Sunny Sandler, Adam Sandler and Sadie Sandler

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News


The All-Sandler “Bat”; Bernstein Symphony, "Down Low" Marriage


On Aug. 17, Netflix “popped” the news that on August 25 they would premiere the original feature film “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah”.


It’s mostly a comedic coming-of-age story: best friends Stacy (played by SUNNY SANDLER,14, ADAM SANDLER’s daughter) and Lydia (Samantha Lorraine) are planning “epic” bat mitzvah parties.


However, their plans and their friendship are shaken when they both “crush on” the very cute Andy Goldfarb (Dylan Hoffman), a Hebrew school classmate.


Hoffman and Lorraine have just a few credits and its hard to run down if they are Jewish. While not certain, I am "pretty sure" Hoffman isn't Jewish. Its likely Lorraine is at least part-Hispanic, but that doesn't mean she's not Jewish.



Back to the plot: Stacy catches Lydia kissing Andy and declares their friendship is over. But she goes further: she anonymously spreads nasty rumors about Lydia.


Stacy’s sister (SADIE SANDLER,17, Adam’s other daughter) and Stacy’s mother (IDINA MENZEL, 52) step-in and encourage Stacy to make peace with Lydia. Her mother and her father (Adam Sandler, 56) warn Stacy that her behavior could result in her bat mitzvah being cancelled. (Sadie and Sunny’s real-life mother, JACKIE Sandler,48, has a small role).


This film is based on a 2005 young adult novel of the same name. The novel got pretty good reviews. The author is AMANDA STERN, 50ish. Under the pen name Fiona Rosenbloom, she has written three young adult novels. All of them are heavily “Jewish-themed” stories featuring young Jewish characters.


“You Are Not So” was directed by Sammi Cohen, a young woman with some TV episode directing credits. It’s reasonable to assume she’s Jewish.


Cohen was recently interviewed by Tudum, a Netflix-affiliated website. Here are excerpts: [The movie] gives us insight to this very Jewish coming-of-age experience but speaks to broader themes about what it means to be a kid today. …I was excited to tell a Jewish coming-of-age story that explores formative female friendships and self-discovery in a real, messy, authentic way. Stacy and Lydia’s chemistry is undeniable. They’re little platonic soulmates. The kind of friends who make you feel nostalgic for your own.


As I write this the reviews have just come-in and they are all positive.  Here are review excerpts from the almost-always reliable Hollywood Reporter:


[Adam] Sandler….is only a minor presence in the film, generously ceding the lion’s share of screen time to his daughter, who rises to the occasion with an appealingly funny lead performance…the film refreshingly leans into its Jewishness in a big way, not bothering to explain every reference to “goy” viewers…it’s a sweet, amusing film geared toward younger audiences, who will best relate to the main character’s personal travails as she prepares for the film’s main event. (And as they say, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the movie, but it certainly won’t hurt.)


Kudos to Sandler (and his huge loyal fan base) for getting a big budget “bat” movie made. It wouldn’t have happened without him starring-in and producing the film.


PBS drives me crazy with its failure to adequately flag their new programs in advance. A case in point is “Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony”. It premiered on August 21. But I didn’t learn about it until the day it premiered.


The good news: because it is so new, “Kaddish” is “free” for anyone to watch (no PBS membership required). Just go to the PBS site or app to watch. If you have a TV that allows you to add “ “app channels”---like Roku or Amazon Fire—you can watch it on the PBS app. It will be “free” for several months.


“Kaddish” was filmed in 2002 at a Chicago festival. The Chicago Symphony was directed by Marin Alsop, a protégé of LEONARD BERNSTEIN. The orchestra “backed” two choruses--a children’s chorus and the Chicago Symphony.


African-American actress Jaye Ladymore narrated an explanatory text. The  soloist (singer) was Janai Brugger, another African-American.


The PBS publicity says: “the symphony examines questions of humanity and faith, exploring the complicated nature of a higher power who governs mortality”.


I “monitor” the comings-and-goings of news people on the broadcast and cable/streaming channels and, three years ago, I was surprised to learn that NY Times reporter MICHAEL S. SCHMITT was dating Nicole Wallace, the host of the popular MSNBC program “Deadline: White House”. Schmidt is an occasional guest on “Deadline”.


For months, I heard nothing more about their relationship and assumed they broke-up. Then I stumbled on a very short “People” article that said they married in April, 2022. For whatever reason, the couple never acknowledge their marriage when Schmidt is a guest on “Deadline”.


Schmidt, 40, is a 2-time Pulitzer winner (the James Comey firing and the Bill O’Reilly sexual harassment story). Wallace, 51, was a senior advisor to the John McCann presidential campaign.  She’s no longer a Republican.


Wallace had a son with her first husband. Schmidt’s story is murky. Some sources say he has a child. Also unclear is why he always wears a black zip-up, “sort of” wind breaker jacket. His apparel has actually led to some internet discussions.


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