Teen fave Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”) heads up a young cast as the star of the musical film “Bandslam.” Hudgens plays a member of a New Jersey teen rock band that hopes to win a big battle-of-the-bands contest. Along the way, Hudgens finds romance with the cute new boy in town, Will (Gaelan Connell). Will manages Hudgens’ band.
Lisa Kudrow, 46 (Phoebe on “Friends”), plays Will’s mother — and she’s the only adult with a big part in the movie. She says, “ ‘Bandslam’ is a cut above what you might expect from this kind of film. It is so smooth, and easy, and so well-written.” In real-life, Kudrow has one child, Julian Stern, 11. (Opens Friday, Aug. 14.)
Jeremy Piven, 44, finally emerged as something other than a supporting player with his “eat-up-the-scenery” starring role as hard-charging Jewish talent agent Ari Gold on HBO’s “Entourage.” Now he stars as the Ari Gold-esque character Don Ready in the film comedy “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.”
Ready is a supersalesman who is asked to bring in his team and clear out the inventory of an ailing car dealership over a July 4 weekend. Jordana Spiro, 32, the star of the TBS series “My Boys,” has a large supporting role. (Opens Friday, Aug. 14.)
Comic-Con or bar mitzvah?
The annual Comic-Con Convention in San Diego has grown exponentially since it began in 1970. The convention now attracts more than 100,000 people, and just about any TV show or movie with any relation to sci-fi, horror or fantasy sends its stars and producers to promote their project. It’s the cool place to see and be seen.
The Fox police–sci-fi TV series “Fringe” hosted a panel that included most of the people connected to the show. A huge audience broke into cheers when series co-producer Jeff Pinker announced that Leonard Nimoy would co-star in the “Fringe” season two opener.
A notable no-show at Comic-Con was J.J. Abrams, the main producer of “Fringe.” Pinker explained that Abrams was attending the bar mitzvah of the son of actor Greg Grunberg, 43. Pinker added, tongue-in-cheek, “On rare occasions, being Jewish takes precedence over being cool.”
Roseanne: Holocaust denier?
Last week, jweekly.com covered the firestorm of protest that erupted when comedian Roseanne Barr, 56, appeared dressed as Hitler in the new issue of Heeb magazine. Barr asked to be photographed as Hitler and, dressed as Hitler, she put “Jew cookies” in an oven. Heeb defended the photos as satire. Barr defended herself by saying that the point was that she, a Jew, was still here and Hitler was dead.
On my jweekly.com blog, “Jewish Stars,” I go into the many issues raised by this photo shoot, including something that virtually all media sources has missed: For years, on her own blog, Barr has posted comments about Jews that evidence a profoundly disturbed mind. One can legitimately question whether her decision to appear as Hitler had anything to do with satire.
Her understanding of Jewish and world history is so abysmal that it is sometimes hard to interpret her comments about Jews. But, in short, she has a belief that Sephardi Jews are “good” and Ashkenazi Jews are “bad.” The former, she says, get on fine with the Arabs — and even with Hitler.
Here is one of Barr’s comments in this vein: “The history of the Jews is extremely interesting when viewed as a racial division between Arab Jews [Sephardi] and European/Russian Jews. Not one Sephardic Jew was killed by Hitler, because he considered them to be ‘real Jews’ and the German Jew as a bastard German.”
Barr’s statement is ludicrous and, in effect, it denies the clear historical fact that Hitler and the Nazis killed every Jew they could get their hands on, including at least 100,000 European Sephardi Jews.