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5 New Year’s–Themed Sundance Films to Watch on January 1

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Tim Roth and Tupac Shakur in the 1997 Sundance Film Festival project ‘Gridlock’d’

Nate von Zumwalt

We’ve officially reached the end of the year, which renders the lofty resolutions of last night effective today. And while we suspect that you’re tied up at the gym this morning (if you’re not watching the Rose Parade, that is), perhaps you’ll find time to treat yourself to these five New Year’s–themed Sundance films. Happy New Year!


Gridlock’d (1997)

“On New Year’s Eve, Spoon (Tupac Shakur) and Stretch (Tim Roth) find their dawn of a new age sent into early night by numerous obstacles. After Cookie (Thandie Newton), the third part of their performance group, overdoses and lapses into a coma, they decide their New Year’s resolution is to get clean and give up drugs. This is the moment when their adventure begins. In a Homeric tale that lasts the course of one day, they encounter the adversities that society has constructed to keep certain people in their place.” — Trevor Groth

Fruitvale Station (2013)

“Starting in the early morning of New Year’s Eve and ending 24 hours later, Fruitvale closely follows Grant during his final hours, from the apartment he shared with his girlfriend and young daughter to an aborted drug deal, from his mom’s birthday party to the Oakland train platform where a transit cop fatally shot him in the back.” — Eric Hynes

Hav Plenty (1997)

“In this strikingly assured debut, Christopher Cherot comments on the nature of attraction, the importance of timing, and the indelible impact of love. Plenty (played by Cherot with the cool poise of a young Paul Newman) is in love but unwilling to do anything about it. Havalind Savage, the object of his affection/revulsion, has it all: beauty, a career, and a successful fiancé. She doesn’t need a homeless novelist with writer’s block, and Plenty knows it. But when Hav’s fiancé is caught with another woman, Plenty is invited to spend New Year’s Eve with her and some friends at the Savage family home. And so begins the dance of denial of true love.” — Helena Echegoyen

New Year’s Day (2001)

“New Year’s Day signifies two things: a celebration of life and the transition from one era to the next, a rebirth of hope for the coming year. Jake and Steven are at the dawn of the rest of their lives; they are on that edge of 17 where dreams remain possible and independence looms large. But everything comes crashing down when tragedy threatens the core of their existence.” — Trevor Groth

How to Make the Cruelest Month (1998)

“Year after year, New Year’s resolutions are made and forgotten as quickly as the night is over. When Bell unearths that year’s resolutions on the first of December, she attempts to break the cycle. She has one month left to accomplish the two items on her list: quit smoking and fall in love. She already has a sort of ex-boyfriend, but he doesn’t count. So onward and upward.” — Lisa Viola


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