Welcome the New Year your way

So you’re not one of those people who enjoy the Marina Bay countdown shenanigans, making merry in the sand, or welcoming the New Year with booze; not to worry. There’s no one right way to spend the last day of the year, so for the homebodies who hate human contact, we pulled together some screen recommendations you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

Before Sunrise

The end of the year inadvertently calls for reflection, so no time like NYE to dig out a contemplative classic. An oldie but a goodie, 1995 romantic drama Before Sunrise tells the tale of two strangers who fall in love over the course of a night and good conversation. Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young American man, meets Celine (Julie Delpy), a young French woman, on a train in Europe; on a whim, the two disembark in Vienna and spend the night walking around the city and getting to know each other. Don’t expect a grand plot; the film focuses on the depth of conversation between the two young, idealistic individuals, who ruminate on genuinely stirring beliefs that will have you tearing up and/or nodding furiously throughout the film. Should you fall in love with the couple (and their all-inspiring dialogue courtesy of writer and director Richard Linklater) by the end, there are two sequels that continue the story nine and 18 years after the first film respectively.

How to Be Single

Here’s one for the romance cynics who have no one to kiss when the clock strikes midnight. Despite its cheesy title, this 2016 film is actually a poignant narrative of self-discovery masquerading as a slapstick rom-com. Sit back and settle in for a string of poorly handled relationships, undertaken by a star-studded ensemble comprising Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann and Alison Brie. Adapted from a novel of the same name, How to Be Single gets in a good number of gags while weaving in multiple storylines that still manage to hold their emotional weight. Bonus: There are a few festive scenes of New Year’s Eve that will tie in nicely to your real-time mood.

Les Miserables

It was a 50-50 split when the 2012 musical drama film Les Miserables first hit cinemas; some hated the singing, others the 158-minute run time. Six years later, Victor Hugo’s classic story is getting another shot onscreen. A new non-singing adaptation by BBC is spinning the rich material into a six-episode mini-series premiering Dec 31 in Singapore. You’ll still get to see Jean Valjean’s (Dominic West) steady redemption from former convict to respected mayor; but fans will be pleased to know that the show is devoting significant screen time to Fantine, played here by the lovely Lily Collins, and her life before destitution. The first episode premieres on BBC First (StarHub Channel 522) and BBC Player, just in time for you to dive into 19th Century France and forget about 2019 for a bit.

The Hangover trilogy

While everyone else is out prepping for an actual hangover the next morning, get your own fix a safe cinematic distance away with the epic comedy trilogy that first premiered in 2009. For the uninitiated, Bradley Cooper and Co. spend a wild night in Las Vegas throwing a bachelor party—and spend the rest of the film trying to recall what happened, along with finding the lost groom. Understandably, the two sequels, which pretty much follow the same narrative arc, don’t quite match the first in freshness (how innovative can you get with the same concept?) But overall, the trilogy is dumb, loud, and deliciously entertaining for a chill night in away from real idiots noise. 

Black Mirror

Let’s be real; society as we know it is getting progressively dystopian and international politics are going to run civilisation into the ground. Who’s to say 2019 will be any better? If you enjoy an unhealthy dose of pessimism and despair, kick off the New Year with a wake-up call from TV’s most depressing but realistic sci-fi anthology (which you can stream on Netflix). In no particular order, some of our favourite episodes include White Bear, Playtest, The Entire History of You, and Hang The DJ. And for fans well-versed with the series—the US drop of Black Mirror’s Season 5 is reportedly just a few days away (Dec 28); so now’s the best time to rewatch the first four seasons in anticipation.