Nate Bloom, Contributing Columnist
New TV Season, Some New Shows (More to Come)
“High School Musical,” an original Disney made-for-TV film, was a surprise huge hit and it, and its sequels, made the leading members of the young cast household names among the tween set. But, except for Zac Efron (who is often misidentified as Jewish; my research indicates he has one Jewish grandparent)—the rest of the stars haven’t been in any other follow-up film or TV hits.
ASHLEY TISDALE, 25, whose mother is Jewish, played bad girl Sharpay Evans in “Musical.” If she is very lucky, her new CW series, “Hellcats,” will give Tisdale the follow-up hit that her career really needs.(Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 9PM. Check listings for encore showings this week. Also available on-line).
“Hellcats” centers on Marti (Alsyon Michalka), a smart-but-poor college student who loses her scholarship. She has no choice but to try and join the school’s big-time cheerleading squad because cheerleaders get financial aid. Her roommate, Savannah (Tisdale), a peppy but tough girl, is the head of the squad.
Premiering on Wednesday, Sept. 15, on NBC, is the drama “Outlaws” (10PM). Jimmy Smits (“L.A. Law,” “NYPD Blue”) stars as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who resigns his seat, returns to the practice of law, and puts together a small law firm to seek justice for the “little guy.” One of the firm’s lawyers is named Al Druzinsky (David Ramsey). Ramsey, an African-American, just told “Jet” magazine that Druzinsky is supposed to have been adopted by a Jewish couple, who will be seen in a later episode. Ramsey is best known for playing the confidential informant/boyfriend of Dexter’s sister (a cop) on Showtime’s “Dexter.”
New Flicks, Maybe Coming To a Theater Near You
The following movies all open in limited release on Friday, Sept. 10. If any do big box office in their first week or two, then you can be sure they will hit a theater near you. If not, you’ll probably have to look for the DVD release to see the flick.
|“The Extra Man”|
“The Extra Man” is a comic romp built on the friendship of one young eccentric (Paul Dano) with an even wilder eccentric (KEVIN KLINE, 62). Dano plays a (straight) teacher at a fancy prep school who likes to wear women’s underwear. His garment choice is exposed, as it were, and he is forced to resign. He moves to New York City and gets a magazine job, where he meets his love interest (Katie Holmes). But most of the flick is about his wild urban adventures with Henry (Kline), an indigent playwright who rents him a room. Henry makes a few bucks escorting wealthy widows to society functions. Playing one of these widows is Broadway acting legend MARIAN SELDES, 82.
The film is directed and co-written by the husband-and-wife team of Robert Pulcini and SHARI SPRINGER BERMAN, 46, (“American Splendor”). It’s based on a novel by JONATHAN AMES (HBO’s “Bored to Death”), who contributed to the screenplay.
|“I’m Still Here”|
In 2008, JOAQUIN PHOENIX, (best actor Oscar nominee for “Walk the Line”), announced he was retiring from acting in favor of a budding career as a rap musician. Questions were asked, now and then, like: Was this an elaborate hoax? Was, or is Joaquin, now 35, mentally ill? The new documentary, “I’m Still Here,” might answer these questions, as well as providing an in-depth look at career re-invention.
Filmed over two years, the documentary is the work of actor Casey Affleck, the brother of Ben; the best friend of Joaquin, and the husband of Joaquin’s sister, former actress SUMMER PHOENIX, 31. The Phoenix siblings (including the late, talented actor RIVER PHOENIX) are the children of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father. Joaquin has long described himself as non-religious.
By the way, Casey and Summer have continued the Phoenix family tradition of colorful names. They have two young sons, named Indiana August Affleck and Atticus Affleck.
“The Virginity Hit” seems to be an attempt to combine raunchy humor and genuine romantic moments. It doesn’t appear to be just another stupid teen movie. But, it’s hard to say for sure since almost everyone connected to the flick is a virtual unknown. There are a lot of “Jewish names” among the cast, but I was only able to confirm that one is Jewish—JACOB DAVICH, 20, the third lead. His father, MARVIN DAVICH, is a prolific and Emmy winning composer of music for TV. Jacob’s parents belong to a Los Angeles synagogue.
The plot is simple—Four friends use a video camera and their Internet savvy to chronicle their buddy’s attempt to lose his virginity.
Contributing Columnist Nate Bloom, a syndicated columnist out of Oakland, California, writes “Jews In The News,” highlighting celebrity Jews in all walks of life with – a heavy concentration on the entertainment field. Bloom, for purposes of the column, defines a Jew as a person with at least one Jewish parent, who is not raised in a faith other than Judaism and does not identify with a faith other than Judaism as an adult.