April is, if not the cruelest, at least one of the slowest months in pop-culture land.  While you’re waiting for the summer blockbusters to arrive, here are five things to look forward to in May — and ways to entertain yourself in the meantime.

1. The Great Gatsby (In theatres May 10)

If Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel carries half the punch of its trailer, this film will probably leave you wondering why exactly you didn’t read the book when it was assigned in high school.  So do yourself a favor and read (or re-read) what I consider the most perfect American novel before you see the movie. (Free for Kindle/EPUB.)

You can also use this month to watch what happened last time Baz Luhrmann and Leonardo Dicaprio teamed up to tackle a classic: rent Romeo + Juliet on Amazon for $2.99.

2. Arrested Development (Netflix; May)

This cult-favorite ran for three seasons before being cancelled, but Netflix has reassembled the cast – and a whole bunch of guest stars, including Kristen Wiig,Ben Stiller, Seth Rogen, and Conan O’Brien – for a fourth season of absurd, and absurdly funny, Bluth family antics.

“There’s always money in the banana stand.”  “I have Pop Pop in the attic.” “Judge Reinhold.” If these phrases don’t make you giggle in memory, then it’s time to watch the first three seasons of Arrested Development (currently streaming on Netflix Instant or Amazon Prime).

3. Trouble Will Find Me, The National (4AD Records; May 21)

Ok, let’s be honest: there’s no shortage of good music coming out this very month (from Kurt Vile 4/9, Iron and Wine 4/16, and Akron Family 4/30, for example).  But few upcoming albums excite me as much as this eighth offering from Brooklyn-based indie rock band The National, featuring contributions from Sufjan Stevens, Annie Clark (of St. Vincent), Sharon Van Etten, and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, among others.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spend some time meditating on the song “Fake Empire,” from 2010’s High Violet, and then to see if they will be touring in a city near you.

4. Star Trek Into Darkness (In theatres May 15)

Look, I’m not the one to be telling you to watch Star Trek Into Darkness: I’ve never even seen a single episode of any of the many Star Trek television series. I’m a Star Wars girl: I choose Han Solo over Captain Kirk every time.  But I’m also a J.J. Abrams girl (hello Felicity, Alias, LOST), and so when he produced Star Trek in 2009, I was there. (Ok, I was also there because of Zachary Quinto’s eyebrows and to see if Sylar could be a good guy, but the point is, I was there.)

And I’ll be back for this sequel. In the meantime, I’m thinking it’s time to watch some of the classic tv  behind the movies.  Maybe I’ll start at the beginning? This month is the time to work on our Trek cred.

5. The Dark (Lemony Snicket, illus. by Jon Klassen. Little, Brown, $16.99)

I have some bad news: there are no child-friendly movies coming out in May (Epic, the only offering, promises to be far too scary for my kids).  June will bring us Monsters University, to which I say, maybe, if the A/C is broken at home, and we need to cool off in a theater, maybe. It’s just not shaping up to be a good summer for kids and movies.

But this is a book to make up for it.  With the perfectly on point, darkly humorous voice of Lemony Snicket and the spare illustrations of Jon Klassen (winner of the Caldecott Medal for This Is Not My Hat, one of my kids’ favorites), this story deftly displays and disarms childhood fear of the dark. I won’t give away the sweet ending, but the book is out now (April 2), so check it out yourself.



  1. April at least means more Mad Men!

    And, considering that The Great Gatsby was originally supposed to come out at Christmastime, I’d say at this point I’m unreasonably excited about it. I even marked it in my planner.

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