A few weeks ago, we gave our loyal readers some ideas for The Ultimate Alternative Christmas Movie Marathon. When putting together that particular list, we had a whole host of movies to pick from. Even avoiding classical 'Christmas movies', there are countless movies of various genres that are either set at Christmas or that have certain parts of their stories centred around the holidays.
Naturally, once our own Christmas festivities had wound down and we found ourselves turning our attention to New Year, we thought 'Hey! Let's put together a New Year's Eve movie marathon! That'll be fun!'. But, it turned out that there just aren't anywhere near as many movies to pick from in this category. And from the options we do have, there aren't exactly many of them that would qualify as great movies!
But fear not! We've managed to cobble together a list of five films that should make for an interesting marathon for those of us who choose not to hit the town on New Year's Eve. We know we'll be at home. There's not much partying getting done with a three-year-old in the house...
So, on to the list! Our first choice is a romcom favourite...
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
This is an ideal start to any marathon. You don't want to start with anything too heavy or involved, you see. You run the risk of putting people off your proposed 10+ hours in front of the TV!
Bridget Jones's Diary is beloved by romcom fans, and was the movie that made a star of Renee Zellweger. To be fair to her, she does do a very good English accent as the hapless but loveable Bridget. And the supporting turns from Colin Firth and Hugh Grant as the competing men in her life are top notch. Grant, in particular, is hilarious as the caddish Daniel Cleaver.
The movie's plot is set in motion by events at a New Year's party, in which Bridget meets Mark Darcy (Firth) for the first time since they were children. He thinks she is a vulgar fool and she thinks he's arrogant and rude. It is this meeting that prompts Bridget to write her diary. It details her attempts to stop smoking, lose weight and find Mr Right. Which, wouldn't you know, turns out to be Mark Darcy. Gasp!
Fruitvale Station (2013)
And now for something completely different!
After the breezily charming Bridget Jones, we're going to move into real-life territory with Ryan Coogler's searing drama. The Creed director struck gold with his first movie. It is a masterful and emotional recounting of the events that led to the death of Oscar Grant in the Fruitvale train station in Oakland, California. Grant was shot dead by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer in the early hours of New Years Day 2009. The movie is elegant and respectful in its depiction of the events.
Michael B. Jordan, who would go on to work with Coogler again in Creed and the upcoming Black Panther, first came to many people's attention in this film. His performance as Grant is nuanced and real. The movie will truly make any audience think about the state of racial perception and stereotyping in the USA and all over the world.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Now, in an effort to bring everyone up after a heavy (but excellent) film, what's say we watch one of the best disaster movies ever made?
The Poseidon Adventure was remade in 2006 by Wolfgang Petersen as Poseidon, but it wasn't very good. So we're just going to watch the original, which starred Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine and Shelley Winters. At this point, it may have become slightly dated. And so many disaster movies have followed it's formula that some audiences might find it too familiar. But we reckon it's still a great watch.
The plot centers on the SS Poseidon, a luxury cruise liner on it's last voyage from New York City to Athens before being sent to the scrapyard. Then, in the middle of a lavish New Year's Eve party, a rogue wave hits the ship and it capsizes. From this point we follow a mismatched group of survivors as they try to fight their way through the overturned ship to safety. Classic.
Assault On Precinct 13 (2005)
From one movie where we eschewed the remake in favor of the original to another in which the remake is our choice. But, fear not, any fans of John Carpenter's superlative 1976 original, it's not because we think the remake is better. Rather, it's because the modern version is set on New Year's Eve, with Ethan Hawke and a few colleagues the only people in a soon-to-be shut down police precinct in Detroit.
A raging snowstorm then forces guards transporting the amusingly-named crime boss Marion Bishop (Laurence Fishburne) to hunker down in the precinct. What follows is a tense and action-packed thrill ride in which Gabriel Byrne's gang of crooked cops launch an assault on the precinct to kill Bishop before he can testify about their criminal dealings.
We have to admit we're suckers for action movies. And this one is pretty darn good, The cast is top notch, with John Leguizamo, Drea De Matteo and Maria Bello lending able support to Hawke, Fishburne and Byrne. The movie is also pleasingly down and dirty; it has a rawness that harkens back to the original. This one didn't set the world on fire at the box office, but we think it's an underrated gem.
And speaking of underrated...
Ghostbusters II (1989)
We love Ghostbusters II. Always have. In fact, in our memory, both Ghostbusters movies are inextricably linked. Moments from both pop into our heads readily when we think of the property, and even though we've watched both movies many times in adulthood and realise that the original is a far superior film, we still have a soft spot for this one.
Why is the general perception of the movie so negative, though? We understand the criticism that the plot structure is very similar to the first movie. We also get that that it's not quite as funny. But it's still a hell of a lot funnier than most comedies, and a much better sequel than many we could mention. And Vigo The Carpathian is a great villain!
With all that said, we feel this is a good choice to end our marathon on as it's always been a crowd-pleaser in our house. It's also a great advertisement for the positivity and aspirational thinking that New Year can provide, as the Ghostbusters animate the Statue Of Liberty with positively charged mood slime! Then they defeat the villain with the power of positive vibes and kindness to your fellow man!
What more could you want to round off an emotional rollercoaster of New Year's themed movies?
Have we left any New Year's favourites out of our list? Are we nuts for loving Ghostbusters II so much? Let us know below.