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Originally published December 8, 2011 at 6:01 AM | Page modified December 8, 2011 at 6:01 AM

Scarecrow Video recommendations for 'New Year's Eve'

First "Love, Actually", then "Valentine's Day", and now this week we have Garry Marshall's follow-up, "New Year's Eve". It seems folks just can't get enough of expensive Hollywood movies featuring a cast of beautiful famous people falling in holiday-based love. As a snooty video store clerk, it's actually in my job description to take all the fun out of that and recommend some "similar" movies you might try instead.

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First "Love, Actually", then "Valentine's Day", and now this week we have Garry Marshall's follow-up, "New Year's Eve". It seems folks just can't get enough of expensive Hollywood movies featuring a cast of beautiful famous people falling in holiday-based love. As a snooty video store clerk, it's actually in my job description to take all the fun out of that and recommend some "similar" movies you might try instead.

One of the great ensemble comedies in Hollywood history would have to be the legendary (and legendarily silly) 1963 epic "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World", which feels like it stars every famous comedian who'd ever been heard of at that time (for those under 30, you may have heard of exactly none of them). To list them all would take up the rest of this article. But they're all playing a bunch of desperate morons on a cross-country hunt for a cache of stolen money. It's three hours packed with cameos, crazy stunts, corny one-liners and ridiculous subplots.

Or you could go in the completely opposite direction with the original 1972 "The Poseidon Adventure", which features the obligatory dazzling cast of stars, except instead of falling in love, they're generally falling to their grisly deaths after the luxury cruise liner upon which they're ringing in the new year capsizes. Gene Hackman as a foul-mouthed preacher has to lead everyone to safety while trying to keep Shelley Winters from completely falling to pieces. This is one of the all time great disaster movies.

But my favorite New Year's Eve title is 1995's "Strange Days", written by James Cameron and directed by Kathryn Bigelow (she also won the Best Director Oscar a couple years back for "The Hurt Locker"). This intense, imaginative thriller takes place on the last day of the year 1999, making it one of the most interesting and awkwardly dated hyperviolent science-fiction mystery action films you'll ever see. Let that last sentence sink in for a second. Anyway, Ralph Fiennes stars as an ex-cop who stumbles into a conspiracy involving a murdered rap star, corrupt cops, evil record company shills and, of course, a device that can record and play back people's every waking experience. This is exactly the kind of bizarro masterpiece that instantly gets overlooked and people like me spend the rest of their lives telling you about.

We'll be back next week!




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