Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.
Guitar Lessons, Theater Camp Streaming, Family Reunion, Chris Wallace
“Flora and Son” begins streaming on Apple+ on Sept. 29. This musical comedy-drama film got very good reviews at the Sundance Film Festival last January and, soon after, Apple paid $20M for the rights to show it.
Basic plot: Flora (Ewa Hewson), a single mother in Ireland, has trouble with her teenage son Max. He’s a rebellious petty thief. The police tell Max to find a hobby. Fiona digs out an old guitar and gives it to Max. Then, with the help of a Los Angeles on-line guitar teacher (JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, 42) Max finds his “calling.”
Fun facts: Gordon-Levitt is really an accomplished guitarist and Ewa Hewson, who is Irish, is the daughter of Bono (born Paul Hewson), the very famous Irish lead singer for the band U-2.
I was a bit surprised, last week, when Hulu began streaming “Theater Camp”. Only two months ago I wrote a column item about this film opening in theaters. But, as I thought about it, I think this is the “new world”.
“Theater Camp” got mostly good (if not great) reviews and the box-office receipts were pretty good for a smallish indie film. In the last six months, or so, indie films with any “buzz” are being rushed to a streaming service. Hulu and other streaming services clearly want “new, originally-in theaters films” as soon as possible---and they can pay for them
“Theater Camp” is a comedic “mockumentary” about a summer arts camp for children. As I wrote in July, the cast is heavily Jewish (BEN PLATT, NOAH GALVIN, and MOLLY GORDON co-star. Gordon co-directed the film, too).
The film is uneven, but there are many funny scenes. It’s not at the level of the best mockumentaries, like “This is Spinal Tap” (a ROB REINER film) or “Best in Show” (a CHRISTOPHER GUEST film). But it has its charms and quite a few laughs. By the way, Hulu has many subscription plans. You can see all their movies and their original series for only $8 a month.
Last week, “People” reported that the filming of “We are the Lucky Ones”, a limited Hulu series, had ‘wrapped’ in June and won’t be affected by the actors’ strike. The series co-stars LOGAN LERMAN, 31, and JOEY KING, 24. It is based on a novel of the same name. The novel was based on a real extended European Jewish family that (mostly) survived WWII and the Holocaust. It focuses on their struggle to reunite after the war.
The new season of “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” begins streaming on Sept. 29 on HBO/Max. WALLACE, 75, quit Fox News in 2021 after 28 years. He was one of the few “traditional” news anchors still working for Fox. He was reportedly very upset with the Fox “opinion anchors” (that’s what Fox calls them)—who were pushing the false election fraud stories. These stories cost Fox $780M (the settlement of a defamation suit) and similar suits are still in the courts.
In April, 2022, Wallace joined a new streaming service called CNN+. But few subscribed, and it was scrapped a week after launching! Wallace had a big money contract with CNN, so they shuttled him off to HBO/Max, which is owned by the same company as CNN.
Last month, Wallace was given a second show: a CNN Sunday morning show called “The Chris Wallace Show”. Wallace is a respected journalist who treats his interviewees respectfully—so he attracts guests from across the mainstream political spectrum.
Most know that Chris Wallace is the son of MIKE WALLACE (1918-2012), a long-time top CBS journalist. Most Jews who know that Mike Wallace was Jewish erroneously think, with the first name “Chris”, that Chris’s mother wasn’t Jewish.
His mother was Jewish, as was his stepfather (who helped raise Chris).
Personally, I am alternately mystified and annoyed that two Jewish parents would name their son “Chris”. Chris Wallace isn’t the only famous Jew (with two Jewish parents) named Chris. Two others: well-known sportscaster CHRIS BERMAN, 68, and actor/writer/director Christopher Guest, 75.
My tongue-in-cheek advice: Don’t name your child “Chris” until Christians start naming their sons Pincas or Shumley.
Mike Wallace was interviewed by journalist ABIGAIL POGREBIN, now 58, for her book “Stars of David” (2005). She talked to many famous Jews and asked them about being Jewish. Mike said he was raised in a religious home, but his practice as an adult was limited to saying the Shema at bedtime.
Mike strongly implied that Chris was raised secular and, he said: “I sometimes have to remind Chris that he is Jewish”.