Andy Sandberg, Jake Johnson and Ed Skrein

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.

Two New Films, Famous WWII Jewish Vets Update, Emmys Note


“Self-Reliance”, a comedy thriller, will premiere on Hulu on Jan. 14. Here’s the premise: A sad man (ANDY SAMBERG. 45) receives an invitation to win $1M by a reality TV game on the dark web. For 30 days, he must outwit hunters attempting to kill him. But, there's a loophole: the hunters can only attack him when he's alone – so he tries to convince friends, family and strangers that they must stay with him 24/7.

The film was written and directed by JAKE JOHNSON, 45. He was a co-star on “New Girl,” the long-running TV sit-com. He was also the voice of Spiderman/Peter Parker in the two hit animated Spiderman films (2018 and 2023).

Johnson’s father was Jewish, but he was raised by his non-Jewish mother. Johnson is his mother’s maiden name. His religious beliefs seem limited to vague comments like “God is everywhere.”

“Rebel Moon”, which is now streaming, is a big-budget Netflix sci-fi film reminiscent of some Star Wars films. A sequel film will open in April. Critics say some special effects are good, but the film is a derivative “mess”.

I watched it because three Jewish actors are in it: COREY STOLL 47, ED SKREIN, 40 , and MICHIEL HUISMAN, 42. Huisman and Skrein are stars of the flick, while Stoll’s role is smaller.

Skrein is a good-looking British actor whose credits include “Midway” and “Deadpool”. His father is Jewish. It’s unclear if his mother is Jewish, too.

Huisman is a Dutch actor. His mother is Jewish. It’s unclear whether his father is Jewish, but that doesn’t matter: His brother told a Dutch site: “My family is Jewish.”  

Huisman had big parts in “Game of Thrones” and “The Flight Attendant”. In “GOT” he played Daario Naharis, a “hot” mercenary leader who allies with “Dragon Queen” Danerys, and becomes her lover. Huisman played Alex, the boyfriend of the title character in “Flight Attendant”

Huisman’s wife is TARA ELDERS, 43, a pretty, now-retired Dutch actress. A source tells me that her American mother is “likely all Jewish”. Elders’ Dutch paternal grandparents were posthumously honored by Yad Vashem as “Righteous Gentiles” in 2017. They hid a Dutch Jewish judge, his wife, and their teenage daughter and saved their lives.

In 2022, right around Veterans’ Day, I had a column item about the WWII vets who became famous after the war and were still alive. Seven of the 14 vets were Jewish. In 2023, more than half died. This isn’t a surprise. A WWII vet had to be born no later than 1927 to be 18 just as the war ended in 1945.

The list below is a record, of sorts, of the passing of the ”Greatest Generation”. It is, sadly, a foreshadow of the “end” of living witnesses to the Holocaust.

The Jewish vets who died: SHECKY GREENE (comedian, 12/31/23, age 97); BERNARD KALB (CBS reporter, 1/8/23, age 100); HENRY KISSINGER (Sec. of State, 11/23/23, age 100); NEWTON MINOW (FCC chairman, 5/6/23, age 97); and NORMAN LEAR (producer/writer, 12/5/23, age 101). The surviving Jewish vets, on my original list, are: MEL BROOKS, 97, and top songwriter ALAN BERGMAN, 98.

Here’s a happy addition to my original vets’ list. A Dec. 17 CBS “Sunday Morning Show” segment (on Youtube) profiled EDDY GOLDFARB, now 102! The segment was good, but a Youtube search revealed a better profile (19 minutes), directed by Goldfarb’s daughter, LYN GOLDFARB, 70. Its entitled “The Man Who Invented Iconic Toys.” (Trust me, you’ll love this film!)

Goldfarb, who’s remarkably spry and healthy looking, grew-up very poor. But his life changed when he joined the WWII Navy, became a radar tech, and volunteered to serve on subs. On his sub, he designed toys in his spare time.

He married ANITA STERN in 1948, and they were a devoted couple until her death in 2013. Just before they wed, they agreed that Anita would support Eddy for two years and see if his toys would sell.  His first toy,  the Yakity Yak “chattering teeth”, was a big hit. His biggest sellers include Battling Tops (game), KerPlunk (game), and Stompers (toy trucks). He’s still inventing toys, alone, and his inventing process is in the film.

The Emmy Awards for the 2022-23 season will finally be held on Jan. 15 (Fox, 8PM). The Emmys ceremony was long delayed by the actors’ strike.

Most of the most prominent Jewish Emmy nominees are the same nominees I mentioned in my Golden Globes column last week. The Emmys have expanded the number of nominees in most categories (5 to 6,7, or 10). So, of course, some Jews got an Emmy “nom”, but not a Golden Globe “nom”.


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