At the Movies: Laugh and Be Thrilled
“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” is a comedic send-up of documentaries on pop musicians, like Justin Bieber. It was written by ANDY SAMBERG, 37, along with his frequent collaborators: AKIVA SCHAFFER, 38, and Jorma Taccone (the latter two also co-directed). Samberg plays Conner4Real, a famous pop star with a huge entourage. He’s nervous because his second solo album has flopped. Schaeffer plays Connor’s lyricist, with SARAH SILVERMAN, 45, as his publicist. Rock star ADAM LEVINE, 37, has a cameo as himself. (Opens June 3)
Next week, my column will be mostly about the Tony awards. So I am covering a rare, “four Jewish lead” actor movie early. “Now You See Me” (2013), a thriller about four magicians who pull off a daring heist, was a surprise box office hit. Now comes “Now You See Me 2”. Returning from the original are JESSE EISENBERG, 32, and DAVE FRANCO, 30 (both magicians). New Jews in “See Me 2” include LIZZY CAPLAN, 33, and DANIEL RADCLIFFE, 26. Here’s the basic plot: One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their mind-bending spectacles, the Four Horsemen [the magicians] resurface only to find themselves face to face with a new enemy who enlists them to pull off their most dangerous heist yet.” (Opens June 10)
Schwimmer Sailing Along
DAVID SCHWIMMER, 49, is having his highest profile year since “Friends” ended. In February, he appeared as Robert Kardashian in “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” an FX 10-episode series that got pretty good reviews and great ratings. He tries the 10-episode format again in the AMC series, “Feed the Beast”, which premieres on Tuesday, June 7, at 10PM. Here’s the publicity release: “It tells the story of Tommy (Schwimmer) and Dion (Jim Sturgess) who are like brothers. Dion can’t stay out of trouble. Tommy can’t move past it. For two friends on the brink of losing everything, a dusty pipe dream of opening up an upscale restaurant in their hometown of the Bronx is all they have left to turn their lives around. Together, they take on the insanity of the New York restaurant world, and navigate its underbelly of petty criminals, corrupt officials and violent mobsters.” By the way, things are also going well for Schwimmer, personally. “Friends” made him very wealthy and, in 2010, he married ZOE BUCKMAN, now 30, a British artist whose mother is a British playwright. The couple had a daughter in 2011.
Copa, a Big Kick
The Copa is a big deal. Every four years since 1916, 10 men’s soccer teams from the Western Hemisphere have played in this tournament in South America. This would have been an off year, but in honor of the Copa’s 100th anniversary, a special “extra” tournament is being held for the first time in North America, with 16 teams invited to play. The U.S. team has plays its first match (v. Columbia) on June 3 at Levi’s Stadium near San Jose, CA. The second match is on June 7 in Chicago against Costa Rica; with a third game scheduled Saturday, June 11 in Philadelphia against Paraguay. If the US wins its division, it will appear in the quarter-finals, which start June 16. All games are being broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
The 23-man U.S. squad has two tribe members: DeANDRE YEDLIN, 22, and STEVE BIRNBAUM, 25. The son of an African American father and a Jewish mother, Yedlin was raised near Seattle by his Jewish grandfather. He’s now a star for the Tottenham Spurs, a top U.K. pro club. Like Yedlin, Birnbaum is a defender, and he currently plays for D.C. United, a MLS pro team. A Southern California native, he was a U.C. Berkeley team star and he won a silver medal at the 2012 Pan-American Maccabi Games.
Purely by coincidence, Yedlin plays for a team, Tottenham, which has an odd Jewish history. Like many London-based clubs, it had/has a large Jewish following and fans of opposing teams sometimes jeered the squad as “Yids”. So, Tottenham fans, Jewish or not, eventually took this term as a badge of honor and began calling themselves “Yids” or “Yiddos”. This began decades ago, but with rising tensions in the Middle East, and the rise of soccer hooliganism, things got somewhat out of hand around 2007, with supporters of opposing teams using all sort of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel jeers at Tottenham games. There’s been a crackdown since, but this “weird” stuff still goes on at a lesser level. There’s a similar story with Ajax, the top Dutch soccer team based in Amsterdam.