By Megan Bianco
There are plenty of Christmas movies, but few that reflect on the new year, especially one as potentially momentous as 2021. Unless it’s trite comedy like Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve (2011), there aren’t a lot of quality films out there to mark the new year.
A couple of classics feature famous New Year’s Eve scenes, like Billy Wilder’s The Apartment (1960) and Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally… (1989), but I’m going to dig a little deeper for the less common, but good, New Year’s-themed flicks.
Iconic screen couple William Powell and Myrna Loy followed up their Christmas hit, W.S. van Dyke’s The Thin Man (1934), with a New Year’s sequel only two years later called After the Thin Man (1936) and also directed by van Dyke. To my mind, the second film is just as enjoyable as the first romp and offers the bonus of watching Jimmy Stewart in an early, rare role in which he’s not cast as a nice guy.
Another light-hearted, fun comedy from the same era is George Cukor’s Holiday (1938), in which the leads played by Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn realize they’re in love with each other at a New Year’s party.
A good Woody Allen movie that predates his now controversial reputation is his comedy Radio Days (1987). It stars an ensemble of recognizable faces including Dianne Wiest, Seth Green, Wallace Shawn, Jeff Daniels, Julie Kavner, Danny Aiello — and it’s Allen’s only film that features both of his cinematic muses, Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow. This retro feature follows a Brooklyn family in the mid-1940s and concludes on New Year’s Eve.
Fans of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy will know one of the most memorable sequences in the film series takes place during a New Year’s party between brothers Michael (Al Pacino) and Fredo (John Cazale) in The Godfather Pt. II (1974). While this is a more serious film compared to the others I’ve listed, it is still a good one to revisit for film buffs.
There are a few other good movies with New Year’s scenes to recommend, but to keep it short and simple, I’ll stop while I’m ahead. And wish all my movie fan readers a more eventful 2021.