Film | I Heart Macabees: New Jewish Cinema


Being the Hollywood Bigshot™ that I am, it might be a good deed on my part to offer up some advice to all the youngsters who read Shtetl magazine day in and day out, Shabas to Shabas. Good karma is a major player when you’re rich and famous, so I figure I’ll get my good deed for life out of the way right here and now.

This isn’t just any set of tips, either. While some vagrants might toss you some idiotic notions like “keep reaching for the stars!” or “you can do anything you put your mind to!” or “have a specific plan of action, learn to pitch a movie correctly, and keep your money in the right places,” I’d opt to give you advice from the real world. Here are the five most important things to remember:

1)   Don’t get nervous when you meet Obama for the first time; just shake his hand and recite all of Leviticus in your head.

2)   When you make your first million, spend it on the riskiest investment possible—the more you risk, the more you make (obviously).

3)   If a paparazzo starts snapping pictures, pay him handsomely for offering you much sought-after attention. It has been said: he who seeks attention and bears hubris gains righteousness forever and ever amen.

4)   Don’t get nervous when you meet Queen Elizabeth for the first time; just shake her hand and imagine her playing hopscotch. Then, recite all of Deuteronomy in your head.

5)   Be prepared to feel deep, dreadful, molasses-like rejection. It’s perfectly normal. Hell, I’ve had a total of 436 movie pitches rejected at this point. Some of them, admittedly, are a little half-assed. These include:

Killbot: The story of a robot who kills… and then starts feeling love.

Ragebot: The story of a robot who has rage issues… and then starts feeling love.

Lovebot: The story of a robot who loves… and then starts feeling rage and kill-feelings.

Yarmulcat: Basically Jewish Garfield.

I-Rosh Hashana: A robot is Jewish.

Crazy, Stupid, Lev: A Jewish kid something something.

Others, though, I still really believe in and plan to produce in the near future. Here’s the top five:

I Heart Macabees

After defeating the heathens and rededicating the Temple, Judah Macabee (Channing Tatum) is launched through time and lands in present-day New York. Confused by the sickening secularism of the 21st century, he makes his way to a Jewish Cultural Centre, where he meets Sarah (Dame Judi Dench), the 90-year-old secretary. He swoons her with tales of his conquests, but things get complicated when she gets pregnant and reveals her dark secret: she’s been married to Abraham for four thousand years!

Menachem Mendel Schmeer-Sun: Star Quencher

When the Earth is threatened by increasing solar activity, NASA tries to figure out exactly why, and how the situation can be remedied. They discover that the sun is getting hotter, and needs to be cooled down. Menachem Mendel Schmeer-Sun (Bruce Willis), a religious leader and winner of the “Best Astronaut in the World” award, volunteers. He travels to the Sun and throws a bottle of Perrier at it, cooling it down 6%, and becomes the Messiah he always wanted to be.

Jacob and Esau Superstars

A wonderful musical update of a heart-warming story of brotherhood: while Esau (Nicolas Cage) is off searching for fame and fortune and love and cheap cereal in 21st century Montreal, Jacob (Nicolas Cage) steals his birthright, a lifetime supply of meatballs and brisket, from their grandparents so he can feed it to his dogs forever and ever and ever. The second half of the musical is about Esau trying to murder Jacob, but it’s mostly just an excuse to watch Nicolas Cage kill himself while singing Katy Perry’s “Part of Me”.

Deep Jew

Steven Seagal teams up with musical sensation Matisyahu in this buddy-cop action flick. Seagal plays Mick Hammerberg, an ex-Mossad badass with a heart of gold. Matisyahu makes his feature film debut as Albert Deepstein, a former street thug from the slums of Yonkers, New York, who has turned his life around and become a beat cop with an unquenchable thirst for justice. When Mick’s daughter (Lizzy Kaplan) goes missing, he turns to Albert, her boyfriend, for help. They make their way deep into the criminal underworld known as the Jewish Mafia, only to find that she has actually been kidnapped by Vampires (John Malkovitch) or Zombies (John Malkovitch) or Werewolves (Liev Schreiber) or whatever the hot trend is when we start pre-production.

The Rabbi

Matzo Man Randy Savage (Mickey Rourke), a washed-up Rabbi/Wrestler, has been working the lower class circuit as he gets older, after an illustrious career in the spotlight. He lives in a trailer park and spends his days training at the local Schul. As he tries to patch things up with his estranged daughter (Rooney Mara), he ponders the meaning of life and whether or not he has truly given his all to entertain the youth. He meets a 90-year-old stripper named Sarah (Dame Judi Dench), with whom he falls in love. Things get complicated when she becomes pregnant and reveals her dark secret: she’s been married to Abraham for four thousand years!

Assuming we start pre-production later this month, these movies should be arriving in theatres by Christmas 2013. Stay tuned!


Jesse Toufexis is a playwright, screenwriter, and author from Montreal, Quebec. He has a BA in Anthropology from Concordia University. His turn-ons include words and very little else.  Toufexis is a regular contributor to Shtetl Magazine.  Read more of his musings in stories like A Super Wasp-y Superbowl.

The Poster for the film Deep Jew (in theatres for sure by x-mas 2013) was created by graphic designer Josiah Toufexis.  Check out his other work at