by Daniel Lucas
We’re celebrating a host of special days in May with these top picks for film and TV!
Star Wars Day (4th May)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Starring Mark Hamill, Alec Guiness Disney+ – 1977 –
2h 1min – Dir. George Lucas – U
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… AKA the late 1970s, Star Wars burst onto our screens and changed pop culture forever. Following young Luke Skywalker in his adventures to save Princess Leia from Darth Vader and help to bring down the Empire, George Lucas’ original Star Wars (later retitled to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in anticipation of the prequel trilogy) might be the most important film of the latter half of the 20th Century, apart from 1964’s Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and 1998’s 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, of course. Even when packed with so much it-seemed-better-at-the-time visual effects and it-always-seemed-fairly-poor dialogue that it would send a viewer of Hollyoaks into anaphylactic shock, A New Hope is the perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
King Charles III’s
Coronation (6th may)
Starring Claire Foy, Olivia Colma, Imelda Staunton – Netflix – 2016 onwards – 5 Series
One of Netflix’s first major production ventures, The Crown follows the reign of our late monarch Queen Elizabeth II from shortly before her father’s death in 1952 to (as of writing) 1997. Featuring Claire Foy, Olivia Colman and Imelda Staunton as the Queen at various stages in her life, The Crown is like any other historical drama, in that no matter how good (and it is rather good), you must always be prepared with a pinch of salt to hand. Much of the programme shows behind closed doors, including the confidential meetings between the Prime Minister and the Queen, whilst also omitting fairly major moments such as the 1981 assassination attempt and the 1974 failed kidnapping of Princess Anne. What the show lacks in some historical accuracy, it does make up for in Prime Ministers, however, who all are excellently portrayed and often wind up as the best part of the whole show. If for nothing else, watch it for Harold Wilson.
International Museum Day (18th may)
Night At The Museum
Starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams Disney+ – 2006 –
1h 48min – Dir. Shawn Levy – PG
Ever spent a night in a museum? Ben Stiller has, and luckily for us, it was filmed and released for our viewing pleasure. Some say that Night At The Museum isn’t a documentary, but I find that very hard to believe.
How did they get that monkey to be so light-heartedly annoying, yet maintain a heart of gold when the time was right? Seems rather far-fetched, to me. If it is fictional, however, then that renders my dissertation on what really happened to Amelia Earhart as frankly null-and-void. One of the only films to ask ‘what if museums were at night,’ Night At The Museum is exactly that, but even better, with some comedy titans of its day to boost.
World Bee Day (20th may)
Starring Jerry Seinfeld – NOWTV
2007 – 1h 31min –
Dir. Simon J Smith, Steve Hickner
From a review of Bee Movie written by Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian in 2007: ‘Seinfeld’s hero is an unpretentious, regular guy, an Everybee who raises some important questions about the world of work – with a lot of bee-ish play on words. Does work validate our lives, or negate them?’ Need I say any more? I think I probably do.
Bee Movie follows the exploits of Barry, a bee, who falls in love with a human woman – who falls in love with him back – and puts an end to the cruelty of the honey industry. It’s been pointed out over the years that the honey industry is hardly cruel, and that perhaps an industry which sees the slaughter of animals might have been more appropriate, but then a human woman would have fallen in love with a cow or a chicken or something, and that’s frankly unacceptable for a children’s film. Featuring the deepest dive into human-insect relationships since Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Bee Movie doesn’t hesitate to ask the question ‘what if a human woman left her boyfriend for a literal bee.’