The It List: Jada Pinkett Smith's controversial 'Queen Cleopatra' debuts, all-champion 'Jeopardy! Masters' tournament kicks off, Charlie Day's directorial debut 'Fool's Paradise' features all-star cast and all the best in pop culture the week of May 8, 2023
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 May 8-14, including the best deals we could find for each.
STREAM IT: Queen Cleopatra, a controversial new take on the legendary Egyptian monarch, has arrived
Adele James takes on the role that Elizabeth Taylor and others have famously played before in Netflix's new, four-part series described as a docudrama, that includes the usual expert interviews but also reenactments. Jada Pinkett Smith narrated and executive-produced that project, as part of her African Queens series, and it's being closely watched because James is of mixed heritage. Critics say this is inaccurate, because they don't believe Cleopatra was Black, even though her precise ancestry has been debated by historians. To give you an idea of what's going on, an Egyptian lawyer has already filed a legal complaint that the series violates media laws and aims to "erase the Egyptian identity," while director Tina Gharavi said she "became the target of a huge online hate campaign" during filming. The question is how all the noise will affect ratings. — Raechal Shewfelt
Queen Cleopatra premieres Wednesday, May 10 on Netflix.
WATCH IT: Jeopardy! Masters brings the game show to primetime
Amy Schneider. Matt Amodio. Sam Buttrey. Andrew He. James Holzhauer. Mattea Roach. Any two of these legends of the popular quiz show playing one another would be a big deal, but all six will face-off in a series of matches in this new primetime event. Each of the hour-long episodes, hosted by Ken Jennings and airing over two-and-a-half weeks (every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, plus one Friday) consists of two games. While the show didn't respond to Yahoo's question about if and how the writers strike would affect it, we know that much of the series is taped in advance, and the tournament certainly seems to be on as planned. — R.S.
Jeopardy! Masters premieres Monday, May 8 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
WATCH IT: It's Charlie Day's Fool's Paradise and we're just living in it
Here's proof that you have to be a fool to make it in the movie business. Fresh off of voicing Luigi in the blockbuster Super Mario Bros. movie, Charlie Day makes his directorial debut with Fool's Paradise — an all-star Being There-esque satire that follows Latte Pronto (played by Day) on his only-in-Hollywood journey from a mental hospital to being the toast of La La Land despite not being able to speak... or even act, for that matter. A veritable blank slate, Pronto's rise is aided and abetted by a variety of ego-driven industry types, from Ken Jeong's success-hungry publicist to Jason Sudeikis's bad boy director to Kate Beckinsale's Angelina Jolie-like movie star, who decides that Latte is the perfect person to marry and adopt kids with. This exclusive clip from the film shows how Beckinsale literally seduces Day into her world. — Ethan Alter
Fool's Paradise premieres Friday, May 12 in theaters; visit Fandango for showtimes and ticket information.
WATCH IT: M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin has small setting, high stakes
The "Cabin in the Woods" story is a horror movie tradition, but you knew the M. Night Shyamalan would put a whole twist on the subgenre when the singular filmmaker brought Knock at the Cabin to theaters. For one: The stakes are higher than ever. It’s only the fate of humanity at risk when a family of three vacationing in the woods are taken prisoner by a mysterious group of invaders. Watch Jonathan Groff talk about his onscreen daughter Wen Kristen Cui in an exclusive clip above from the Blu-ray’s bonus features. — Kevin Polowy
Knock at the Cabin is now available on digital platforms and arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, May 9 on Amazon.
WATCH IT: Monica is a timely, sensitive portrayal of a transgender woman
As conservative-dominated states are seeking to curtail their transgender community's rights, Andrea Pallaoro's Monica paints a humanizing portrait of one trans woman's attempts to reconnect with her Midwestern family. Following her acclaimed appearances in Transparent and Hustlers, Trace Lysette plays the title character, whose estranged mother (Patricia Clarkson) threw her out of the family home over a decade ago. Now that her mom is on her deathbed, Monica returns and the two meet again, as if for the first time. This exclusive clip from the film features Monica's sister-in-law (Emily Browning) preparing her for this emotional mother-and-child reunion. — E.A.
Monica premieres Friday, May 12 in theaters; visit Fandango for showtimes and ticket information.
STREAM IT: Two Britbox documentaries explore the turbulent lives of English actors Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole
British cinema was shocked out of stasis in the '50s and '60s as a new school of actors brought raw honesty and dramatic magnetism to the big screen. Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole were at the forefront of that revolution, and both men became stars on both sides of the pond through films like This Sporting Life, Lawrence of Arabia and The Lion in Winter. Off-screen, though, both men were plagued by personal demons that threaten to upend their lives and careers. Harris's son, former Mad Men star, Jared Harris, explores his late father's complicated legacy in The Ghost of Richard Harris, a highly personal documentary that delves into the darker areas of the elder actor's behavior. Meanwhile, O'Toole's daughter, Kate, is one of the subjects interviewed for Jim Sheridan's not-always-flattering portrait of the late actor, Along the Sky Road to Aqaba. This exclusive clip from the film also features Succession star Brian Cox discussing what set O'Toole apart from his generation. — E.A.
The Ghost of Richard Harris and Peter O’Toole: Along the Sky Road to Aqaba premiere Tuesday, May 9 on Britbox.
WATCH IT: It’s time to play the music. The Muppets rock!
It has taken 50 long years for the Electric Mayhem Band to record their first studio album — can you picture that? But now Dr. Teeth, Animal, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot and Lips are finally ready to rock on the record. The new Disney+ series The Muppets Mayhem follows the veteran felt rawkers — along with human music colleagues Lilly Singh, Tahj Mowry and Saara Chaudry — as they navigate the modern-day pop scene and prove that rock ‘n’ roll will never die. The series’ soundtrack features originals written by super-producer Linda Perry as well timeless covers of Beach Boys, Cyndi Lauper, KISS, Simon & Garfunkel and John Hiatt classics. It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights, indeed! — Lyndsey Parker
The Muppets Mayhem premieres Wednesday, May 10 on Disney+.
HEAR IT: Happiness resumes for the Jonas Brothers
After pulling off one of the biggest surprise musical comebacks in recent memory with 2019’s Happiness Begins, the happiness resumes as Nick, Joe and Kevin unveil their sixth LP, simply titled The Album. The record finds the Jonases, who incredibly have now been a band for almost 20 years, going retro as they tap into their '70s soft-rock influences like America, the Doobie Brothers and another long-running trio of actual brothers, the Bee Gees. — L.P.
The Album by the Jonas Brothers is available Friday, May 12 to download/stream on Apple Music.
WATCH IT: Relive Clark Kent’s glory days with the Superman 5-Film Collection on 4K
Who’s gonna be the next Superman? That’s gonna be a hot topic until James Gunn unveils his new Man of Steel for the recently announced Superman Legacy. But unlike, with say Batman or Spider-Man, is there any question who was the best? (No offense, Henry Cavill.) Christopher Reeve remains the gold standard in the red and blue, having made five Clark Kent adventures between 1978 and 1987 — sure, even if some of them are subpar — and they’ll all be available in one Ultra HD 4K collection landing this week. — K.P.
Superman 1978 – 1987 5-Film Collection 4K UHD releases Tuesday, May 9 on Amazon.
WATCH IT: Everybody say love! RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars is back
The unstoppable Drag Race franchise is needed now more than ever, in an age when the rights of drag performers and the LGBTQ+ community in general are under attack. The brave queens returning for the eighth All Stars season range from old-school trailblazers (Season 2’s Jessica Wild, Season 5’s Monica Beverly Hillz, Season 6’s Darienne Lake, Season 7’s Mrs. Kasha Davis) to more recent fan favorites like Heidi N Closet, Kandy Muse, LaLa Ri and Canada’s Drag Race cult star Jimbo. Among the guest judges are Zooey Deschanel, Euphoria actress Maude Apatow, Idina Menzel, SNL comics Ego Nwodim and Bowen Yang, JoJo Siwa and, a bit surprisingly, Incubus rocker Brandon Boyd. May the best drag queen finally win! — L.P.
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 8 premieres Friday, May 12 on Paramount+.
HEAR IT: Céline Dion’s heart goes on
Health issues have sadly kept the great diva from the stage, but this week, Céline Dion’s iconic voice returns on the soundtrack to rom-com Love Again, in which Dion also plays herself. Five new Céline songs, co-written by modern hitmakers like Justin Tranter, Dan Wilson and Ross Golan, are woven into the narrative of the film, along with classics like “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” “Where Does My Heart Beat Now” and Dion’s famous cover of Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself.” — L.P.
The Love Again soundtrack by Céline Dion is available Friday, May 12 to download/stream on Apple Music.
PLAY IT: Don't cry — The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is here at last
Better tell your families you won't be seeing them for awhile. Six years after Nintendo unleashed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Link returns in the highly-anticipated follow-up, Tears of the Kingdom. Journey back to Hyrule for another open world adventure filled with dungeon crawls, weapons crafting and cooking over an open fire. This game promises to be even more expansive than its predecessor, which is why you might just decide to peace out on our world in favor of moving to Zelda's land full time. — E.A.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available Friday, May 12 at most major retailers, including Amazon.
HEAR IT: Allison Goldfrapp (re)invents herself as a solo star
Shape-shifting synth-glam goddess Alison Goldfrapp has made a name for herself over the past 20 years with her eponymous band, but incredibly, The Love Invention is her very first solo album. The lush record finds with joining forces with legendary producers like Richard X (Pet Shop Boys, M.I.A., Kelis, Sugababes, Roisin Murphy, Bananarama), Toby Scott (Gossip, Annie) and James Greenwood (Boyz Noise, Erol Alkan). The Love Invention isn’t so much a reinvention for Ms. Goldfrapp, but it’s a welcome new chapter in the U.K. dance-pop diva’s illustrious career. — L.P.
The Love Invention by Alison Goldfrapp is available Friday, May 12 to download/stream on Apple Music.