Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection
December 31, 2013 10:00 AM

When real life fails again and again to provide us with any valuable lessons, we turn to film. And as we bid 2013 a farewell (fond or otherwise), we’re looking to New Year’s Eve parties from the silver screen for guidance.

8. Strange Days

The moral of this little-known Kathryn Bigelow film, set on New Year’s Eve in 1999? People thought Y2K was going to be much, much weirder than it actually was. We still don’t even have hover boards.

7. Trading Places

It’s “Happy New Year,” not “Merry New Year.” Also, Eddie Murphy was untouchable in the ’80s. Beef jerky time!

6. New Year’s Eve

The lesson to be learned from the so-bad-it-couldn’t-even win-any-of-the-five-Razzie Awards-it-was-nominated-for New Year’s Eve? No matter how bad your movie is, if it comes out the same year as an Adam Sandler project (in this case, Jack and Jill), there’s no way it’ll be the worst film of the year. (Though NYE did give us the genius 30 Rock parody we chose to include instead, so it was good for at least one thing.)

5. Sex and the City: The Movie

Sarah Jessica Parker‘s Carrie Bradshaw braves the NYC subway on New Year’s Eve to come to the aid of Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda. The lesson here is that while absurdly overpriced open bars and beaus of the moment may come and go, you should really go the distance to stick with your friends.

4. 200 Cigarettes

We could run a whole advice column based on Dave Chappelle’s cab driver’s advice in this underrated 1999 ensemble piece. His words of romantic wisdom for Paul Rudd‘s woeful (and be-sideburned) Kevin? Simple:
1) “Smile.”
2) “Don’t talk about death.”
3) “Music makes booty spin ’round.”

3. The Hudsucker Proxy

One of the most divisive films in the Coen brothers’ canon, The Hudsucker Proxy‘s message remains somewhat muddled to us, though we did take away the lesson that the business world is a confusing and dangerous place. You know, for kids.

2. The Apartment

There are many lessons that The Apartment teaches, like “Don’t let your bosses use your apartment as a love nest,” and “Don’t share your girlfriend with your boss.” But the film’s last scene, which sees Jack Lemmon’s Buddy and Shirley MacLaine‘s Fran spending New Year’s Eve playing cards after a series of misadventures, provides probably the most trenchant tip: Sometimes a quiet night in with someone who really matters can beat the best party by a mile.

1. When Harry Met Sally

“It’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve,” Harry (Billy Crystal) says at the end of this iconic romantic comedy. “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” For those of you not crashing New Year’s parties to proclaim your love for someone, you’d do well to remember the first part of that speech: Being single on New Year’s is no reason to make foolish mistakes. You’ll have all of 2014 to do that.

Then again, if they’re the person you want to spend the rest of your life with

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