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The It List: Puppy Bowl and Kitten Bowl offer alternatives to Super Bowl LV, Salma Hayek stars in sci-fi drama 'Bliss,' Britney Spears's inner circle speaks out in new doc and the best in pop culture the week of Feb. 1, 2021

Yahoo Entertainment Staff
·11 min read
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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. 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 Feb. 1-7, 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: Some of the cutest critters around go head-to-head with Super Bowl LV

While the Weeknd, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play at that other big event, the annual puppy and kitten bowls will go head-to-head on different networks. Both will, as usual, highlight the need for pet adoption. On one, more than 70 pups, playing for either Team Fluff or Team Ruff, will try to win a trophy for their team by carrying chew toys across a mini-football field and looking really, really cute while doing it. (Look out for that Aaron Pawdgers!) Everyone’s favorite duo, lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and rapper Snoop Dogg, will be co-hosting while Monday Night Football’s Steve Levy and Sage Steele, host of Sports Center, will provide the commentary, as Kristen Bell, Valerie Bertinelli and others help viewers adopt pets. Meanwhile, dozens of adorable felines will be having fun at their own happening, hosted by animal advocate Beth Stern. Actresses Tamera Mowry-Housley and Cameron Mathison will make appearances, too. Viewers of either event will see some heartwarming stories about the animals and their advocates, plus information on other shelter residents in need of a permanent home. Rarely have we been so thankful for a DVR. — Raechal Shewfelt

Puppy Bowl XVII airs Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. on Animal Planet and will stream on discovery+; Kitten Bowl VII airs Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel.

STREAM IT: Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson discover a glitch in the matrix in the sci-fi drama Bliss

As evidenced by his work on films like Another Earth and the TV series The Magicians, writer/director Mike Cahill is drawn to stories of parallel universes. The filmmaker revisits that always-potent subject in Bliss, which stars Owen Wilson as divorced father Greg, who starts to suspect that the world around him isn’t what it seems. His suspicions are seemingly confirmed by Isabel (Salma Hayek), a free-spirited woman who plays the Trinity to his Neo. But is she actually the gateway to another reality or is this just a case of one deeply troubled soul taking advantage of another? That mystery is set in motion in this exclusive clip from Bliss, which reveals the first meeting (or is it… ?) between Greg and Isabel in a bar. We’ll let you discover which one of them knows kung fu. — Ethan Alter

Bliss premieres Friday, Feb. 5 on Amazon Prime.

STREAM IT: Learn how a famous British murder mystery was cracked in a new Britbox series and documentary

In the late 1980s, the quiet Welsh county of Pembrokeshire was rocked by a series of gruesome murders that went unsolved for decades. Nearly twenty years later, police identified John Cooper as the killer with the help of forensics, shoe-leather detective work and… an ‘80s game show. The story of that true crime is dramatized in The Pembrokeshire Murders, a new Britbox series starring Luke Evans as real-life investigator Steve Wilkins who broke the case. Accompanying the miniseries is the documentary The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Game Show Killer, which features the specific game show footage that played a crucial role in catching Cooper. This exclusive clip from the documentary provides a look at that incriminating evidence, and should give armchair sleuths a reason to pay even closer attention to Jeopardy!. — E.A.

The Pembrokeshire Murders and The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Game Show Killer premiere Tuesday, Feb. 2 on Britbox.

WATCH IT: Framing Britney Spears charts the pop star's rise to stardom through her conservatorship battle with dad

The "Toxic" singer's only performances these days are dance routines in her living room — with an array of midriff-baring outfits but always the same sad look in her eye. So this documentary, from the New York Times Presents series, takes viewers back to her roots, starting in Kentwood, La. New interviews with her assistant Felicia Culotta, agent Nancy Carson and others who helped on her path to fame — as well as archival interviews with Spears, who's been on an "infinite work hiatus" since January 2019 — let fans re-experience the magnetism that made her the pop princess of that era. And a boss she was, seemingly calling the shots when it came to business dealings and her performances — all the while also deflecting criticism of her talent, inappropriate questions about her sex life and getting blamed for corrupting the young girls of America. Watching it, you can practically see her unravel, being shamed on national TV for her parenting and partying, culminating in her 2008 breakdown and the eventual conservatorship which put her father, Jamie Spears, described as never being a "big presence in her life," in charge of running her empire. That look into her ongoing conservatorship — which has spawned the #FreeBritney movement — is perhaps the most interesting, especially now as she tries to push him out and he won't go. Two lawyers tied to the conservatorship give rare insight into the family saga, but, sadly, not a lot of hope that Spears will regain control of her life. — Suzy Byrne

Framing Britney Spears airs Friday, Feb. 5 at 10 p.m. on FX and FX on Hulu.

WATCH/HEAR IT: It’s game on for the Weeknd

Ready for the weekend — and the Weeknd? Start pre-gaming for Abel Tesfaye’s sure-to-be-epic halftime show performance at Super Bowl LV with The Highlights. The 18-song best-of collection contains five selections from After Hours (Yahoo Entertainment’s No. 1 album of 2020), five from Beauty Behind the Madness, three from Starboy, two from House of Balloons and one My Dear Melancholy cut, as well as the Black Panther soundtrack contribution “Pray for Me” and the one-off Ariana Grande duet “Love Me Harder.” That latter track indicates that Grande will be one of the superstar guests joining the Weeknd on the field in Tampa this Sunday, though we’re hoping his helmeted Starboy collaborators Daft Punk will show up as well. — Lyndsey Parker

The Highlights by The Weeknd is available Friday, Feb. 5 on Apple Music; Super Bowl LV kicks off Sunday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. on CBS.

WATCH IT: Fake Famous delves into the fascinating world of influencers

In an early scene of this documentary, author and Vanity Fair special correspondent Nick Bilton quickly and easily purchases 7,500 Instagram followers for just $119.60. It’s part of his experiment to transform three people in Los Angeles, with small social media followings, into famous influencers. Besides purchasing followers, who are bots not actual humans, Bilton — the film’s writer and director — also stages elaborate photo shoots for the three people he casts in the roles. For instance, he covers pats of butter in cocoa powder to stand in for expensive chocolates and fills a dingy kiddie pool with rose petals to look like a spa day. Of course, this is in effort to secure sponsorships from luxury spas or hotels later. The absorbing movie also explores how social media affects our world, from politics to pop culture to a generation of kids who really, really want to be famous. — R.S.

Fake Famous premieres Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. on HBO. Stream it later on HBO Max.

WATCH IT: John Carpenter’s They Live! lives another day on 4K

Get your bubble gum ready. The term “cult classic” doesn’t quite do enough justice to describe the everlasting effect of John Carpenter’s 1988 raucous sci-fi actioner, and that expands beyond Rowdy Rodd Piper’s iconic quote (“I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'm all outta bubblegum.”) and the popular “Obey” artwork of Shepard Fairey it inspired. Don’t forget the thriller — about a drifter who discovers the ruling class is really aliens bent on domination through consumerism — also marks one of the best film roles of Keith David, so young in the film he bears a striking similarity to Mekhi Phifer in 8 Mile. The film favorite lands on 4K UHD for the first time this month, which includes commentary from Carpenter and Piper, interviews with David and co-star Katie Foster, and various other behind-the-scenes goodness. Take a look. — Kevin Polowy

They Live! is available on 4K UHD on Amazon.

HEAR IT: Saturday night’s all right for Foo-Fighting

Here’s your other big weekend soundtrack. The great rock saviors are back with their surprisingly pop-oriented, party-ready 10th album. Dave Grohl recently compared Medicine at Midnight to David Bowie's hit crossover LP Let's Dance, telling Los Angeles’s ALT 98.7 FM it’s a “fun” “dance record” “filled with anthemic, huge, sing-along rock songs.” But the hard-charging, metallic riffage of the latest single, “No Son of Mine,” indicates that the Foos are still as rawkin’ as ever. — L.P.

Medicine at Midnight by Foo Fighters is available Friday, Feb. 5 on Apple Music.

STREAM IT: Life in a Day 2020 brings the world to YouTube

Ten years ago, filmmaker Kevin Macdonald asked amateur videographers around the world to record their activities on a single day — July 24, 2010 — and upload the footage to YouTube. The resulting film, Life in a Day, provided a collage of lived-in moments, be they mundane or extraordinary, funny or sad. Last summer, Macdonald repeated the experiment and assembled Life in a Day 2020, which chronicles what happened on Earth on July 25, 2020. Following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, the documentary debuts on YouTube on Feb. 6. Like most sequels, the new film features a few familiar faces, most notably a widower and his young son who were the breakout stars of the original movie. (Don’t worry, we won’t spoil what’s happened to them since.) But Life in a Day 2020 also features scenes we never would have imagined a decade ago, from footage of the summertime Black Lives Matter protests to the constant reminders of the coronavirus pandemic. While it might be difficult for some to re-experience a year they were eager to see end, the film serves as a visual time capsule for future generations about the moments of turbulence, and the moments of joy, that defined life in 2020. — E.A.

Life in a Day 2020 premieres Saturday, Feb. 6 on YouTube.

HEAR IT: The Singing Surgeons are putting the beat in heartbeat

To their patients, they’re Dr. Elvis Francois and Dr. William Robinson. To the rest of the world, however, they’re the “Singing Surgeons” who have gone viral for their heartwarming songs-and-scrubs performances. After appearances on Ellen, a stint on The Masked Singer for Dr. Elvis and the release of 2020’s Music Is Medicine to support COVID-19 relief, the former Mayo Clinic residents are back with another album of cover songs in honor of American Heart Month. Fittingly, Put a Little Love in Your Heart — released in partnership with Lipton, which has made a donation to the American Heart Association — is full of cardio-inspired covers, from “You’ll Be in My Heart” by Phil Collins to Kelly Clarkson’s “Heartbeat Song.” Now that’s the kind of (four) chamber music we can get into. — Erin Donnelly

Put a Little Love in Your Heart is available to stream Monday, Feb. 1 on Apple Music and Amazon.

PLAY IT: Live, die and repeat with Funko Games’s Groundhog Day board game

(Image: Funko Games)
(Image: Funko Games)

Before you ask: No, you haven’t played this game before. Funko Games allows 2-6 players to experience Phil Connors’s time in Punxsutawney purgatory for themselves via the cooperative Groundhog Day tabletop card game. As you repeat Feb. 2 again and again, find ways to react (or avoid) locals like Ned Ryerson while learning the skills and humility necessary to become a better person, and unlock your temporal jail. Buy the Amazon exclusive bundle, and you’ll get a Punxsutawney Phil Pop who has got your back… babe.

Groundhog Day: The Game is available on Amazon.

— Video produced by Jon San and edited by John Santo