I can’t stand New Year’s Eve. It freaked me out as a kid, that insidious advancement into a future where aliens and robots would be commonplace on Earth. I have plenty of memories of being at parties with people my age I didn’t know as my parents frolicked with glasses of champagne, wearing Elton John sunglasses and blowing party horns. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve shunned getting involved in going to clubs or other loud, migraine-inducing establishments. If it’s a holiday you don’t like, you better want to be in the company of people you love because, in the end, who gives a flying fuck about it being just another day? We raid liquor stores, make unrequited goals to change our lives, and if you’re degenerate enough, do a few lines in the bathroom of a blacklit Manhattan nightclub while the DJ plays a dubstep remix of Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.” Meanwhile, you’re at your friend’s house, you’ll probably have this on TV:
That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve ’14 with Ryan Seacrest. This can be attributed to the passing of the Eternal Teenager last year, who masterminded the yearly ABC ball-drop that has not once achieved his greatest zenith as a producer, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. Is it a disrespect to his memory? After all, Seacrest has virtually ascended to be a Facebook-generation Dick Clark. Ryan Seacrest’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve ’14—less words for your cable guide to cram in and a passing of the torch. Boom.
This year’s lineup includes exactly two tolerable performers, Billy Joel and Blondie, which means that I have the same music taste as my mom. Also scheduled to appear, in increasingly worse order: Daughtry, Fall Out Boy, Pitbull, Robin Thicke, and his ugly-bumpin’ cohort from this year’s VMA shitstorm, Miley Cyrus. Just like PSY put “Gangnam Style” behind him last year, can we put The Sexual Awakening of Cyrus the Virus behind us at this year’s show? I don’t care if the ball gets jammed to hell and she has to maneuver it by twerking—change up the routine. You can catch the show tomorrow night at 10 PM EST on ABC.
Or, you can think about what this was like back in the day:
Will Smith is still The Fresh Prince, Mark Wahlberg still has the Funky Bunch giving him good vibrations (ungh), and the co-hosts are Shannen Doherty and Stephen Baldwin. Stephen Baldwin! If they were to get a Baldwin, why not William? He was hot off Backdraft and he was a big hit with the ladies like their older brother. Logically, the future star of countless reality shows and direct-to-DVD Christian films was on ABC’s soon-to-be-canceled cash-in on Young Guns, The Young Riders, which most likely got him the gig. Also notice how, 22 years ago, the kickoff time was 11:30. Never let anyone try to tell you times weren’t simpler then.
I can only assume this show was something you would want to tune out at party, either by drinking, sexy time, or being a nerd and retreating to your friend’s basement for high-stakes Sega Genesis action, followed by firing up that VHS tape of Terminator 2 he just scored for Christmas—this is exactly what I’d be doing at a New Year’s Eve party in ’91.
I’m going to a party tomorrow night. Hey, why not? Have a social life, all that. If you’re curled up at home, may I suggest firing up your Netflix for the best New Year’s Eve movie of all time?
Before Kathryn Bigelow broke the gender barrier as the first Oscar-winning female director for The Hurt Locker, she made a film just as intensely crafted with 1995’s Strange Days, co-written by her ex-husband, some guy named James Cameron. Ranking among the best stuff either of them have ever done, Strange Days is a future noir set against millennial panic in Los Angeles days before the end of 1999. Ralph Fiennes has never been better as sleazy black-market electronics salesman Lenny Nero, whose technology gets him framed for murder and sends him on the run to clear his name. Angela Bassett is Lenny’s take-no-shit, Amazonian girlfriend and it’s a shame we don’t get enough of her nowadays. Part Blade Runner, part Chinatown with a dash of Do the Right Thing, Bigelow’s innovative craft makes for a sci-fi experience more energetic than most New Year’s parties. Netflix has your hookup to watch it in high-def, which is great as it’s yet to even see an anamorphic DVD. Feel free to also watch the incredible, ambiguous teaser trailer beforehand:
And even though I don’t get hot and bothered about the holiday… have a nice New Year’s Eve, and an even better 2014. I’ll see you here.