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 June 24-30, including the best deals we could find for each.
WATCH IT: Yesterday
It has the most intriguing premise of any film to hit theaters so far this year: After a struggling British musician (Himesh Patel) suffers a bike accident, he wakes up to find the world has no collective memory of The Beatles, thus allowing him to pass all their hit songs off as his own and quickly ascent to international superstardom. As for how it all works, all you need is Love Actually scribe Richard Curtis and Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle coming together and it all but guarantees a feel-good jukebox musical that finds a most inspired way to celebrate the most beloved rock band of all time: by pretending they no longer exist. Given Curtis's involvement, it shouldn't be surprising, but beyond its high concept scenario the film also leans just as heavily into its "Will They or Won't They?" romantic subplot. In other words, it's a perfect date movie for Beatles lovers.
Get tickets for Yesterday at Fandango.
PLAY IT: BTS World
The K-pop band’s new mobile game is particularly well named, since its members have practically taken over the planet in the last few years. Their latest project offers devotees — known as members of their ARMY — some new fun, as it allows them to have the virtual experience of interacting with their favorites in the role of their manager, attempting to steer them to the bigtime. The game, available June 26, is also chock full of new material fans will adore: 10,000 new photos, 100 video clips exclusive to the game and, best of all, first dibs on new BTS music, featured throughout the game.
BTS World is available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
HEAR IT: The Black Keys, Let’s Rock
The scrappy garage rock duo’s first album since 2014 has been described by band member Patrick Carney as an “homage to electric guitar.” Proving rock ‘n’ roll is in fact not dead, the album’s lead single “Lo/Hi” made history by topping Billboard's Mainstream Rock, Adult Alternative Songs, Rock Airplay and Alternative Songs charts, making it the first time any song has hit No. 1 on all four formats simultaneously.
STREAM IT: The Lion King (25th anniversary)
It’s the Hollywood circle of life: The same year that the animated Lion King celebrates its 25th anniversary, Disney is releasing a new “live action” version that’s expected to be the king of the July box office. And while we’re just as eager as everyone else to hear Donald Glover and Beyoncé croon “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” director Jon Favreau has a tall order in equaling the pop culture longevity of the cartoon version, which premiered in theaters on June 24, 1994. It may be hard to believe now, but the Mouse House was dubious about The Lion King in the run-up to the movie’s release, uncertain whether it would equal the grosses of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Instead, the movie wound up out-earning all of its predecessors by a healthy margin, while the Elton John/Tim Rice soundtrack remains one of the ‘90s’ defining albums. In hindsight, The Lion King represents the culmination of Disney’s hand-drawn animated renaissance, as well as its inevitable decline. The following year, the first Toy Story arrived in theaters and kick-started the computer-animation revolution that’s led a quarter-century later to the roar of a new Lion King.
HEAR IT: Freaknik: A Discourse on a Paradise Lost podcast
While MTV spent all those years chasing the debaucherous images of spring breakers on Florida beaches, an arguably even wilder party was happening some 600 miles north on the streets of urban Atlanta. Launched in 1983, Freaknik became a full-on phenomenon by the early ‘90s, drawing upwards of 200,000 mostly black college students to ATL from all over the country. And eventually, the city couldn't handle it. In a fascinating new podcast produced by Endeavor Audio and Mass Appeal, documentarian Christopher Frierson unspools an oral history of the event, highlighting not just the infamous intersection of sex, drugs and hip-hop, but also the (oftentimes unjustified) strife between revelers and law enforcement and city officials that would ultimately spell its doom.
Stream the Freaknik podcast on Endeavor Audio starting June 25.
WATCH IT: The Amazing Race (Season 31 finale)
For its 31st season, CBS’s globetrotting competition series decided to switch things up by staging a showdown between the network’s three big reality franchises: Big Brother, Survivor and TAR. Headed into this week’s season finale, it’s three teams of Amazing Race veterans — Colin and Christie, Leo and Jamal and Tyler and Korey — against lone Big Brother survivors, Nicole and Victor. In other words, the producers may have been better off just doing another TAR all-star season, as the promised fireworks between the different reality shows never really materialized. Other format tweaks — like putting the game changing U-Turn to a vote — yielded similarly mixed results. On the other hand, the international locations were postcard-perfect as always, and the mix of old-and-new challenges kept the teams on their toes. Here’s hoping that Season 32 gets back to the basics that has kept this show on the air for 18 years and counting.
The season finale of The Amazing Race airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CBS and CBS All Access.
HEAR IT: Ingrid Michaelson, Stranger Songs
The singer-songwriter’s ninth album is inspired by the Netflix hit Stranger Things, with its release preceding the series’ Season 3 premiere on July 4. Expect lots of moody ‘80s synthesizers: Michaelson says one of her biggest sonic touchstones for the album was “Only You” by Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke’s new wave duo Yaz.
From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Sopranos, from to Archie Bunker to Carrie Bradhsaw, New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum covers it all in this collection of essays mostly reprinted but a couple published for the first time. The Pulitzer Prize winner profiles TV showrunners like Ryan Murphy (Glee) and Kenya Barris (Black-ish), tackles the #MeToo movement and reality TV’s role in the election of President Donald Trump and much more.
I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
WATCH IT: The Rook (series premiere)
Cross The Bourne Identity with the X-Men and you’ve got The Rook, Starz’s eight-episode adaptation of a 2012 bestseller by Daniel O’Malley. Emma Greenwell plays Myfanway Thomas, a card-carrying member of the Checquy — a top-secret British secret service agency tasked with keeping the homeland secure from those with extraordinary powers. It turns out that Myfanway has extraordinary powers herself... not that she remembers how to use them, due to the fact that a big chunk of her memory is missing. Enter Linda Farrier (Joely Richardson), Thomas’s boss and supposed ally. But as with any good spy-meets-superhero serial, you can bet that not everything is as it appears to be.
The Rook premieres June 30 at 8 p.m. on Starz and the Starz app.
STREAM IT: The Feels
The YouTube web series offers bite-size chunks — 95 seconds to just over six minutes — of humanity. The show follows Charlie, a bisexual high school teacher, as he experiences life as a queer man, from dating to changing in the locker room and beyond. Writer Tim Manley and filmmaker Naje Lataillade created the series based on Manley’s frustration at the lack of representation of people like himself, and they’ve released an episode each day to commemorate LGBTQ Pride Month. As the month comes to a close, now is the perfect time to catch up on the series, which is guaranteed to alternately amuse and make your heart feel something.
The Feels is available on YouTube.
This record is even more of an homage to the electric guitar than the Black Keys’s album, harnessing the onstage five-pronged power of six-string gods Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi.
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