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Best Bets: Ring in new year with stars

Ida Mae Astute / ABC

Ring in the new year with Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest.

Staying in with the family? There are plenty of holiday specials to watch, not to mention New Year's celebrations. Family driving you crazy? Get out of the house and take in a new movie.

TV
Almost every channel has a New Year's Eve special to ring in 2012.

The classic, of course, is the clumsily named "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest." Like Ruth's Chris Steak House, the special's convoluted title pays tribute to its original host and the new one. (Dec. 31, 10 p.m., ABC)

NBC's New Year's celebration is "New Year's Eve With Carson Daly," which also features news anchor Brian Williams.

Prefer a down-on-the-farm special? "American Country New Year's Eve" features "American Idol's" Lauren Alaina and other country performers. (Dec. 31, 11 p.m., Fox.)

Movies
Moviegoers are spoiled for choice this holiday.

If it's action you're looking for, "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" turns Tom Cruise into James Bond, with stunning stunts, beautiful women, and Cruise hanging off the world's tallest building. (In theaters now.)

If the whole family wants to see something dramatic but inspirational, "War Horse" is a good bet. Spoiler: Animal lovers and those with sensitive stomachs should know the horse manages to come through World War I pretty much intact, and there's a happy ending. (Opens Dec. 25.)

And fans of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy have long awaited the English remake of "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Early fears were that it couldn't live up to the 2009 Swedish-language version, but reviews have been quite positive. (In theaters now.)

DVD
George Clooney plays a grim assassin who's rethinking his career in "The American," a very serious thriller that may give you a completely different view of the handsome actor. (On DVD Dec. 28.)

Their lives still fascinate: Sid Vicious killed Nancy Spungen in 1978, and the Sex Pistol bassist died himself in 1979. "Sid & Nancy" has been a cult favorite almost since its 1986 release, and now it's on Blu-ray. The film, at 25, is now older than either Sid or Nancy ever got to be. (Out on Blu-ray Dec. 27.)

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