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The It List: Rob Reiner's 'Albert Brooks: Defending My Life' doc traces Brooks's career from comic to filmmaker, Chip and Joanna Gaines take on 'most complicated size project' in 'Fixer Upper: The Hotel,' new season of 'Sesame Street' launches

Plus Chris Stapleton drops 'Higher' album, new 'Bluey' episodes debut on Disney Channel and all the best in pop culture the week of Nov. 6, 2023.

STREAM IT: Comedy legend Albert Brooks needs no defending

Here's some Broadcast News for you: Albert Brooks is a living comedy legend. And now he's getting the HBO documentary treatment courtesy of old pal, Rob Reiner. Defending My Life features a one-on-one interview with the mind behind such hilarious classics as Modern Romance and Lost in America, plus testimonials from the many minds he's molded, including Ben Stiller and Jon Stewart. Expect plenty of archival clips, rarely-screened footage and perhaps Brooks's explanation for why his last film as a director — 2005's Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World — caused such a ruckus. — Ethan Alter

Albert Brooks: Defending My Life premieres Friday, Nov. 10 on HBO and Max.

STREAM IT: Chip and Joanna Gaines are at it again in Fixer Upper: The Hotel

This time, the Magnolia Network stars are rocking safety helmets as they give new life to a vintage building in their hometown of Waco, Tex. The six-episode series documents their overhaul of a building listed on the National Registry, that they’re converting into a boutique inn, Hotel 1928. The 53,000-square-foot venue, featuring 33 rooms, a library, two restaurants and a terrace on the rooftop, opened this month. "We want to bring this building back to its former glory," Chip explains early on. It's "the largest, most complicated size project we've ever done in our whole career." — Raechal Shewfelt

Fixer Upper: The Hotel premieres Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 9 p.m. on the Magnolia Network, Max and Discovery+.

WATCH IT: Discover the rarely-told origin story behind the Rolling Stones in The Stones and Brian Jones

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are almost certainly the first two faces that pop to mind when you hear the name "Rolling Stones." But the late Brian Jones was arguably the most important Rolling Stone and rarely gets his due. Nick Broomfield's new documentary, The Stones and Brian Jones, seeks to give the band's original founder his due five decades after his 1969 passing through archival material and interviews with some of the other key players from that era of British rock history. This exclusive clip from the film reveals how Jagger was particularly fascinated with Jones, and perhaps modeled his own persona after him. — E.A.

The Stones and Brian Jones premieres Tuesday, Nov. 7 in theaters for one night only; visit Fandango for showtimes and ticket information.

HEAR IT: Chris Stapleton keeps reaching new heights

Chris Stapleton, one of the most respected and accoladed country artists of his generation (or any generation), returns this week with his first album since 2020, Higher. The winner of eight Grammys, 14 CMA Awards and 10 ACM Awards (including Artist-Songwriter of the Decade and 2022’s Entertainer of the Year), Stapleton co-produced his fifth album with his longtime collaborator, Dave Cobb, as well as with his wife Morgane, who provides backing vocals, tambourine and synthesizer throughout. Stapleton will perform with Carly Pearce at this week’s CMA Awards, where there’s a good chance he’ll pick up some more trophies, like Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Musical Event of the Year for his Pearce duet, “We Don’t Fight Anymore.” — Lyndsey Parker

Higher by Chris Stapleton is available Friday, Nov. 10 to download/stream on Apple Music.

STREAM IT: For All Mankind fast-forwards to the 2000s for its 4th season

Houston, we don't have a problem. Apple TV+'s addictive alternate timeline sci-fi series returns for its fourth season, this set in a parallel version of the early 2000s where Earth has a for-real colony on Mars... which presumably means that Matt Damon never had to star in The Martian. As always, you can expect the events of past seasons to impact the present in surprising ways... and you can also expect some less-than-convincing old age make-up on cast members who have been around since the '60s-era first season. Here's hoping we get a fifth and final season that imagines a 2023 where Jupiter is the next hot vacation spot. — E.A.

For All Mankind premieres Friday, Nov. 10 on Apple TV+.

STREAM IT: Cox, Brian Cox hosts Prime Video's reality series 007: Road to a Million

Face it: There's only one James Bond. Well, OK, there are technically six or seven James Bonds depending on which canon you follow. But most of us will never know what it feels like to be on her majesty's secret service. But the new Prime Video reality series 007: Road to a Million provides a simulation of that experience, sending nine pairs of aspiring agents on a challenge-filled mission controlled by none other than Succession's Brian Cox. Look out Jeff Probst — Logan Roy is coming for you. — E.A.

007: Road to a Million premieres Friday, Nov. 10 on Prime Video.

WATCH IT: Nicolas Cage is Oscar-worthy again in deeply original Dream Scenario

Not since 2003’s Adaptation, when Nicolas Cage gave not one but two stellar performances, has he been as good as he is in Kristoffer Borgli’s hilariously dark new satire, Dream Scenario. And that’s saying something, considering Cage has made roughly 2,700 movies since 2003. But seriously, Cage is sublime as Paul Matthews, a painfully ordinary college professor who suddenly begins showing up in everyone’s dreams. It leads to instant fame for Matthews, but soon becomes the stuff nightmares are made of when dreamtime Paul starts getting violent on people. Borgli, meanwhile, delivers some biting commentary on celebrity and “cancel culture,” and one of the best Charlie Kaufman-esque movies… also since Adaptation. — Kevin Polowy

Dream Scenario opens in select theaters Friday, Nov. 10 before going wide Wednesday, Nov. 22; visit Fandango for showtimes and ticket information.

STREAM IT: Sunny days are ahead with the return of Sesame Street

The classic children's show — that's cute enough to entertain the adults in the room, too — premieres its astounding 54th season. And, yes, it's just as star-studded this time as it's been in the past, with award-winning guests including West Side Story actress Ariana DeBose; Abbott Elementary creator and star Quinta Brunson; singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile; actor and former White House aide Kal Penn; Loki actor Eugene Cordero; and Schitt's Creek alum Dan Levy. Their visits to Abbie Cadabby, Grover and all the rest are sprinkled across the 35 episodes, one of which drops weekly. Expect songs, feelings and cookies. Lots of cookies. — R.S.

Sesame Street premieres Thursday, Nov. 9 on Max.

OWN IT: Oh, geez, Fargo looks fantastic on 4K Ultra HD

Shout! Studios
(Shout! Studios)

It’s been five years since the last proper Coen Brothers joint (2018’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), with 2021’s un-Coen-like Shakespeare adaptation The Tragedy of Macbeth only worked on by Joel, and Ethan’s very Coen-esque solo effort Drive Away Dolls getting delayed from this fall to early 2024. Going through Coen withdrawal? This should help: One of their greatest works ever, the brilliant, dark and twisted thriller Fargo — the film that won Frances McDormand her first Oscar as a pregnant Midwestern police chief investigating bodies piling up — lands on 4K Ultra HD for the first time this week. Bonus features include audio commentary with famed cinematographer Roger Deakins, interviews with the Coens and McDormand, and more. — K.P.

Fargo (Collector’s Edition) releases on 4K Ultra HD Tuesday, Nov. 7 on Amazon.

WATCH IT: Bluey goes for another run on live TV

While everyone's favorite family of Blue Heelers appeared in new episodes earlier this year for Disney+ audiences, they're just now bringing fresh adventures to live TV, specifically the Disney Channel and Disney Junior. Ten new installments will air daily, premiering early and playing throughout the day. Keep an eye ear out for the return of Hamilton mastermind Lin Manuel-Miranda and actress Rose Byrne, who’s Australian just like Bluey, reprising their characters. And for those who want to experience Bluey in real life, the Los Angeles CAMP location has recreated Bluey's home, from the kitchen stocked with cans of beans to the backyard complete with the Stumpfest nail salon, for a fully-immersive experience including lots of dance mode dancing, games, hidden Easter eggs from your favorite episodes (garden gnomes, long dogs, tennis balls, more!) and a meet-and-greet finale. — R.S.

Bluey premieres Monday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 a.m. on Disney Channel and Disney Junior; Bluey x CAMP tickets are on sale now through February.

READ IT: Indie rock gets scene and heard in zeitgeist-capturing photo book

(Weldon Owen Book/Piper Ferguson)
(Weldon Owen Book/Piper Ferguson)

Piper Ferguson has been a fixture of the indie-rock scene since launching her L.A.-area Britpop clubs Café Bleu and Bang! in the late '90s/early 2000s, while simultaneously establishing herself as one of the most in-demand photographers and video directors in the otherwise male-dominated alternative music world. Now she’s opening up her archives in Indie, Seen, a career-spanning collection of club-gig photos, intimate late-night snapshots and early-career portraits of the indie icons who went on to define the era — including Beck, Coldplay, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Killers, the Strokes, Modest Mouse, Interpol and the Black Keys. “Piper’s work is about the moments,” legendary former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr writes in the book’s foreword. “The moments happen and she can make a moment, and no matter where or what’s happening, she always manages to fit in like one of the band. That’s uncommon, and one of the reasons why you see what you see in the pictures.” — L.P.

Indie, Seen: The Indie Rock Photography of Piper Ferguson is available Tuesday, Nov. 7 on Amazon.

STREAM IT: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan gets his own RRR-style action vehicle

Last year's action spectacle RRR — which picked up India's first Oscar for Best Original Song — introduced a whole new generation of moviegoers to the delightful excesses of Bollywood blockbusters. Premiering on Netflix after a limited theatrical run, the new thriller Jawan is very much in that same mold, casting superstar Shah Rukh Khan in a dual role as a father and son who are separated by eras but united by the same goal: taking the fight to the corrupt powers that be. Filled with over-the-top, slow-motion heavy action sequences and colorful music numbers, it's the latest Bollywood epic to harness the power of Netflix in pursuit of a global audience. — E.A.

Jawan is currently streaming on Netflix.

OWN IT: Scrooged remains one of the all-time great Dickens adaptations

Paramount Home Entertainment
(Paramount Home Entertainment)

Halloween is over, which means two things: time to change those decorations on your house, and time to start contemplating what Christmas movies will be on repeat next month. Sometimes lost in our endless affinity for It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and Elf is Scrooged, Richard Donner’s whip-smart twist on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol starring Bill Murray as a loutish, self-obsessed television executive who needs to be taught a lesson or three. The film celebrates its 35th anniversary this year with a remastered version on 4K Ultra HD and extras including audio commentary by Donner, a set visit with Murray and more. — K.P.

Scrooged releases on 4K Ultra HD Tuesday, Nov. 7 on Amazon.

WATCH IT: Nick Cave’s the Birthday Party get their onscreen celebration

Long before Nick Cave became the elder statesmen of Goth and the post-punk version of Dear Abby with his insightful and empathic Red Hand Files column, he led short-lived but highly influential cult band the Birthday Party, whose “Release the Bats” was named by NME as one of the greatest Goth tracks of all time. Now the documentary Mutiny in Heaven: The Birthday Party “tells the story of the Birthday Party’s ascent, apex, and inevitable collapse… a thrilling tale of epic struggle, artistic genius, and total dysfunctionality.” The doc, which chronicles the seminal group from breakthrough to breakup, is executive-produced by Cave’s Wings of Desire collaborator Wim Wenders and co-produced by Mick Harvey, Cave’s former longtime bandmate in the Boys Next Door, the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds. —L.P.

Mutiny in Heaven: The Birthday Party premieres Tuesday, Nov. 7 on Prime Video and Vimeo.

GIFT IT: Celebrate 20 years of Elf with tons of new stocking stuffers.

A Buddy the Elf Etch-a-Sketch is one of many Elf-related products celebrating the movie's 20th anniversary. (Courtesy Spin Master)
A Buddy the Elf Etch-a-Sketch is one of many Elf-related products celebrating the movie's 20th anniversary. (Courtesy Spin Master)

Buddy the Elf! What's your favorite toy? Jon Favreau's classic Christmas movie hits the big 2-0 this year and Warner Bros. is celebrating with a wide range of Elf-themed merch. Obviously, toys are front and center, including an Etch-a-Sketch from Spin Master, various Funko products and a talking narwhal from Running Press. But there's truly something for all ages, from sweaters and mugs to cheese cutting boards and Christmas ornaments. Like Buddy always says, there's room for everybody on the Nice List... and the right gift to match. — E.A.

20th anniversary Elf products are available at WB Shop and other major retailers.

READ IT: A Masterpiece in Disarray is the comprehensive account of David Lynch's Dune

The new oral history A Masterpiece in Disarray chronicles the chaotic production of David Lynch's 1984 adaptation of Dune. (Courtesy 1984 Publishing)
The new oral history A Masterpiece in Disarray chronicles the chaotic production of David Lynch's 1984 adaptation of Dune. (Courtesy 1984 Publishing)

With respect to Denis Villeneuve's 2021 blockbuster, true Dune-heads know that David Lynch's 1984 movie version is the closest cinematic representation of Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel. Yes, Villeneuve successfully captured the book's epic mixture of sweep and spectacle, but only Lynch tapped into the deep-seated weirdness that's at the heart of Dune... which is also why the movie flopped big time upon release. Max Every's expansive oral history, A Masterpiece in Disarray, captures the film's chaotic production with commentary from key talent, including stars Kyle MacLachlan and Sean Young. Through their stories and the author's own appreciation for the film's quirks and eccentricities, Disarray makes the case for why we shouldn't fear 1984's Dune. After all, fear is the mind-killer. — E.A.

A Masterpiece in Disarray is available now at most major booksellers, including Amazon.

PLAY IT: Wish joins Just Play's popular Disney Doorables collectibles line

Just Play's Disney Doorables line adds characters from the upcoming animated film, Wish. (Courtesy Just Play)
Just Play's Disney Doorables line adds characters from the upcoming animated film Wish. (Courtesy Just Play)

Your wish has been granted, Disney Doorables fans. Just Play's bestselling line of pint-sized Disney collectibles adds characters from the Mouse House's upcoming animated musical Wish ahead of the film's Nov. 22 release. The Collector's Pack comes with nine exclusive 1.5" figures including Star, the character destined to be the scene-stealing... well, star of the show. — E.A.

The Disney Doorables Wish Collector's Pack is available now Amazon, Target and Walmart.

READ IT: New book gives girl groups their due

Exactly 60 years after the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" nabbed the No. 2 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, authors Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz tell the story of all-female ensembles, also including groups like the Shirelles, the Supremes and the Vandellas. For their new book, But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? An Oral History of the '60s Girl Groups, they interviewed more than 100 people: Darlene Love, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson and other former members of the groups. They spoke about their time in the spotlight and their many contributions to pop music, which they often don't get credit for today. Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Joel are two of the familiar faces vouching for the women's cultural significance, although the influence of their work speaks for itself. — R.S.

But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? An Oral History of the '60s Girl Groups is available at bookstores, including Amazon.