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New York's Eve And The '80s
New Year's Eve and the '80s

New Year's Eve and the '80s. Love them or hate them, it's hard to be indifferent about either.

As with every New Year's Eve, expectations for maximum fun in the '80s were high. Maybe too high. Having a good time wasn't just a hope, but an obligation.

"Both New Year's Eve and the '80s are associated with conspicuous consumption and indulgence," says screenwriter Shana Larsen. "They're monuments to excess, with the mantra of 'have a good time or regret it forever.'

"When I first began writing '200 Cigarettes' about five years ago, there was little enthusiasm for a retro movie about the '80s, but suddenly there's been an explosion of interest in the decade's music, fashion and culture. I think enough time has passed that we can be sentimental and appreciative of that time, which seemed to be a decade the country very much wanted to put behind us when we entered the '90s."

Larsen describes New Year's Eve as a time when we are confronted with having to examine not only the past year, but our entire lives, hoping to find sufficient reason to be optimistic about the coming year. Mixing that sentiment with too much imbibing and high expectations creates a recipe ripe for disappointment.

Garcia describes the emotions and tradition of celebrating New Year's Eve as a common point of reference for most people, "We're usually certain that we want to consume booze and to party hard, but what most people really want is someone to be intimate with, someone to wake up with in the morning. No matter how far we run away and hide behind our sexual poses, our disguises, our cigarettes, we all want to find a place where we can make a genuine but unique connection with someone else, where we can surrender ourselves for a moment and make the leap into some kind of intimacy."

Says Ben Affleck, "Everyone goes out on New Year's Eve and thinks, 'This is going to be the greatest night of the year. And nothing ever happens." Recalling New Year's Eve 1981, he says, "I was about nine years old, so I was probably in my room listening to Prince well past my bedtime, thinking I was being wild and rebellious."

Elvis Costello, whose 1981 incarnation plays a pivotal role in the film, remarks, "I hide on New Year's Eve. It's wretched...all these drunk people saying they love you. My only resolution is to stay out of the way that night."

Agrees Courtney Love, "It's really just alcohol worship." Love's more enthused about the '80s, which she describes as the "pretentious decade of the poser, which suits me fine because I've always been a big poser."

Buster Poindexter credits the '80s for giving "birth to the workaholic yuppie" while Martha Plimpton recalls "wearing trench coats and hideous sweatpants tucked into socks."

"Punk was dying and people were looking for something to believe in," states Brian McCardie. "They chose Jane Fonda's workout video."

Dave Chappelle feels like he missed out on something. "1981 was the last year of free sex. You know what I mean? And I was only six!" Says Casey Affleck, "I don't really remember 1981. I wanted to become a part of it somehow through this movie."

And what was Garcia doing in 1981? "I was waiting tables at The Bottom Line, a rock 'n' roll club in New York City and directing plays in the theater. On New Year's Eve I had a party at my loft on Greene Street. By 10 o'clock no one had shown up, so I left and went to a couple of other downtown

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