Let’s all say it proudly: 2020 sucked! 2020 was booty, from the coronavirus death toll to no hyped movies being released. Everyone’s ready for a new year and a fresh start, but will 2021 be any better? Probably not. Years aren’t good or bad, life doesn’t get better depending on the year- people get better, and people can decide whether they view life as good or bad. Like Marucs Aurelius said, “Everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Yeah, all of us have been probably waded through some pretty terrible murk this year, but our attitudes will decide everything in 2021. 2020, although a year of tremendous tragedy, has been a great year to filter that murk out of our systems to better ourselves. Recharge your batteries and ready your new attitude and resolutions by watching these great flicks that embody the New Year spirit. Thank you to the few trolls that have stuck around on this site. We truly couldn’t exist without you, and we love and appreciate each one of you with every inch of our hearts- you complete and improve us. Maybe sometimes we do write terrible reviews- but none of that matters; the past is the past. The real Taste of Cinema is the friends we made along the way. Happy New Year, and TOC wishes all the best!
10. Four Rooms (1995)
On New Year’s Eve, in the Hollywood Hotel Mon Signor, first time Bellboy Ted (Tim Roth) experiences crazy occurrences with insane guests. A dark anti-comedy anthology with 4 segments directed by 90s indie darling directors Alison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez, “Four Rooms” was made in the vein of Roald Dahl’s adult stories.
Tim Roth’s over the top performance channelling Jerry Lewis really busts a gut, his comedic timing shining in strange situations involving witches, mistaken identities, baby sitting, and movie industry runoff. You might have to have an acquired taste to enjoy this flick, but there’s this one thing everyone can agree on- the turkey club featured in this film is the best movie sandwich in cinema history.
9. The New Year (2010)
A slow moving indie directed by Brett Haley, “The New Year” concerns former high school valedictorian Sunny (Trieste Kelly Dunn), who drops out of community college to tend to her father after he’s diagnosed with terminal cancer. She’s dating Neal (Kevin Wheatley), a pudgy, insecure, karate dude, but rekindles her relationship with stand up comedian Issac (Ryan Hunter), an old high school frenemy. As the narrative goes on, we learn that life is very disappointing as the film meditates on the fear of transition, our protagonist ultimately facing this fear as a new year approaches.
If you’re a depressed college student dealing with life problems and uncertainty, this is your type of movie! Thanks to the leading lady Trieste Kelly Dunn’s amazing, naturalistic, breakout performance as Sunny, “The New Year” feels like an authentic slice of real life. Brett Haley also grows as a director during the film’s duration. Overall, this movie is a must watch- “The New Year” is top tier!
8. About Time (2013)
After a disappointing New Year party, aspiring lawyer Tim Lake (Domhall Gleason) discovers a family secret- the Lake men can travel through time. They can’t change history, but can change portions of their own lives, so Tim uses his newfound abilities to get a girlfriend. He meets quirky American girl Mary (Rachel McAdams), and with his powers cunningly tweaks time and space so the two can have a smooth, perfect relationship. The meat of the conflict starts when Tim realizes time travel can’t solve all the ordinary problems of a fantastical life.
A mashup of “Groundhog Day” and “Love Actually,” rom-com maestro Richard Curtis’s “About Time” isn’t a movie that slaps- it’s a magnum opus that warms you up on a cold Monday morning.
7. Trading Places (1983)
A 21st Century Prince and the Pauper, “Trading Places” tells the story of a preppy white snob Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Akroyd), and street smart con artist Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy), who trade places due to a bet made by two millionaires. After Winthrope falsely accuses Valentine of theft, the millionaires step in to reverse the situation, one betting that Valentine could do better business than the preppy white boy. The comedy is let loose when Winthrope’s life falls apart for Valentine to inherit. The film climaxes at a train set New Year’s party that involves a business commodities scam, as well as some other nice surprises that won’t be spoiled here.
A clever social commentary on racial prejudice in America, “Trading Places” is hilarious from beginning to end, with strong performances from foils Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd.
6. Phantom Thread (2017)
Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day Lewis) is a famous and meticulous dressmaker who falls in love with muses, then after tiring of them, casts them aside. His latest: the elusive Alma (Vicky Krieps), a hotel waiter, and Alma has a lot of bite, not embodying the idealized feminine figure Reynolds desires of her. This unequal power balance causes an intense battle of the sexes in Paul Thomas Anderson’s fresh take on the “older artist meets young muse” trope. We dive deep into Woodcock’s strange madness, and it seems beneath all the glamor he’s just a little boy crying for mommy.
Daniel Day Lewis, of course, is brilliant as Reynolds Woodcock, playing a mad, vampiric artist, and Vicky Krieps is masterful in playing a muse cunning in her love. The film’s best scene takes place at a New Year party’s denouement where the twisted couple dances, isolated in a concert hall.