10 Movies to Bring in the New Year

2017 was, let’s say, a “mixed” year for most people. I don’t know how many people think it was a good year, but considering there wasn’t a plague or an organized killing of millions of people, it’s hard to say that it was the worst year on record, like some are hyperbolically stating. But that’s why we love New Year’s. It’s a time to make unkeepable promises and set unreasonable expectations for the year to come.

So let’s try to put ourselves in as good a mood as possible and set ourselves up for as much success as we can. Here are 10 movies to put you in the right frame of mind to start the new year.

Any Inspirational Sports Movie

The vast majority of inspirational sports movies are the same movies with only a couple of pieces swapped. But don’t they make you feel good? The underdog story, the rousing speech from the coach, the late-minute triumph—it all works in synchronicity to make you feel amazing, if only for a fleeting moment. And then you can put on another one, or watch a movie with actual substance.

You want specific recommendations? Try Rudy. Or Rocky. Or any other movie that starts with “R” and ends with “y.” They seem to work out well.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Deliberate spelling error aside—although, can anyone really ignore that awfulness?—The Pursuit of Happyness sees Will Smith as a homeless man trying to raise a young child, Jaden Smith, and all the struggles that come with that. The characters aren’t actually named Will Smith and Jaden Smith, by the way, but it was the first time that the father and son duo appeared together on-screen. (Let’s try to forget the other time.) It might not sound upbeat and positive, but it mostly is. And it showcases just how powerful hard work and determination are—attributes we should all strive to put forward this year.

Billy Elliot

Pursue your dreams, folks, even if people will laugh at you. Because if you give up on your dreams, you’ll never be happy. There will always be that doubt and regret in the back of your mind. Billy Elliot, the child in the movie called Billy Elliot (surprising, I know), wanted to pursue ballet. And so he pursued it even against all the obstacles the movie throws at him. Learn from him.

A Terrible Movie

Watching something extraordinarily bad, like a Manos: The Hands of Fate, or The Room, or Troll 2, or something of that nature will make you feel so much better about yourself. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re relatively good at something. You are better at that thing than the people who made these movies are at making movies. Take comfort in that. And laugh at the bad movies, preferably with friends who also enjoy watching garbage.


Spotlight might not seem like a movie to put you in a good frame of mind given its subject matter, which is an investigation into child molestation cover-ups that happened in the Catholic Church. But the movie showcases how intelligence, teamwork, and determination can help you accomplish your goals. Also, it’s a fantastic movie that has some of the best pacing you’ll ever see. It won an Oscar for a reason.

Yes Man

You shouldn’t take Yes Man literally—especially if you haven’t watched it but want to apply its core principle to your life. In the movie, a Jim Carrey character decides to say “yes” to every opportunity presented to him. It profoundly changes his life … but without wanting to spoil the movie, maybe don’t try to do it with every offer. The point is that saying “yes” to some things you feel like you might not enjoy could be eye-opening experiences and you shouldn’t discount them immediately. Or so I’ve been told. Do as I say and not as I do, or something.

A Great Movie

You know what a great movie is. Or maybe you don’t, but you think you do, and that placebo effect will make you enjoy it as much as a “real” great movie. Watch one. Any one. If you think it’s great and you want to watch it, do it. It doesn’t matter what kind of movie. It’ll scratch that itch. You’ve been meaning to watch something? Now’s the time. That’s an accomplishment all on its own.


Every moment in your life is one to cherish. That is the lesson you get out of a Click, a mid-2000s Adam Sandler comedy. No, seriously. This is a movie that might make you cry. And reflect back on your life—how you wish you could skip the menial tasks you do daily, and how that is the wrong way to think about these things.

Forrest Gump

Forrest is simple man who does what makes him happy, is kind to everyone, and winds up significantly impacting the world and meeting all sorts of famous or interesting folks. And if that’s not a feel-good story, I don’t know what is.

Your Favorite Movie (Or, Alternatively: a Disney Animated Movie You Liked as a Kid)

Your favorite movie is probably one you’ve watched a dozen times already, but there’s something special about it that makes it always feel fresh in your mind. You appreciate all the little details—and you notice something, anything, each time you pop it in the player. I can think of no better way to start a new year than watching your favorite movie.

And if you’re one of those people who absolutely refuses to have a favorite movie, pick a Disney animated classic for which you have fond, childhood nostalgia.