A new year is coming. Maybe a new decade too, but at least a new year. We can all agree on that, right? If you use a different calendar consider this extreme pre-planning, or bookmark this article and read it again when it’s appropriate.
Either way, you need something to watch at midnight; it needs to be big, spectacular, and exciting. It needs to be something that has a definitive Great Moment right at midnight to set you up for a great decade/year. Right? Right. A glorified disco ball slowly descending in Times Square? Cliche. Fireworks? Too obvious. A possum drop? Closer, but no. We need something to inspire us; to really get us off on the right foot for 2020. How about…great big movie and TV moments? Here are 21 climactic Midnight Moment options (because we couldn’t decide which one to cut).
Let’s keep the 1980s renaissance going on into the 2020s. If you want to have a throwback New Year’s party, you want these blockbuster moments from decades gone by.
The movie: The Terminator
Time to start: 10:20:33pm
Midnight Moment: At exactly midnight, you’ll see The Terminator crushed and going offline. The war with the machines is over forever, right? Sarah Connor did it, and there’s nothing else to be afraid of ever again. Probably.
The movie: Back to the Future
Time to start: 10:18:49pm
Midnight Moment: Right as you’re ticking into the far distant future of 2020, lighting will be striking the Hill Valley clock tower, sending Marty McFly back to the far distant future of 1985; you’ll be celebrating with Doc Brown and cleaning up the party poppers to the mellifluous tones of Huey Lewis and the News.
The movie: The Princess Bride
Time to start: 10:28:38pm
Midnight Moment: Start counting down from ten once Buttercup reaches the top of the windowsill; Fezzik catches her right at midnight, and then you can ring in 2020 with a great victory over a buffoon and the Most Pure Kiss, and you can bid farewell to all of your guests with an “as you wish.”
There’s nothing better than a big boom to make the new year bright. Here are some climactic conflagrations to light up your 2020.
The movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Time to start: 9:13:34pm
Midnight Moment: First we have to note that this time is for the non-extended edition; but if you have the extended edition, you have enough time to figure out when to start it for yourself. If you choose this option, you’ll finally make your way into 2020 right as Barad-Dûr explodes (of course, even then you still have 20 minutes of film left).
The movie: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Time to start: 10:18:51pm
Midnight Moment: Watch Miles finally take out Kingpin, thrill at his brush with being scattered across the multiverse, swoon as he tries to win Gwen Stacy’s heart; and right at midnight, watch the multiverse machine explode. No big.
The movie: The Matrix
Time to start: 9:53:22pm
Midnight Moment: Bullet time and lots of guns to cause it; this action-packed philosophy tome is quite a good choice to begin a year that might really see the machines take over in our world. At midnight, find out what the Matrix really is as Agent Smith explodes, leaving behind only a flexing Neo.
Cosmic Sci-Fi Epics
Science fiction lends itself well to this sort of thing, with its big, epic events and climaxes. Consider one of these galaxy-spanning epics to kick off your new year.
The movie: Avengers: Endgame
Time to start: 9:29:30pm
Midnight Moment: After a decade of growth from a rogue into a hero, Tony Stark snaps his fingers, using the Infinity Gauntlet and destroying Thanos’ army with a heroic sacrifice. It might just be the moment of 2019, and you can enter 2020 with the catharsis of watching the enemy of everything in the universe dissolving into dust.
The movie: Star Trek: First Contact
Time to start: 10:23:49pm
Midnight Moment: Zefram Cochrane breaks the warp barrier exactly at midnight, attracting the attention of some passing Vulcans and starting the future we see throughout the entirety of the Star Trek franchise. Enter the future right as the future begins, despite the Borg Queen’s protests.
The movie: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Time to start: 10:49:17pm
Midnight Moment: Kirk yelling, “Khaaaannnn!!” What else needs to be said, except that if you miss the exact moment, you do have several seconds in which to ring in the new year while he keeps shouting.
Maybe you decided at the last minute to show a movie (or even have a party at all). These exciting events happen within the first 45 minutes of the story so that you can get right to the good part.
The movie: Iron Man 3
Time to start: 11:55:49pm
Midnight Moment: Ring in the new year with Tony Stark and friends at the Stark New Year’s Party. If your party is lame, make it a little less lame; if it’s awesome, make it even more awesome and pretend like you’re partying with Iron Man himself.
The show: The Office S3E23 “The Job”
Time to start: 11:18:57pm
Midnight Moment: Jim barges into an interview with Pam to finally ask her out on a date. Start the new year with the most genuine, tearful smile on Pam Beesly’s face as she doesn’t have to rationalize how she’s okay not being with Jim anymore.
This galactic franchise just finished a 42-year Skywalker Saga that began with the first modern blockbuster, so in its honor we’ve assembled a special set of Midnight Moments for the films that gave us Han Solo, Poe Dameron, and Jar Jar Binks. Note: All times listed are for the Disney+ version of the film, because let’s be honest, that’s the easiest way to watch it these days. Also, since The Rise of Skywalker is not yet on home media, we’ve put Rogue One in. You’re welcome.
The movie: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Time to start: 10:50:36pm
Midnight Moment: Sebulba says “Poodoo!” and Anakin wins the podrace. We would’ve chosen the moment he crosses the finish line, but Sebulba’s crash is when everyone starts cheering and it kind of seems like Anakin crosses the finish line twice, so we’re going with “Poodoo.”
The movie: Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
Time to start: 10:09:49pm
Midnight Moment: Mace Windu, lightsaber to Jango Fett’s throat, tells Count Dooku, “this party’s over.” And at midnight, aren’t all New Year’s parties?
The movie: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Time to start: 11:02:48pm
Midnight Moment: The most memetic way to start the new year: with Obi-Wan Kenobi jumping down in front of General Grievous and saying, “Hello there.”
The movie: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Time to start: 11:46:34pm
Midnight Moment: Jyn Erso gets clotheslined by K-2SO and slammed to the ground as she tries to escape from the prisoner transport. “Congratulations. You are being rescued.” If you’re expecting a rough new year, this might be the way to go.
The movie: Star Wars: A New Hope
Time to start:10:02:42pm
Midnight Moment: This particular selection has been around for a while; at precisely midnight, the (first) Death Star explodes. Celebrate with the rebels that you made it through another year! You deserve a medal, unless you’re a wookiee.
The movie: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Time to start: 10:08:45pm
Midnight Moment: A shocking moment that reverberates throughout film history: Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker who his father really is. Family drama: always the best way to celebrate the holidays!
The movie: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Time to start: 10:02:50pm
Midnight Moment: The Emperor hits the bottom of the massive, OSHA-violating hole in the middle of his throne room, exploding into waves of blue energy and dying forever completely and totally no takebacks. Vader is redeemed! The galaxy is saved! What better way to start 2020?
The movie: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Time to start: 10:07:00pm
Midnight Moment: Anakin’s lightsaber flies past Kylo Ren to land squarely in Rey’s outstretched hand. She looks just as surprised as we all feel that we’ve made it through another year.
The movie: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Time to start: 10:08:09pm
Midnight Moment: The Holdo Maneuver. Start 2020 with shivers down your spine.
Whatever you choose to watch or do this year, we at Reel World Theology hope you have a safe and happy celebration. We’ll see you in 2020 with more examinations of Jesus as He’s echoed in all types of stories. Happy New Year!