Jews in the News: David Guggenheim, Joe Mande and Martin Landau

At the Movies

“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” opens in limited release on Friday, July 28 and nationwide on August 4.  It is, of course, the sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth,” the 2006 documentary directed by DAVIS GUGGENHEIM that won the Oscar for best documentary. The sequel follows former Vice President Al Gore (the ‘star’ of the original) as he continues his fight to rouse the world to take action on climate change. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes moments, some funny and others poignant. The film follows Gore as he reaches the apex, to date, of his efforts: the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016. The film was re-edited just before release to address President Trump’s recent decision to take America out of the Paris Agreement.

The co-directors are BONNI COHEN, 52, and JON SHENK, 48. Cohen’s other credits include producing “The Rape of Europa,” a 2006 documentary about the Nazi looting of European art treasures, including those owned by Jews. Shenk was the cinematographer on a PBS film that Cohen produced: “American Jerusalem: Jews and the Making of San Francisco” (2014)

Streaming Now

Last Friday, July 21, Netflix began streaming the first ten-episode season of “Ozark.” It stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a Chicago financial advisor who, we quickly learn, has been laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. The cartel discovers Marty’s partner has been skimming their money and plan to kill both of them. Marty comes up with a plan that persuades them to let him live. He’ll move with his wife (Laura Linney) and his kids to the Ozarks, far away from prying Feds, and launder a ton of money for them.

Reviews are mixed-to quite good. Most critics say what makes it a pretty good show are the interesting supporting characters. Singled out in those roles are JULIA GARNER, 23 (“Perks of a Teenage Wallflower”), JORDANA SPIRO, 39, and HARRIS YULIN, 79.

Garner plays the 19-year-old leader of a “white trash” gang who think they can get money out of Marty. Spiro plays the owner of a bar that Marty invests in. Yulin plays, in the words of the Los Angeles Times: “The unhurriedly dying old man who comes with the house the Byrdes buy.”

You may not know Yulin’s name, but you know his face. He’s been a supporting player in over 100 films and TV shows since 1970. He was born in Los Angeles, the son of immigrant parents. His original last name is Goldberg. 

On Tuesday, July 25, Netflix began streaming “Joe Mande’s Award Winning Comedy Special.” It stars, naturally enough, comedian JOE MANDE, 34. You might not have heard of him—but many have—his Twitter account has a million followers. He keeps them entertained with an endless stream of jokes. The special mostly consists of Mande delivering political and pop culture observations that tend to be oriented to people his age, or a bit younger (like the shows on MTV). You might know Mande Morris Lerpiss in seven episodes of “Parks and Recreation.”

Two Notes on Passings

I recently caught up, via Youtube, with an appearance of Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” on April 7. It was just after DON RICKLES died. Leno noted that so many greats of Rickles’ generation had already passed away, including RODNEY DANGERFIELD. Leno added that he was close to Rodney and wanted to share a great story. Jay said when Rodney was dying in 2004 he visited him in the hospital. Rodney was semi-conscious.  Rodney’s wife told Jay to put his finger in Rodney’s hand and told Rodney that if he had heard what she had said, he should squeeze Jay’s finger. Rodney squeezed the finger. Jay said, “Rodney, that’s not my finger.” Rodney let out a small chuckle and Jay said how happy it made him to make the comedian laugh on his deathbed.

Of course you know that MARTIN LANDAU died on July 15, age 89. Here are three things to come to mind. First, see or re-see the three movies that revived his career late-in-life: “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (WOODY ALLEN’s “most Jewish” film and his best drama), “Tucker,” an underrated Coppola picture, and “Ed Wood.”  Second, in case you didn’t know, BARBARA BAIN, his ex-wife, frequent co-star, and the mother of his children, is Jewish and alive at 85. Finally, Landau was a kind, highly intelligent man who was making and being cast in new films until his very short, fatal illness. If you gotta go, not bad to go out that way.


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