Thanks to an unhealthy childhood obsession with the films of Meg Ryan, we grew up believing that anything could happen on New Year’s Eve — especially if it was related to romance. We were also concerned about becoming plucky but alcoholic when we grew up (When a Man Loves a Woman), but that’s an entirely different kettle of fish. After the jump, five films that make the holiday look much more magical than it really is; add any we might have missed in the comments.
1. The Apartment (1960) Jack Lemmon loves Shirley MacLaine but she’s in love with a creepy old married man who throws money at her but couldn’t care less about her feelings. She finally realizes how she feels about Lemmon on New Year’s Eve and they celebrate with champagne and game of cards.
2. About Last Night (1986) In a supporting story line, Elizabeth Perkins gets dumped by Jim Belushi on New Year’s Eve when he tells her that he’s returning to a wife that he never mentioned before. Total ouch, but Mother’s still looks like one dive bar we’d like to visit — wearing a body condom, of course.
3. 200 Cigarettes (1999) Two words: Elvis Costello. Two more words: Janeane Garafalo. Even if Martha Plimpton slept through the entire thing, we know that she threw the most raging party 1981 — errr, ’82, had ever seen.
4. When Harry Met Sally (1989) They’re at a New Year’s Eve party when an estranged Harry finally drops that funny accents in the museum routine and tells Sally that he loves her. They kiss and the rest is cinematic history.
5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) More Meg Ryan, but this time it’s New Year’s Eve when she makes a plan to visit New York for Valentine’s Day weekend with her boring fiancee who she doesn’t really love; that’s when she’ll meet Sam (Tom Hanks) at the Empire State Building and make more cinematic history.