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The media are silent as Hollywood disrespects the dead.
Helen Mirren Responds to ‘Jewface’ Criticism Over Golda Meir Role
Casting choices of Helen Mirren and Bradley Cooper raise questions in ‘Golda’ and ‘Maestro’
– News headlines
The media are so arbitrary. Sure, when Rooney Mara played the Native American character Tiger Lily in Pan, the press covered the outcry. Likewise when Johnny Depp did the same thing as Tonto in The Lone Ranger. And now this hullabaloo about uber-shiksa Helen Mirren as the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. I mean, that’s pretty weird. I’m sure that real-life Jews Roseanne Barr and Lizzy Kaplan would have been far more suited to the role.
Mirren will be satisfactory, no doubt. If you squint, so were Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant in Rain Man, and Daniel Day-Lewis as the cerebral palsy-afflicted Irish politician Christy Brown in My Left Foot. But this misses the point.
Think about Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris and Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. People say that was good “acting.” But for God’s sake, imagine how much better that film would have been if the producers had cast actual sleazy Florida-property salesmen in those roles. People who understood the mechanics of land fraud and the human stakes. People with the lived experience of cold-calling gullible marks about worthless lots in some Everglades swamp. That would have been a movie.
Weirdly, there was no outcry when both Robert Mitchum and Robert DeNiro were cast as the sadistic killer in two versions of Cape Fear, though surely there were many actual sadistic killers who could have played the parts with far more authenticity. Sam Jaffee as Gunga Din? As the High Lama in Lost Horizon? This was the opposite of the Helen Mirren controversy. Jaffe was the single most Jewish man who ever walked the earth. Next to him, Moses was a shabbos goy. So he was “lama” material? Oy vey. Maybe he would have been okay as the Auschwitz survivor in The Pawnbroker, but that role was unaccountably bestowed on Rod Steiger, who was as Lutheran as the day was long. Rod Steiger wouldn’t know a bagel from a Krispy Kreme. Gimme a break.
Yo, Remains of the Day “housekeeper” Emma Thompson and “FBI agent” Jody Foster, I’m looking at you. Silence of the Lambs? How about “silence of the media and this gross example of law-enforcement appropriation.” It’s no different than Mickey Rooney as Audrey Hepburn’s Japanese neighbor Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. To have a non-FBI agent playing an FBI agent, in my opinion, is nothing less than cultural genocide.
Do you know how many TV weathermen there are in the world? I can’t give you the exact number, but evidently it’s quite a few. So naturally in Groundhog Day the weather man was portrayed by Bill Murray, and in The Weather Man by Nicolas Cage. Were they adequate in those parts? Sure. I guess. But neither of those men had ever, ever done the forecast on local TV news. So, really, what the hell would they know about weather manning??? Not. A. Freakin’. Thing. Meanwhile, Dan Threlkeld, longtime weather guy for News Channel 8 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had to sit in the theater shaking his head, noticing all the details the movies got wrong and thinking, “Why isn’t that me?”
Threlkeld retired just a month ago, without so much as an IMDb listing. Poor SOB. Hollywood owes this man an apology.
So what makes me get on this topic? Well, I just happened to notice a new spate of genre films:
Evil Dead Rise; Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead; Unhuman; Final Cut; Army of Thieves; Wyrmwood Apocalypse; The Sadness; Army of the Dead; The Dead Don’t Die, and more.
These are all so-called “zombie flicks.” Shall we have a look at some of the actors? In The Dead Don’t Die, just to choose one movie at random, there are performances by Carol Kane, Iggy Pop and Tilda Swinton. All are super famous movie stars and/or musicians. Guess what they are not.
Zombies. Not one of them, at least if their Wikipedia bios are comprehensive. Yet famed director Jim Jarmusch slathers them in makeup and latex prosthetics and asks us to believe they are the living dead. Hello? What the F? Then there’s that hit TV series, The Walking Dead. Let’s look at some of the “dead”: Moses Moseley. Zombie? No. Living actor. Theshay West. Zombie? No. Living actor. Hines Ward. Zombie? No, hahahaha. Living actor and former Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver. He has never been dead, never infected others to transform them into zombies. He once did a TV commercial for chocolate milk, but otherwise no supernatural predations.
Meanwhile, untold numbers of actual living dead sit by their phones waiting for a call from their agents — calls destined never to come, because Hollywood thinks it's okay to play pretend. This is not just distasteful and tone deaf, it’s cruel. And yet it is an ongoing conspiracy of studios, producers, directors, make-up artists and casting agents — with the complicity of audiences worldwide — to discriminate against the zombie community. Some more heartlessly than others.
Like Jody Bardin.
He is an actor, crew member, and sometimes party clown who you will soon see as the zombie ambulance driver in the new Canadian feature, Zombie Town. It saddens me to inform you that Bardin, while at the current time an Uber driver, has never been an ambulance driver, and is not a zombie. He is faking it, with callous indifference to the fortunes of the no-doubt countless driving dead who would have been much better suited to the role. Yet about that injustice, he is unperturbed. “I was dressed up to be a zombie in a movie called Night of Cups with Christian Bale,” he boasts, expressing regret only that his scene was cut. Still, “I have been a zombie in many instances.” Dear God; the sheer arrogance. Reaching him at his central New Jersey home, I was frankly shocked to hear him rationalize away his predatory acting.
“Why is James Franco playing Fidel Castro. Why did Eddie Murphy play a white guy in Coming to America? George Burns and Morgan Freeman both played God,” he sputtered, convincing nobody, most likely not even himself. Indeed, Bardin confessed, “I haven’t done full research into zombiedom, although I did write a report on it in high school.”
The most shocking part of his attitude is his utterly despicable habit of victim blaming. He works very hard to get zombie work, why can’t they? Instead of being lazy or complacent or just plain smug, he says, “They need to track down a job.”
“That’s the thing with zombies,” Bardin sneers. “They’ve dug their own graves.”