Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Movies for New Year's Eve

If you are tired of the silly displays of self generated enthusiasm from such hosts as Casey Kasem, Dick Clark and Donna Summers hoping you will "Rock In" the new year why not find a movie and time your viewing so that you can watch the ball drop from Times Square just as the credits role. Here are some fun movies that may take the sting out of a otherwise boring night.

1. Captain Ron (1992) - Kurt Russel, Martin Short and Mary Kay Place have fun on the high seas while trying to get their boat back to the US from the Caribbean. There are some great lines hidden in this gem.

2. Uncle Buck (1989) - This is John Candy at his best. Particularly watch the scene where Buck goes to the elementary school meeting with the vice principal. Just watch Candy's reaction to the VP's comments. It's classic Candy.

3. The Great Escape (1963) - This movie has a whole bunch of people in it including James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn and David McCallum to name just a few. It also has Steve McQueen in the starring role and one of the best of its time motorcycle chase scenes. The English have adopted this as their New Year's cinematic anthem much the way we play "Its a Wonderful Life" at Christmas here in the US.

4. The Breakfast Club (1985) - This is a great study in teenage rebellion in the '80s. It has all the great Brat Pack members; Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheety and Anthony Michael Hall. There are some really funny lines in this movie. If you grew up during this time you will be able to pick out each of the character's personalities among people you knew in high school.

5. O Brother Where Art Thou (2000) - A Coen Brothers classic tale of the Odyssey by Homer told in a 1930's setting. Great music and cinematography. George Clooney is really good as the leader of a band of escapees from the prison farm looking for buried treasure.

6. The Big Lebowski (1998) - Another Coen Brothers offering about a slacker just trying to do the right thing. Jeff Bridges used some of his own wardrobe to style the Dude's look. This movie may take two or three viewings to see the full complexity of the characters and get all the good lines. It reminds me a lot of Napolean Dynamite - but grown up.

7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) - This is a great old/new western. It was created as a new look at the old westerns at the time but it has become a classic. The interplay between Paul Newman and Robert Redford is wonderful, and so is Katherine Ross. This movie was shot in Utah and shows off a lot of scenery.

8. A Few Good Men (1992) - This legal drama about a young lawyer challenging the establishment is really funny. Despite Tom Cruise and the overacting of Jack Nickelson it is wonderfully directed by Rob Reiner so that all the components come together and make up a better story than you would think. It too has some funny lines.

9. Remember the Titans (2000) - Denzell Washington takes a tired theme, the underdog overcoming adversity, and turns it into one of the best sports movies ever. The soundtrack is beautiful and plays well into the racial tension theme in the movie. It's about growing up in the '60s and seeing people for who they are, not what they are.

10. Stand By Me (1986) - This Rob Reiner adaptation of a Stephen King short story gives you that warm feeling of youth and adventure you sought when you were 12. Many other teens coming of age movies have been made but in my opinion this is the best. Look for a lot of up and coming stars. Even the narration is done by a famous guy. This is a great Saturday afternoon movie.

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