Matthew Broderick, Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Andrew Barth Feldman

Nate Bloom blogs about this week's Jews in the News.


Andrew Barth Feldman, Stan Lee, and Indy, One Last Time

“No Hard Feelings”, a comedy-drama, opens in theaters on June 23. Here’s the plot: Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence), is broke when she answers a very unusual ad. A wealthy couple are concerned about their son, Percy, who is a brilliant high school student, but it not interested in people—no friends, no dates. They hire Maddie, to quote the film, to “date Percy’s brains out”.


The “No Hard” trailers are quite amusing, and, of course, Jennifer Lawrence is a terrific actress, equally good at drama or comedy. She has a sharp eye for good scripts and almost all her films are critical and box-office hits. Her presence alone makes me high on the film.  


MATTHEW BRODERICK, 61, plays Percy’s father, and EBON MOSS-BACHRACH, 46 (“Girls” on HBO and “The Bear” on Hulu) plays Gary, a family friend.


ANDREW BARTH FELDMAN, 20, who plays Percy, is making his feature film debut. He has an amazing track record, already, as a musical stage actor, on and off Broadway. In 2019, he played the title role in the long-running Broadway show “Dear Evan Hansen’.


Normally, I have some difficulty “verifying” that a young actor is Jewish. However, the NY Times made it easy for me. They did a long profile of Feldman when he was 16 and was about to play Evan Hansen. The profile noted that his bar mitzvah project was to put on a cabaret-night at his school with the box-office receipts going to autism research. The cabaret was such a hit that it became an annual event.


“No Hard Feelings” was co-written by. and directed by GENE STUPNITSKY, 45. He was born in Kyiv, and grew-up in a Chicago suburb.  He was a long-time writer for “The Office”, and he wrote and directed “Good Boys” (2019), a hit comedy film.


I hope Stupnitsky hits a home run with this film. It’s been a long time since Hollywood has released an intelligent, “coming-of-age” film that amuses teen and adult audiences, alike.  


Stan Lee, a new documentary, is now streaming on the Disney+ channel. Of course, it is about the “father of the Marvel Universe” STAN LEE (1920--2018).  The film has got rave reviews from critics. The most interesting review, I think, was written by OWEN GLIEBERMAN, 64, for Variety (free on-line; 6/10).


The Variety review functions as a short, but very insightful biography of Lee. Its first paragraph (just below) made me want to see the film, pronto.


There’s a moment in “Stan Lee” David Gelb’s lively and illuminating documentary about the visionary of Marvel Comics, that’s momentous enough to give you a tingle. The year is 1961, and Lee, approaching 40, is burnt out on comics. It’s a form he has never taken all that seriously, even though he’s been working at it since 1939, when he started, at 17, as a gofer….Within two years he’d become the company’s editor, art director, and chief writer… The comics he creates get so little respect that he tries to hide his profession when asked about it at cocktail parties….  He is ordered to devise a team of superheroes that can compete with DC’s Justice League…Lee, weary of superheroes, is ready to quit the business…. With nothing to lose, he comes up with the Fantastic Four as a new breed of superhero: characters with a dash of angst and a host of ordinary problems…


DAVID GELB, 39, is the son of PETER GELB, 70, the artistic director of the Metropolitan Opera, and the grandson of the late ARTHUR GELB, a managing editor of the NY Times.

Opening June 30 is “Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny”. It is the fifth and final “Indiana Jones” movie and everybody associated with series, like STEVEN SPIELBERG, swears there will be no more “Indy” films.  

You can find the plot of this almost-certain blockbuster anywhere. So, I will omit it here. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Indiana Jones film if HARRISON FORD, 80, wasn’t playing archeologist Indiana Jones.  As I have noted before, Ford, 80, is the son of an Irish Catholic father and a Jewish mother. He’s always been “very” secular. 

Here's a Ford “fun fact” I recently came across.  He serves as a General Trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). It’s the oldest and largest American organization devoted to archaeology. Ford informs the public about three of the AIA’s missions: public awareness of archaeology, the prevention of looting, and stopping the illegal antiquities trade.

“Dial of Destiny” was directed by JAMES MANGOLD, 59, and he co-wrote the script. Mangold has directed a lot of hits, including “Walk the Line”, “The Wolverine”, “Logan”, “3:10 to Yuma” and “Ford v. Ferrari.”  

Mangold’s father, artist Robert Mangold, 85, isn’t Jewish. His mother, artist SYLVIA PILMACK MANGOLD, 84, is Jewish. It is fairly clear that James is secular and a UK Jewish paper says he’s referred to himself as “half Jewish”


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