Friday, January 9, 2009

AS JEWISH AS F*^KING TEVYE: Via Popwatch, Beliefnet's Esther Kustanowitz has posted a list of Top 10 Jewish Movie Characters that may be among the most poorly-constructed lists I've ever seen, a BFTJ compendium focusing on characters that are just brutally bad stereotypes (Judd Hirsch in Independence Day), in bad movies (Melanie Griffith in A Stranger Among Us), or who aren't even Jewish at all (Obi-Wan Kenobi and Gov. William J. Lepetomane, and just because the Native American chief spoke some Yiddish doesn't make him Jewish -- see Powell, Colin.)

We can do so much better, even without including the Steins and Fellers of Philadelphia. Let me suggest a few to start:
  • Moses (Charlton Heston), The Ten Commandments
  • Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey), Dirty Dancing
  • Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler's List
  • David Greene (Brendan Fraser), School Ties
  • Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco), Goodfellas
  • Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), Annie Hall
  • Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver), Reversal of Fortune
  • Ben Stone (Seth Rogen), Knocked Up
  • Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), Crimes and Misdemeanors (do they all have to be heroes? See also Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg), The Godfather, Part II, because he always made money for his partners)
  • Barton Fink (John Turturro), Barton Fink
  • Yentl (Barbra Streisand), Yentl

See, related, Lewis Beale, "Jewish Guys Get An Image Makeover," Los Angeles Times 1-4-09; Gail Dines, "Invisible In Hollywood: Jewish Women," The Boston Globe 1-16-06.

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