Blue-white programming for Remembrance and Independence days

Adam Sandler in ‘You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.’ (photo credit: screenshot)
Adam Sandler in ‘You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.’
(photo credit: screenshot)
Independence Day, which falls on April 28-29 this year, is traditionally a time when Israelis tune in to local classics on television. This year, a number of Israeli movies about war will also be broadcast on Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars, on April 27-28.

YES is showing a long list of well-known feature films about fallen soldiers, which will be broadcast throughout Remembrance Day on YES 1, 2 and 4, as well as on YES VOD and StingTV. 

These include Avi Nesher’s Rage and Glory, a 1984 drama about a Stern Group cell fighting the British just before the War of Independence; Eytan Fox’s 2002 Yossi & Jagger, the story of a romance between two male IDF soldiers stationed on the Lebanese border; Joseph Cedar’s Beaufort, an epic, Oscar-nominated drama about an Israeli outpost in Lebanon in 2000 that, unfortunately, loses a bit of its power on the small screen; and Samuel Maoz’s 2009 Lebanon, a harrowing film set almost entirely inside a tank during the First Lebanon War.

KAN 11 will present a special Remembrance Day edition of its popular and extremely watchable program, Excuse the Question, devoted to children of fallen soldiers. The program will be available on KAN 11’s YouTube page starting on Thursday and on Channel 23, the educational channel, at 2 p.m. on April 26.

HOT is showing two Hollywood films with Israeli themes to celebrate Independence Day on its HOT Cinema 1 Channel: You Can’t Mess with the Zohan and Munich. 

Die-hard Adam Sandler fans will want to see You Don’t Mess with the Zohan on April 29 at 2:30 p.m. Sandler plays a hedonistic counter-terrorist commando who leaves his hard-partying Tel Aviv lifestyle behind when he fakes his death so he can pursue his dream of becoming a hair stylist in Brooklyn. There are a few good jokes, but a lot of the gags fall flat. 

While no one would claim it is Sandler’s best film, it has its fans. The supporting cast includes the veteran Israeli actress Dina Doron, who can currently be seen as Shira Haas’s grandmother in the series Unorthodox, as well as John Turturro and Emmanuelle Chriqui, who played E’s girlfriend on the TV show Entourage.

Just as funny in some ways but unintentionally so, and far more annoying, is Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film, Munich. It is the story of a group of Mossad agents tasked with killing the Palestinian terrorists who carried out the massacre at the 1972 Olympics, where 11 members of the Israeli team were assassinated. The movie will be shown on April 29 at 11:50 a.m. 

It certainly sounds like a great subject for a suspense drama, but it falls flat, mainly because Spielberg chose to focus on how conflicted and angsty these agents supposedly were. In my review when the film came out, I wrote, “This movie fails on so many levels that if someone who had never seen any of Spielberg's work were to see it, he would never guess that Spielberg had ever made a good film, or might make one in the future.” 

The leads are all played by well-known international actors, among them Eric Bana and Daniel Craig, but a great many Israeli actors have small roles, including Moshe Ivgy, Ayelet Zurer, Gila Almagor and Makram Khoury.

Both films will also be available on HOT CinemaTime starting May 3.

If you have access to Amazon Prime Video through Cellcom TV or Partner TV, there is a documentary streaming about the late Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek. Kollek, by his son, Amos, will make for entertaining Independence Day viewing. It’s from 1995, so obviously it’s dated, and few Jerusalemites will learn much from it, but it has wonderful archival footage of the city. 

Kollek was a charmer of a kind you don’t see anymore; a pragmatic and sophisticated politician who connected with virtually everyone, and a polyglot who spoke to all in their native tongue. Many politicians such as former prime minister Shimon Peres are interviewed, but there are also clips of Alfred Hitchcock, Saul Bellow, and Paul Newman, who got to know Kollek on the set of Exodus.