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 Aug. 24-30, 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: Dickens gets a do-over in The Personal History of David Copperfield
The latest project from Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin, In the Loop, Veep) has been a long time coming — and not simply because it’s based on a Charles Dickens novel written all the way back in 1850. The period dramedy was originally slated to hit movie theaters (remember those?) in May, then got pushed back multiple times thanks to the pandemic. But now the show will go on, and socially distanced movie audiences can at last enjoy Dev Patel’s charming performance as Dickens’s plucky, semi-autobiographical protagonist, David Copperfield. The rags-to-riches Victorian-era tale is a departure from Iannucci’s usual political satire, but his trademark wit is stamped all over it — thanks in part to regular players like Hugh Laurie and Peter Capaldi popping up in supporting roles among its refreshingly diverse cast. Could a quirky take on Dickens be the summer blockbuster we’ve been waiting for? If this year has taught us anything, it’s that stranger things have happened. — Erin Donnelly
The Personal History of David Copperfield opens Friday, Aug. 28; visit Fandango for ticket and showtime information.
WATCH IT: Acclaimed Pete Davidson comedy King of Staten Island hits Blu-ray
Much like with the excellent 2015 Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck, writer/director/King of Comedy Nerds Judd Apatow aligned himself with another ascending and distinct young voice with his Pete Davidson collab The King of Staten Island, which forewent a theatrical release and opened on video-in-demand in June. And once again he’s found great success. Davidson’s tortured, self-deprecating brand of comedy lends itself perfectly to longform storytelling. (And it is an Apatow movie so you know it’s long.) This particular story is on the heavier end of Apatow’s oeuvre, more in the realm of This Is 40 than 40-Year-Old Virgin. It is, after all, about a slacker struggling with depression and grief years after his firefighter father’s death (Davidson’s own dad died in the World Trade Center on 9/11). But trust us, it’s still funny. Above, you can watch an exclusive clip from the Blu-ray, which also includes alternate endings, deleted scenes and a gag reel. — Kevin Polowy
The King of Staten Island is available on Blu-ray, DVD or digital Tuesday, Aug. 25 on Amazon.
STREAM IT: Tyler Perry’s Madea character takes her final stage bow
After two decades, the director and actor retired the no-nonsense grandmother from the movies in March 2019. He’s bringing her back now in a recording of his Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Farewell Play, which toured the country last year. The premise is that Madea’s family, including some familiar faces, is gathering for her great-grandson’s law school graduation. They’re interrupted by the arrival of an unexpected guest, which sparks some serious drama. Caretaker as always, Madea quickly attempts to fix the situation and everyone’s life along with it. Expect singing, dancing and a lot of love. — Raechal Shewfelt
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Farewell Play premieres Thursday, Aug. 27 on BET+.
STREAM IT: Psychological thriller DieRy well worth opening up
Anyone who keeps a diary has to live with the fear that it could someday fall into someone else’s hands, their inner-most thoughts and secrets exposed like raw nerves. That, it turns out, is a premise rich in material for a juicy psychological thriller. Written by John Buffalo Mailer and directed by Jennifer Gelfer, DieRy follows a popular Instagram model (Claudia Maree Mailer) whose journal is hijacked by an obsessive fan (bad enough, yes) who then starts murdering the various folks in her life who’ve done her wrong (oh s***!). The bodies pile up, but it’s Mailer’s sharp commentary on the clash of social media posturing, privacy, obsession and trauma that stings. Check out an exclusive clip from the film above. — K.P.
DieRy premieres Tuesday, Aug. 25 on VOD services including iTunes.
HEAR IT: Katy Perry gives you reason to Smile
The American Idol judge and all-around unstoppable pop phenom is back with Smile, her first album since 2017, which the hard-working mom-to-be describes as a “journey towards the light, with stories of resilience, hope and love.” Judging by the disco-tastic title track and other buoyant bangers (“Daisies,” “Never Really Over,” the Charlie Puth cowrite “Harleys in Hawaii”), Smile seems to be just the feelgood summer content we all could use right now. And incidentally, if you’re feeling nostalgic for Summer 2010, Perry’s third album, Teenage Dream, turns 10 years old this week. — Lyndsey Parker
WATCH IT: Women in Film Presents: Make It Work! wants to make you laugh for a cause
An impressive list of women — Hillary Clinton, Alfre Woodard, Beanie Feldstein, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Garner and many, many more — have collaborated on a one-hour variety show about the importance of putting women in the entertainment industry back to work during these tough economic times. With conversations and music and comedy performances, they’ll encourage donations to the Hire Her Back campaign, which provides grants to women whose incomes have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. — R.S.
Women in Film Presents: Make It Work! airs Wednesday, Aug. 26 on The CW, and it can be streamed free the next day on The CW app.
READ IT: Marvel Comics Mini-Books will get your spider-sense tingling
Back in the mid-1960s, the world’s greatest comic-book publisher published the world’s smallest comic books. These tiny tomes featured the secret origins of Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Nick Fury and, um, Millie the Model (who, believe it or not was one of Marvel’s top titles at the time). Each issue of the Ant-Man-sized series was no bigger than a stamp and only available in gum-ball machines. Now, for the first time, the mini-books — long prized by Marvel true believers — have been collected in a hardcover boxed set upscaled to a more reader-friendly 4-inch-by-6-inch format complete with a seventh volume featuring the delightful commentary of comic writer-historian-fanboy Mark Evanier. As the late, great Stan Lee would say, “Excelsior!” — Marcus Errico
Marvel Comics Mini-Books is available at Amazon.
WATCH IT: The MTV VMAs show must go on
Plans to hold the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center were unsurprisingly derailed due to coronavirus concerns — but this year’s socially distanced VMAs ceremony will be full of surprises nonetheless. A-list performers like Miley Cyrus, The Weeknd, BTS, J Balvin, Doja Cat, Roddy Ricch, CNCO, Maluma and lead nominees Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande are going to get creative in quarantine, while Keke Palmer will host. This year’s awards will also include two timely (but hopefully short-lived) categories: Best Music Video From Home and Best Quarantine Performance. — L.P.
The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards airs live Sunday, Aug. 30 on MTV and The CW.
STREAM IT: The white coats are optional in Emily’s Wonder Lab
Scientist Emily Calandrelli, host of Fox’s Xploration Outer Space and a correspondent from Bill Nye Saves the World, leads a group of adorable kids in exciting and colorful science experiments in this new show for families. The young scientists create rainbow bubbles, swim in pink slime and learn to harness solar power to cook, with the end product being more Willy Wonka than Mr. Wizard. Calandrelli’s motto, “Stay curious and keep exploring!” fits in nicely with the moment, when parents are seeking out worthy learning supplements for their little ones during this highly unusual time. — R.S.
Emily’s Wonder Lab premieres Tuesday, Aug. 25 on Netflix.
STREAM IT: Get Duked! gets ‘must-see’ recommendation from this corner
Don’t hold its new, not-so-stellar title against it. Originally called Boyz N the Wood — a much more apt moniker, tonally and thematically, but possibly problematic in 2020 — this raucous stoner comedy is one of the best discoveries we’ve made this year. Sometimes coarse, other times sublime, always rough around the edges, the hip-hop-tinged feature film debut of Run the Jewels, Migos and Miike Snow follows four U.K. teens from the city (three miscreants, one straight edge) on a camping trip through the Scottish Highlands — where they’re stalked by a gun-toting psychopath bent on picking them. Forget The Hunt, this is the Most Dangerous Game rip-off (we say that lovingly) we needed this year. Hilarious and rambunctious, with quick-firing one-liners begging repeat viewings (“I’ve never seen a murder before, I’m homeschooled”), it’s the rare for a film to subtly seep smart social commentary into a script that has multiple sequences involving characters tripping off rabbit droppings. OK, maybe it’s the only film that’s done that. — K.P.
Get Duked! premieres Friday, Aug. 28 on Amazon Prime.
HEAR IT: Toni Braxton spells it out for you
The Grammy-winner, 68 million records-selling R&B diva is back with her 10th full-length album, Spell My Name, an all-star affair featuring collaborations with Missy Elliott, H.E.R., Babyface and Beyoncé/Alicia Keys/Ariana Grande producer Antonio Dixon. — L.P.
Download/stream Spell My Name on Apple Music.
WATCH IT: House of Cardin documents the rise of a fashion icon
Famed designer Pierre Cardin, the man behind the fashion empire of the same name, is the subject of this documentary film filled with commentary from members of the stylish set, such as model Naomi Campbell and actress Sharon Stone. Authorized by Cardin himself, it features exclusive access to his archives and interviews with the man himself, who turned 98 last month. Directors Todd Hughes and P. David Ebersole, both producers of The Shining conspiracy theory doc Room 237, chronicle the Italian-born, French-raised clothier’s rise to global fame in the ‘70s and ‘80s, when he became a household name with his shirts, suits, shoes, fragrances and more. — R.S.
House of Cardin premieres in limited U.S. theaters on Friday, Aug. 28; it will be available to stream Sept. 15.
— Video produced by Gisselle Bances