Weekend Express: Your fun-stuff planning tool for New Year’s weekend
Published: December 30, 2011 12:29PM
Updated: December 30, 2011 08:34PM
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Little Big Town performs on New Year's Eve at Park City's Eccles Center. (Courtesy photo)

We’re here to help you plan your weekend, with best picks from our entertainment reporters, critics and bloggers.

MUSIC

EVE • Nightly through Saturday, downtown Salt Lake City, various venues. Pass good for all nights: $12 advance, $15 at the door. Kids under 10 free with paid adult. For more information, www.eveslc.com. See David Burger’s report from the Thursday’s opening night: bit.ly/sSrKBx.

New Year’s Eve • Heartless Bastards play at The State Room, 638 S. State St., Salt Lake City; 9 p.m.; $40 at thestateroom.com; Little Big Town plays at the Eccles Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City; 8 p.m.; $24-$150; Comic Jenna Kim Jones performs Friday and Saturday at 7 and 9 p.m. at Wiseguys Trolley Square, 505 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City; $40 at wiseguyscomedy.com.

Nightclubs • For our listings of New Year’s Eve parties and celebrations, from the Legends show at The Complex, or the NYE prom at The Hotel, visit bit.ly/tkDItP.

OUT & ABOUT

Alta Torchlight & Fireworks Parade • On New Year’s Eve, the parade follows the main cat track from Watson Shelter to the base of the mountain. Visitors wishing to participate in the parade should bring goggles and must be at least intermediate skiers who can ski blue runs. Lift loading begins at 5:15 p.m. with the parade beginning at 6.

Provo First Night • 6 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Provo Towne Centre Mall, 1200 South Towne Centre Blvd. Activities include live bands, Big Band Dance, Top 40’s Dance, food court, concessions, New Year’s crafts, professional face painters, games, balloon artists, performers, karaoke, photo booths, entertainment and fireworks. Pre-purchased wristbands $4 for those 13 and older, $3 for children 12 and under, 3 and under are free with a paid adult. Day-of admission is $1 more. For more information, www.utahvalley.com/events/details.aspx?ID=90 or 801-852-2401.

34th Annual Beat the New Year 5K • 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sugarhouse Park, 1330 E. 2100 South. The 5K running course starts near the north east corner of Sugarhouse Park and includes two laps on the paved road. Parking and check-in at Highland High School, 1700 East and 2100 South. Enter the main entrance to Highland High School on the east side, by the flag-pole. Registration $15-$25. For more information, www.slctrackclub.org or 801-455-7104.

New Year’s Revolution Run • 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Utah Olympic Oval, 5662 S. 4800 West (Cougar Lane), Kearns. The New Year’s Revolution Run is a four-hour running, walking and exercising party before the party. It’s 95.5 laps for a full marathon. How far will you run? Join us as we count laps, give away thousands of dollars in prizes and raise funds to support the Autism Council of Utah and the Utah Food Bank. Registration fee $35. For more information, www.newyearsrevolutionrun.com/ 801-968-6825.

Noon Year’s Eve • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, The Shops at Riverwoods, 4801 N. University Ave., Provo. Welcome the new year with Radio Disney and The Shops at Riverwoods. We will be giving away prizes, playing games, and celebrating 2012 as we count down to the noon hour. For more information www.shopsatriverwoods.com or 801-802-8430.

Kaysville New Year’s Celebration • 7 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Kaysville City Park. There will be bingo (at City Hall), story telling (at the Library), music and dancing (at the Senior Center), kids carnival (at Kaysville Elementary) and food (at the Recreation Center). Then join together for a countdown at the clock tower at midnight. For more information, 801-546-1235.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks & Torchlight Parade • 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Giant Steps Lodge, Brian Head, 329 S. Highway 143. Enjoy a torchlight parade followed by a fireworks show. Admission free. For more information, www.brianhead.com or 435-677-2035.

First Day Hike: Buffalo Point • 1:30-3 p.m. Sunday, Antelope Island Visitor Center, Syracuse. Come and welcome the new year with a hike at Antelope Island State Park. Enjoy the views of Great Salt Lake from Buffalo point during the 1.75 mile round-trip scenic route up to the point. Dress warm and prepare for the wind. Bring water and snacks. Admission $9 per vehicle. Information at 801-721-9569.

MOVIES

Christmas Day is often the last day of the year when movies are released -- and, in this case, it’s a day for a very good movie.

Before that, though, are three new movies opening Friday -- and two of them are pretty good.

“We Bought a Zoo” is writer-director Cameron Crowe’s return to form (after misfiring with “Vanilla Sky” and “Elizabethtown”). He directs a sweet, whimsical story (based on true events) of Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon), a widower who decides to move his family to the country -- and the house they find turns out to be attached to a rundown zoo, so he gamely takes over operating it. The supporting cast includes Thomas Haden Church as Mee’s doubting brother, Scarlett Johansson as a dedicated zookeeper and Elle Fanning as her country-girl cousin.

The other two movies opening Friday are French. One is “Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life,” an eye-opening and occasionally surrealistic biopic of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, who was as legendary for his music as he was for his bedroom conquests -- including Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin. Actor Eric Elmosnino plays Gainsbourg with a rakish charm and a brooding dark side.

Also opening Friday is “The Women on the 6th Floor,” a comedy that starts promising but never delivers. It stars Fabrice Luchini as a Parisian businessman, circa 1962, who starts noticing the conditions for the Spanish maids who live upstairs in his apartment building.

OK, now for the main Christmas Day opening: Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse.” (The review will be posted online later Friday.) It’s a stately, old-fashioned epic built around the simple story of a teen, Albie (Jeremy Irvine), and his horse. What’s not so simple is the setting: England, just before the start of World War I. The story follows the horse, Joey, as he is taken into that war. Joey experiences many episodes — some harrowing, others uplifting — and so does Albie. Spielberg’s craftsmanship is on full display, and some of the scenes are astonishingly beautiful.

Lastly, there’s another movie opening on Christmas Day: “The Darkest Hour,” a thriller in which some American college kids in Moscow are the only thing standing between humanity and an alien invasion. The movie was not screened for critics.

Sean P. Means

TV

The local college football season ends with a pair of teams playing in games that aren’t exactly what they were hoping for when the season began – although both are more or less glad to be there.

First up is the Armed Forces Bowl (Friday, 10 a.m., ESPN), which isn’t a bad matchup despite the ridiculous hour. The 9-3 BYU Cougars take on the 8-4 Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Dallas, and both teams are looking to validate their seasons with a victory over a team with a winning record.

(BYU has one win over a team above .500 — 7-6 Utah State. Tulsa has two — 7-5 SMU and 7-6 Marshall.)

That’s pretty much the situation in the Sun Bowl (Sunday, noon, CBS/Channel 2), which features 7-5 Utah against the 8-4 Georgia Tech Yellowjackets. The Utes’ only win over an FBS team with a winning record this season came, ironically, against BYU.

(Georgia Tech has two wins over teams above .500 — 7-5 North Carolina and 10-3 Clemson.)

Elsewhere on Friday ...

College football: New Era Pinstripe Bowl — Iowa State vs. Rutgers (1:20 p.m. ESPN); Music City Bowl — Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest (4:40 p.m., ESPN); Insight Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN)

“Chuck” (7 p.m., NBC/Channel 5): Sarah is worried that her original handler’s return will be bad news for those she loves.

NBA (7 p.m., ROOT): Philadelphia 76ers at Utah Jazz

“Sanctuary” (8, 9 and 10 p.m., Syfy): In the conclusion of a two-parter, the team races to prevent the unleashing of a doomsday weapon.

Elsewhere on Saturday ...

College football: Meineke Car Care Bowl — Northwestern vs. Texas A&M (10 a.m., ESPN); Liberty Bowl — Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt (1:30 p.m., ABC/Channel 4); Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl — Illinois vs. UCLA (1:30 p.m., ESPN); Chick-fil-A Bowl — Auburn vs. Virginia (5:30 p.m., ESPN);

Men’s college basketball: BYU at San Diego (4 p.m., BYUtv); Utah at Colorado (4 p.m., ROOT/FSN)

NBA (6:30 p.m., ROOT and NBATV): Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs

New Year’s Rockin’ Eve: The 40th Anniversary Party (7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4annel): Highlights of past celebrations.

Live from Lincoln Center (7 p.m., PBS/Channel 7): The New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve Gala celebrates the music of Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin.

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Even with Ryan Seacrest 2012 (9 and 11:35 p.m., ABC/Channel 4): From Times Square in New York.

NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daily (9 and 11:30 p.m., NBC/Channel 5): From Times Square in New York.

New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (9 p.m., CNN): Live from Times Square in New York.

All-American New Year (9 p.m., FNC): Live from Times Square in New York.

Coldplay New Year’s Eve: An Austin City Limits Special (11 p.m., PBS/Channel 7): Coldplay performs music from their new album.

American Country New Year’s Eve Live (11 p.m., Channel 13): Country artists perform.

Elsewhere on Sunday ...

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (11 a.m., CBS/Channel 2); San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (11 a.m., Fox/Channel 13); Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (2:15 p.m., Fox/Channel 13); Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (2:15 p.m., CBS/Channel 2); Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (2:15 p.m., Fox/Channel 13); Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (6:15 p.m., NBC/Channel 5)

Great Performances (6:30 and 9:30 p.m., PBS/Channel 7): Julie Andrews hosts “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2012” with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Oprah’s Next Chapter (7 and 8 p.m., OWN): Oprah Winfrey’s new show features hourlong interviews with celebrities. First up — Steven Tyler.

Leverage (7 and 10 p.m., TNT): The team targets a corrupt pair of siblings.

Masterpiece Classic (8 p.m., PBS/Channel 7): The conclusion of the outstanding first season of “Downton Abbey.” (Repeat)

Hell on Wheels (8 and 9 p.m., AMC): Cullen and Elam are out for revenge.

Rachel vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off (10 p.m., Food Network): Among the contestants on this new show is Summer Sanders, the Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer who makes Utah her home.

Angry Boys (11 and 11:30 p.m., HBO): The first two episodes of the Australian series about, yes, angry young men. It’s a wildly profane, sometimes gross comedy that some will find amusing … and others will find unfathomable.

All-American Muslim (11 p.m., TLC): The Muslim community in Dearborn faces the painful 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

Scott D. Pierce