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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. 18-24, 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: Nice guy Tom Hanks plays the nicest guy ever, Fred Rogers, in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
By all accounts, Fred Rogers was exactly the good-hearted friendly neighbor that millions of children watched everyday on his beloved PBS series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Even the things you didn’t know about him were admirable. So it only makes sense that the filmmakers behind A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood would cast the nicest guy in Hollywood — that would be Tom Hanks — to play the nicest guy in the history of television. And based on the enthusiastic reaction at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year, the Cast Away star has a strong shot at winning his third Oscar for donning Mr. Rogers’s signature red sweater and tennis shoes.
Interestingly, it would also be his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor; that’s because Neighborhood — which was directed by Marielle Heller and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster — isn’t a conventional biopic. Instead of taking center stage, Mr. Rogers is a supporting player in someone else’s personal drama. That someone is Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), a journalist with some serious daddy issues that are dragging his own family life down. (Vogel is modeled after real-life writer, Tom Junod, who wrote an acclaimed magazine profile of Mr. Rogers on which the movie is based.) Assigned to pen a puff piece about the Pittsburgh-based TV host, Lloyd initially digs around for any dirt he can find about its host, but inevitably has his heart and mind opened by prolonged exposure to his subject’s irrepressible kindness.
Framed as an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the film faithfully recreates the sets and tone of the long-running series, and also weaves the lessons that Fred Rogers taught into its fictionalized narrative. That approach may be frustrating to those who want more insight into Rogers’s off-screen life, which he rarely discussed in any depth while he was alive. But the movie understands that Mr. Rogers’s message — rather than the man — is what he ultimately wanted to endure. Hanks channels that in his performance by not slavishly imitating the host, but instead serving as a vessel for his values. We’d call that Oscar-worthy. — Ethan Alter
WATCH IT: Frozen 2 is finally, finally here!
Raise your hand if your children have been asking "How long ‘til we can see Frozen 2?" for at least a couple years now? We know it's not just us. The long-awaited sequel to Disney's 2013 box office hit/ubiquitous pop culture phenomenon finally hits theaters this weekend, and we're glad to report it's just as fun, funny, sweet and charming as the original — which of course is excellent news for parents who will soon be destined (sentenced?) to watch it on repeat on Disney+. The follow-up finds Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristin Bell) and friends searching for answers when a supernaturally powered storm threatens Arendelle, leading them to an enchanted forest where the sources of Elsa's powers will ultimately be revealed. And before you can ask, yes, the film does also live up to its predecessor in the musical department: Expect the single "Into the Unknown" to have a hypnotic, "Let It Go"-esque hold over your little ones. — Kevin Polowy
STREAM IT: Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings is comfort TV for the holidays
Fresh off her gig hosting the 2019 CMAs, country music legend and Steel Magnolias actress Dolly Parton offers this entry into the field of heartwarming holiday programming. The eight-episode anthology series features stories from some of Parton’s catalog of songs, acted out by stars including Kathleen Turner and Ginnifer Goodwin, and featuring her music, new and old. Both “Jolene” and “Two Doors Down” are the basis of episodes. Netflix teases that the show offers “the Dolly music you love, the stories you’ve been waiting for,” ranging from “love stories and inspirational tales to family dramas, westerns and revenge comedies.” Yes, please! — Raechal Shewfelt
Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings premieres Nov. 22 on Netflix.
HEAR IT: Coldplay drops Everyday Life, a 53-minute double album divided into two halves, Sunrise and Sunset
The Britrock superstars emerge from “hibernation” with a self-described “experimental” double album (one half titled Sunrise, the other Sunset). Their marketing game is strong for this one, with the album announced via typewritten notes snail-mailed to fans of the band, ads in small local newspapers (including the North Wales Daily Post, where guitarist Jonny Buckland once worked) and, best of all, a fake press conference. — Lyndsey Parker
PLAY IT: Jedi: Fallen Order has caused a great disturbance in the Force
Hands down the best Star Wars video game in a decade, Jedi: Fallen Order channels action-adventure classics like Uncharted and Tomb Raider as your fledgling Jedi, Cal Kestis, begins to awaken his inner Force. Set in the years following Revenge of the Sith, the game finds Cal, accompanied by trusty droid BD-1, on a quest to re-establish the Jedi knighthood after the execution of Order 66. Along the way Cal explores planets like the Wookiee home world of Kashyyyk, jacks an AT-AT and learns to master his Jedi powers and lightsaber skills against all sorts of Stormtroopers — and even darker, more dangerous foes. — Marcus Errico
Jedi: Fallen Order is available for PS4, Xbox One and PC at Amazon.
BUY IT: Journey to another far, far away galaxy with Farscape: The Complete Series
Twenty years ago, astronaut John Crichton took a wrong turn into a wormhole, and wound up in a corner of the universe filled with adventure, danger and crazy puppets created by the geniuses at The Henson Company. While never a ratings hit on the level of Star Wars or even Stargate, two decades later, Farscape enjoys a legacy as one of the most inventive and innovative sci-fi series ever made. It’s also got one of the best ensembles ever, headed up by Ben Browder’s Han Solo-meets-Duck Dodgers explorer, Crichton, and Claudia Black’s one-of-a-kind space soldier, Aeryn Sun. This new 20th anniversary box set includes the miniseries, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, which serves as an extra-long series finale, as well as audio commentaries, deleted scenes and more featurettes than could fill a Leviathan transport vessel. — E.A.
Farscape: The Complete Series is available on Amazon.
HEAR IT: ACM Artist of the Decade Jason Aldean caps off 2019 with his aptly titled ninth studio album, 9
The country superstar’s ninth studio album is fittingly titled after his lucky number, which was his basketball number growing up. Lead single “We Back” is a return to the upbeat anthem vibe that made the multiple ACM/CMA/CMT-winner a sensation almost a decade ago with My Kinda Party. — L.P.
STREAM IT: Apple TV+ brings Sundance into your home with Hala
Like Netflix and Amazon Prime before it, Apple TV+ is getting into the prestige cinema game with its very own Sundance Film Festival acquisition. Minhal Baig’s sophomore feature premiered at Park City in January, where it won raves for its depiction of the titular Pakistani-American teenager (played by Blockers star Geraldine Viswanathan) as she wrestles with her immigrant parents’ insistence on following the traditions of their native land and her desire to pursue American activities like skateboarding and dating. The film’s coming-of-age structure may be somewhat familiar, but as played by Viswanathan and written and directed by Baig, Hala herself emerges as a fresh and relatable heroine. Apple TV+ is clearly hoping awards voters take notice of that: They're giving the film an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release before it shows up on the streaming service. — E.A.
Hala opens in limited release on Nov. 22 — visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information — and will be available to stream on Apple TV+ starting Dec. 6.
HEAR IT: Celebrate Tom Waits’s work with the release of Come On Up to the House: Women Sing Waits, a tribute compilation featuring new renditions of his songs from a number of female artists
This impressive tribute to avant garde songwriting genius Tom Waits features covers by Rosanne Cash, Aimee Mann, Patty Griffin, Phoebe Bridgers, Corinne Bailey Rae, Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer, Iris Dement and many more. — L.P.
READ IT: Do some FLOTUS-style soul searching with Michelle Obama’s Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice
If Michelle Obama’s 2018 bestselling memoir, Becoming, left you feeling inspired to make your own stamp on the world — or just become a better you — consider this a much-needed follow-up. Along with an introduction from the former first lady as well as quotes guaranteed to spark a fire inside your soul, this journal includes dozens of thought-provoking questions and prompts aimed at helping readers fill in the blanks about their own personal journey. What are your goals? Your strengths? The failures you’re ready to leave behind? It’s just the toolkit you need to get a jumpstart on those 2020 resolutions. — Erin Donnelly
Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice is available to purchase on Amazon.
HEAR IT: Beck reinvents himself with Pharrell-assisted Hyperspace
Beck and Chris Martin are busy men this week! Beck’s 14th album, a collaboration-heavy effort with co-production and co-writing by Pharrell Williams, features a guest spot by the Coldplay singer, along with Sky Ferreira and Terrell Hines. The shape-shifting artist’s latest effort boasts a groovy R&B-chillout vibe that’s a departure from 2017’s poppy Colors and 2014’s acoustic-leaning surprise Album of the Year Grammy-winner, Morning Phase. — L.P.
WATCH IT: Dora and the Lost City of Gold is a pleasant surprise
With our sincerest apologies to Dora the Explorer, we didn't expect a live-action take on the beloved Nickelodeon toon to exactly prove a treasure. But the August release, starring an effervescent Isabela Merced as our young heroine, turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the summer movie season, and now moves to home entertainment this week for further discovery and repeat viewings. In retrospect it shouldn't have been a shock given the talent behind the camera: The film was co-written by Nicholas Stoller, who's given us R-rated gems like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbors but more recently has veered into more kid-friendly entertainment with Storks and The Muppets; it's directed by Muppets helmer and Flight of the Conchords creator James Bobin. So Lost City of Gold comes packed with laughs, particularly of the fish-out-of-water variety as a wilderness-raised Dora briefly adjusts to life at a suburban American high school. A jungle adventure with her new friends awaits, though, and the film, which cleverly incorporates in-jokes and winks from assorted Dora IP, never relents in its entertainment value. Turns out we learned something: Dora deserved her own movie after all. — K.P.
Buy Dora and the Lost City of Gold on digital or 4K UHD on Amazon.
HEAR IT: Leonard Cohen, Thanks for the Dance
The late troubadour and poet’s final, posthumous album was pieced together by his son, Adam Cohen, based on musical sketches from their previous collaboration, 2016’s You Want It Darker. A-list guests include Beck, Jennifer Warnes, Feist, Damien Rice and Daniel Lanois. — L.P.
HEAR IT: Hanukkah+ is an unprecedented mix of original and classic Hannukah songs
Holiday music isn’t just about Christmas! Here, hipster artists like HAIM, Jack Black, the Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, Loudon Wainwright III and Adam Green provide the perfect indie-rock soundtrack for your eight crazy nights. — L.P.
PLAY IT: Marvel: Crisis Protocol brings a new (end)game home
Bring the ultimate comic team-up to your tabletop in this epic new miniatures-based game that pits two players against each other as Marvel’s greatest heroes and supervillains. Assemble your team, set up the battlefield, then roll the dice to kick off the mayhem. The basic box comes complete with everything needed to launch your free-for-alls, including 10 detailed character miniatures (that can be custom painted for the DIYers out there), dice and New York City terrain that becomes part of the melee (you can bust walls, toss utility poles and crash into cars). Expansion packs are also available, featuring different heroes, including the Hulk, Venom and Black Panther. In the immortal words of the late, great Stan Lee: “Excelsior!” — M.E.
Marvel: Crisis Protocol is available from Amazon.
HEAR IT: American Idol’s Scarypoolparty releases debut LP, Exit Form
The artist better/formerly known as Alejandro Aranda, the genius runner-up and “humble dishwasher” of this year’s American Idol season, breaks out with an ambitious debut album borrowing from both his industrial (NIN, Ministry, Dead Dance) and classical (Mozart, Chopin, Bach) influences. — L.P.
Download on iTunes; buy on CD/vinyl/cassette at Amazon.