Tarantino’s WWII “bunch of guys on a mission” illiterate spaghetti-epic Inglourious Basterds revolves around two groups enacting revenge on the Reich. The “basterds” are a team of Jewish-American soldiers engaging in targeted acts of retribution. So, lazy President’s Day weekend, I thought it might be interesting to see how many of these actors were actually Jews in real life and I went on the game site Guess Who’s A Jew to find out.
BJ Novak (Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak) – a Jew (his dad William Novak is a noted ghostwriter and co-editor of the classic The Big Book of Jewish Humor). Lo and behold, the rest of the cast, barring so-non-Jew Brad Pitt, wasn’t in there ? they really need to update this important resource! So on to Wiki… ? Eli Roth (Eli Raphael Roth) – Jew. ? Tim Schweiger – German non-Jew (but I think he plays a German psycho who like to kill Nazis – there’s nothing Jewish-looking about him). ? Samm Levine (Samuel Franklin Levine) – such an adorable Jew. (Freaks ‘n’ Geeks was worthy of a few more seasons). ? Omar Doom (Omar Makhdoomi) – highly unlikely. ? Michael Bacall - nope. ? Gedeon Burkhard – playing an Austrian Jew but in real life: German goy. (Note: Though Adam Sandler passed on his part in the movie due to scheduling conflicts his presence wouldn’t have upped the Jew count as he was replaced with Roth. I don’t think there’s enough Jews here to have inspired an on-set bored-between-scenes part 2 of the Chanukah song).
Though the whole premise of this movie seems far-fetched (a band of Jews scalping Nazis – uh huh) – it’s Tarantino! It’s supposed to be! As a Jew, I am not as concerned with the concept that this may shed a negative light on Jewish people. Surely Jewish people wished they could have stood up against the Nazi’s and this film seems like a hypothetical revenge fantasy playing in the minds of those crushed by evil.
So back to our boy B.J. He sort of plays an inglorious role on The Office, and his importance there, as co-executive producer and writer of some of the more popular episodes, is not as well known or appreciated as it should be. Suffice to say, we hope this star-studded leap to the big screen doesn’t pull him away permanently.