Jews in the News: Andrew Garfield, Adam Sandler and Fred Savage

May the smoked salmon come up and greet you after Yom Kippur and may your New Year be laden with other good noshes.

By the way, should I be nervous about accounting? I sent the invoice on Sept. 4, responding to "accounts payable". Its just about 15 days, now. Let you know on Monday if your check has arrived.

At the Movies: Opening Friday, Sept. 25

“99 Homes” is a thriller which stars ANDREW GARFIELD, 32 (“Spider-Man”) as Dennis Nash, a single father of a young son and the caretaker of his elderly mother. Nash hits hard times and along comes Rick (Michael Shannon), a ruthless property speculator who evicts Nash, his son, and mother from their Orlando, Florida home. Desperate for an income, Nash agrees to work for Rick evicting people from their homes and is gradually seduced by the glamorous and wealthy lifestyle that working for Rick can provide.  The glamour quickly fades when Nash learns that his “deal-with-the-devil” entails real danger.

TOBEY MCGUIRE, another ex-Spider-Man, stars as Bobby Fischer (1943-2008), the late World Chess champion, in “Pawn Sacrifice,” directed by EDWARD ZWICK, 62. This film opened in limited release on the 18th and opens wide on the 25th.

Fischer is an especially charged subject for any Jewish audience. His mother was Jewish, as was his "virtually certain" biological father, the brilliant Hungarian mathematician PAUL NEMEYI. One could track Fischer’s gradual descent into madness by the number and viciousness of his anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks. The anti-Semitism, as the film depicts, began before the 1972 world chess championship (although the public didn’t know about that). The movie begins with Fischer becoming a child chess prodigy in Brooklyn where his mother, REGINA (ROBIN WEIGERT, 46), raised him along with his older sister, JOAN (played by Lily Rabe, the daughter of the late actress JILL CLAYBURGH, whose father was Jewish). Regina ’s leftist ties, the film implies, helped turn Bobby into a fanatic anti-Soviet.  His conversion to a Christian sect is also touched on.

“Pawn” shows Joan and Paul Marshall, Bobby’s attorney/manager (MICHAEL STULBARG, 47), trying to get Fischer mental help not long before his match with the then-reigning chess champ, Soviet Boris Spassky (LIEV SCHREIBER, 47). However, Bobby’s chess coach, a Catholic priest (Peter Saarsgard), vetoes this—thinking it will impair his genius.  Advance reviews praise the performances---but it’s very hard to explain madness or great chess genius in any film and “Pawn”, most reviews say, has not quite succeeded. The 2011 documentary, “Bobby Fischer against the World,” by LIZ GARBUS, 45, is terrific and probably leaves you more informed than any attempt at dramatization.

A much lighter tone is found in “Hotel Transylvania 2”, an animated monster comedy directed by GENNADY TARTAKOVSKY, 45. The director was born in the former Soviet Union and his Jewish parents immigrated to America in 1977. His parents were doing well in Russia —his father was a prominent dentist and his mother was an assistant principal. However, like thousands of other Soviet Jews they left because they feared the effect of anti-Semitism on their children. Gennady’s first feature film, “Hotel Transylvania” (2012), turned out to be a huge box-office smash and even got a Golden Globe nomination.

The original movie had Dracula, voiced by ADAM SANDLER, 49, running a hotel where monster-types could get a rest from human civilization. In the sequel, Dracula has opened the hotel’s doors to humans. He’s worried, however, that his half-human grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing his vampire side and he decides to put the young boy through monster-in-training boot camp. Dennis is voiced by 6-year-old ASHER BLINKOFF. Dennis’s human dad, Johnny, is voiced by ANDY SAMBERG, 37. Johnny is married to Mavis (Selena Gomez), Drac’s daughter. As in the original, MEL BROOKS, 89, voices Drac’s cantankerous dad, Vlad.

More New Show Notes

The sit-com “Grandfathered” premieres on Fox on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 8PM. John Stamos (“Full House”) stars as Jimmy,  a suave restaurant owner who finds out that not only is he a father—his previously unknown-to-him son has a young daughter. JOSH PECK, 28, an actor whose charm and talent, I think, sneaks up on you (he is kind of low-key), plays Jimmy’s son, Gerald.

Another sit-com, “The Grinder”, starts on Fox right after “Grandfathered” ( 8:30PM ). Rob Lowe plays Dean, an actor who decides to move back home to Idaho and join his family’s law firm after eight years playing a lawyer on TV. Problem is that Dean has no law license or formal legal training. His brother, Stewart (FRED “Wonder Years” SAVAGE), is a real-life lawyer who has to cope with Dean injecting Hollywood into his law practice and other Dean-related mishigosh.

This is Savage’s first big acting role since “Wonder Years”. He’s been a very busy and successful TV director. He has three kids with his Jewish wife, JENNIFER STONE, a childhood friend. They've been married since 2004.

Lowe isn’t Jewish. However, his wife of 24 years, SHERYL BERKOFF, is Jewish, and the couple’s two sons were raised in their mother’s faith.


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