Guess what's on the holiday offerings on Netflix streaming? This one is pretty much for those who can appreciate Jewish in-jokes (which I can as a Chinese American who went to college in Boston. They think they own the place over there, but they might be right, we only have a couple of Jewish enclaves in Seattle, Mercer Island and Seward Park)
It's a Jewish take on blacksploitation films that grossed $20M for a $1M budget. It even features a misplaced Chinese character. If you don't mind a movie that makes Jews look like a bunch of silly schmucks and Christians like a bunch of crusading anti-Semites in the name of laughs, it's fine if you turn off your PC filter first, otherwise brace yourself. Like I say, if it's ethnic humor, it had better be pretty damn funny, and it's pretty funny in spots.
The Hebrew Hammer
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- This article is about the film; for the current baseball player, see Ryan Braun
|The Hebrew Hammer|
|Directed by||Jonathan Kesselman|
|Produced by||Lisa Fragner|
|Written by||Jonathan Kesselman|
Mario Van Peebles
|Music by||Michael Cohen|
|Editing by||Dean Holland|
|Distributed by||Comedy Central Films|
|Release date(s)||January 23, 2003 (Sundance Film Festival)|
December 8, 2003 (television premier)
December 19, 2003 (limited theatrical release)
|Running time||85 mins.|
The Hebrew Hammer is a 2003 American film directed by Jonathan Kesselman. It starsAdam Goldberg, Judy Greer, Andy Dick, Mario Van Peebles, and Peter Coyote. The plot concerns a Jewish crime fighter known as the Hebrew Hammer who must save Hanukkahfrom the evil son of Santa Claus who wants to destroy Hanukkah and make everyone celebrate Christmas.
The movie begins with a flashback to a young Mordechai Jefferson Carver. At school, Mordechai is tormented by his fellow students and his teacher for being a Jewish child in a Christian school, and celebrating Hanukkah while everyone else celebrates Christmas. He feels further alienated as he walks through his neighborhood and sees a seemingly endless number of Christmas decorations and window displays celebrating the holiday. As he lies down on the sidewalk, and spins his dreidel to cheer himself up, a Santa Claus walks by and crushes the toy under his foot, then gives Mordechai the finger.
The scene then changes to Mordechai as a retired Captain in the Israel Defense Forces. He is now the Hebrew Hammer, a Certified Circumcised Dick who has dedicated his life to defending Jews. His snappy dress (a cross between that of a pimp and a Hasidic Jew) and tough-guy demeanor have made him a local hero within the Jewish community. Christians and Jews have enjoyed a tenuous peace over the previous few decades, in part because Santa (the son of the cruel Santa who stomped Mordechai's dreidel years earlier) has pursued a policy of inclusion and tolerance. This Santa is murdered and replaced by his own son, Damian, who seeks to restore and exploit the mutual mistrust by destroying Hanukkah and preserving December for Christmas alone. Mordechai is reluctantly recruited to stop Damien, gaining allies along the way, including love interest Esther and a gang of Kwanzaa supporters.
"No Animals or Gentiles were harmed in the making of this Motion Picture."
The Hebrew Hammer parodies many common stereotypes about Jews. During filming, the movie came to the attention of the Anti-Defamation League, who were concerned that it might promote unfavorable images of Jews. (The film happens to include a direct parody of the ADL.) Additionally, many Christian groups argued that the film portrayed most Christians as anti-Semitic and intolerant. After viewing the film, Warren Katz of the Anti-Defamation League brought legal action against the producers of the film, but lost in a summary ruling handed down by the U.S. District Court – Northern District of New York.
Many scenes were shot in Borough Park, Brooklyn, which has a large community of Hasidic Jews. Filmmakers were initially concerned that members of the Hasidic community might protest the movie, as they did with the 1998 film A Price Above Rubies, and shut down filming. Reaction of the Hasidim in Borough Park was mixed, however, no organized protest was pursued, and some residents of the neighborhood actually agreed to appear as extras in the movie.
- The Hebrew Hammer at AllRovi
- Archive of the official web site for the movie
- The Hebrew Hammer at the Internet Movie Database
- The Hebrew Hammer at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Hebrew Hammer at Metacritic