Screen savors: A lighter approach

Satire, shiva and a movie series on the small screen

Alec Baldwin (photo credit: REUTERS)
Alec Baldwin
(photo credit: REUTERS)
One of the silver linings of the election of President Trump has been the revitalization of Saturday Night Live, which has always been at its best when satirizing politicians. It has gone from being an often funny comedy show to must-see TV, especially in its cold opening skits, usually starring Alec Baldwin (Jack from 30 Rock) as Trump.
The president himself often watches and then posts his opinion on Twitter. The show is broadcast on YES Comedy about a week after it airs in the US, so the episode hosted by Kristin Stewart, which featured Melissa McCarthy’s debut as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on February 4, will be shown here on February 11 at 7:55 p.m. and February 12 at 11:20 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. With most programs, it’s easy to wait a week, but since this humor is so topical — this show opened with Mikey Day as White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, costumed as the grim reaper, urging Trump to have some fun with a phone call to Australia’s prime minister — you might not want to wait a week.
These days, almost as soon as each show ends, the highlights are posted on social media. Sometimes they are blocked outside of the US for copyright reasons, but if you hunt on YouTube you can always find a version that will play here. CNN and Sky News usually broadcast the highlights on Sunday morning here as well.
But SNL isn’t the only show commenting on Trump. Even Jane the Virgin, the tongue-in-cheek telenovela that airs on YES Drama, has mentioned Trump in recent episodes. Virtually every comedy show makes some reference to Trump, and Comedy Central has added a new webseries about US politics, Mideast Minute, starring Pardis Parker, which is available on YouTube.
If you missed Asaph Polonsky’s film One Week and a Day, which won the prize for Best Israeli Feature in a very competitive year at the Jerusalem Film Festival, you can see it now on YES VOD. The movie has a simple but very effective premise: A family loses a son to cancer, and the parents have to find a way to cope the first day after the shiva ends. It has won awards all over the world, including at Cannes.
It may come as a surprise, but it’s something of a black comedy, as Eyal (Shai Avivi), the father, decides to smoke the rest of his son’s medical marijuana. It turns out that he needs the help of the neighbors’ slacker son, Zooler (Tomer Kapon), who still lives at home and works as a deliveryman at the local sushi place, to roll some joints. For Eyal, everything that happens on this day is strange and new, while Vicky (Evgenia Dodina), the mother, insists on getting back to normal. She shows up at her teaching job, goes jogging, keeps a dentist’s appointment and tries to tutor, but in spite of her best efforts, her grief colors the day. The three leads are all brilliant, and this was one of the most moving films of the year. It is in Hebrew, but it’s basic, conversational Hebrew and is very easy to follow.
If you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned popcorn movie, check out Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on February 10 at 10 p.m. on HOT Gold. None of the sequels and reboots can compare to the original, 1968 Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes, but this latest film, a sequel to the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes, will be entertaining if you’re in the right mood. It picks up right after the previous film left off, with the super-intelligent ape Cesar (Andy Serkis), who has been given an experimental anti-Alzheimer’s drug, going off to lead the rest of the apes. Meanwhile, most of humanity is wiped out as a virus created by the Alzheimer’s drug sweeps across the planet. In San Francisco, a band of human survivors, led by Keri Russell, Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman, try to avoid all-out human vs. ape war.