There probably has never been a major feature film showing the “real” Oakland as it appears in “Blindspotting.” The co-stars and co-writers of the film, Daveed Diggs, 36, and Rafael Casal, grew up in Oakland, where the movie was filmed. It covers many of the top issues facing the city today, including crime, police violence and gentrification. (It opens on Friday, July 20.)
The film, which premiered at Sundance in January, has been very good. Diggs may soon be adding some major film awards to the acting Tony he won for “Hamilton.”
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” hosted by Jerry Seinfeld, 64, began streaming on Netflix on July 6 (it moved over from Crackle, another streaming service). The 12-episode season includes an interview with the late Jerry Lewis.
Seinfeld recently weighed in on the controversy surrounding Roseanne Barr, 65. Among other things, he suggested that a different actress be hired to play her character in the second season of the “Roseanne” show revival.
Seinfeld told Entertainment Tonight: “I think they should get another Roseanne. They brought Dan Conner back, he was dead and they brought him back. So why can’t we get another Roseanne? There are other funny women that could do that part.” With all due respect, I don’t think any actress except maybe Meryl Streep could pull off the Roseanne character.
A Jew close to the throne?
Now streaming on Hulu is “A Very English Scandal,” a three-episode BBC series. It stars Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe (1929-2014), the British Liberal Party leader from 1967 to 1976. Thorpe was a charismatic, articulate man who was on the cusp of real power several times. His political career ended when he was accused of being involved in a plot to murder a man with whom he had an affair. The series, which got good reviews, was directed by Stephen Frears, 77, a two-time Oscar nominee.
Thorpe was married to Marion Stein (1926-2017) from 1973 until his death. Born in Vienna, she fled to the U.K. with her parents in 1938. Her Jewish father, Erwin Stein, was a prominent musician. Obits seem to imply her mother wasn’t Jewish, but her maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Cohn, so my “research jury” is still out about whether Marion was Jewish (at least in a halachic sense).
Stein was a beautiful woman and a talented concert pianist. Her first husband, George Lascelles, the seventh earl of Harewood, was Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin (his mother and her father were siblings). At his birth, Lascelles was sixth in line to the throne. Stein wed the earl in an Anglican ceremony and I presume she adopted his faith. The elder of their two sons, the present earl, may be as close as someone with Jewish roots has ever come to the throne.
By the way, Queen Mary, the grandmother of Lascelles and Queen Elizabeth II, initially objected to Stein joining the extended royal family. Lascelles once summed up Mary’s objections to Stein in three words: “Jewish. Doesn’t hunt.”
Binge watch alert: Catch up slowly
The original Hulu series “Casual” streams its fourth and final season on July 31. The series centers on three characters: Valerie (Michaela Watkins, 46), a therapist; her brother, Alex (Tommy Dewey), a high-tech guy; and Valerie’s teen daughter, Laura (Tara Lynne Barr). Valerie’s office assistant Leia (Julie Berman, 34) became a pretty important character in the third season. Fred Melamed, 62, who played Alex’s father, was a central character in several second-season episodes. “Casual” was created by Zander Lehmann, 30, and the principal director is Jason Reitman, 40 (other episode directors include Fred Savage, 42, and Carrie Brownstein, 43).
This series received great reviews and is really worth watching. But be warned: It’s too exhausting to watch three seasons in one go. Without really spoiling things, just be advised that the characters evolve and you’ll come to realize they all have severe character flaws that show they aren’t the uncomplicated “good folks” that you first thought. (This is especially true of Valerie and Laura.). However, despite their flaws, you’ll really want to know what happens to them in the final season if you watch the first three.