COMMENTARY: Three movies to help you ring in the New YearGail M. Williams December 31, 2022 0 COMMENTS
Ideally, you’d like to spend New Year’s Eve dancing at an upscale party, drinking champagne and sharing a lingering midnight kiss with someone you love.
Realistically, you’re more likely to be watching reruns of “The Twilight Zone” on MeTV and quaffing the last of the Christmas eggnog.
If something’s keeping you home on Dec. 31, you could do worse than to watch an old movie on Prime Video. Here are some that involve the type of New Year’s Eve parties you really didn’t want to attend anyway:
“The Apartment,” a black-and-white film from 1960, stars Jack Lemmon as Bud Baxter, and Shirley MacLaine as Fran Kubelik. He’s an insurance executive and she’s an elevator operator in the same office building. Fred MacMurray, as Jeff Sheldrake, is Baxter’s boss and Kubelik’s lover.
In a quest to be promoted, Baxter allows co-workers to use his apartment for romantic trysts. He is basically spineless, so there are those who will abuse the privilege. Sheldrake is one of them.
The movie is well-acted, poignant and funny. The subject matter was shocking at the time, especially for Fred MacMurray, who spent most of his career cultivating a good guy image. In this movie, he is the smarmiest sleaze you hope you’ll never meet.
Another black-and-white movie that came out a decade earlier is 1950’s “Sunset Boulevard.” You’ve probably seen references to the movie. Carol Burnett, for one, did hilarious send-ups of the Gloria Swanson in her role as silent film star Norma Desmond seeking a comeback.
“Sunset Boulevard” is wonderfully quotable. When William Holden as Joe Gillis remembers that she used to be big, Desmond snaps, “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”
The film is a mixture of the funny and the macabre complete with a mysterious man-servant, a funeral for a monkey and a corpse to tell the tale from his perspective.
Lighter, more recent and in color, is the 1989 film “When Harry Met Sally.” Two people who can’t stand each other grow into friendship and eventually acknowledge that what they feel for each other is love – on New Year’s Eve, of course. Along the way, they discuss men, women, friendship and sex.
The film’s climax, you might say, involves Sally and Harry discussing the satisfaction women find in a relationship over lunch at a delicatessen. Another customer’s reaction to the discussion is consistently ranked as one of the funniest moments in movie history.
Any of these films is worth staying up and watching until the New Year rings itself in. Or, come to that, “The Twilight Zone” is a time-honored way to see the old year out.
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent