Traditionally, more Americans go to the movies on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year. So if you’re not too hung over from last night’s celebratory activities and you’re thinking of heading out to see one of the many holiday season releases, here’s my recommendation. Don’t.
I don’t mean don’t go to the movies. Absolutely go. Especially if you live near a multi-plex that offers extra-wide reclining seats. Maybe I’m behind the times, or maybe I’ve just been frequenting the cheapo movie house with chairs so old and uncomfortable, sitting in them should have been included in the recently released congressional report on torture. A few days ago I went to the 15 theatre-plex at the local mall and discovered an oasis of creature comfort in the form of cushy recliners. It was nothing short of a revelation and an easy New Year’s resolution – see more movies.
So yes, absolutely go to the theater. When I say, “Don’t” I mean don’t see a holiday release. We must travel back in time all the way to November 7, 2014 for the release date of my New Year’s movie suggestion. You may have already seen it. But if you haven’t, please forego going Into the Woods, eschew the new-fangled Annie, and skip the sure-to-inspire-your-New Year’s resolutions epic, Unbroken. Instead, buy a ticket for Chris Nolan’s Interstellar.
The sci-fi survival epic stars Matthew McConaughey. If you’re still reeling from his unendurable Oscar speech and can’t fathom watching him on screen for 2 and a half plus hours, fear not. I have always found him to be one of those actors whose off-screen antics fade from memory the moment he dons a character. Plus in the movie, he drives a space ship, not a Lincoln.
At its core, Interstellar is all about family, relationships, and what human beings bring to the universal table – love and how the power of lower is unlimited. And if you don’t like the mushy stuff, there’s plenty of thrilling visual effects and enough debatable science that you’ll walk out of the theater feeling smarter than when you went in.
Also released on November 7th,, and highly recommended is the Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything. If you decided to stay in last night, wisely retaining massive amounts of brain cells, I encourage a Theory of Everything/Interstellar double feature. One film posits the theoretical marriage of quantum physics and relativity, and the other attempts to prove it.
But if the concept of leaving your couch today is harder to grasp than E=MC2, here are two TV options you may want to check out. The Babadook, currently playing at local art houses, is also available on Pay-Per-View. While I did not find it particularly scary, and am a bit flummoxed by the gushing reviews, Jennifer Kent’s performance is Oscar worthy, and the metaphor at the heart of the film is psychologically stimulating and in a creepy way, actually uplifting.
The real gem I discovered over this holiday season, however, is Miranda, a British sitcom available on Hulu starring comedian Miranda Hart in the title role. The short-lived BBC series is sort of a mash up of Ab-Fab meets Mary Tyler Moore (if you’re too young to remember MTM, well, you’ve got Hulu. Check it out). Engaging characters, witty dialogue, hilarious prat falls and Hart’s frequent breaking of the fourth wall make for perfect New Year’s TV binge material.
There’s also the Walking Dead marathon on AMC. Relieved that 2014 is finally over? It might be nice to watch the endless shambling hordes of decomposing corpses and reflect that 2014 could have been worse. But whether you’re heading out to the cinema or hunkering down at home, I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.