The It List: 'Us' is out, Amy Schumer is 'Growing,' 'Parks & Rec' cast is reunited and the best in pop culture the week of March 18, 2019

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  • Jordan Peele
    Jordan Peele
    American actor and director
  • Rami Malek
    Rami Malek
    American actor

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 March 18 to 24, including the best deals we could find for each.

WATCH IT: Us

Is Jordan Peele's follow-up to his brilliant racial allegory Get Out as good as its predecessor? That's the $176 million question, and it's hard to say just yet: Get Out was a movie you appreciated more and more over time as repeat viewings and research uncovered all of the various hidden meanings and Easter eggs. Us is both a more straightforward horror movie (just ask Peele) and a bit harder to decode. It is bananas, we'll tell you that. It also has a climax that might not leave all viewers entirely satisfied. But it will damn sure make you think. And talk. And probably want to see it over again.

Us opens in theaters everywhere March 22. For showtime and ticket information, visit Fandango.

HEAR IT: Blackout

And to follow up his Academy Award-winning turn as Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek stars in… a podcast? Of course, this isn't your run-of-the-mill podcast (for one, it features Oscar & Emmy winner Malek). It's a drama about a radio DJ unveiling the events surrounding a mysterious national blackout that occurred 100 days earlier, so it's far more 21st century-War of the Worlds than Marc Maron. And though the writing can be janky at times ("You're the dumbest smart guy I know," a woman tells Malek's Simon in episode 1), it's intriguing enough in a quiet, character-driven disaster porn-sort of way to stick with beyond the two episodes we've been able to sample.

Episodes 1 & 2 of Blackout premiere March 19 on iTunes.

WATCH IT: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Just as the one-two punch of Black Panther and Aquaman changed the face of live-action superhero cinema last year, the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse signals a new beginning for comic book-derived cartoons. In place of the usual friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker, Spider-Verse introduces us to an all-new wall-crawler, Miles Morales — a Brooklyn teenager who becomes the hero New York needs. Actually, the film introduces us to six new wall-crawlers, including Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir and the spectacular Spider-Ham. That may sound like too many characters for one movie, but the brilliance of Spider-Verse lies in the way it deftly makes room for all of these Spider-People, while still keeping the emotional focus on Miles. Oh yeah, and it's also the best-looking animated feature in recent memory.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD and can be purchased on Amazon, Target and Walmart.

BOOK IT: 2019 PaleyFest L.A.

It's the most wonderful time of the year for TV lovers: From March 15-24, the casts of some of your favorite past and present series will take the stage as part of the Paley Center for Media's annual small-screen festival. The big tickets this year include the already sold-out reunion of the Parks & Recreation cast — including A-list movie star Chris Pratt — as well as a solo showcase for Stephen Colbert. There are also farewell panels for departing CW shows, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin, as well as tributes to ongoing favorites like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and RuPaul's Drag Race. Even if you can't attend in person, join in the fun remotely by forking over $7.99 for a Live Stream Package, or paying an a la cart fee of $1.99 per panel.

Tickets and streaming package purchases are available on the official Paley Center website.

SHOP IT: The Little Mermaid Anniversary Merch

It's been 30 years since The Little Mermaid became part of our world, and Box Lunch and Funko have buddied up for an exclusive Pop figure featuring undersea princess Ariel in her castaway ensemble. Both companies have plenty of other anniversary-themed items as well; browse through Box Lunch's many offerings, which range from exclusive backpacks to wallets. And while additional Pop figures won't be washing on shore until August, you can pre-order the likes of Prince Eric, Ursula the Sea Witch and Scuttle the Seagull now.

Visit Box Lunch for the exclusive Box Lunch Funko Pop, and pre-order the August wave of Pops on Entertainment Earth.

BOOK IT: Ariana Grande’s “Sweetener World Tour”

After all the attention paid to Grande’s whirlwind relationship with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, the phenomenally successful, ponytailed singer is putting the focus back on her music. She’s kicking off her “Sweetener World Tour” on March 18 in Albany, N.Y., and plans to continue touring dozens of cities, from Dallas to Dublin, through November. Expect her addictive song “Thank U, Next,” in which she references Davidson, to have a plum slot in the set list.

Tickets to Grande's "Sweetener World Tour" can be purchased on Ticketmaster.

WATCH IT: Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists

<em>Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists</em> (Photo: Freeform)
Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists (Photo: Freeform)

Fans of Pretty Little Liars will definitely want to catch this spinoff, which features O.G. cast members Janel Parrish and Sasha Pieterse returning to their roles and original executive producer I. Marlene King. Parrish and Pieterse’s characters, Mona and Alison, find themselves in the same small town with a new mystery. “It’s definitely darker than how our first season of PLL was,” Pieterse teased to Entertainment Tonight in May. “I feel like it picks up from PLL kind of seamlessly, there’s a two-year gap, yeah, and it just... it will be darker, let me put it that way.”

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists premieres Wednesday, March 20 at 8 p.m. on Freeform; stream it live on Hulu with a free trial.

HEAR IT: Motley Crüe, The Dirt soundtrack

They supposedly split in 2015, but the live-wires with the looks that kill are back to shout at the devil once again — with the companion record to their very un-PC and un-PG Netflix biopic, which also arrives this Friday. If you’re a Crüe fan, you’ll want this for the new title track featuring Machine Gun Kelly (who plays a spot-on Tommy Lee in the film) and two other new originals, “Ride With the Devil” and “Crash and Burn.” And if you’re a Crüe completist, you’ll want it for the bizarre cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”

Download on iTunes; buy on CD/vinyl at Amazon.

WATCH IT: The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

Billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, founder and chief executive officer of Theranos Inc., reacts during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Vanity Fair 2015 New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The summit assembles titans of technology, politics, business, and media for inventive programming and inspiring conversations around the ideas and innovations shaping the future. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Elizabeth Holmes at the Vanity Fair 2015 New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The story of Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the multi-billion dollar health empire Theranos, that came crashing down spectacularly within a few years after being cited as a “massive fraud” by the Securities and Exchange Commission, is fascinating and infuriating on its own. Here, director Alex Gibney, known for directing Scientology doc Going Clear and the 2015 non-fiction movie on Frank Sinatra, Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, tackles the topic in a two-hour film that received rave reviews when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January.The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley premieres Monday, March 18 at 9 p.m. on HBO; stream it on HBO Go, Hulu or Amazon.

WATCH IT: Amy Schumer Growing

The title of Amy Schumer's new stand-up special is a reference to her pregnancy, but it could easily refer to her growth as a comedian. Schumer has always delighted in shocking audiences with obscenities and calling out double standards. But now that she's married, starting a family and becoming more politically active, Schumer's very funny reflections on life have taken on a new depth. Growing finds her in top form, bemoaning the experience of having a public pregnancy at the same time as Meghan Markle; describing the day she was arrested protesting Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination and opening up about having a husband on the spectrum. It's a solid set that shows Schumer is a comedian with staying power.Amy Schumer Growing premieres on Netflix on Tuesday, March 19.

HEAR IT: Wallows, Nothing Happens

Often when actors play music, it’s just a vanity project. But this jangly indie-rock band, co-fronted by 13 Reasons Why star Dylan Minnette and veteran child actor Braeden Lemasters, is the real deal. The trio’s full-length debut, produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Franz Ferdinand), evokes buzz bands of that last golden age of alternative rock, the early/mid 2000s — think Spoon, Vampire Weekend and especially the Strokes.

Download on iTunes; buy on CD/vinyl at Amazon.

STREAM IT: Cold War

Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot in a scene from <em>Cold War.</em> (Photo: Amazon Studios via AP)
Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot in a scene from Cold War. (Photo: Amazon Studios via AP)

Eyebrows shot up on Oscar nominations morning when Polish director, Pawel Pawlikowski, received a Best Director nod that many assumed was going to A Star Is Born's Bradley Cooper. But those who had seen the filmmaker's sumptuous black-and-white drama weren't surprised. Cold War distills 15 years of post-World War II European history into a trim 90 minutes, dramatized through the experiences of two musicians (Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot) moving in and out of each other's lives, as well as in front of and behind the Iron Curtain. Impeccably framed and lovingly lit by Oscar-nominated cinematographer, Łukasz Żal, the movie resembles found photographs from the Cold War, scored to a soundtrack that tells the film's tragic story as effectively as the dialogue.Cold War is available on Amazon Prime starting March 22.

WATCH IT: The OA, Part II

In 2016, fans were divided about the final episode of The OA, which added some jarring elements (an averted school shooting, a hint that the entire story so far had been a lie) to the fascinating tale of a woman (series co-creator Brit Marling) who says she's trapped in the wrong dimension. As it turns out, there's more to the story. Part II of The OA opens with a new paranormal mystery, involving the disappearance of a teenage girl who was last seen playing a bizarre interactive phone game. Soon we see the return of some familiar characters, and by the second episode, we have a clue as to how the whole inter-dimensional, time-traveling, interpretative-dancing puzzle may fit together. As baffling and intriguing as the first season, The OA Part II will have viewers falling down the rabbit hole all over again. The OA premieres Friday, March 22 on Netflix.

HEAR IT: Jenny Lewis, On the Line

The veteran singer-songwriter, former Rilo Kiley frontwoman and ex-child actress truly lays it on the line on her fourth solo album — her most emotional yet, following her mother’s death and a serious breakup. Recorded at Capitol Records’ famed Studio B, the LP features collaborations with heavy-hitters Beck, Ringo Starr, Don Was, Benmont Tench and Jim Keltner.

Download on iTunes; buy on CD/vinyl at Amazon.

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