Jews in the News: Paul Rudd, Sacha Baron Cohen and Tiffany Haddish

Bad Shrink: Such a Shonda; Home Alone Again, Orthodox Baseball and Much More

“The Shrink Next Door” is an 8-episode limited series that will begin streaming on Apple+ on Friday, Nov. 12. It is based on a hit 2019 podcast of the same name. In the early ‘80s, MARTY MARKOWITZ, now 79, was referred to Dr. ISAAC HERSCHKOPF, a psychiatrist, for treatment. Markowitz (played by PAUL RUDD, 52) was a wealthy man who suffered from depression. 

For about thirty years, Herschkoff (played by Will Ferrell) controlled Markowitz’s life and finances. He went so far as to take over Markowitz’s palatial home and he moved Markowitz into a guest house. Spoiler (good guys win): Markowitz finally regained control of his life. Other patients who had been taken advantage of came forward after the podcast aired and Herschkoff lost his medical license last April.

“Home Sweet Alone” is an original Disney+ film that also will begin streaming on the 12th. Disney bought the rights to the “Home Alone” film “franchise” two years ago and this new film is a re-boot of the series.

Here’s the capsule plot: The film centers around Max, a British boy about ten years old.  He’s left home alone when his family travels to Japan for the holidays. Just as he’s getting used to life alone, a married couple tries to steal an heirloom from Max’s home. Max—like Kevin (Macaulay Culkin)—before him, finds ingenious ways to protect his home.

The mixed cast of American and British actors were directed by DAN MAZUR, 50. He shared a screenplay Oscar nomination, with co-writer SACHA BARON COHEN, for writing the first “Borat” movie (2007).  In 2020, they shared another Oscar nomination for co-writing the most recent “Borat” movie. He met Cohen at a famous U.K. private boys’ school and they have been “mates” ever since.

Tubi, a free (with ads) streaming service, that I recently mentioned, is set to premiere The Freak Brothers, its first original series. Here’s the premise of this animated series: in 1969, three young San Francisco stoners with cool nicknames (that include the word “freak”) spend their days dodging the draft, narcs, and steady jobs. They do look for really great marijuana. One day, they and their cat, “Kitty,” inhale some mutated marijuana. They fall asleep and wake up in 2020. Of course, they are blown-away by the changes in society, including marijuana legalization.

The three “Freak Brothers” are voiced by Woody Harrelson, John Goodman, and Pete Davidson. TIFFANY HADDISH, 41, provides the voice of Kitty. Kitty is quite a cat---she is quick-witted and sarcastic. She hectors the Freak brothers about this and that, but she’s on their side, because they’re family. Kitty also likes trashing 2020 society.

ANDREA SAVAGE, 48, voices Harper Switzer, a major character who is described as a “no nonsense, ass-kicking tech industry boss”. Savage has a decades-long career as a comedian/comic actress (President Laura Montez on “Veep”).

If you want some post-season baseball, do check out “The Yankles”, a unique baseball movie I recently discovered. The premise is that an Orthodox Jewish rabbinical seminary decides to form their own student baseball team and compete with other private schools. “Yankles” is now streaming on Tubi. This comedy/drama was made in 2009, but wasn’t released, at all, for years and was hard to find anywhere.

The acting is mostly fairly good, as are the production values. DON MOST, now 68 (Ralph on 'Happy Days'), has a pretty large role. Overall, the movie is worth your time.

Several people who write about Jews in baseball, and compile “good” lists of Jewish major leaguers, told me that when Atlanta pitcher MAX FRIED pitched to Houston Astro ALEX BREGMAN (Oct. 27), it was the first time in World Series history that a Jewish pitcher faced a Jewish batter. I replied that I “dug out” that (excellent) Dodger catcher STEVE YEAGER faced Oakland pitcher KEN HOLTZMAN in the 1974 Series. I expected their reply: “I don’t count Yeager as a ‘Jewish player’ because he converted to Judaism after he retired.”

My position is that there are at least 3 major league players, including Yeager, who converted after they retired and the time has come to at least mention them as a postscript of sorts to these Jewish player lists. Time to honor those who chose to be Chosen. By the way, there are many lists of Jews who won a Nobel Prize. All these lists include CHRISTIAN ANFINSEN, the 1972 Chemistry Nobel winner. He converted to Orthodox Judaism in 1979 and changed his first name to Chaim. I think these list makers made the right choice.


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