.  The movie also has a great cast including Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, and Roddy McDowall.  The only bad thing is the movie is definitely set in the 1960s.  It feels VERY DATED.  If you were born after the year 2000, you might think of your grandparents when you watch this movie.

NOTE: There was a terrible remake of this movie called “Poseidon”.  Watch the original instead.

I give it 7 out of 10 stars.

Strange Days” (1995) – A former cop turned street hustler uncovers a conspiracy during the last days of 1999.

This movie is directed by Kathryn Bigelow from a story written by James Cameron (who also produced the movie and was married to Kathryn Bigelow at the time).  This is another sci-fi version of the future of Los Angeles so, don’t expect any “Y2K” references in it.  Instead, it’s about the buying and selling of real memories.  Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) is a former cop who now deals in the illegal recordings.  He receives a recording of a real murderer right before “the world is about to end” when the year changes to 2000.  His search for the source of the recording gets him deeper and deeper into a conspiracy.

Honestly, this is a movie that kind of grew on me.  I remember the first time I watched it I didn’t like it much but follow up times raised my rating to 6 out of 10 stars.

Those are my favorite options to pass the time while waiting for midnight on New Year’s Eve.  On the other hand, if you’re home but NOT alone on New Year’s Eve and you want to watch a kiss at midnight romantic movie, I’d recommend “The Apartment” (1960) or “When Happy Met Sally” (1989).  Both movies conclude at midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Also, there’s a movie titled “New Year’s Eve” (2011) which is not that bad and has a decent cast including Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ashton Kutcher.