The It List: Lil Jon gets a new HGTV home-renovation series, 'Try Harder!' doc follows students at one of the nation's best public high schools as they face the pressure of applying to colleges, 'Doctor Strange 2' ushers in summer movie season and the best in pop culture the week of May 2, 2022
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 2-8, 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: The pressure is on for elite high school students in Try Harder!
Think Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley and Columbia. These are the kind of colleges that seniors at the mostly Asian American Lowell High School — the #1 ranked public school in San Francisco, where the class president is seen as a superhero — are applying to attend. This Independent Lens documentary, directed by Debbie Lum (Seeking Asian Female) and selected for the Sundance Film Festival and many others last year, follows students through the lengthy and rigorous college application process, where they're facing more stress than ever; acceptance rates at top colleges have dropped 50 percent since 2007. "In the '90s, if you went to Lowell and had a good, solid B-average in honors courses, you got into Berkeley. You just walked in. Everyone got in," Richard Shapiro, an AP physics teacher who's taught at the school since 1990, says in the doc. "Now you don't. They're objectively under more pressure in terms of college acceptance." And the students, including one named Alvan, who aspires to be a brain surgeon, are feeling it. "There's definitely a pressure from your classmates and also a pressure at home, too," he says. "It's like a war on two fronts." At one point, he explains his theory that just one wrong answer could drop him to a lower grade in a class, which could affect the outcome of that all-important admissions decision. — Raechal Shewfelt
Try Harder! premieres Monday, May 2 on PBS or the PBS app.
WATCH IT: Lil Jon picks up a hammer for his next mic drop
Lil Jon has a new show on HGTV that's focused on his surprising passion for home renovation. The new series has him teaming up with designer and builder Anitra Mecadon (DIY Network’s Mega Dens) to offer homeowners unconventional design ideas. "I love walking into someone's house and turning it upside down," the Grammy-winning producer, DJ and rapper said in a statement about the show. "When people hear my name, they automatically think… fun! That same energy goes for my designs as well. I don't love following design trends — I would rather be the trendsetter."
Lil Jon Wants to Do What? premieres Monday, May 2 at 10 p.m. on HGTV.
WATCH IT: Alison Pill and Sarah Gadon deliver heart-wrenching performances in All My Puny Sorrows
Canadian novelist Miriam Toews drew on her own lived experience for her award-winning 2014 novel All My Puny Sorrows, the story of a struggling novelist whose life is upended by her sister's suicide following a battle with depression. Michael McGowan's faithful screen version of the novel — which premiered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival — features Star Trek: Picard's Alison Pill as Toews's fictional stand-in and Letterkenny's Sarah Gadon as her sibling, whose desire to end her life is an open secret in the family. The wrenching subject matter is played with gravity and nuance by the two stars as evidenced by this exclusive clip, where Gadon confesses the depth of her pain to Pill. — Ethan Alter
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
All My Puny Sorrows premieres Tuesday, May 3 on most VOD services, including iTunes.
WATCH IT: The award-winning French drama Happening tells an important and timely story.
With the U.S. Supreme Court soon expected to rule on a case that could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, the French drama Happening recreates an era when abortion was illegal in nations around the world. Set in 1963, the film follows ambitious college student Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei) who tries to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, but encounters obstacles at every turn, from frightened classmates to life-threatening procedures. The winner of the Golden Lion at last year's Venice Film Festival, Happening is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Annie Ernaux, who obtained an abortion under the same harrowing circumstances her alter ego confronts. This exclusive clip from the film depicts Anne's consultation with a male doctor who makes it clear he's not willing to help her. — E.A.
Happening premieres Friday, May 6 in theaters; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.
WATCH IT: Inbetween Girl is a winning modern-day John Hughes movie
The coming-of-age genre gets a much-needed creative kick with Mei Makino’s debut feature, Inbetween Girl, which stars Emma Galbraith as Angie Chen — a biracial high-schooler living in Galveston, Tex. Leery of romance after living through her parents’ traumatic divorce, Angie can’t resist embarking on a secret affair with her friend and Big Man on Campus, Liam (William Magnuson) who is technically in a committed relationship with an aspiring Instagram influencer (Emily Garrett). It’s a classic John Hughes set-up, but Makino’s script is carefully attuned to the nuances of contemporary teen life and has a progressive attitude about female sexuality and friendship that’s too-often absent from the movie's '80s predecessors. And Galbraith’s terrific performance establishes her as a rising star to watch. This exclusive clip finds Angie and Liam on the cusp of taking their friendship to new territory. — E.A.
Inbetween Girl premieres Tuesday, May 3 on most VOD services including Apple TV.
WATCH IT: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens summer movie season
There are mad reasons to be amped about the first blockbuster to kick off the 2022 summer movie season. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness continues to find its titular hero (Benedict Cumberbatch) dealing with threats from alternate dimensions after winter’s record-breaking Spider-Man: No Way Home. It’s the first superhero movie directed by national treasure Sam Raimi since the filmmaker wrapped up the original Spidey trilogy in 2007. It serves as an unofficial follow-up to the Disney+ hit WandaVision, enlisting Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) for a key role. It returns Rachel McAdams’s Christine Palmer to the MCU for the first time since 2016’s Doctor Strange. And it introduces MCU upstart America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has “future fan favorite” written all over her. Excited yet? — Kevin Polowy
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens Friday, May 6 in theaters; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.
WATCH IT: Turning Red turns up on Blu-ray
Is Turning Red the closest thing Pixar has done to a biopic? Director and co-writer Domee Shi based the lead character, Mei, from this instantly beloved animated comedy on her own childhood growing up Chinese-Canadian in Toronto with an overbearing mother (who actually once spied on her at school). OK, so maybe the parts where Mei turns into a giant red panda because of her ancestors’ mystical connection to the animal were not based on Shi’s own life, but it all made for a clever metaphor on puberty and a truly authentic new entry in Pixar’s oeuvre. The film hits home entertainment this week with bonus features including audio commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes and an alternate ending. — K.P.
Turning Red releases on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, May 3. Buy it from Target.
HEAR IT: Jack Harlow has been missed
Fresh off his Grammy-nominated “Industry Baby” collaboration with Lil Nas X and No. 1 hit “First Class” (his first solo single to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100), 24-year-old Kentucky rapper Jack Harlow drops his eagerly awaited sophomore LP, Come Home the Kids Miss You. Details about Harlow’s first full album since 2020 are still scarce, but he was reportedly reaching out to Dolly Parton about a collaboration, so watch this space. — Lyndsey Parker
Come Home the Kids Miss You by Jack Harlow is available Friday, May 6 to download/stream on Apple Music.
STREAM IT: Girls5eva want to be 'two-hit wonders' in Season 2
Sarah Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Paula Pell return for another round of episodes about a '90s girl group, who had just one hit, thrust back into the spotlight after their song was sampled by a rapper. This time, the delightful comedy sees the women stepping back into the recording studio in an attempt to replicate their previous success. And they have just six weeks to do it! Of course, the plot is simply a backdrop for the fun banter, fashions and musical performances in this Tina Fey-produced, Emmy-nominated sitcom. — R.S.
Girls5eva Season 2 premieres Thursday, May 5 on Peacock.
HEAR IT: Arcade Fire celebrates the WE generation
The Grammy-winning Canadian indie-rock collective has not released a studio album since 2017, and recently parted ways with core member Will Butler, brother of frontman Win Butler. But judging from Arcade Fire’s nothing-less-than-celebratory surprise set at Coachella last month — at which they played two new songs — WE, their final album with Will, will be a triumphant comeback. The band’s much-anticipated sixth album was co-produced by Win, his multi-instrumentalist wife/co-founding bandmate Régine Chassagne and famed Radiohead/Beck/Travis/Air producer Nigel Godrich. — L.P.
WE by Arcade Fire is available Friday, May 6 to download/stream on Apple Music.
STREAM IT: The U.S.S. Enterprise flies again in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Star Trek's signature vessel returns to TV screens for the first Enterprise-set show since the Jonathan Archer years. Reprising the classic Trek roles they inherited on Star Trek: Discovery, Anson Mount, Ethan Peck and Rebecca Romijn are front and center on the bridge as Captain Christopher Pike, Science Officer Spock and Number One respectively. But they aren't the only familiar franchise names you'll hear: Strange New Worlds also features younger versions of Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) as well as a Starfleet security officer who shares a name with a certain nemesis-to-be. The spirited series premiere makes it clear that Strange New Worlds — which takes places before The Original Series — will be a "first contact" focused show, as the Enterprise brings new worlds and new civilizations into the Federation fold. There's even a Kirk in the mix ... although it may not be the one you expect. — E.A.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premieres Thursday, May 5 on Paramount+.
HEAR IT: Say hello, again, to Soft Cell
In September 2018, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their first gig, Soft Cell reunited for what was supposed to one last reunion concert, “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye,” at London’s O2 Arena. However, the show was so rapturously received that it inspired the new wave group’s Marc Almond and Dave Ball to keep the reunion going — and the result is Happiness Not Included, their first full album since 2002’s Cruelty Without Beauty. Soft Cell records/reunites very sporadically (their album before Cruelty Without Beauty, This Last Night in Sodom, came out in 1984!), but Happiness Not Included finds the “Tainted Love” twosome, who are finally getting their critical due, at the peak of their powers. The record’s frothy lead single “Purple Zone” even features a historic collaboration with another pioneering U.K. synthpop duo, the Pet Shop Boys. — L.P.
Happiness Not Included by Soft Cell is available Friday, May 6 to download/stream on Apple Music.
STREAM IT: Harry Bosch is (unofficially) back on the beat in Bosch: Legacy
He may have turned in his police badge, but the character created by author Michael Connelly and showcased in seven seasons of Prime Video's Bosch isn't against engaging in the dangerous work of solving crimes — now as a private investigator. In this spinoff, he's working with Honey Chandler, played by Mimi Rogers, the attorney he formerly butted heads with until she befriended his beloved daughter, Maddie. Of course, Mads, played by Madison Lintz, is back, too, and now she's working as a rookie police officer. While Jamie Hector's appearance as former Bosch sidekick J. Edgar is all-too brief, the show — airing on the streamer formerly known as IMDb TV — does a solid job of recreating the Bosch experience, even repurposing the former's theme song. — R.S.
Bosch: Legacy premieres Friday, May 6 on Amazon Freevee.
HEAR IT: Halestorm are Back From the Dead
Rock goddess and road warrior Lzzy Hale suffered a self-described “identity crisis” during the COVID-19 pandemic, as she came to terms with her eponymous group Halestorm not being able to tour indefinitely. But she reinvented herself as an in-demand television personality, and she thankfully eventually found the inspiration to write music again as a form of therapy. The result is the fittingly titled Back From the Dead, Halestorm’s first album in four years, produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Mastodon, Alice in Chains). The Grammy-darling metal band also recently resumed touring. Rock isn’t dead after all! — L.P.
Back From the Dead by Halestorm is available Friday, May 6 to download/stream on Apple Music.
HEAR IT: Immerse yourself in Brian May’s lost World
Long out of print in any format, Queen guitarist Brian May’s recently reissued 1998 solo album Another World is now physically available on vinyl, cassette and CD, and even as a deluxe boxed set. May oversaw the multi-format reissue campaign himself alongside original co-producer Justin Shirley-Smith, Queen and BM Pro Tools expert Kris Fredriksson, and longtime Queen art designer Richard Gray; legendary mastering engineer Bob Ludwig restored the recording working from the true original mixes. Queen completists who want it all can choose from 180g heavyweight black vinyl, a collector's sky-blue vinyl edition, a picture disc and many other royal options. — L.P.
Another World by Brian May is available in various formats at Queen’s online store.
— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by John Santo