December 12, 2018

8 Songs For Hanukkah That Aren’t by Adam Sandler

Hanukkah Candles Shutterstock; The Huffington Post

Now that Thanksgiving is over, America is in Christmasland full force. Theme parks and department stores have brought out their holiday cheer, Starbucks announced its holiday cup and several radio stations have switched to musical playlists consisting of same 20 Christmas songs just sung by different artists (and let’s be honest, this all started the day after Halloween).

But what if you don’t celebrate Christmas? Were Jews so busy writing the best Christmas music that they left nothing for the tribe members? “I Have A Little Dreidel” isn’t exactly topping the holiday charts and can’t compete with Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”

Adam Sandler tried to resolve this issue by writing and performing the “Hanukkah Song” on Saturday Night Live. Hats off to you, Sandler but there’s gotta be more than that.

Hanukkah starts Dec. 2 and if you are looking for tunes to blast at your Festival of Lights party, fear not. Here’s a list of eight Hanukkah songs that will blow “Rock of Ages” out of the water.

“Hot Rod Hanukkah” By Meshugga Beach Party
If surf rock is your music of choice then “Hot Rod Hanukkah” should be the first song in your playlist. Jewish surf rock group Meshugga Beach Party has been performing Jewish-influenced surf songs in the Bay Area since 2003 and while the band dresses modestly, their music is far from conservative. The song, which is from the album of the same name, offers a fun upbeat twist for Hanukkah.

“8 Days (of Hanukkah)” By Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
The late Sharon Jones merges Motown and Judaism all in one probably creating the most soulful Hanukkah song to date. The Grammy winner kicked off her holiday album, “It’s A Holiday Soul Party” with this upbeat groove and, between riffing the rules of Dreidel and the saxophone solos, this gem should be played year round.

Chanukah Honey
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” actress and writer, Rachel Bloom, performs a parody of Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” by showing how Jewish girls would seduce nice Jewish boys during the holiday season. This is just one of the songs from the 2013 album “Suck It, Christmas (A Chanukah Album)” featuring Bloom, who is Jewish, referencing camp memories, menorahs and family friends. Funny yes, but not for the faint of heart. Listener discretion is advised.    

“Candlelight – Hanukkah” By The Maccabeats
In 2010, Jewish a cappella group the Maccabeats transformed Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” and made a viral Jewish Hanukkah parody called “Candlelight.” This song, which now has more than 14 million views, started the wave of Jewish a cappella holiday music and continues to be shared by rabbis and teens alike each year.  

“How Do You Spell Channukkahh?” By the LeeVees
New York performers Adam Gardner and Dave Schneider answer the question many ask in their lifetimes with this Hanukkah jam. The LeeVees formed in 2005 after realizing there were no contemporary Jewish rock songs to blast on the radio. Ever since, they have been creating original Jewish music including their recent 2017 Hanukkah album, “Hanukkah Rocks.” For a bonus song, here is “Nun, Gimmel, Heh Shin.”

“The Hanukkah Song – 8 Days and Nights” By Adam Chester
Written and performed by pianist Adam Chester, a.k.a. the Surrogate Elton John, this slower jam tells the story of the Hanukkah miracle and how we can celebrate miracles around us. The repetitive chorus is not only catchy it’s great for kids who are learning about the holiday.

“[I’m Spending] Hanukkah In Santa Monica” By Tom Lehrer
If there’s no schmaltz at Hanukkah did you really celebrate Hanukkah? For those who don’t wish to see snow in December Tom Lehrer’s hoaky but fun tune is for you. Before Sandler was rhyming Jews, there was Lehrer, who rhymed Jewish holidays with almost anything.

“Don’t Let Me Down” By The Y-Studs
Before a cappella group, the Y-Studs went viral from their song “Evolution of Jewish Music” they were creating fun Jewish renditions and mash-ups of various songs in pop-culture. In 2016, these nice Jewish Boys from Yeshiva University released a Hanukkah inspired version of “Don’t Let Me Down” based on The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Closer.” Hebrew prayers for the holiday and the original song intertwine so well you won’t realize you’re listening to a different song. This song is a great pump-up jam for those who love intricate music.

BONUS SONG: “Bohemian Chanukah (A Queen Adaptation)” By Six13
On Tuesday, Nov. 27 Jewish a cappella group Six13 released their Hanukkah song for the 2018 year and already received more than 70,000 views in less than 24 hours. This creative homage to Queen’s rock anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody” blows many a cappella paradies out of the water showing how far Jewish a cappella has come. The words, music and attention to detail come together perfectly making this the ultimate Hanukkah song of the year.

Elon Gold Gets Into the Hanukkah Spirit

For comedian Elon Gold, this is a busy time of year, with stand-up appearances in his native New York, here in Los Angeles and in Israel, where he performed in Jerusalem on Nov. 24. He spoke with the Journal about Hanukkah memories, Christmas admiration and his comedy-centric dreams.

Jewish Journal: What Hanukkah memories stand out from your childhood?

Elon Gold: My parents were teachers on teachers’ salaries. We lived in an apartment on Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. I remember unwrapping one present and it was a package of three Bic disposable pens. But it was still a nice tradition, a gift every night. These customs continue generation after generation and I’m doing that with my family. I’ve got four kids, 9 to 18, and by night five [the presents] get very shvach (weak). But we end it with a bang on the last night. Hanukkah is not a religious holiday like Yom Kippur when you’re in shul all day. There’s no obligation other than lighting the menorah. It’s not so much a religious observance as a fun family tradition that recognizes our heritage and our people.

JJ: How are you celebrating Hanukkah this year?

EG: I’m doing five shows in New York and my family is coming with me. Then I come back to L.A. to emcee the (pro-Israel nonprofit) Stand With Us “Festival of Lights Gala” at The Beverly Hilton on Dec. 9, for the eleventh year in a row.  

JJ: Got a good Hanukkah joke?

EG: “There aren’t any songs on the radio for us, other than Adam Sandler and his great ‘Hanukkah Song.’ You know why? All the great Jewish songwriters were busy writing Christmas songs. They knew where their bread was buttered.” My brothers and I used to take Christmas songs and make up new lyrics, with a funny, Hebraic twist. 

JJ: You do an annual Christmas Eve comedy show.

EG: “Merry Erev Xmas” at the Laugh Factory, making Christmas fun for the Jews in L.A. This is our 10th year. Russell Peters, Alonzo Bodden, Ben Gleib and Dom Irrera will be there this year, and surprise guests. I love the whole holiday season, starting with the night before Thanksgiving through New Year’s, including Christmas. I kind of enjoy it. I like the lights and listening to Christmas music. I can get into the spirit of it, even if I don’t observe it.

JJ: Do you have any TV appearances coming up?

EG: Judd Apatow asked me to be in Season 3 of his show “Crashing” on HBO. I’m in two episodes. I think the first and second. I take Pete [Holmes, the lead actor] to one of my shul gigs. It premieres in January. I’m on a new family show on Netflix called “Best. Worst. Weekend. Ever.” I’m playing a really funny character, a pet store groomer, loosely based on a couple of Israelis that I know. I’m an integral part of the story about these kids who are trying to get into Comic-Con. I have a stand-up special streaming on Amazon Prime, “Elon Gold: Chosen & Taken,” and I’m working on my next hour-long comedy special. In July, I did an appearance on [“The Late Late Show With] James Corden,” where I got to dispel the inaccurate Jewish stereotype that Jews are obsessed with money. When there’s a message behind the joke, it makes it a little more important. I’m proud of that.

JJ: When did you know you were funny?

EG: In eighth grade I started doing impressions of my teachers, but the first time I knew I wanted to do this for a living was at a Purim spiel at Yeshiva University High School in my sophomore year. I wrote and performed two one-man sketches. It went so well that seniors and juniors that never looked at me, let alone talked to me, came over and said, “You’re funny, dude.” It was so gratifying. 

JJ: You always planned to do it as a career?

EG: For a while I was into the stock market, read The Wall Street Journal, but jokes come so naturally to me. This was what I was meant to do. Unlike a lot of people, it was never my intention to get into comedy to get girls. I met my wife when I was 15, and I knew I would marry her. We’re together 30 years. Our 25th wedding anniversary is coming up in June.

JJ: What’s on your career wish list?

EG: There are projects I’m trying to develop, including a comedy TV show with Howard Gordon, the [co-]creator of “Homeland.” I’m very active on WhatsApp and I want to keep putting out viral clips and have people share my work. For the first time in my 25-year career I feel like I have fans who are familiar with my stand-up and are excited to come see me live. 

I love being the go-to Jew for fundraisers and gala dinners. I get to help a cause and make people laugh — a total win-win. I’m happy where I’m at and creatively at the top of my game but I’m not satisfied. I don’t think I’ve scratched the show-business surface. A lot of comedians put in 20 years before things start cooking for them and hopefully I’m one of them. Meanwhile, I’ll keep coasting like I am. As long as I’m paying the mortgage, I’m OK.

Elon Gold hosts “Merry Erev Xmas” at the Laugh Factory on Dec. 24.

Hanukkah Is Not Christmas. This Year, Let’s Embrace That

It’s that time of year again when American Jews bask in the wintertime flavor of Christmas — when we teach our children that the Jewish version of Christmas is called Hanukkah, that the equivalent of the Christmas tree is the menorah, that while Christians have a big gift-giving blowout, we have eight crazy nights (in Adam Sandler’s iteration). The prominence of Christmas in America means that American Jews often attempt to ride the Christmas coattails, to get into the “holiday spirit” — or, more cynically, to compete with Christmas in order to prevent our children from falling for the romance of Christmas. 

To that end, we elevate Hanukkah as a holiday, treating it as more sacred than actual sacred days. A 2010 study published in The Economic Journal by Ran Abramitzky, Liran Einav and Oren Rigby found that while 38 percent of Jewish Tel Aviv University economics undergraduate students ranked Hanukkah among the three most important Jewish holidays, 68 percent of Jewish economics undergrads at Stanford University did so. Orthodox Jews celebrated Hanukkah whether they had young children in the home, but Reform Jews tended to celebrate the holiday only if they had young children in the home as a counterbalance to Christmas. As the study stated, “Jewish individuals may be more responsive to Christmas if their children are at a higher ‘risk’ of intermarriage, conversion, or feeling envy and left out during Christmas.”

This is a problem.

Hanukkah ought to be celebrated in its own right. And failure to see Hanukkah for what it truly it means that our children will be far more likely to abandon Judaism than to embrace it, no matter how many Lego sets we buy them to outdo Santa Claus.

The message of Hanukkah is precisely the opposite of what more secularized Jews believe it is. Hanukkah isn’t just a wintertime festival rife with consumerism and kitschy lights. It’s about the requirement for a fulsome Jewish lifestyle that infuses our entire being, that motivates us all year, that gives us something to live and die for. Hanukkah reminds us that Judaism cannot survive by outcompeting other religions, but by focusing inward — by creating a profound sense of Jewish identity. 

Hanukkah, after all, is about a war: a war against Hellenism, the attempt by Greek forces to force a pagan vision upon the Jews. Hellenism offered a rich philosophic and aesthetic culture, a vision of the universe free of the burdens of the Torah. The Jews rebelled against that vision, refusing to allow our Temple to be defiled. Jews even fought other Jews who wished to join in the Hellenization, refusing to allow the land to be governed by the rule of foreign gods. In the vision of the Maccabees, Judaism was a lifelong commitment worth defending and protecting. The miracle was a result of that commitment.

This authentic view of Hanukkah enables Jews to see Christmas in a different light: not as a competing holiday, but as a ritual complete with aesthetic beauty but lacking any Jewish spiritual relevance. Thank God that America welcomes Jewishness; Christmas isn’t a threat. We can enjoy Irving Berlin songs and smile at Santa with children on his knee confident that our spiritual heritage isn’t threatened by the “fun” of the season. After all, we offer more than fun to our children. We offer a light we shine before the world proudly, unwaveringly and with a spirit of confidence, rather than in a spirit of nervous competition. If we fail to commit to Judaism more broadly but think that a few presents and some over-oiled hash browns will keep our kids Jewish, we’ve missed the message of Hanukkah entirely.

Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire, host of the podcast “The Ben Shapiro Show” and author of The New York Times best-seller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear Silences Americans.

Movie News: Idina Menzel, Greg Grunberg, Zach Braff and more

Idina Menzel (“Frozen”) has been cast in “Uncut Gems,” joining Adam Sandler and Judd Hirsch in the comedy set in New York’s Jewish-run Diamond District. Menzel will play Sandler’s wife and Hirsch’s daughter in a story about a jewelry-store owner with a gambling addiction and mounting debts whose diamonds are stolen. Menzel will also reprise her voice role of Elsa in “Ralph Breaks the Internet” in November and in “Frozen 2” next year.

Greg Grunberg, who played X-wing fighter pilot Snap Wexley in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” will return to reprise the role in “Star Wars: Episode IX,”  set for release in December 2019. Producer-director J.J. Abrams has cast Grunberg in many of the movies and TV shows he’s done dating back to “Felicity” in 1999, including “Alias,” “Lost,” and “Mission Impossible III.” Grunberg also starred in “Heroes,” and will be seen in the forthcoming “A Star Is Born” as the tour bus driver for his “Alias” co-star Bradley Cooper’s character. Cooper directed the film, which opens Oct 12.

Zach Braff, most recently seen in the short-lived sitcom “Alex, Inc.,” has joined Christopher Walken and Christina Ricci in “Percy,” a Canadian drama based on the true story of a farmer (Walken) who sued the conglomerate Monsanto for genetically modifying his crops. Braff plays the small town lawyer representing the plaintiff who took the case all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court.

Isla Fisher is set to star as the wife of the self-absorbed billionaire played by Steve Coogan in “Greed,” which will shoot in Europe later this year. In March, Fisher will appear alongside Matthew McConaughey’s title character in “The Beach Bum,” also starring Zach Efron and Jonah Hill. And on a more serious note, she’ll star with Keanu Reeves in “The Starling,” playing a woman who becomes suicidal after the death of their baby daughter.

Actress Kyra Sedgwick will step behind the camera to direct “The Way Between,” about a man whose girlfriend dies in a car accident but he finds a way to connect with her in his dreams.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been cast opposite Jamie Foxx in a sci-fi movie for Netflix, directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost.  No title, plot, or character descriptions have been released. Gordon-Levitt will also star in the drama “7500” as a pilot whose plane is hijacked.

Adam Sandler Reunites With Jennifer Aniston in Netflix Comedy

Photo from Netflix/Scott Yamano.

Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston posed as husband and wife in the 2011 rom-com “Just Go With It,” and they’ll play a married couple again in “Murder Mystery,” the latest comedy under Sandler’s movie deal with Netflix.

Now shooting in the Genoa and Lake Como areas of Italy, the movie casts Sandler as a New York City cop who takes his wife on a trip to Europe that takes a turn when a man they meet on a plane (Luke Evans) invites them to a party on a yacht. When the billionaire owner (Terence Stamp) is found dead, they become the prime suspects in the murder.

For Sandler, the location is a definite perk. “I love Italy,” he said in a statement. “I was here with my wife a year ago and loved it so much I brought the kids with me this time and an entire movie crew… great food, great people, great family life.”

The movie, directed by Kyle Newacheck, will premiere on Netflix in 2019. Sandler, meanwhile, is scheduled to shoot the crime dramedy “Uncut Gems” with writer-directors Benny and Josh Safdie this fall.

Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow are raising money for Vegas victims

Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow are joining comedic forces for “Judd & Adam for Vegas,” a fundraiser to be held at Largo at the Coronet on Friday, Nov 3. Tickets are $250 and proceeds will go to the National Compassion Fund, benefiting victims of the recent Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

If this dynamic duo (with the promise of special guests) doesn’t do it for you, feast your eyes on this masterpiece of a poster – caricature at its finest, with an homage to Las Vegas  icons Siegfried and Roy.

Sandler and Apatow have collaborated on flicks like “Funny People,” but their bromance predates their celebrity. Before getting their big break, the two were roommates in the Valley, splitting a $900/month unit (Sandler slept on the couch). During an interview with 60 Minutes, the two revealed that they’d frequent the restaurant chain Red Lobster (which has the best cheese biscuits, period) once a month. “That was a big night out,” Sandler added. “That was like, ‘We’re fancy now,’” said Apatow.

Find out more about “Judd & Adam for Vegas” here.

Artistic Types’ Family Dynamics Spark ‘Meyerowitz Stories’

Actors Adam Sandler (2nd R) Emma Thompson (2nd L) and Dustin Hoffman pose with Director Noah Baumbach (L) before the UK premiere of "The Meyerowitz Stories" during the British Film Festival in London, Britain October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

In the opening scene of “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” oldest child Danny (Adam Sandler) is jockeying for a parking spot on the streets of New York City. Every time he almost finds a spot, it’s too small, or someone else takes it, and his frenzied turns of the steering wheel and screeching expletives at other drivers reach a life-or-death level of intensity.

By his side, his teenage daughter keeps her cool, encouraging him to just pay to park. But Danny won’t pay for parking. He’s convinced that when it comes to finding a place you fit into, the hard way is the right way, even if it kills you.

This is the opening salvo of Noah Baumbach’s latest film, with a stellar cast that includes Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Ben Stiller and Elizabeth Marvel as members of a complicated family, reuniting around the art show of the pater familias.

Although the film is billed as a comic saga, the laughs found in “Meyerowitz” come with a layer of sadness, where relatable family conflict meets the neglect and the hyper-scrutiny of artistic parents toward their children.

The source of all the family agita is the impressively bearded Hoffman as Harold, an artist who feels he’s not been given the credit he deserves for his life’s work. He lives with his fourth wife, the bohemian Maureen (Thompson, channeling a little of the wackiness of her “Harry Potter” character, Madame Trelawney), who is frenetic and always running away to artist retreats, escaping through alcohol or otherwise avoiding her problems.

Danny’s half-brother, Matthew (Stiller), is emotionally stingy, but his FaceTime calls with his child shed occasional light on the troubled state of his own marriage. The family hints that he could have pursued something more artistic, but the status-obsessed Matthew instead pursued a lucrative career that also benefits him: By removing any art from his professional life, he avoids comparisons to his father.

Danny, a failed musician, is simmering in sadness over the breakup of his marriage; his manic artist daughter, Eliza (Grace Van Patten), is off to college, where she makes student films, some with sexual themes, and sends them to her father, uncle and aunt. 

The Meyerowitzes are the walking wounded, literally and figuratively.

The third Meyerowitz sibling is Danny’s sister (and Matt’s half-sister), Jean, played by Marvel with an introverted, self-effacing, shrinking presence that signifies her trauma way before its specifics are revealed.

The Meyerowitzes are the walking wounded, literally and figuratively. Danny has a significant limp; Matthew has a regular cough that seems as if it might signify a late-breaking illness; and Harold’s recent physical injury catalyzes the siblings for more interaction than any of them wanted.

Despite the family name and the notable Jewish members of the cast, these stories have no specific Jewish content. But the rhythm of the neurotic conversations will feel familiar to many, regardless of their family origin.

Connected by fragile family ties and fragmented by family fractures and unfulfilled expectations, the Meyerowitzes don’t always get the concept of love and support right, but their family loyalty can help to recontextualize selected stories from the past and extend the narrative by crafting new ones.

Produced as a Netflix original, “The Meyerowitz Stories” is available on the streaming service beginning Oct. 13. It also will be in limited release in Los Angeles at The Landmark and the Laemmle Noho.

Adam Sandler updates ‘The Chanukah Song’ for first in since 2002

Adam Sandler has updated “The Chanukah Song” for the first time since 2002.

The Jewish actor and comedian debuted the new version on Saturday night as a surprise guest at Judd Apatow’s stand-up special at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The updated tune listed a new group of celebrities who are Jewish, including Adam Levine, Drake, Scarlett Johansson, Idina Menzel, Seth Rogen and the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

In one comic line, Sandler sang that instead of Santa Claus, Jews can claim “two jolly fat guys: ice cream’s Ben and Jerry.” Another line went: “We might not have a cartoon with a reindeer that can talk/but we also don’t have polio thanks to Dr. Jonas Salk.”

Sandler also mentioned that Jared Fogle, the former face of Subway sandwiches who was convicted this summer on child pornography and sex charges, is Jewish.

Sandler first played the original version of “The Chanukah Song” on “Saturday Night Live” in 1994. Along with the 2002 version, he also updated the song in 1999.

‘The Cobbler’: Adam Sandler takes a walk in 1903 New York

Some three years ago, film director-writer-actor Thomas McCarthy was sitting at his desk, in his office located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, playing with ideas for a movie, when the proverb about walking in another man’s shoes popped into his head.

What would happen, he wondered, if by literally walking in another man’s shoes, you actually turned into that man’s double.

McCarthy (director of “The Visitor,” “The Station Agent”) had other commitments at the time, but over the next two years, the project, which eventually became “The Cobbler,” gradually “moved to the front burner.”

In an interview, McCarthy said he had been long fascinated by the area’s small shops, many established by Jewish immigrants in the early 1900s. In particular, he was taken by an old shoe-repair shop at the foot of his office building.

He discussed the idea with a Jewish colleague, Paul Sado, who protested jocularly about returning to the Lower East Side, which his forebears had struggled for generations to escape, but ultimately he agreed to co-write the script with McCarthy.

Building literally on the “walk in another’s shoes” metaphor, it seemed natural to make the central protagonist a cobbler plying his trade in an East Side store established by his great-grandfather.

McCarthy’s first choice for the leading man — a shoe repairer named Max Simkin — was Adam Sandler.

“I saw something in Adam that I loved,” McCarthy said of Sandler, who is better known for his comedic, frequently over-the-top performances. Sandler, in turn, noting his last name translates to “cobbler” in Yiddish, accepted immediately.

The film opens on the Lower East Side in 1903, with a group of men in Chasidic garb, recruited by McCarthy from New York’s Yiddish theater and including the Simkin ancestor, complaining about hard economic times.

Flash forward to the present, when a swaggering Black thug (Cliff Smith, aka Method Man), brings in a pair of shoes for resoling, telling Max he needs the job done by that evening — or else.

Max sets to work, but his electric stitching machine burns out, and in desperation Max digs out an ancient dust-covered stitching machine, powered by a foot pedal.

When asked where the contraption came from, Max tells the story (in Yiddish) of a shoeless, hungry vagrant who knocked on the great-grandfather’s door a long time ago. The ancestral Simkin gives the man lodging, feeds him and gives him a pair of shoes. The next morning, the vagrant has disappeared, leaving behind the pedal-powered stitching machine.

Max now returns to his work, affixes new soles and, while waiting for the customer, slips his feet into the newly repaired shoes.

In a split second, the mild-mannered Jewish cobbler is transformed into a swaggering Black thug. Once Max gets over his initial shock, he realizes the potential of his newfound magical powers, which work only if the “other’s” shoe size is exactly 10 1/2.

Next, Max sees a man stepping out of a fancy, chauffeur-driven car. In his guise as the thug, Max follows the man, forces him to take off his shoes and, as his victim’s persona, goes to the garage and picks up the car.

In the next caper, a handsome hunk of a man (Dan Stevens) walks into Max’s shop for a resoling job. As luck would have it, the shoes are the right size. Max puts them on, walks into a bar and is immediately picked up by a gorgeous blonde, who invites him to drop by her apartment later.

Max arrives to find the woman nude in the shower, only partially covered by a curtain, and ready for action. Max hastily tries to take off his pants but quickly realizes that he can only do so if his takes off his shoes — which will cause him to revert instantly to his original nebbish self — so he flees the apartment.

It’s one of the few outright guffaw scenes in the film, whose subplot pits greedy developers against the neighborhood’s old residents, and which boasts some impressive names.

Among them are Steve Buscemi as Max’s neighboring barber, Dustin Hoffman in a short stint as Max’s father, and Ellen Barkin as a nasty slumlord.

But it’s Sandler, frequently a favorite punching bag of movie critics, who carries the film. Here, he essays a serious, at times agonizing, role, and is praised by McCarthy as “a terrific collaborator and very hard worker, though he makes it look easy.”

Despite such efforts, the film has one notable weakness. Given the motif, one would expect the film to explore in more depth how one character can change his view of another by further understanding his or her background, problems and motives. Instead, the film settles for focusing on the shock effect of simple physical duplication.

“The Cobbler” opens March 13 at the Sundance Sunset Theater in West Hollywood and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.

The Hanukkah Song: A 2011 update

Bill Funt parodies Adam Sandler’s holiday gem, “The Hanukkah Song.”