Obi-Wan Kenobi; Stranger Things; Top Gun: Maverick.
Photo: Disney; Netflix; Paramount
Memorial Day weekend is when the gates of summer open wide. You’ll have a barbecue, you’ll take a dip in the pool. But the best way to cool down and have fun? Watch a movie, of course. (Or a television series that actors love to insist is a long movie split into parts — we’re looking at you, Ewan!) So before you head out to theaters for a giant popcorn or fire up your plethora of streamers, here are our recs:
There’s nothing quite like seeing Tom Cruise experience the rush of possible death in the name of entertainment, and Top Gun: Maverick is exactly that: An adrenaline-pumping, death-defying sequel to the 1986 hit film. It has even been reported to make grown men cry, as director Joseph Kosinski follows Maverick’s (and Cruise’s) return to Top Gun, the fighter-pilot school, more than 30 years later to help train a group of graduate pilots for a demanding mission. (And here’s a little tip: The ’86 Top Gun is available on Netflix until May 31, so happy streaming.)
No matter which way you cut or slice it, Bob’s Burgers is always a fun time. After years of COVID-related delays, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is finally hitting the big screen and kicking off the summer-movie season. How appropriate when the film itself is a musical-mystery-adventure bonanza of the Belchers trying to get their summer back on track.
Nothing screams “Memorial Day weekend” like spending two hours with a family of prim and proper Brits, so pull out your classiest tank tops and bring your fine dining (popcorn and Twizzlers) to see the Crawleys’ journey to the south of France. Take your moms, aunts, and grandmothers for an ooh-la-la lavish time at the cinema, darling.
So first things first: Multiverse of Madness is directed by Sam Raimi, so hell yeah, it’s worth the trip to the theaters this weekend — well, if you’re interested in Marvel in the first place. And as Raimi’s first superhero venture since his Spider-Man trilogy, the style of Multiverse of Madness swings further for the fences than any other MCU movie. Raimi brings the horror while Danny Elfman’s electric guitar blazes throughout the score, making what could have been a flat film more dimensional. Oh, and in case you weren’t already convinced with WandaVision, Elizabeth Olsen completely cements herself as a major MCU player here. Her performance — despite the weak writing — rules.
Jamie Lee Curtis’s favorite movie is still going strong in theaters. And why wouldn’t it! It’s a beautifully dizzying multiverse movie with raccoons, rocks, and bagels that features a stunning performance from Michelle Yeoh, and frankly the whole cast as well. Everything Everywhere All at Once has been — and still is — the movie of the year, so make sure you see it as it was meant to be seen: on the big screen.
Against all odds, it turns out that Chip ’n Dale: Rescues Rangers is actually pretty good. The John Mulaney and Andy Samberg film breaks the Disney live-action reboot mold to deliver a funny satire that is clever and full of cheeky animation Easter eggs — including a wild Ugly Sonic cameo — making it more of a satisfying watch for adults than kids.
You know what, I laughed! While The Lost City doesn’t fully live up to an incredible sequence with Brad Pitt, the Romancing the Stone–esque adventure is still an enjoyable romp. Sandra Bullock’s recluse novelist is thrust back into the world in the craziest way, with only her clueless cover model to save her. It’s fun! And Tatum compares his butt to Jamba Juice, so you know, there’s something for everyone here.
Okay, so Old is kind of an oldie: It was released last Memorial Day weekend, but M. Night Shyamalan’s bonkers film was recently dropped on HBO Max. With a wonderful cast (including Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Thomasin McKenzie, and Alex Wolff), Old is a tense and occasionally goofy horror story about a group of families stuck on a beach that rapidly ages them to terrifying results. As if getting old wasn’t hard enough.
Maybe it’s because I keep going in with low expectations, but Sonic manages to be a good time (yes, even for a second time). Sure, Sonic 2 is too long — kids’ movies should truly not exceed two hours — but there’s still some charm and laughs to be found. Idris Elba as Knuckles, an adorably fierce Echidna warrior, is a great addition. And Paramount, we’re going to need a Sonic spin-off that’s just about Natasha Rothwell and Shemar Moore’s whole relationship. Thanks!
The latest Fantastic Beasts is a movie that literally none of us saw in theaters. Did you, reader, even know it came out? Well, if you were waiting for it to hit streaming, your time is now because The Secrets of Dumbledore is finally on HBO Max. Tune in to learn all of Dumbledore’s secrets. One of the secrets? That Dumbledore has an exclusively gay moment.
If I could sum up the return of Stranger Things in one line, it would be when Gossip Girl says, “You know you love me, XOXO.” Because while you can act cool and complain about those long run-times, or claim that you’re over this immensely popular show, you know as soon as those hot theme-song synths start bumping, you’ll be sucked in. We are truly just in too deep. Count us incredibly invested in Eleven, Dustin, Lucas, Mike, Steve, Robin, and Nancy. (God, there are so many cast members.) At least Netflix gave bingeing viewers the courtesy or releasing this long season over a long weekend.
Right as I thought Star Wars was losing me, they pull me right back in with hot, bearded Obi-Wan (a.k.a. Ewan McGregor). Set ten years after the ending of Revenge of the Sith, the new limited series follows Obi-Wan as he continues to hide from the Empire — which includes a badass Inquistior (played by Moses Ingram) and Hayden Christensen (!) returning as Darth Vader — while looking after baby Luke Skywalker. Rounding out the cast is Kumail Nanjiani, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Benny Safdie, and Sung Kang.
All Stars usually delivers, but season 7 boasts an all-winners cast of Drag Race favorites and it slaaaaays. With victors from past seasons competing for the chance to be the “winner of all winners,” the competition is tighter and fiercer than ever. Jinkx Monsoon’s Snatch Game impressions in episode 2 might just be the best thing on Drag Race (or on television, period!). Even if you’ve stopped keeping up with RuPaul’s empire over the past few seasons, All Stars 7 is the perfect place to pick it back up.
Emmy Rossum is unrecognizable as Angelyne, the “Billboard Queen” of Los Angeles. A self-made local celebrity, hustler, model, and so much more, Angelyne tackles the real-life personality in a refreshing way, using the five-episode series as a faux documentary.
If you were a fan of the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People then congratulations, because Hulu has a new Rooney series about sad, sexy people. Starring newcomer Alison Oliver and Sasha Lane as best friends/ex-girlfriends, Conversations With Friends follows the pair as they become entangled with a married couple, Nick and Melissa (Joe Alwyn and Jemima Kirke). Like the last Rooney adaptation, expect plenty of love scenes, tears, and a whole lot of misunderstood feelings.
After losing her Las Vegas residency, Jean Smart’s Deborah Vance is taking her show on the road and bringing her writer who she loves to hate, Ava (Hannah Einbinder), along for the ride. Hacks became such an awards darling that season two almost has as much on its shoulders as its lead character, Vance. Some of Hacks works, some of it doesn’t, but hey, if you’re here for more Jean Smart, you won’t be disappointed.