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Video Rewind: New Year's Eve From the Past

Updated on December 31, 2020
Kevin (Paul Rudd) explains to Lucy (Courtney Love) why New Year's Eve is depressing in 200 Cigarettes
Kevin (Paul Rudd) explains to Lucy (Courtney Love) why New Year's Eve is depressing in 200 Cigarettes

Each and every year, we wait 525,659 minutes waiting for that one minute when we're ready to yell, "Happy New Year!" raise a glass of champagne and maybe secure a kiss at midnight from someone we love. For that one minute we can only hope that everything in our lives will change for the better instead of going backward.

Unfortunately, if you were a passenger on the S.S. Poseidon, that minute turned into chaos when the ship capsized, and we were glad we weren't passengers.

The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve can be the longest week of the year, or it could be the shortest as you continue running around visiting friends and family. It's also a stressful week depending on whether or not you have plans.

Let's take a look back in modern times (will, I guess it would be past modern times since these movies came out in the 20th Century) what Hollywood did on New Year's Eve.

More American Graffiti (1979)

Following the success of American Graffiti in 1973, this sequel takes on four different storylines in various years of the 1960's and was inspired by the way the original movie ends.

I have to be honest here since I didn't have a chance to re-watch this and I couldn't find my copy, so I'm going to go by memory.

Since sequels really weren't made in the late '70's, the entire cast returns, with the exception of Richard Dreyfus.

The first storyline follows the racing career of John Milner (Paul Le Mat). This brings the cast together as they cheer him on and the other New Year's Eve stories are set up.

In another storyline, Terry the Toad (Charles Martin Smith) and Little Joe (Bo Hopkins) are fighting in Vietnam and Terry's trying to figure out a way to go home by trying to injure himself. With his story, you'll find the most laughs.

In San Francisco, Debbie (Candy Clark) and Carol/Rainbow (Mackenzie Phillips) are experiencing the hippie life.

And finally, Steve (Ron Howard) and Laurie (Cindy Williams) are having marital problems while raising twins and Laurie wanting to get a job against Steve's wishes.

After an argument (while trying to get things ready for a party) Laurie storms out and goes over to her younger brother's apartment to cool off. Later she gets a call from him because he forgot his wallet and is at a draft card burning protest.

Steve eventually tracks Laurie down and when the campus is raided they're arrested along with the other protesters.

Each story ends on a somber note as life continues on.

54 (1998)

This isn't a bad movie, but, there are two versions of it. There's the theatrical version and most recently, the Director's Cut, which completely changes the movie.

The movie focuses on Shane O'Shea (Ryan Phillippe) who's bored with the New Jersey nightlife and one night after getting his haircut, heads across the river to New York with his friends. They hope to get into Studio 54 but after standing outside with the crowd, only Shane is invited in.

Owner Steve Rubell (Mike Myers) hires him as a bar back and eventually promotes him to bartender. Shane's rise at the club depresses his friend Greg (Breckin Meyer) because he dreams of being one of the bartenders.

Greg's wife, Anita (Salma Hayek) wants to be a singer and is thrilled when music mogul Billie Auster) takes an interest in her career. She knows the game that she has to play in order to make it in the business and when Billie invites her and Shane to a dinner party, she has to decide if she's going to take the plunge since Steve is looking for a new act on New Year's Eve.

With Shane's meteoric rise among the club's elite, he finally has the chance to talk to soap opera star, Julie Black (Neve Campbell) and she sets him straight about the infamous club. Shane also has a massive crush on her and he thinks that the two can make it as a couple.

When New Year's Eve finally approaches, he realizes that Julie was basically all talk when she comes to the club with her date, producer Roland Sachs (Robert Bauer.

The IRS also has plans for Steve and they raid the club shortly after midnight and arrest him for tax evasion.

This is basically the theatrical version, but in the Director's Cut, most of Campbell's scenes are cut and there's an emphasis on an affair that Shane's having with both Anita and Greg.

The Director's Cut also received a new narration by Phillippe at the beginning.

After watching the theatrical cut many times, it's hard to get into the new cut since the story has changed so much, but depending on which cut you want to watch, both are good.

200 Cigarettes (1999)

It's Thursday, December 31, 1981 and a whole group of people are going out to celebrate New Year's Eve, all with pre midnight disastrous results.

This was the first time I had gone out to celebrate and I could put my experience into this movie no problem.

Anyway, the movie starts out in the back of the Disco Cabbie's (Dave Chappelle) cab with Kevin (Paul Rudd) telling his friend Lucy (Courtney Love) about why he hates having his birthday on New Year's Eve, plus, his girlfriend dumped him the night before.

She has the cab driver pull over and she runs into a store and buys Kevin a carton of cigarettes as a birthday present. (For you known smokers, a carton of cigarettes consists of 200).

The two of them hit their first bar where they meet the clumsy bartender (Ben Affleck) and while Lucy thinks he's cute, she wonders if he may be attracted to Kevin.

Also at the bar are friends (you could maybe call them frenemies) Caitlyn (Angela Featherstone) and Bridget (Nicole Parker). Their goal is to get a date since they have a party to go to later. They found out about it through Caitlyn's ex, Eric (Brian McCardie).

Hosting the party is Monica (Martha Plimpton) who's having a nervous breakdown because the only guest so far is her best friend Hillary (Catherine Kellner). Hillary can't hide her boredom and leaves, but promises to come back once Monica tells her that she'll fix her up with her ex.

The Disco Cabbie goes to pick up his next fare, Cindy (Kate Hudson) who's debating whether or not she wants to go out. He tells her to get into the cab and takes her to meet the guy she met the night before, Jack (Jay Mohr).

Cindy is a walking disaster as she nearly burns down the restaurant and later at the bar where everyone is at, manages to destroy a little bit of it.

Since she and Jack aren't getting along, they agree to end the date and she falls into a dog pile.

Meanwhile, on the street, underagers Stephie and Val (Gabby Hoffman and Christina Ricci) are lost and Val has visions of getting murdered. They argue about being lost and then see two guys approaching them.

They duck into a punk bar and when the two guys (Casey Affleck and Guillermo Diaz) enter, they head out the backway since Stephie thinks they're going to be murdered.

At some point in the movie, the characters cross paths as they've all heard about this great party in NoHo and are making their way to it.

Love finds some, while other's wake up to a bad experience on New Year's Day.

The first time I watched this movie, I didn't like it, but in order to really appreciate it, you have to watch it more than once. It's become one of my favorite New Year's Eve movies and I'm glad that I have a copy of it, since it's out of print and getting big money for a copy.

This is my take on what you can do if you're not going out and remember, at the stroke of midnight, you will get that minute back for a full 525,660 year.

Anita (Salma Hayek) tries to bring a very high Shane (Ryan Phillippe) during their shift at 54
Anita (Salma Hayek) tries to bring a very high Shane (Ryan Phillippe) during their shift at 54

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