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The 7 Best Movies and TV Shows to Watch This New Year’s Weekend

White Noise (left) and A New Hope. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Netflix and Lucasfilm Ltd.

In the very true, always relevant words of Smash Mouth, “The years start coming / And they don’t stop coming.” After an eventful 2022, it’s time to situate ourselves in the new reality of 2023. One could do that by partying, making resolutions you’re bound to keep, decluttering your space for the year to come, or just by chilling and watching movies. All of those options are pretty relatable, but if you choose to relax, we’ve always got choices for you this New Year’s Eve.

High School Musical

Nobody has captured the blossoming of young love quite like Kenny Ortega. High School Musical was a phenomenon that centered on our two leads (played by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens) falling in love at a teenage New Year’s Eve party at a ski lodge. “Start of Something New” is a New Year’s anthem, and it doesn’t hurt that the rest of the movie and songs are an easy, breezy fun watch.

Available to stream on Disney+

Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope

Within the Star Wars fandom, A New Hope has become sort of a New Year’s Eve movie. Why? Well, fans started the trend of blowing up the Death Star right at midnight in lieu of watching fireworks. I’ve done it a couple times, and it’s a pretty delightful way to ring in the New Year. All you have to do is cue up the film and press play right at 10:42:43 p.m. People have used this method for other movies, but truly nothing beats the Death Star.

Available to stream on Disney+

When Harry Met Sally …

I probably don’t need to tell you why Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron’s revered movie is on this list. Besides being a sweet and funny film that’s incredibly rewatchable, it’s just a great holiday-season-vibes movie. While it follows Harry and Sally’s relationship over ten years, the movie pretty much focuses on New York falls and winters and, in turn, New Year’s itself. What a perfect excuse to flip this on.

Available to stream on Netflix

White Noise

Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, and Don Cheadle acting side by side — with Noah Baumbach directing — should be a slam dunk, but we’ll all see. Adapted from Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel, White Noise pairs Driver and Gerwig as professor Jack Gladney and his wife, Babette, respectively. The two raise a blended family and have a fairly interesting life, but when an “airborne toxic event” threatens their town, the Gladneys are forced to leave, leading to existentialism and awkward humor (Baumbach’s specialty).

Available to stream on Netflix

Sunset Boulevard

It’s an overused term, sure, but Sunset Boulevard really is one of those classic Hollywood films. Director Billy Wilder weaves a melancholic, black comedy tale about a struggling screenwriter who crosses paths with fading silent film star Nora Desmond (played brilliantly by Gloria Swanson). The two develop a toxic, cat-and-mouse relationship as they attempt to write a film to put them each back into the spotlight.

Available to stream on Pluto TV

A deluge of New Year’s Eve specials

Every cable network is going to have one. Thankfully, we have a handy guide to what’s streaming where and when. A holiday special is like a spot on the couch — you have a preference — so might as well spotlight them all. We personally like NBC’s Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party, because who wouldn’t want to party with Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton?

Encanto at the Hollywood Bowl

This isn’t necessarily a solely-for-the-kiddos pick, but after the high of the holidays, it doesn’t seem like a bad way to keep them occupied for an hour or so. Encanto cast members such as Stephanie Beatriz (as Mirabel), Jessica Darrow (as Luisa), and Diane Guerrero (as Isabela) take the stage at the Hollywood Bowl to sing the songs you’ve probably barely gotten out of your head. And since it’s a Disney production, it’s guaranteed they’ll bring out the big razzle-dazzle (a great fireworks show) to go with it.

Available to stream on Disney+

Also, read our streaming recommendations from the weekend of December 22. Vulture’s next list of weekend streaming picks goes online Friday, January 6.

The 7 Best Movies and TV Shows to Watch This New Year