The It List: 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' gets CGI treatment in live-action film, Will Smith releases first memoir, Silk Sonic drops debut album and the best in pop culture the week of Nov. 8, 2021

·16 min read

The It List is Yahoo's weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. Here are our picks for Nov. 8-14, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)

WATCH/STREAM IT: Clifford the Big Red Dog hits the big screen (and Paramount+)

After months of social media memes (no guys, it’s not a horror movie — it’s a kids movie!), it’s finally time to see what the big red deal is about. Clifford the Big Red Dog — the first major live-action Clifford movie (not counting the 1994 Martin Short-Charles Grodin movie of no relation), and originally scheduled to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before it was pulled — is landing in movie theaters and on the streaming service Paramount+. And no, it’s not exactly Dune — but we say take the kiddies out for this one if you feel safe doing so. It’s a lot of big red dog for the small screen. — Kevin Polowy

Clifford the Big Red Dog premieres Friday, Nov. 12 in theaters (get tickets on Fandango) and on Paramount+.

STREAM IT: A military cover-up is exposed in ABC News's investigative documentary 3212 Un-Redacted

In October 2017, the U.S. Special Forces team, ODA 3212 was ambushed while deployed in Tongo Tongo, Niger resulting in the deaths of four soldiers. The survivors found themselves cut off from reinforcements or rescue, until a French special operations team, along with the independent contractor, Berry Aviation, were able to evacuate them. Premiering on Hulu on Veteran's Day, the new ABC News investigative documentary 3212 Un-Redacted reconstructs the events of that ambush, and explores the subsequent attempts amongst U.S. military command to obscure and cover-up what exactly happened on the ground. This exclusive clip depicts the deafening silence from the Pentagon and Trump administration as the families of the fallen tried to understand how this tragedy occurred. — Ethan Alter

3212 Un-Redacted premieres Thursday, Nov. 11 on Hulu.

WATCH IT: Cybill Shepherd, Rita Wilson and more A-list actresses star in Eleanor Coppola's latest film, Love Is Love Is Love

Eleanor Coppola’s first feature film since 2016 is a star-studded triptych of love stories that wrestle with that four-letter “L” word at different stages and ages. In the first tale, Joanne Whalley and Chris Messina play a husband and wife who commit to having regular Zoom dates while he’s away on movie sets… where his own sense of commitment may be questionable. The second chapter features Kathy Baker and Marshall Bell as empty nesters eager to reignite the spark in their long marriage. But the centerpiece of the film is the third and longest story, which finds a young lawyer Caroline (Maya Kazan) assembling her recently-deceased mother’s friends to share sides of her that she never knew. Rita Wilson, Rosanna Arquette and Cybill Shepherd are among the major actresses present for this moving mini-movie. In this exclusive clip, Shepherd reveals a dramatic memory that makes Caroline even prouder to be her mother's daughter. — E.A.

Love Is Love Is Love premieres Friday, Nov. 12 in theaters; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.

WATCH IT: Jennifer Hudson gives another iconic performance in Respect

Fifteen years after making one of the most impressive film debuts possibly ever in Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson might be heading back to the Oscars. The American Idol alum delivers another whopper of a performance as Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin (who hand-picked Hudson for the part before her death) in Respect — and the main reason we’ll probably still be talking about the summer biopic well into the New Year. For those who missed it in theaters (or just want it in perpetuity), Respect lands on Blu-ray and DVD this week with bonus features including multiple featurettes. You can preview the extras in the exclusive clip above. — K.P.

Respect is available on Blu-ray and DVD starting Tuesday, Nov. 9 on Amazon.

WATCH IT: Hey true believers! Surviving Supercon pulls the curtain back on how major fan conventions operate

As comic book conventions seek to rebound following the coronavirus pandemic, Surviving Supercon reveals the blood, sweat and tears behind putting one of these mega-events together. Director Steven Shea was granted an all-access pass to the 2018 edition of Florida Supercon, which saw 60,000 cosplaying fans invading the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. And it was up to husband-and-wife convention owners Mike Broker and Sandy Martin to ensure they all had a great time… and that the convention center was still standing at the end of three-day festivities. The resulting documentary provides a fascinating glimpse at the big and small decisions required to pull off a successful convention, from curating the right guest list to managing unexpected fire alarms, as seen in this exclusive clip from the film. And then, of course, there’s the question of money: Broker and Martin are both heard in the film discussing whether it’s time for them to put the convention they created from the ground-up up for sale. Spoiler alert: The couple sold Supercon to ReedPop — which operates a number of major fan conventions, including the New York Comic Con — in 2019. — E.A.

Surviving Supercon premieres Tuesday, Nov. 9 on Digital HD, Blu-ray, DVD and VOD, including Vudu.

WATCH IT: The Taika Waititi-produced Night Raiders offers a dramatic vision of the near future

Among the premieres at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, Night Raiders stood apart as the first Canadian sci-fi film made by an indigenous filmmaker and featuring a largely indigenous cast. But even though it's set in 2044, writer/director Danis Goulet draws on present day headlines, most notably the ongoing discovery of graves containing the remains of indigenous children at residential schools around Canada. Goulet's narrative follows a Cree mother Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) as she attempts to rescue her daughter from a military-run state institution (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) before all the traces of her heritage are erased. Taika Waititi executive produced the film, which effectively conjures a dystopian future on a limited budget. This exclusive clip from the film finds Niska meeting with a resistance organization who will help her get her child back — but wants something in return. — E.A.  

Night Raiders premieres Nov. 12 in theaters and on most digital and on demand services, including Apple TV

READ IT: Will Smith shares the story of his life, so far, and what he's learned from it in Will

(Photo: Penguin Press)
(Image: Penguin Press)

In Will Smith's very first interview to promote Will, with Oprah Winfrey, the book club O.G. declared his tome, "The best memoir I've ever read" to give a sense of what you can expect. Smith said the book is an arc from fear to love, starting with his childhood in which he watched his violent and abusive alcoholic father knock out his mother. That defined his life as he spent his childhood trying to make his parents laugh to disrupt upsetting moments. He felt from his relationship with his mom to today in his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith, a sense of failing every woman he's interacted with. A scared boy that built up this persona of movie megastar Will Smith to hide the wounded child inside. His book includes experiences with racism, his first failed marriage and his non-traditional union with Jada, with their admitted infidelities. Of course, there are Fresh Prince stories, and tales about making movies, with the highs (like having eight consecutive No. 1 movies) along with lows (failing to pay his taxes after 1988's "Parents Just Don't Understand" and losing his cars, house and finding himself in jail). It's clear he's been on a journey of self-discovery, telling not just the stories but sharing takeaways with his signature humor present. — Suzy Byrne

Will by Will Smith is available Tuesday, Nov. 9 on Amazon.

HEAR IT: Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak drop a sonic soul boom

One of the most hotly anticipated albums of 2021, the full-length debut by R&B superduo Silk Sonic, a.k.a. Grammy darlings Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, sounds like it could have been released in 1971. Evoking the vintage, silky-smooth grooves of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Barry White and groups like the Delfonics and Chi-Lites — and featuring a cameo by the funkmaster himself, Boosty Collins — An Evening With Silk Sonic will be total Grammy bait when it becomes eligible for the awards in 2023. — Lyndsey Parker

An Evening With Silk Sonic by Silk Sonic is available Friday, Nov. 12 to download/stream on Apple Music.

STREAM IT: Passing pairs the impressive Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson as friends living very different lives

Actress Rebecca Hall (The Town, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) directed and wrote this black-and-white adaptation of a 1929 novel by the late Nella Larsen about two Black women in New York City. Both Best Actress nominees Ruth Negga (Loving) and Tessa Thompson, who was nominated for an Emmy for the 2020 TV movie Sylvie's Love, star. They play childhood friends who reunite as adults, when Negga's character, Clare, is living as white. Not even her husband, played by Alexander Skarsgard, knows the truth. In one scene, she asks him if he "dislikes Negroes." His answer is clear: "No, no, no. Not at all," he tells her, "I hate them." Meanwhile, Clare's return to Irene's (Thompson) life has prompted the latter to reexamine her own, including just where she fits into the world. Although the story takes place nearly 100 years ago, Negga still finds it relevant. "Whether I like it or not, I've definitely benefited from being a lighter-skinned Black actress … it's been explicit,” she told NPR when the movie was released in some theaters last month. "You know, you go in for the part of the best friend … and everyone there is, you know, light-skinned Black woman. And you realize, oh, this is the part where they get the minority in for. And it's, but let's make them as white-adjacent as possible, so they're more palatable." — Raechal Shewfelt

Passing premieres Wednesday, Nov. 10 on Netflix.

PLAY IT: Hasbro's holiday-friendly offerings include lightsabers and fashionable Disney villains

(Photo: Hasbro)
(Photo: Hasbro)
(Photo: Hasbro)
(Photo: Hasbro)

Now that Halloween's in the rearview, it's time to start planning your holiday shopping list. And Hasbro has some early gift ideas that cover both the nice — and naughty — kids in your life. For example, the toy giant's Lightsaber Forge line of Star Wars toys has recently expanded to include a plastic replica of The Mandalorian's Darksaber, as well as Darth Maul's famous double-bladed laser sword. (Don't worry heroes, you can still get your Jedi fix with a Luke Skywalker lightsaber as well.) Meanwhile, classic Disney villains like Ursula, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Cruella De Vil get fashion-forward makeovers with new fashion dolls that feature bold costumes and accessories. Sometimes, it's good to be bad. — E.A.

Hasbro Lightsaber Forge and Disney Villains toys are available at most major retailers, including Amazon.

STREAM IT: Will Smith goes on a physical and mental journey to get in the Best Shape of My Life

The Fresh Prince and movie superstar announced last year that, as some may relate to, he gained weight during quarantine that he wanted to shed. However, that desire to drop 20 pounds led to a show in which he'd lose it in a 20-week period. While that's a goal we'd wager on the star to reach — see: Ali and I, Robot — it morphed into more than that. While physically Smith could do it, mentally he was in a raw place, having scratched deep down inside to reveal the layers of his life for his new memoir, which also comes out this week. So the show, over six episodes, became less about losing weight than the emotional journey as he shared what he learned about himself while resurfacing past pain. It makes for raw, candid conversation, including with wife Jada Pinkett Smith and his three children. — S.B.

Best Shape of My Life premieres Monday, Nov. 8 on YouTube Originals.

STREAM IT: Always Jane documents a transgender teen's life with her loving family

Transgender high school student Jane Noury is the subject of this touching four-part documentary that packs as much emotion as a This Is Us marathon. In it, the audience meets the New Jersey teen and her super supportive family on the precipice of change. (Her older sister recounts confronting one of Jane's bullies in the middle of an ill-fated school assembly. Her mom — in one tear-jerking moment, sweetly refers to Jane as "my girl" — has compiled a stack of documents over years researching the confirmation surgery that Jane ultimately decided to undergo.) While there are stories of all that Jane has overcome, including the terrible bullying, much of the story focuses on all that lay before her — besides the surgery and graduation, there's prom, college and a modeling competition in her dream city of Los Angeles. The doc is definitely a love story, as Jane herself has described it. "Love stories always have hopes, dreams and heartache, but best of all — a happily ever after. My family has always abundantly showered my sisters and I with love and acceptance, and that made all the difference in the world for my transition," she told Amazon. "My genuine hope is that a family who may be struggling with acceptance is inspired to open their hearts and embrace their very own story of love upon viewing Always Jane." — R.S.

Always Jane premieres Friday, Nov. 12 on Prime Video.

WATCH IT: A new boxed set collects the early movies of Oscar-nominated Minari director, Lee Isaac Chung

Fourth time proved to be the charm for Lee Isaac Chung, the Korean American director behind last year's acclaimed drama, Minari. In fact, before that film dazzled critics and picked up six Oscar nominations (including Best Director and Best Picture), Chung had considered retiring from moviemaking after his first three movies failed to attract much notice. Now, that trio of films — 2007's Munyurangabo, 2010's Lucky Life and 2012's Abigail Harm — are getting their overdue close-up courtesy of Film Movement's new 3-disc DVD set. With this kind of renewed attention to his filmography, it's safe to say that Chung doesn't have to worry about premature retirement anytime soon. — E.A.

The Early Films of Lee Isaac Chung releases Tuesday, Nov. 9 at most major retailers, including Amazon.

STREAM IT: Tiger King star tells her side of the story in Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight

When Tiger King swept the nation last year, Carole Baskin was clear that she was unhappy with how she was portrayed. So much so that this month she filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order against producers and Netflix to bar footage of herself, her husband Howard Baskin and their Big Cat Sanctuary from being used in the upcoming sequel. But on this new two-part documentary, Baskin is taking the story into her own hands, serving as a star and an executive producer. Cameras will follow the conservationist and her team as they search the zoo that once belonged to Joe Exotic — who’s now in prison for attempting to have Baskin killed and for crimes against animals — for evidence of animal abuse. “This is a unique opportunity for audiences to come behind the scenes with us for an unfiltered look at how we expose the cub-petting exploiters and roadside zoos we feel are mistreating animals,” Baskin said in a statement when the show was announced. “This is our real-life work within a dangerous world, and viewers will see it comes with our people being threatened, guns pointed at us and the bad guys shooting at our drones." — R.S.

Carole Baskin's Cage Fight premieres Saturday, Nov. 13 on Discovery+.

STREAM IT: Newly discovered Tom Petty studio footage streams for Free

Following its limited theatrical run last month, Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers arrives this week to stream for free on YouTube Originals. Directed by Mary Wharton (Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President, Sam Cooke: Legend, Elvis Lives!, The Beatles Revolution), the 89-minute documentary captures the period between 1993 and 1995 when Petty worked with renowned producer Rick Rubin and features never-before-seen footage from a recently unearthed archive of 16mm film. Petty’s fellow Heartbreakers and daughter Adria are also interviewed. — L.P.

Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers is premieres Thursday, Nov. 11 on YouTube Originals.

WATCH IT: Underrated Steve Martin comedy L.A. Story gets home entertainment refresh

Lionsgate Home Entertainment
(Image: Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

There’s an unforgettable scene in the 1991 comedy L.A. Story where TV weatherman Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin) rushes out of his house, jumps in his car and pulls off as the camera tilts up for an overhead shot — only to see Harris drive exactly two houses down his residential street, jump out and walk up to a neighbor’s house. That scene sums up the satirical brilliance of L.A. Story — which yes, is going to be funnier to those who’ve lived in La La Land, but still ranks as one of the legendary Martin’s more underrated gems. Just how underrated? It’s just now arriving on Blu-ray for the first time in celebration of its 30th anniversary. It was worth the long drive. Bonus features include deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes and more. — K.P.

L.A. Story is available on Blu-ray Tuesday, Nov. 9 on Amazon.

HEAR IT: Rod Stewart releases Tears of joy

Sir Rod the Mod has excitedly and boldly declared his 32nd album The Tears of Hercules, for which he wrote nine of the 12 tracks, as “by far my best album in many a year.” The albums features two poignant dedications: “Born to Boogie (a Tribute to Marc Bolan)” for the late T. Rex glam star, and “Touchline” for Stewart’s father, who instilled in Rod a lifelong obsession with football. — L.P.

The Tears of Hercules by Rod Stewart is available Friday, Nov. 12 to download/stream on Apple Music.

WATCH IT: Sylvester Stallone returns to the ring with an expanded director's cut of Rocky IV

Rocky Balboa's fourth bout may not have taken home a Best Picture statue like the original Rocky vs. Apollo match-up, but Rocky vs. Drago remains the most-watched entry in the boxing franchise. Now, director/star Sylvester Stallone has gone back to the 1985 blockbuster and made their epic fight longer. This expanded director's cut boasts an extra 40 minutes of footage that was left out of the montage-heavy 90-minute theatrical version. Rocky vs. Drago premieres Nov. 11 as a one-night only theatrical event courtesy of Fathom Events, which will include a live Q&A with Stallone, before arriving on most on-demand services the following day. Rocky fans are gonna fly now to scoop up tickets. — E.A.

Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago premieres Thursday, Nov. 11 in theaters and Friday, Nov. 12 on most VOD services including Apple TV.

HEAR IT: Damon Albarn’s creativity flows anew

The shapeshifting, ever-ambitious Blur/Gorillaz leader’s second solo album, The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, is an orchestral, pandemic-age song cycle inspired by the landscapes of his second home, Iceland — once again proving that Albarn is the hardest-working man in Britpop. — L.P.

The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows by Damon Albarn is available Friday, Nov. 12 to download/stream on Apple Music.

— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jimmie Rhee