The It List: Rapper Meek Mill makes major acting debut in 'Charm City Kings,' Selena Gomez shines in Woody Allen's 'A Rainy Day in New York' and the best in pop culture the week of Oct. 5, 2020

Yahoo Entertainment Staff
·16 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 Oct. 5-11, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)

STREAM IT: All eyes on Meek Mill’s first major acting role in Charm City Kings

According to IMDb, Meek Mill has 79 acting credits already, though you’ll notice 77 of those are “video shorts,” aka music videos. One is a 2011 low-budget urban drama you’ve surely never heard of called Streets. Which leaves Charm City Kings. With all due respect to Streets, we’ll call this the Philadelphia rapper’s major film debut, and it is a gem. Written by Sherman Payne and directed by Angel Manuel Soto, the coming-of-age drama follows a trio of young Baltimore teens whose interest in the city’s famed dirt-bike culture finds them subsequently caught up in more than a couple illicit and dangerous activities. Mill shines as a war-pained bike gang boss intent on not letting the kids go bad, but those plans soon fall through. It’s no wonder Mill gives a monster performance, though, he’s had plenty of practice in those video shorts. — Kevin Polowy

Charm City Kings premieres Thursday, Oct. 8 on HBO Max.

WATCH IT: Selena Gomez shines in Woody Allen’s long-delayed A Rainy Day in New York

Originally shot on the rainy streets of the Big Apple in the fall of 2017, Woody Allen’s 50th feature film has been in deep storage ever since the director faced renewed scrutiny over sexual abuse allegations by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. Dropped by its distributor, Amazon Studios, and disowned by several members of its cast — including stars Timothée Chalamet and Selena Gomez, who donated their salaries to Time’s Up — the movie is finally arriving in U.S. theaters. Like many late-period Allen features, Rainy Day has a fair amount of stilted dialogue and clumsy storytelling as it spins its episodic yarn about a college-aged couple (Chalamet and Elle Fanning) who have a variety of Manhattan misadventures over the course of 24 hours. But the movie also features some terrific comic performances by Fanning, Diego Luna and especially Gomez, who brings a hilarious deadpan naturalism to Allen’s scripted hijinks. (See her in action in an exclusive clip from the film above.) Who’s ready for Monte Carlo 2? — Ethan Alter

A Rainy Day in New York opens in theaters Friday, Oct. 9; check Fandango for ticket and showtime information.

STREAM IT: Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer star in explosive rom-com Spontaneous

The trailer for Spontaneous starts off “normal” enough — we see a budding romance between an awkward teen (Charlie Plummer) and the free spirt (Katherine Langford) he’s bound to end up with. And then just shy of the 30-second mark, it happens: One of their schoolmates spontaneously explodes in the middle of class. Welcome to one of the most WTFiest films of the year. Spontaneous, written and directed by Divergent and Underwater scribe Brian Duffield, follows the pair’s off-kilter coupling as a phenomenon of exploding high schoolers drives them into quarantine (and leads to one especially hilarious E.T. homage). Check out an exclusive clip from the film above. — K.P.

Spontaneous premieres Tuesday, Oct. 6 on VOD services including FandangoNOW, iTunes and Amazon.

WATCH IT: The country music-themed drama Yellow Rose sings a timely tune… and unites two Broadway stars

Attention Broadway fans: We’ve got your first look at the Miss Saigon reunion that’s a small, but important part of the new movie, Yellow Rose. Directed by Diane Paragas, the country music drama marks the feature film debut of Eva Noblezada — who starred in the 2014 London revival, as well as the 2017 Broadway revival of the hit musical — as Rose, a young Filipino woman whose singing ambitions are put on hold after her mother is arrested by immigration officers and threatened with deportation. Lea Salonga — the star of Miss Saigon’s original Broadway production — plays Gail, the Texas housewife who tries to help Rose in her mom’s absence. This exclusive clip from the movie spotlights the emotional fault lines between the two that eventually push Rose out of Gail’s house and into the outside world where she hopes to find her own song. Let’s make sure that these two musical theater stars get to share a tune, as well as a scene, on their next collaboration. — E.A.

Yellow Rose opens in theaters Friday, Oct. 9; check Fandango for ticket and showtime information.

STREAM IT: Aya Cash is the scary storytelling master in Scare Me

Aya Cash is having a moment. The You’re the Worst actress (that doesn’t feel right to type out) is drawing big love for her turn as “new girl” Stormfront, a superhero who turns out to have some, um, questionable beliefs, in Amazon’s second season of The Boys. Also currently on-demand is Josh Ruben’s clever indie-horror twist on the classic Cabin in the Woods tale. Cash and Ruben play writers on retreats who come together during a power outage for a showdown of scary stories; and when Chris Redd’s pizza man shows up, it becomes a three-way (not that kind of three-way) contest. But is there something more sinister lurking? Scare Me will keep you guessing. Watch an exclusive clip above. — K.P.

Scare Me is currently streaming on Shudder TV.

WATCH IT: Radha Black rocks the mic as a struggling playwright-turned-rapper in The 40-Year-Old Version

Radha Black turns her own mid-life crisis into art in this hilarious and heartfelt slice of New York life. Filmed in glorious black-and-white, the film features its writer, director and star as a once-promising playwright whose career has stalled out due to a combination of inertia and a lack of opportunity for Black female artists in the Broadway scene. But her creative spark is re-lit after she starts spitting rhymes with the help of a Brooklyn-based DJ, and improbably launches a side hustle as a 40-year-old rapper. Filled with wry observations about the pain and glory of the creative process, and spot-on satire of the insularity of the New York theater world (look for a riotously funny spoof of a would-be In the Heights clone), The 40-Year-Old Version is a seriously great jam. — E.A.

The 40-Year-Old Version premieres Friday, Oct. 9 on Netflix.

WATCH IT: Don’t throw away your shot to learn all about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s father in the HBO doc Siempre, Luis

Lin-Manuel Miranda may be the King of Broadway, but his father, Luis, is political royalty. The new documentary Siempre, Luis profiles the elder Miranda and his journey from a childhood in Puerto Rico to a prolific career as an activist and consultant in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York. Back in the present day, he embarks on a tireless campaign to bring awareness to the plight of Puerto Ricans post-Hurricane Maria, to the point where his passion puts his health in jeopardy. Even as the spotlight remains on Luis Miranda, his famous son is very much in the picture via new interviews and family footage, including hilarious scenes of a teenage Lin-Manuel performing a musical tribute to his dad at a political event. With moments like that, you can’t say no to this. — E.A.

Siempre, Luis premieres Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. on HBO.

WATCH IT: Get in the spooky spirit with Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!

With trick-or-treat plans up in the air, Halloween specials can scare up more fun for the kids this year — and, with an old familiar "gang" involved, this one is good for parents too. The feature length movie mystery involves the Scooby-Doo crew having to save Crystal Cove after a toxic ooze infects the local pumpkin patch. There's a giant pumpkin-headed bad guy and flying jack-o’-lanterns — and things are so chaotic that Scooby (Frank Welker) and Shaggy's (Matthew Lillard) favorite holiday is at risk of being canceled. (No Scooby snacks this year? Ruh-Roh!) There are some guests as well — including Bill Nye the Science Guy and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — called on to help the gang. So grab your own gang, Scooby snacks and stream it on demand, or — zoinks — something creepy may happen to you too. — Suzy Byrne

Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! is available on digital and DVD starting Tuesday, Oct. 6 on Amazon.

WATCH IT: 16 and Pregnant returns to show the trials and tribulations of being a teen mom

Six years after the MTV docuseries wrapped up its fifth season, it's back with more stories about teens struggling with motherhood. But, if somehow you missed this show or its spinoff Teen Mom over the years, don’t expect it to glamorize the idea of teen pregnancy. The trailer alone shows one mom-to-be saying candidly, “I’m scared,” another having a tough conversation with her dad and a third who appears to be screaming in pain. As audiences saw when former Teen Mom cast members Catelynn Lowell and Maci Bookout starred in the debut season of 16 and Pregnant, the expectant moms’ families are greatly affected by their new additions. So one big change in this new edition is that they will also offer commentary. — Raechal Shewfelt

16 and Pregnant Season 6 premieres Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. on MTV.

PLAY IT: A Princess Bride board game? As you wish.

Why just watch (or read) The Princess Bride when you can play it? Ravensburger has distilled Rob Reiner’s 1987 classic into a six-chapter tabletop game where each page reveals a new board with new challenges and rules. Navigate true lovers Westley and Buttercup through such classic sequences as the Cliffs of Insanity and the Fire Swamp, and past such adversaries as Vizzini and Prince Humperdinck with the aid of adversaries-turned-allies Inigo Montoya and Fezzik. Remember to play fair and, above all, have fun storming the castle! — E.A.

The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game is available at Target.

READ IT: The Peanuts Book delivers some good grief

(Image: DK; Illustrated Edition)
(Image: DK)

Marking this month’s 70th-anniversary of the debut of the seminal Peanuts, first published on Oct. 2, 1950, author Simon Beecroft has teamed with the Charles M. Schulz Museum to create this jam-packed 200-page visual history of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang, covering everything from that initial strip and prototype sketches to the enduring merchandise and classic TV cartoon specials. (True fact: Schulz hated the name Peanuts, which his syndicator forced upon him, borrowing it from the Peanut Gallery of the era’s hugely popular Howdy Doody show because Schulz’s original title, Li’l Folks, was too similar to another strip.) Featuring a foreword from super-fan Stephen Colbert and including previously unpublished material, this is the definitive guide to the most popular comic strip of all time — and the perfect addition to your Great Pumpkin wish list. — Marcus Errico

The Peanuts Book is available at Amazon.

WATCH IT: A new examination into a tragic pairing in O.J. & Nicole: An American Tragedy

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Timed with the 25th anniversary of the verdict in the "Trial of the Century," is a new two-hour doc from ID about the divorced couple at the center of it all, O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown. It includes new, first-hand accounts from Brown's family — including Nicole's younger sister Tanya — and friends sharing what they knew of the abuse the beautiful, blond mother of two suffered along with never-before-seen pictures, videos and notes Nicole left behind. Being analyzed are the infamous diaries Nicole put in a safe deposit box, detailing over 60 incidents of abuse, but were inadmissible in O.J's murder trial, in which he was infamously found not guilty of killing her and her friend Ron Goldman. (The diaries were later used in the civil trial, in which Simpson was found liable.) One of Nicole's best friends Robin Greer also shares insight, so does close family friend Ron Shipp as well as law enforcement personnel and lawyers who took part in the investigation. — S.B.

O.J. & Nicole: An American Tragedy premieres Monday, Oct. 5 on ID.

WATCH IT: Pass the popcorn during Lifetime’s ‘Fear the Cheer’ cheerleader movie event

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Lifetime is known for its many airings of ‘90s true crime movies that became cult classics, such as the 1994 flick Death of a Cheerleader, with Tori Spelling, and Jenna Dewan’s Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal from 2008. So the network is launching six new movies this month, as part of its “Fear the Cheer” event, just as we delve into an (abnormal) football season and flip the calendar to Halloween. The latest additions to its roster of originals include this weekend’s Dying to Be a Cheerleader and Cheer Squad Secrets. Can’t you just picture the campiness after those titles? In the first, Dominique Booth plays a teen who decides to try out for the cheer squad at her new school just before one of its members is found dead in the showers — and she becomes the main suspect. Eek! Meanwhile, Secrets is about a mom who discovers that someone is slipping her cheerleader daughter mystery supplements. — R.S.

Dying to Be a Cheerleader airs Saturday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m., and Cheer Squad Secrets airs Sunday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. Lifetime’s “Fear the Cheer” continues through Oct. 18.

HEAR IT: Patty Smyth is back with a bang

The Scandal frontwoman returns to shoot down the walls of heartache, as she releases her first album of original material in 28 years, It’s About Time. Now age 63, Smyth looks back on a life well-lived via sentimental ballads like “Drive” and “Build a Fire” (the latter inspired by her 25-year marriage to tennis legend John McEnroe), but she proves she’s a still a rock ‘n’ roll warrior on the album’s two cover songs, “Ode to Billie Joe” and “Downtown Train.” — Lyndsey Parker

Download/stream It’s About Time on Apple Music.

WATCH IT: 300 re-release brings us back to Zack Snyder’s breakout hit

Zack Snyder’s connection with the DC Universe — and specifically that Justice League movie — runs so deep (they’re actually releasing #TheSynderCut!) that it’s sometimes easy to forget the famously stylish filmmaker’s other contributions to our pop culture. After directing videos for Morrissey and Soul Asylum, he made his directorial debut with 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, but he really popped with the relentless Battle of Thermopylae epic 300 — the film that not only was way ahead of the AR game but also made a loincloth-wearing Gerard Butler a household name. The breakout hit returns this week with an upgrade to 4K UHD in a new Blu-ray combo pack that includes commentary tracks, over a dozen webisodes and featurettes and deleted scenes. — K.P.

300 is available on 4K UHD on Amazon.

HEAR IT: Carla Bruni is the first lady of French folk

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Carla Bruni · Le petit guépard

The singer-songwriter (and former supermodel/first lady of France) returns with her self-titled sixth album, her first to feature her own original compositions since 2013. Recorded in less than a week with producer Albin de la Simone, the raw yet lovely record captures a bustlingly creative period in Bruni-Sarkozy’s life when — as she recently told French publication RFM — she felt a “frenzied need to write. At that moment I started to write, go over all my notebooks and all my notes that I had taken during all these tours and all these years.” — L.P.

Download/stream Carla Bruni on Apple Music.

READ IT: Revisit Batman: The Animated Series in an eye-popping art book

(Image: Insight Editions)
(Image: Insight Editions)

Apologies to Christopher Nolan and Tim Burton, but many fans consider the Dark Knight’s definitive screen version to be the Emmy-winning Batman: The Animated Series. With its noir-flavored visuals, the seminal 1992-95 Caped Crusader cartoon series influenced a generation of comic and graphic illustrators. In this new volume curated by the pop-culture geniuses at Mondo, artist Justin Erickson reimagines classic characters and moments from the show in stunning ways, each of its 144 pages featuring eye-popping, gallery-worthy works. — M.E.

Batman: The Animated Series—The Phantom City Creative Collection is available Tuesday, Oct. 6 at Amazon.

HEAR IT: Travis scores a perfect 10

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Travis Official · All Fall Down

A quarter-century after Fran Healy and company became the McCartney- and Elton-championed darlings of Britpop and the breakout stars of Glastonbury and the Brit Awards, they’re making some of the best music of their career on their ninth studio album, 10 Songs. A rumination on love, loss and middle-age, the all-grown-up record features the Bangles’s Susanna Hoffs, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle and Beck/Emmylou Harris/Springsteen lap steel player Greg Leisz. — L.P.

Download/stream 10 Songs on Apple Music.

WATCH IT: Whiplash hits 4K UHD just in time for Halloween season (seriously)

It’s fitting that the Whiplash 4K UHD is being released in October, our annual month honoring all things horror. Not only will Miles Teller’s bloody hands scare whatever fantasy you ever had of rocking a drum kit out of you, but J.K. Simmons delivers one of the most frightening performances of all time as a masochistic, quite possibly sociopathic jazz bandleader. He’s so terrifying, yet so real, which is why we’ll take Terence Fletcher over Freddy Kruger in a scariest villain showdown any day. No wonder Simmons handily won the Oscar for the role in La La Land and First Man filmmaker Damien Chazelle’s breakout. Blu-ray bonus materials include commentary from Chazelle and Simmons, the original short film that inspired the feature, deleted scenes and more. — K.P.

Whiplash is available on 4K UHD on Amazon.

HEAR IT: Loudon Wainwright III strikes up the band

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Loudon Wainwright III · I Thought About You

Wainwright is renowned for his original tunes and witty, storytelling lyrics, but on I'd Rather Lead a Band — a collaboration with Boardwalk Empire music supervisor Randall Poster and renowned NYC bandleader Vince Giordano — he takes an unexpected creative detour into the Great American Songbook. The nostalgic album allows this patriarch of a folk-rock dynasty (his children include musicians Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche) to visit his own childhood, as he puts his twist on favorite standards from his late father's cherished record collection. — L.P.

Download/stream on I'd Rather Lead a Band Apple Music.

— Video produced by Gisselle Bances