Fear 3x; Sacha is Not Mellow about Cannabis; Big Hit Backstories

Perhaps because I’m not a huge horror fan, I didn’t flag in advance the Netflix release, this past month, of a trilogy of original horror films based on some of R.L. STINE’s “Fear Street” novels. Stine, 77, is most famous as the author of the very popular “Goosebumps” scary novels for children. The first Netflix film, “Fear Street Part One: 1994”, takes place in a small Ohio town. After some brutal slayings, a group of teens take on an evil force that’s plagued their town for centuries.

The cast includes FRED HECHINGER, 21 (Simon), JORDANA SPIRO, 44 (Mrs. Lane); and ASHLEY ZUKERMAN, 37 (Nick). Hechinger had his break-out role last year in “News of the World”; Spiro has worked steadily since 2000. You may remember her as the star of the TBS series “My Boys” (2006-2010); Zukerman, a handsome “Aussie”, has recently had a recurring role on “Succession” (HBO) and a big role in the Hulu mini-series “A Teacher”. These three actors also appear in the other two “Fear Street” films, which are now streaming (Fear Street Part Two: 1978 and Fear Street Part 3: 1666).

Stine grew-up quite poor in a small town near Columbus, Ohio. But he began writing very young and, by the early ‘70s, he was a best-selling writer. His editor is his wife of 52 years, Jane Waldhorn (who I am virtually sure is Jewish). In recent interviews, Stine said that he and Jane survived the pandemic in good spirits—aided by their son and grandkids, who live near them.

The six-part original Hulu documentary “McCartney 3,2,1” began streaming on July 13.  It is a series of conversations with nine-time Grammy winning producer RICK RUBIN, 58. McCartney describes the “origin” of many of his most famous songs (Beatles’ tunes mostly). NPR says that many of the stories have been told before, but the documentary is entertaining and informative.  By the way, McCartney has more “Jewish ties” than any other Beatle. Two of Paul’s three marriages “went well” and the spouses in those marriages were/are Jewish: LINDA EASTMAN, who died in 1998, and NANCY SHEVELL, 61 (Paul’s wife since 2011).

On July 12, SACHA BARON COHEN, 49, filed a lawsuit against Solar Therapeutics, a U.S. cannabis company.  The suit said that the company did not have Cohen’s permission to use his image (as the character Borat) on a company billboard ad.  The ad showed Borat flashing thumbs up and exclaiming ‘It’s Nice’.  Cohen’s attorney said in legal docs that Cohen “never used his cannabis in his life” and wouldn’t do an ad for a cannabis company for “any amount of money.’”

The billboard has been taken down, but the suit seeks monetary damages for using Cohen’s image. I found this part of Cohen’s complaint especially interesting: “Baron Cohen was born into an Orthodox Jewish family; he is an Observant Jew; and he is proud of his cultural heritage. He does not wish to be involved in the heated controversy among the Orthodox Jewish community about whether cannabis can be used under Jewish traditions, customs, and rules.”

On July 21, Netflix began streaming “Movies That Made Us (Season 2)”. It is the latest entry in a series of smart, nostalgic Netflix documentaries made by BRIAN VOLK-WEISS, 45. Season 2, like Movies, Season 1, provides the “backstory” on four blockbuster hit movies. This time its “Pretty Woman”, “Forrest Gump”, “Jurassic Park”, and “Back to the Future”.

Here are the Jewish connections: “Pretty Woman” had JASON ALEXANDER now 61, in a supporting role as Richard Gere’s snooty attorney; “Forrest Gump” was written by ERIC ROTH, now 76; “Jurassic Park” was directed by Steven Spielberg, now 74, and co-starred JEFF GOLDBLUM, now 68; and the script for “Back to the Future” was co-written by BOB GALE, now 70.

I recently saw “Back to the Future” again and I noticed how the movie was artfully filmed to hide how short (5’4”) star Michael J. Fox is. I then noticed that his co-star, Lea Thompson, was part of a pattern. She’s a short, but well-proportioned pretty woman. A perfect romantic match for Fox. The actor, I realized, had “like” partners in many other roles and at least 3 are Jewish (TRACY POLLAN in “Family Ties”; JULIE WARNER in “Doc Hollywood”, and HELEN SLATER in “Secret of My Success”). Fox married Pollan in 1989 and their four children were raised Jewish. Thompson has a similar story. She wed director HOWARD DEUTCH in 1989 and their two daughters —actresses MADELYN and Zoey DEUTCH — were raised Jewish.

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