Ah, New Year’s Eve — that special night of the year where we put so pressure on ourselves to have a great time, have a great time, HAVE A GREAT TIME that we end up, inevitably, having a really lousy time. (Don’t pretend like it’s just me.) Part of our self-imposed pressure to enjoy ourselves on the last night of the year is, we contend, the fault of movies, which often present the evening as an occasion for joyous celebration, thoughtful reflection, and new beginnings (often with a new object of affection). But some films also recognize the nightmare of New Year’s Eve, and dramatize that. We’ve assembled a few examples of each after the jump, and humbly present ten on-screen New Year’s Eves that we find memorable — for reasons both good and bad. All will make fine New Year’s Eve viewing — and are far better than New Year’s Eve.
Billy Wilder’s 1960 comedy/drama comes to its heartwarming conclusion on New Year’s Eve, so, y’know, spoiler alert. Insurance company worker C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) has spent the film allowing upper-level execs to use the titular domicile for illicit meetings with their mistresses — particularly personnel director Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), who is romancing Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the elevator operator who C.C. is sweet for. When Sheldrake attempts to hijack C.C.’s apartment to spend New Year’s Eve with Ms. Kubelik, C.C. finally takes a stand — and when she finds out about it, the charming events above occur.