The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. During the coronavirus pandemic, when most of us are staying at home, we’re going to spotlight things you can enjoy from your couch, whether solo or in small groups, and leave out the rest. With that in mind, here are our picks for April 26 – May 2, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)
WATCH IT: Home Town Takeover captures the revamp of an entire community
Ben and Erin Napier are looking to “help one small town build a brighter future.” While you may be thinking, “Isn’t that what they do in Laurel, Miss., on their show Home Town?, this time is different, because the HGTV stars are taking their talents on the road, more than 200 miles away, to “Sweet Home Alabama” — Wetumpka, Ala., that is – where they’ll tackle major renovations for homeowners and small businesses over six episodes. The network picked Wetumpka out of 2,600 towns around the U.S., “because, despite hardships, natural disasters and unexpected setbacks, the community’s undying spirit and resilience showed that they were ready to kickstart a comeback with HGTV’s help,” according to a statement. The series will take viewers on a journey through 12 different renovations, with some special guests, like Sheryl Crow, who plans an intimate main street concert for the town’s residents. — Alexis Shaw
Home Town Takeover premieres Sunday, May 2 at 8 p.m. on HGTV and streams on Discovery+.
STREAM IT: Justin Theroux adapts his uncle Paul Theroux’s celebrated novel, The Mosquito Coast
Justin Theroux has a special connection to The Mosquito Coast, the celebrated 1981 novel written by his uncle, Paul Theroux. Previously brought to the screen as a Peter Weir-directed 1986 film starring Harrison Ford, the book is now a seven-episode Apple TV+ series with the younger Theroux in the central role of Allie Fox. A devoted husband and father who is equally devoted to living his life off the grid, Allie transports his wife (Melissa George) and two kids from the U.S. to Latin America, where he embeds the Fox clan in a remote village. Although he claims to be rebelling against America’s consumerist culture, there are dark secrets in his past that have forced him on the run — secrets that his children are only now discovering.
Behind the camera, writer Neil Cross — who created Idris Elba’s addictive cop series, Luther — and director Rupert Wyatt — who helmed Rise of the Planet of the Apes — inject new thriller elements into Theroux’s family drama. In this exclusive clip, for example, Allie’s daughter, Dina (Logan Polish), has a tense phone conversation with the government agent (Kimberly Elise) whose pursuit of her father causes him to flee the country. “I’m going to tell you, the best thing you can do now… is tell us where you are,” she tells the unconvinced teenager. Dina’s response shows why she’s her father’s daughter through and through. — Ethan Alter
The Mosquito Coast premieres Friday, April 30 on Apple TV+.
STREAM IT: Happiest Season breakout Mary Holland goes over the top in arm wrestling comedy Golden Arm
Mary Holland gave one of our favorite performances of 2020 as the loopy aspiring fantasy writer Jane in Hulu’s holiday rom-com hit Happiest Season, so we were already all in on whatever she had coming up next. The fact that it’s Golden Arm, which is an essentially a comedic, all-female spin on Sylvester Stallone’s 1987 arm wrestling campfest Over the Top? Yes, please. Holland plays an unfulfilled baker with some hidden strength who’s recruited by a friend (Betsy Sodaro) to enter the National Ladies Arm Wrestling Championship. Get a taste for the action in the exclusive clip above. — Kevin Polowy
Golden Arm premieres Friday, April 30 in theaters (get tickets at Fandango) and on digital.
WATCH IT: Succession star Brian Cox is the father-in-law from hell in horror movie Separation
If you think Logan Roy is a piece of work, just wait until you meet Paul Rivers. Emmy-winning Succession star, Brian Cox, plays another wealthy jerk in Separation, which turns a family break-up into the stuff of nightmares. Paul isn’t a big fan of his unemployed son-in-law, Jeff (Homeland’s Rupert Friend) and successfully encourages his daughter, Maggie (Mamie Gummer), to file for divorce. Before the case is resolved, though, Maggie dies in a traffic accident, leaving Jeff alone with their only child, Jenny (Violet McGraw)… and some horrifying visions.
Is Maggie making her presence felt from beyond the grave, or are other spirits at work? Be afraid — be very afraid — by this exclusive clip, where Jeff gets his first brush with the supernatural while Paul looks on. “This is a pivotal scene in Separation where Jeff, at the wake of his dead ex-wife, starts to realize the challenges he faces in trying to be the father he never was, to a grieving daughter he never quite knew,” director William Brent Bell tells Yahoo Entertainment via e-mail. “It’s also the scene where we start to realize that maybe his dead ex-wife isn’t gone after all. And maybe, just maybe, she still wants custody of their daughter.” — E.A.
Separation premieres Friday, April 30 in theaters.
READ IT: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge concept art book (almost) saves you the trip to Disney
With the Happiest Place on Earth shuttered for much of the Suckiest Year Ever, Star Wars fans have been unable to catch a transport to Black Spire spaceport for a sojourn on Batuu. Thankfully, The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the next best thing to a ticket far, far away. The coffee-table tome traces the development of Disney’s fully immersive outer-space theme park through eye-popping images — from drawing-board sketches to character concepts to painterly panoramas (see some exclusives excerpts above) — accompanied with interviews from the Lucasfilm visionaries and Disney Imagineers responsible for creating the Galaxy’s Edge experience. — Marcus Errico
The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is available Tuesday, April 27 at Amazon and other retailers.
STREAM IT: See Anthony Hopkins in his first post-Oscars role in The Virtuoso
Anthony Hopkins scored his second Oscar at last night’s Academy Awards, but he’s not resting on those laurels: instead, the veteran British thespian is already onto his next gig. Hopkins has a pivotal supporting role in The Virtuoso, Nick Stagliano’s new thriller about an ace assassin (Anson Mount) whose latest assignment blossoms into a deadly, small-town mystery involving small-time hoods and a femme fatale (Abbie Cornish). Hopkins plays Mount’s mysterious mentor and employer, and in this exclusive clip from the film, he provides some revealing backstory on how his wartime experiences shaped the professional killer he’d become. “We were soldiers — it’s what we do,” he says. “We human beings… we’re just homicidal killing machines. That’s all. All the military training and all that stuff is just finishing school.” Hannibal Lecter would agree. — E.A.
The Virtuoso premieres Friday, April 30 in limited theaters and on digital and on demand platforms; it will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on May 4
STREAM IT: Get hooked on Grace, your next British crime obsession
He’s starred in 17 bestselling novels penned by Peter James, and now superstar British detective, Roy Grace, is coming to your television. BritBox is streaming the first two, feature-length episodes of Grace starting April 27, with Life on Mars‘s John Simm in the title role. Like Jane Tennison and John Luther before him, Detective Grace has got some serious personal issues — issues that have caused him to develop a belief in the supernatural that doesn’t sit well with his fact-minded cop colleagues. In this exclusive clip from the first episode — based on James’s inaugural novel, Dead Simple — Grace lends his insight into an ongoing investigation, but all the other cops in the room can think about is his reliance on mediums when it comes to detective work. Look for the second episode, adapted from the second book, Looking Good Dead, on May 5. — E.A.
Grace premieres Tuesday, April 27 on BritBox.
HEAR IT: Julia Michaels gets ‘weird’
The Grammy-nominated superstar songwriter behind smash singles for Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Shawn Mendes, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and Gwen Stefani — as well as her own confessional anthems “Issues” and “If the World Was Ending” — finally releases her debut full-length LP, Not in Chronological Order. Spanning a mood spectrum from the sweet acoustic track “Love Is Weird” to the raging revenge song “All My Exes,” the long-awaited album traffics the same vulnerability that has established Michaels as one of the most respected and in-demand songsmiths in modern pop. — Lyndsey Parker
Not in Chronological Order by Julia Michaels is available Friday, April 30 to download/stream on Apple Music.
WATCH IT: Angelina Jolie and more sing the praises of Sesame Street in 50th anniversary special
The Oscar-winning star of Maleficent leads the pack of celebs reminiscing about the cultural importance of the children’s show in the documentary Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days. “My favorite character was the Count. He had a wonderfully bold personality,” Jolie says. “The friendly vampire helping you learn how to count… worked for me.” Turns out, Jolie’s fellow Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg has a soft spot for the same Muppet. “All the things that Twilight did for vampires, the Count did more,” Goldberg says. “He made vampires cool.” Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, Lucy Liu, Rosie Perez and W. Kamau Bell are some of the others who appear alongside puppeteers and familiar faces (Sonia Manzano’s Maria!) from the perennial favorite to discuss the magnitude of the work it’s done so far and how it’s evolving for 2021. For instance, the showmakers created a Black family, the Walkers, who have a 5-year-old son named Wes, to teach children about racial justice issues, just as the show has dealt with potentially upsetting and confusing topics, like death and AIDS, in the past. As John Oliver summarizes, “Sesame Street is f***ing amazing.” — Raechal Shewfelt
Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days airs Monday, April 26 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
HEAR IT: Thomas Rhett returns to his roots
Following his standout, two-song acoustic performance from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House at this month’s ACM Awards, the country star goes old-school on his fifth studio album, Country Again (Side A) — an inward-looking record created during the past year of reflection. Lead single “What’s Your Country Song?” references no fewer than 16 country music icons (including Hank Williams Sr., Ricky Skaggs, Garth Brooks, Deana Carter and Jake Owen), and the title track has received critical raves for being Rhett’s most traditional-sounding single in years. — L.P.
Country Again (Side A) by Thomas Rhett is available Friday, April 30 to download/stream on Apple Music.
BUY IT: Nomadland lands on Blu-ray after owning the Oscars
They were two months delayed, but the Academy Awards finally unspooled Sunday, and as widely expected, Nomadland ruled the day (night), taking home trophies for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress. It was richly deserved. Chloé Zhao’s gorgeously captured triumph is a deeply stirring drama about the middle-aged widow Fern (Frances McDormand), who works seasonal retail gigs while traversing the American West and living out of her van. While there’s an enviable freedom to Fern’s nomadic lifestyle, the film also serves as an indictment of America’s treatment of the aging working class, driven home by the always exceptional McDormand’s soulful performance. Simply put, this movie rocks. That line will make more sense once you’ve seen the movie, which you can more easily this week as it lands on Blu-ray, with extras including deleted scenes and a Telluride Q&A with Zhao and McDormand. — K.P.
Nomadland is available Tuesday, April 27 on Blu-ray.
HEAR IT: Marianne Faithfull is poetry in motion
After a coronavirus heath scare last year, the fully recovered grand dame of rock ‘n’ roll triumphantly returns with her latest vital creation, a collaboration with Bad Seeds multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis. Recorded at the start of 2020’s COVID-19 lockdowns, She Walks in Beauty teams Faithfull and Ellis with Nick Cave, Brian Eno, and cellist Vincent Ségal on compositions based on poems by Shelley, Keats, Byron, Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Thomas. The beautiful result proves that Faithfull is an unstoppable force. — L.P.
She Walks in Beauty by Marianne Faithfull & Warren Ellis is available Friday, April 30 to download/stream on Apple Music.
PLAY IT: Take home the title of ‘Sports Expert’ with ESPN Trivia Night
Turn your next game night into a contact sport with ESPN Trivia Night, a pulse-pounding Q&A competition from Funko Games. Boasting over 1,000 questions about the wide, wide world of sports, mastering this game requires teamwork, brainpower and some last-minute luck. Break into teams and put your mind to the test answering trivia about everything from baseball and hockey to American football and rugby. Any points missed due to blown questions can be made up with mini-sports challenges, including field goals and buzzer-beating baskets. What a game, indeed. — E.A.
ESPN Trivia Night is available Friday, April 30 at major retailers, including Amazon.
HEAR IT: Royal Blood conjures a perfect dance-rock storm
The Jimmy Page-championed Britrock duo comes thundering back with its long-awaited third studio album, Typhoons. Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher sound as hard-charging, eardrum-bludgeoning as ever, but they’ve incorporated disco beats on Daft Punky tracks like “Limbo” and “Hold On” that’ll make these rock Royals the unexpected new kings of the dance floor. — L.P.
Typhoons by Royal Blood is available Friday, April 30 to download/stream on Apple Music.
BUY IT: You’ll have the power of Grayskull with new prop Power Sword
Be the master of your own universe thanks to a 40-inch prop replica of He-Man’s signature Power Sword from Factory Entertainment. The stainless steel blade and brown leather handle provide a taste of the power of Grayskull, and every sword comes encased in a collector’s box and accompanied by a wall-hanging display. Although you won’t receive it in the mail until early 2022, you’d be wise to put in your pre-order now, because this limited edition collectible is guaranteed to make like Scare Glow and disappear… fast. — E.A.
The Masters of the Universe Power Sword prop replica is available for pre-order on Factory Entertainment.
— Video produced by Jon San and edited by John Santo