During this time of social isolation, we’ll be offering weekly recommendations to help put you in an upbeat mood. (In case you missed it, here's last week's list.)

“The Big Goodbye”

Watching “Chinatown” is always a treat, but now you can enhance the experience by flipping through Sam Wasson’s new book that details the making of the 1974 classic. Even if you’re never seen the film, you’ll dig the Hollywood dirt on Faye Dunaway’s temper tantrums, screenwriter Robert Towne’s cocaine habit and Jack Nicholson’s obsession with basketball. Look for cameos from Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty and Anjelica Huston. Flatiron Books

“Angel of Vine”

The producers call it “a fictional true crime podcast,” which is 75% correct. It’s a podcast, it’s fictional, and it has a crime: a murder victim named after the famous Hollywood street where the body was found. The storytelling uses the audio equivalent of the “found footage” gimmick, telling the tale through recordings made by the private detective who tries to solve the case in the 1950s. A “Black Dahlia” retread? Sure. But the acting is sharp, with Alfred Molina heading a professional cast. Fans of film noir and old radio dramas will love it. angelofvine.com

“Every Little Step”

A viral video last week marked the 45th birthday of “A Chorus Line,” featuring cast members of the 2006 revival re-creating the show’s iconic opening dance number from their homes, in isolation. If that whetted your appetite for what was once the Great White Way’s longest-running show, you need to catch up with this documentary portrait of that revival, which mixes eye-opening archival material with rare peeks at the audition process that mirror the show’s plot line, as we see hundreds of hopefuls narrowed down to the lucky few. Amazon, YouTube

“Festing in Place”

New Orleans’ nonprofit roots-music station WWOZ is a great one to stream any day, but it’ll be especially hopping and hopeful over the next two weekends, when the city’s famed Jazz & Heritage Festival was set to happen for the 51st straight year (now postponed till 2021). Tune in 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sunday — and again starting next Thursday — for highlights from this year’s schedule alongside archived Jazz Fest performances from late greats Fats Domino, Dr. John, Professor Longhair and Allen Toussaint on up to recent sets by Trombone Shorty, Big Freedia, Rebirth and the Preservation Hall crew. WWOZ.org


When Brian Dennehy passed away last week, tributes mentioned some of his most popular work, including “Tommy Boy” and “Silverado.” But most of them ignored this tight, terrific 1986 thriller about a special-effects whiz (Bryan Brown) who uses his bag of tricks to get revenge on the mob after he’s framed for murder. Dennehy’s gruff cop doesn’t appear until a third of the way in, but as soon he storms into the action, he makes off with the film. No special effects needed. Amazon Prime


“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris offers an R-rated version of his hit ABC sitcom, stirring up the pot with the kind of fervor that would give a network censor a heart attack. Barris, playing a loose version of himself, has recruited some of his famous friends to pop in, including Tyler Perry, who does an impressive job defending his low-rent movies. Look for the episode in which Barris assembles some of the Hollywood elite for a black summit meeting that ends in disaster. Funny AF. Netflix

Rock Hall of Fame royalty

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is celebrating Prince’s death anniversary this week by digging into its vault for unedited Purple moments — including his 2004 induction speech for Parliament-Funkadelic (1997), Alicia Keys’ speech when Prince was inducted himself in 2004, his acceptance remarks and the spectacular guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that he performed to salute fellow Hall of Famer George Harrison. youtube.com/rockhall

“Because of Winn-Dixie”

How long has it been since you read Kate DiCamillo’s first book? Twenty years, when it first came out? Or never, you say? No time like the present. Her story about a Florida girl who finds a stray dog at a Winn-Dixie grocery store and has her life utterly changed is charming and poignant. And now it is the first book to be chosen for a new statewide book club, begun by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, hosted by public libraries statewide and culminating in a virtual discussion with the author herself. The book is available online free to any Minnesota resident at the Ebooks Minnesota website.

“The Lighthouse”

Now might not seem like the time for a film about two men trapped in tight quarters, but “The Lighthouse” is worth the watch. In director Robert Eggers’ haunting sophomore film, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play lighthouse keepers stuck on a desolate island. To an ominous soundtrack of foghorns, crying seagulls and crashing waves, the two men slowly drive one another mad. “How long have we been on this rock?” Dafoe asks at one point. “Five weeks? Two days? Help me to recollect.” The black-and-white film hollows out the actors’ faces. The nearly-square aspect ratio amps up the claustrophobia. Amazon

“Leigh Kamman Legacy Project”

For decades he was Minnesota Public Radio’s jazz messenger, with a sonorous delivery that warmed late-night listeners like a hot toddy. Kamman’s voice still carries, thanks to this audio archive, including priceless interviews with such greats as Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner and Cab Calloway. If his flights of fancy sometimes got away from him, that’s part of the charm. “Well, that’s one interview that’s driven another jazz musician right out of his head,” he jokes with Lee Konitz, the sax legend whom we just lost to coronavirus. leighkamman.com