When Susanna Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz decided to write “Life Partners,” they used Nicole Holofcener’s “Walking and Talking” as their model. The 1996 indie is about two close friends, played by Anne Heche and Catherine Keener, and how their relationship changes as one is about to get married and the other struggles with single life in New York City.
There are plenty of other female buddy movies that are funny, sad and even suspenseful. Here are just a few:
1. Thelma & Louise (1991, Ridley Scott)
The man who gave us “Exodus: God and Kings” and Callie Khouri, the screenwriter behind the TV show “Nashville,” combined forces here for a top notch film about two women who decide to take a two-day vacation from their hum-drum lives. Thelma (Geena Davis) is married to an abusive control freak and Louise (Susan Sarandon), is a waitress. Things go from bad to worse, including a near-rape, a murder, a robbery, an exploding oil tanker and a cop taken prisoner. But on the plus side, they find empowerment. You probably know the ending. If you don’t, watch this movie.
2. 9 to 5 (1980, Colin Higgins)
In the film “Fed Up,” opening May 9, the untenable reality pours down like a mid-summer rain:
In the United States, more people die from obesity than starvation.
87% of food items on supermarket shelves have added sugars.
Teenagers are having gastric bypass surgery.
We’ve become a corpulent nation, which is not news to anyone who has spent a day at the beach and seen 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds overflow their bathing suits.
The documentary, from filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig, is executive produced by Laurie David, a social activist who served similar duties on the global climate change documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” She’s also the co-author with Kirstin Uhrenholdt of two cookbooks: “The Family Dinner,” about the importance of families eating together, and out last month, “The Family Cooks,” which includes over 100 easy-to-prepare recipes for healthy family meals.
David spoke to the Forward about how she came to the documentary, what she thinks it will accomplish, and how her Shabbat meals honor the homemade food ethic.
Curt Schleier: How did you get involved in this project?
“I was never one of those happy cripples,” is the way Jerome Felder described himself.
Why would he be? He was just 6 years old when he contracted polio. And in a sad irony fit for a blues song, the young Brooklynite caught the virus at a country summer camp he’d been sent to specifically to avoid the disease.
It’s no wonder that Felder was attracted to the Joe Turner songs of pain and suffering he heard on the radio. It’s no surprise, too, that the teenager started hanging out at blues clubs.
What is a little shocking is that when they asked this white Jewish kid on crutches what he was doing there, he had the chutzpah to say he was a blues singer. And he was. Except for the name, of course. So he changed it, to Doc Pomus.
As filmmaker Peter Miller points out in his documentary, “A.K.A. Doc Pomus,” Felder ultimately went on to write the songs that became the soundtrack for many of our lives: “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “A Teenager in Love,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You.”
Pop song writing in the ‘50s was centered on the famous Brill Building in Manhattan, the ground zero of the music publishing business. In the world of Brill Building writers — Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Howie Greenfield and Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann and Cyntha Weil, among others — Pomus and his partners were the sun around which other planets revolved.
Miller spoke to The Arty Semite about how he came to make this film, his background in Jewish-themed documentaries, and how marriage changed his level of observance.
Curt Schleier: You’re only 51. Were you familiar with Pomus-era music?
Shades of “Chrismukuh.”
That’s the blended holiday celebrated by the blended Cohen family on the TV show, “The O.C.”
It’s the holiday that will be celebrated on the October 18 episode of “The Neighbors,” a show about blended peoples.
When the Weaver family moved into the gated Hidden Hills development last season, they discovered their new neighbors were aliens from the planet Zabvron. And the two cultures had a lot to learn about each other.
The Zabvronian leader, Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) — all the aliens have taken the names of famous athletes — falls in love with the holiday of Hanukkah as soon as he hears about it. He decides he wants to combine it with his other favorite earth holiday, Halloween. When no one show’s up for the first seven nights, Larry decides to publicize the celebration by giving out candy to kids at the local playground.
This is not the first time Larry became obsessed with earthly holidays. Earlier this season he discovered April Fools Day, which he quickly and accurately describes as “a lot more fun that Yom Kippur.”
Joshua Harmon applied for admission to the Juilliard School’s prestigious playwriting program three times. Three times he was told sorry, try again. On his fourth attempt, “Bad Jews” got him in.
No, that’s not a reference to crooked admissions officers. “Bad Jews” is Harmon’s play about relatives battling over a special chai pendant that belonged to their late grandfather.
The play opened for a brief run last fall in The Roundabout Theatre’s 62-seat Black Box venue to rapturous reviews. It’s success prompted a move to the larger Laura Pels Theatre, where it opens October 3.
The fight at the play’s center is between Daphna (Tracee Chimo), the most religiously observant of three grandchildren, and her cousin Liam (Michael Zegen), who doesn’t believe at all and wants the chai to give to his non-Jewish girlfriend.
The verbal sparring gets heated and even physical at one point, often prompting debate from departing audience members. Harmon spoke to The Arty Semite about his “very exciting ride,” the play’s title, and why he likes to stand in the back of the the theater almost every night.
Curt Schleier: You’re a playwriting student with an off-Broadway production under your belt. You’re probably more successful than your teachers.
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