Jews in the News: Alan Arkin, Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet

At the Movies: Opens April 7

“Going in Style” is a re-make of a 1979 action/comedy film of the same name that starred GEORGE BURNS, LEE STRASBERG, and Art Carney as three “nice” senior citizens who decide to rob a bank and do it. Its been made known that this version ends “happy” with the guys getting away with it—and not going to jail, like in the original.

The re-make stars ALAN ARKIN, 82, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. JOEY KING, 17, co-stars as Caine’s smart granddaughter. It’s directed by ZACH BRAFF, 41, the former star of “Scrubs” and the writer/director of the indie hit “Garden State” (2004). Braff has done some respectable work since “Garden,” but he really needs a hit now to re-start a pretty stalled career.

I recommend “The Finest” even though it has only a small Jewish connection (English Jewish actor HENRY GOODMAN, 66, in a supporting role). “Variety” and others gave a thumbs-up to this intelligent romantic comedy and lately there’s been a real dearth of such films. It’s set in Britain in 1940, just after the fall of France and the heroic evacuation of the British army from Dunkirk. Catrin (Gemma Arterton), a former newspaper writer, is hired to write dialogue for woman characters by a government agency that makes short, morale boosting films. Her struggling artist husband (Jack Huston) looks down on her new job, but she quickly fits in with the agency’s rough-hewn male writers. Pretty soon, she convinces the agency to make an epic film on Dunkirk. It stars a very vain, former matinee idol (scene stealer Bill Nighy). During filming, sparks begin to fly between Catrin and the lead writer (Sam Clafin).

Baseball Stuff, Including a Great Home Viewing Option

Back in October, I said that if the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, they should erect a statue of THEO EPSTEIN, the Cubs executive who built their winning team-- in front of Chicago’s Wrigley Field—and erect another statue in front of Boston’s Fenway Park. Epstein was the general manager when Boston finally won a World Series in 2004 (they last won in 1918). The Cubs 2016 World Series win was the first since 1908.

Well, “Fortune” magazine has kind of bested my idea. In their March, 23 issue, they named Epstein the “World’s Greatest Leader.” Fortune named him #1—Numero Uno on their list of 50 leaders. He even beat out the Pope.

Epstein, 43, cracked a joke about his #1 status (“I can’t even get my dog to pee when I want”) and pointed-out how chance is a big factor in baseball. But Jena McGregor, writing for the “Washington Post,” wouldn’t buy that—noting that his joke and humility shows that he has a healthy perspective on what he does. She also pointed-out that Epstein built the Cubs by carefully examining the character of every prospect and not just relying on their “stats.” (See my next column for a list of this season’s Jewish MLB players).

Brockmire” premiered on IFC on Wednesday, April 5 at 10PM. The first episode can be seen, for free, on Youtube. Just enter “IFC” and “Brookmire” and you’ll find it. The first episode is bawdy and very funny. Baseball fans will especially love it. (Click Here for Episode--Brockmire Pilot Youtube )

It centers on Jim Brockmire (HANK AZARIA, 52), a famous baseball announcer. As the first show begins, we see Brockmire suffer a total meltdown that ends his major league broadcast career. While calling a Kansas City Royals game, he described, on air, how he how he caught his wife in a very kinky orgy. This orgy, Brockmire says, included a friend of his—a friend whose “kids’ bar mitzvahs I hosted.”

Ten years later, Brockmire tries to reclaim his career by calling minor league ball in a rust-belt town.  AMANDA PEET, 45, co-stars as the strong-willed owner of the struggling minor league team. (She’s great!)

I don’t think Brockmire, who sounds Southern, is supposed to be Jewish, but near the episode’s end, while calling a home run, he spouts a line that no non-Jewish announcer would (really) say: “Oh, folks, that ball cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery, because that ball has just got tattooed!”

Interesting Casting Note

Chris Evans (“Captain America”) is set to star in “Red Sea Diving Resort,” a drama that revolves around the rescue and transport of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1981. Evans will play a charming Israeli agent who assembles a ragtag team to help with the exodus on the ground.


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