The It List: QAnon doc investigates conspiracy-theory movement, 'Promising Young Woman' hits Blu-ray, SXSW 2021 launches virtually and the best in pop culture the week of March 15, 2021

Yahoo Entertainment Staff
·12 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 March 15-21, 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: Q: Into the Storm thrusts viewers into the world of believers

In a post-Trump America, conspiracy theorists have gone mainstream. But this six-part documentary series, from executive producer Adam McKay, a producer on HBO’s Succession, and director Cullen Hoback, is meant to do more than simply disprove what Q’s followers believe. It also traces the movement’s origins and introduces us to people like Jamie and Jenn Buteau, who voted for Obama twice before they discovered Q. “The media, everything, everyone’s just lying to you,” Jamie says in the first episode. “We know the corruption is bad, we just didn’t realize how bad it was. Q gives us an insight.” The point is for viewers to understand not only the origins of Qanon but also why so many people are listening.

Fredrick Brennan, founder of the website 8chan, explains that it’s a phenomenon tailored to our times. “I think Q is something that could only happen in our current day, where there are just so many people distrusting of all of the mainstream sources,” he notes. “So the fact that people are speaking out and that the holes in the system are so clear that it only takes a five-minute YouTube video to get people on your side, that’s the real problem.” — Raechal Shewfelt

Q: Into the Storm premieres Sunday, March 21 at 9 p.m. on HBO. Episodes will be available afterward on HBO Max.

WATCH IT: Promising Young Woman lands on Blu-ray in the thick of awards surge

On one hand, it’s a haunting tale of trauma, empowerment and comeuppance. On the other, it’s a pulsating, subversive dark comedy. No matter your read on Promising Young Woman, there’s no doubt that the #MeToo thriller, written and directed by actress-turned-filmmaker (and Killing Eve creator) Emerald Fennell, was one of the best, most exciting discoveries of 2020. The routinely superb Carey Mulligan stars as an ex-med student who feigns intoxication to give would-be sexual assaulters a crucial lesson, and the revered performer has suddenly become a fashionable pick to upset Frances McDormand and Viola Davis at April’s Oscars. Don’t be surprised if Fennell, too, strikes a screenplay win. The film now lands red-hot on Blu-ray, with bonus features including featurettes and commentary from Fennell. Get a taste for the extras in the exclusive clip above. — Kevin Polowy

Promising Young Woman is now available on digital, and releases on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, March 16 on Amazon.

STREAM IT: It’s Batwoman vs. Jamie Fraser in the explosive British thriller SAS: Red Notice

Bruce Willis isn’t the only actor who can Die Hard. Outlander star Sam Heughan gets his John McClane moment in SAS: Red Notice, a made-in-England action thriller directed by Magnus Martnes and based on the novel by Andy McNab. When Special Forces soldier, Tom Buckingam (Heughan), takes his lady love, Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen), to Paris with plans to pop the question, their train trip is interrupted in the middle of the Chunnel by a squad of mercenaries headed up by Ruby Rose’s Grace Lewis — a tactical master and crack fighter that Hans Gruber would admire. As the British government and military tries to organize a response to the hostage situation, Tom leaps into action on the ground, taking out enemies one by one until he confronts Grace herself. Fans of Heughan and Rose’s other onscreen identities will enjoy seeing the two actors pitted against each other here, as well as the additional franchise firepower provided by Marvel Cinematic Universe veterans John-Kamen and Andy Serkis, who plays Tom’s no-nonsense boss, Clements. Serkis holds court in this exclusive clip from the film, as Clements realizes that Buckingham is aboard the stalled train, and adjusts his battle plan accordingly. — E.A.

SAS: Red Notice premieres Tuesday, March 16 on VOD services including FandangoNOW and Redbox.

WATCH IT: It’s Christmas in March as Bobby Moynihan headlines animated Syfy series The Pole (plus, watch the R-rated first two minutes exclusively here now!)

What is time anymore, anyway? Christmas comes early — nine months early — with the debut of Syfy’s (very) adult animated series The Pole. Bobby Moynihan headlines as “Saint” Nick, whose status as the 20th fella to wear the red suit is jeopardized when a scandal rocks the North Pole, while a couple other SNLers (Colin Jost and Sasheer Zamata) and the always-funny Jillian Bell also voice characters. You can get a taste for the ‘toon’s raunchy yuletide humor in an exclusive clip of the series’ first two minutes above, which includes talk of an elf orgy, a Santa d*** pic and the very true declaration that Die Hard is the greatest Christmas movie of them all. — K.P.

The Pole debuts Wednesday, March 17 at 11:15 p.m. on Syfy.

WATCH IT: Experience many different flavors of fear in the new horror movie Phobias

Arachnophobia freaked out spider-phobes, and Vertigo effectively unnerved acrophobics. Rather than just pick one fear, the new anthology horror film, Phobias, packs multiple phobias into its 85-minute runtime. Directed by a team of filmmakers that includes actress Camilla Belle and visual effects wizard Joe Sill, the movie’s framing device unfolds at a top-secret government lab where a mad doctor is on a mad quest to isolate and weaponize fear. And he’s got five human subjects whose private horrors just might help him in his mission. For example, Johnny (Leonardo Nam) is deathly afraid of technology, while Emma (Lauren Miller Rogen — whose off-screen spouse is Seth Rogen) plays an adulterous high school teacher that develops a fear of teenagers after a group of them try to punish her for her wandering eye. And then there’s Renee, played by singer Macy Gray, whose fear of imperfection pushes her to extreme behaviors. How extreme? Check out this exclusive clip where she drugs her unsuspecting co-workers for reasons you’ll have to see to believe. — E.A.

Phobias premieres Friday, March 19 on digital and on demand platforms including FandangoNOW and Redbox.

STREAM IT: The dark comedy Happily reveals why marriage doesn’t always end in a happily-ever-after

A heck of a lot of funny people appear in Happily — a dark marital comedy from first-time feature filmmaker, BenDavid Grabinski — starting with the film’s stars Joel McHale and Kerry Bishé. The duo play ultra-affectionate husband and wife, Tom and Janet, whose seemingly happy marriage makes all their friends furious. Those same so-called pals, played by such comic ringers as Paul Scheer, Natalie Morales, Charlyne Yi and Breckin Meyer, take turns chipping away at the couples’ wedded bliss after they all end up in the same house together for a weekend getaway. This exclusive clip from the film takes place at the start of the morbidly funny festivities, where both pizza — and murder — are on the menu. — E.A.

Happily premieres Friday, March 19 in theaters and on digital and on demand platforms including Redbox and FandangoNOW.

STREAM IT: Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal brings the drama

Two years after it broke, the whole thing still sounds more like the plot of a bad TV movie than real life. Here, Netflix looks back on the all too real events that occurred when wealthy parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, paid big bucks for their kids to be accepted into prestigious universities, sometimes even pretending to be scholarship-worthy athletes at sports they never even played. From Chris Smith, the director of Fyre and a producer of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, this is a hybrid of reenactment of transcripts captured by the FBI — Matthew Modine plays orchestrator Rick Singer — and documentary, with talking heads and news footage. One haunting line from the trailer: “They had every advantage, and yet they still cheated.” — R.S.

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal premieres Wednesday, March 17 on Netflix.

HEAR IT: Justin Bieber’s Justice is served

The sixth studio album from the former tween idol features appearances by Khalid, Chance the Rapper, the Kid Laroi, Dominic Fike, Daniel Caesar, Giveon, Beam, Burna Boy and Benny Blanco, and is hyped to be the now-27-year-old singer’s most confessional work to date. The LP follows the release of last fall’s documentary Next Chapter, which chronicled Bieber working on the album in isolation at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Will Justice be Bieber’s own Folklore? We shall soon find out. — Lyndsey Parker

Justice by Justin Bieber is available Friday, March 19 to download/stream on Apple Music.

WATCH IT: Keeping Up With the Kardashians begins its farewell lap

This is it. After 19 seasons, the famous family is signing off, but not without some drama! The trailer for the reality hit’s 20th and final season includes Kris contemplating her relationship with her ex, who’s now known as Caitlyn; Kendall and Khloé pondering the idea of having (more) children; Kourtney and ex Scott Disick weighing their relationship status; and Kim removing her mic. We also see some seriously ugly cry faces, just like we’ve come to expect from the reality stars over the past 14 years. This go round, at least one of them is likely because of Kim’s split from Kanye West, her husband of almost seven years with whom she shares four children. — R.S.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians premieres Thursday, March 18 at 8 p.m. on E!.

HEAR IT: Lana Del Rey goes country?

The polarizing and provocative pop poetess’ seventh studio album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, has Del Rey veering in a folk direction — collaborating with Americana singer-songwriter Nikki Lane and regular Taylor Swift producer Jack Antonoff, and even recording a remake of Joni Mitchell’s “For Free” with indie artists Zella Day and Weyes Blood. Del Rey has reportedly already completed a full album of country covers for her next project, and has several other folk songs ready to be released. — L.P.

Chemtrails Over the Country Club by Lana Del Rey is available Friday, March 19 to download/stream on Apple Music.

PLAY IT: Relive Raya and the Last Dragon with new action figures and a tabletop game

(Image: Ravensburger)
(Image: Ravensburger)

Raya and the Last Dragon is only a button-click away on Disney+, but kids have other opportunities to visit the mythical land of Kumandra. Hasbro’s toy line puts action-ready figures from the Walt Disney animated blockbuster directly into young hands, including multiple versions of the heroic Raya and a 2-foot-long replica of her dragon pal, Sisu, complete with an articulated head and tail. For board game fans, Raya’s Journey from Ravensburger uses the template of the classic Enchanted Forest tabletop for a new adventure that requires her to find and rescue her friends from Kumandra’s various realms. — E.A.

Hasbro’s Raya and the Last Dragon toys and Ravensburger’s Raya’s Journey board game are available on Amazon.

HEAR IT: The Coal Miner’s Daughter mines her classic catalog

While we all wait for that Lana Del Rey country record, country queen Loretta Lynn is showing everyone how it’s done on her 46th studio album. Produced by Lynn's daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell, and John Carter Cash (the son of Johnny and June Carter Cash), the aptly titled Still Woman Enough is the fourth in a five-album series recorded at Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tenn. Seven tracks are updates on Lynn classics, like “Honky Tonk Girl,” “Coal Miner's Daughter” and “You Ain't Woman Enough”; guest stars include Lynn disciples Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Margo Price and Tanya Tucker. — L.P.

Still Woman Enough by Loretta Lynn is available Friday, March 19 to download/stream on Apple Music.

STREAM IT: One year after its coronavirus shutdown, SXSW returns for a virtual edition

Last March, SXSW became an early casualty of the emerging coronavirus pandemic, as the Austin-based festival called off its 2020 edition in the face of COVID-19 outbreaks across the country. One year later, SXSW is back in a virtual edition that encompasses its usual mixture of movie premieres, music, comedy and technology showcases and conferences with high-profile guests. The 2021 film festival line-up includes buzzy documentaries about Demi Lovato and Selma Blair, as well as independently-minded non-fiction and fiction features from around the world. Meanwhile, laughs will be provided by the likes of the Upright Citizens Brigade and the Doug Loves Movies crew, and the global music line-up spans Australia’s The Chats to South Korean rapper Loco. Last, but not least, the Featured Speakers series hands the mic to such diverse artists as Barry Jenkins, James Cameron, Amber Ruffin and Elizabeth Banks. — Ethan Alter

Register for SXSW Online at the official SXSW website.

HEAR IT: It’s love at first Sting on Duets

The former Police-man’s last album, in 2018, was a collaborative reggae project with Shaggy; now Sting is teaming with Shaggy again, plus a slew of all-stars across genres. Guests on his Duets compilation include Mary J. Blige, Annie Lennox, Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock, Julio Iglesias, Melody Gardot, Craig David, Sam Moore, Zucchero and Chris Botti. — L.P.

Duets by Sting is available on CD and vinyl on Amazon.

— Video produced by Jon San and edited by John Santo