The It List: Wild new competition series 'Dodgeball Thunderdome' premieres, 'Train to Busan' sequel 'Peninsula' opens in theaters, Tim McGraw drops new album and the best in pop culture the week of Aug. 17, 2020

·12 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. 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. 17-23, 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: Go ballistic in the Dodgeball Thunderdome

Get ready to get hit in the face with a new competition series. Dodgeball Thunderdome transforms the classic gymnasium game into a sporting adventure — with the chance to win a $25,000 cash prize. The adult competitors range from seasoned athletes to people who’ve never thrown a ball in their life. YouTube personality David Dobrik hosts the series along with co-hosts Erin Lim and former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. — Taryn Ryder

Dodgeball Thunderdome premieres Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 9 p.m. Discovery.

STREAM IT: American Black Film Festival goes virtual

The 2020 American Black Film Festival was originally slated to take place in its usual sunny digs of Miami Beach, Fla. in June, but like so many events this year, was sidetrack by the coronavirus. Under the stewardship of founder Jeff Friday, though, the show will go on — virtually — streaming more than 90 films over 10 days, with highlights including Muta’Ali Muhammad’s HBO doc Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, Addison Henderson’s oh-so-timely pandemic thriller G.O.D. (Givers of Death), Antoine Allen’s female boxing story Lola, Jay Snow’s first date rom-com Flawd, Moise Morancy’s secretive Brooklyn-set tale When a Tree Falls, Alana Barrett-Adkins’s marital drama Asunder: One Flesh Divided and Solomon Onita Jr.’s coming-of-ager Tasmanian Devil starring Beasts of No Nation breakout Abraham Attah. Not only does the ABFF boast some major talent waiting to be discovered, this year’s fest will also include the inaugural John Singleton Award for Best First Feature for a director of African descent. — Kevin Polowy

The American Black Film Festival takes place Aug. 21-30 at abff.com.

WATCH IT: There are no trains — but still plenty of zombies — in the Train to Busan sequel, Peninsula

Imagine Snowpiercer crossed with 28 Days Later, and you’ve got the 2016 South Korean horror hit Train to Busan one of the very best scary movies of the 2000s. For the sequel, Peninsula, returning director Yeon Sang-ho takes inspiration from cult action favorites like Escape From New York and The Warriors. Set four years after the events of the first film (and featuring none of the original cast), the story follows a guilt-ridden soldier (Gang Dong-won) who infiltrates the zombie-populated metropolis of Incheon as part of a snatch-and-grab operation to recover a big payday. But it turns out that the ruined city is filled with small bands of human survivors who have created their own version of civilization… one that’s almost as vicious as the walking dead. Peninsula’s emphasis on gun-heavy action over close-quarters scares might disappoint those who loved the ebb and flow of Train to Busan’s claustrophobic tension. On the other hand, Yeon deserves to be commended for refusing to just repeat the previous film, and going the John Carpenter route yields plenty of entertainment value. Maybe the third entry can be full-fledged zombie musical. — Ethan Alter

Peninsula opens in U.S. theaters Friday, Aug. 21.

HEAR IT: The Killers bring you a grand illusion

Vegas’s venerable alt-rock stadium stars conjure the magic on their long-awaited sixth full-length album, Imploding the Mirage, recruiting special guests like Lindsey Buckingham, k.d. lang, Weyes Blood, the War on Drugs’s Adam Granducil, Blake Mills and Lucius. — Lyndsey Parker

Download/stream Imploding the Mirage on Apple Music.

STREAM IT: The Mr. Skin-produced documentary Skin provides an eye-opening look into the history of nudity in movies

It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Jim McBride, aka Mr. Skin, is the executive producer behind this expansive documentary chronicling the history of nudity in Hollywood movies… with plenty of visual evidence. But Skin isn’t just a two-hour montage of images from his notorious website: the movie filters its subject through the lens of the #MeToo movement, celebrating filmmakers’ attempts to break down the industry’s puritanical barriers, while also recognizing the emotional and psychological toll that was disproportionately placed on actresses. Director Danny Wolf assembles an extensive collection of talking heads ranging from film scholars and critics to directors like Amy Heckerling and performers like Traci Lords and Pam Grier. To its credit, Skin strives for equal opportunity in the full frontal department, with numerous clips of men and women letting it all hang out. But the film is also attuned to the way actresses have been exploited in the name of progress. At one point Exorcist child star, Linda Blair, describes a frightening experience with a male co-star on the set of 1983’s Chained Heat that’s all too emblematic of the two steps forward, one step back march towards equality in Hollywood nudity. — E.A.

Skin: A History of Nudity in Movies debuts Tuesday, Aug. 18 via on demand services including FandangoNOW and iTunes.

WATCH IT: The Vow takes a deep dive into NXIVM

You’ve seen the headlines about the women-branding “sex cult” NXIVM involving Smallville actress Allison Mack. Now, get an inside look at the organization with a nine-part documentary series on HBO. The Vow follows several people who joined NXIVM, pitched by founder Keith Raniere as a self-help group. The documentary series takes a nuanced look at the experiences of some of the group’s participants, spotlighting their desire for personal growth and their internal conflicts over events as they unfold. Raniere was found guilty in June 2019 on racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and other felony charges. — T.R.

The Vow, A Portrait of NXIVM premieres Sunday, Aug. 23 at 10 p.m. on HBO.

STREAM IT: Chemical Hearts sends us back to school with two exciting young stars

School may not actually be back in session — on-location, anyway — in many states due to the still-spreading coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a good old-fashioned high school romantic drama. Based on the novel by Krystal Sutherland and written and directed by Richard Tanne (the Obama love story Southside With You), Amazon’s original movie Chemical Hearts teams up-and-coming stars Austin Abrams (The Walking Dead, Euphoria) and Lili Reinhart (Riverdale, Hustlers) for some post-adolescent alchemy. He’s an aspiring high school newspaper editor, and she’s the new journalism-minded girl in school dealing with the trauma of a past accident. They could make a perfect match, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Kind of like chemistry class, come to think of it. — K.P.

Chemical Hearts debuts Friday, Aug. 21 on Amazon Prime.

HEAR IT: It’s Earth day for Tim McGraw

The country superstar’s first album in five years seems to be arriving right on time in a chaotic world. A press release describes Here on Earth as "a collection of songs McGraw brought together to create vignettes of shared human emotions such as love, relationships, introspection and fun. The album as a whole provides a musical tapestry of life and a shared experience that we can use to connect all the different lives that we live, all the different parts of the world that we come from and use music as the universal language to bring people together." — L.P.

Download/stream Here on Earth on Apple Music.

STREAM IT: HA Comedy Festival: The Art of Comedy is the antidote to a blah weekend

While it’s pretty impossible — and at the very least unappealing — to hit up a comedy club in person about now, this one-hour special packages the highlights from several days of performances that Latinx comics did in February in San Antonio, Tex. Comedians Gina Brillon, David del Rosario, Carmen Lynch, Monique Marvez, Pedro Salinas, Jesus Trejo and Mark Viera appear alongside guests Eva Longoria, Danny Trejo and Eugenio Derbez. Masks are optional, you can sit wherever you’d like and there’s no two-drink minimum! — Raechal Shewfelt

HA Comedy Festival: The Art of Comedy is available Friday, Aug. 20 on HBO Max.

WATCH IT: Drag Race sashays into Sin City

While there isn’t a corner of the planet that RuPaul’s Drag Race hasn’t infiltrated, let’s face it, Drag Race and Las Vegas go together like RuPaul Charles and Michelle Visage. Vh1’s new docuseries, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue, follows six RPDR alumni — Asia O’Hara, Derrick Barry, Kameron Michaels, Naomi Smalls, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo and Season 11 champion Yvie Oddly — as they prepare to kick off their RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! Vegas residency. — L.P.

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue premieres Friday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. on Vh1.

WATCH IT: Ethan Hawke and Kyle MacLachlan re-enact Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison’s famous feud in Tesla

Twenty years after their modern-day version of Hamlet, director Michael Almereyda and Ethan Hawke re-team for a post-modern spin on the period piece. Tesla features Hawke as famed inventor Nikola Tesla, who famously tangled with rival Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan) at the dawn of the electrical age. For the film version of that feud, Almereyda embraces wild flights of fancy that include deliberate theatrical sets, fourth wall-breaking narration and a show-stopping rendition of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Hawke admirably loses himself in Tesla’s grim quest to see his inventions realized, but it’s MacLachlan’s devilishly sly performance that gives the movie its charge. He’s a damn fine Edison — damn fine! — E.A.

Tesla debuts Friday, Aug. 21 in theaters and via on demand services including iTunes.

WATCH IT: David Tennant and Jessica Hynes are back for fresh episodes of There She Goes on Britbox

Former Doctor Who, David Tennant, and ex-Spaced star, Jessica Hynes, return to Earth for There She Goes, Shaun Pye’s semi-autobiographical dramedy about two parents, Simon and Emily, raising a daughter with severe learning disabilities. The show’s sophomore season — which just finished airing in the U.K. — arrives on Britbox on August 18. Each of the five episodes move back and forth in time between the family’s present and their past, just after young Rosie’s diagnosis. This exclusive clip (watch above) from the second episode of Season 2 illustrates the way Tennant and Hynes carefully walk the line between laughs and tears, as Emily tries to make Simon realize why allowing a Christmas-obsessed Rosie to watch Home Alone may not be the best parenting choice. Watch one episode of There She Goes and you’ll be thirsty for more. — E.A.

There She Goes Season 2 premieres Tuesday, Aug. 18 on Britbox.

HEAR IT: Troye Sivan dreams a little Dream

The out Australian pop star’s six-song collection In a Dream is a self-described “concept EP,” chronicling a turbulent period in his life following the breakout success of his acclaimed 2018 sophomore album, Bloom. The queer indie pioneer continues to blossom on raw, confessional bangers like “Take Yourself Home," “Easy,” and “Rager Teenager!” — L.P.

Download/stream In a Dream on Apple Music.

PLAY IT: Relive the glory days of MTV with a rockin’ throwback party game

(Image: Big Potato)
(Image: Big Potato)

The Instagram generation might not believe it, but once upon a time MTV was most famous for playing… well, music. Big Potato’s new party game is a nostalgic throwback to those halcyon days, featuring two rousing rounds of gameplay that’ll call upon your memories of long afternoons and evenings watching music videos on Headbanger’s Ball, Total Request Live and Just Say Julie. Since in-person parties are in short supply in these pandemic times, get in the MTV spirit by playing this particular party game over Zoom. — E.A.

MTV The Throwback Music Party Game is available at Target.

HEAR IT: Erasure shines bright again

Erasure · Nerves of Steel

Vince Clarke and Andy Bell return with their aptly titled vibrant 18th album, The Neon, which harks back to their clubby classic ‘80s catalog yet sounds incredibly modern at the same time. Floor-fillers like “Hey Now (Think I Got a Feeling)” and “Nerves of Steel,” driven by Bell’s unmistakably brassy, showboating vocals and Clark’s analog synths, are both strong last-minute contenders for song of the summer. — L.P.

Download/stream The Neon on Apple Music.

BUY IT: Park the Mystery Machine at four new Scooby-Doo inspired Playmobil playsets

Earlier this year, Scooby-Doo fans of all ages got to construct their own versions of the Mystery Machine courtesy of Playmobil. Now, the toy company has released a variety of supernatural locations — based on places featured in popular episodes — that you can build for Scooby and his pals to explore. Playmobil’s four new playsets include the Mystery Mansion (the spooky house that’s front and center in the iconic opening credits), a pharaoh’s tomb, a witch’s cauldron and the Wild West. All four playsets come with a variety of figures, accessories and easy to assemble instructions that should prevent any ruh-rohs. — E.A.

Playmobil’s Scooby-Doo playsets are available at Amazon and Walmart.

HEAR IT: Blaqk Audio conjures gothic tropics

Blaqk Audio · Beneath the Black Palms (Side A)

AFI members Davey Havok and Jade Puget’s synthpop side-project’s fifth album, Beneath the Blaqk Palms, sounds like the soundtrack to a post-punk remake of Miami Vice, all brooding basslines and driving Jan Hammer synths. Side A came out two weeks ago, but now with the release of Side B, it’s a whole mood. The full Beneath the Blaqk Palms album is also available in beautiful candy-pink and neon-rainbow limited vinyl pressings. — L.P.

Download/stream Beneath the Blaqk Palms on Apple Music.

— Video produced by Gisselle Bances