Transcript – Modern Technology Watches – Episode 301 – Keeping the Faith (2000)

The following is a human-made transcript of Episode 301 of the podcast Modern Technology Watches, the subject of which was the film Keeping the Faith. The discussion has been lightly edited for readability without substantially altering the content; if you need a verbatim quote for reference purposes, please confirm it from the original audio if possible.
The transcriber of this episode was Gila Drazen.


GILA:

Let me get this straight. I’m talking to a priest who went on a bender because his best friend, a rabbi, stole his girl.

ROB:

Right.

GILA:

Thank you. I want to thank you for telling me this story.

ROB:

Why?

GILA:

Because now I can retire.

MUSIC

(Opening theme music)

ROB:

Hey, Gila.

GILA:

Hey Rob.

ROB:

Hi.

GILA:

Hi. It’s nice to be back, hon.

ROB:

Nice to be back where?

GILA:

Nice to be back here in our studio, which is our studio apartment. As we begin season three of Modern Technology Watches!

ROB:

Season three of Modern Technology Watches. Modern Technology Watches – that’s that show – I know that show!

GILA:

You do know that show!

ROB:

Yeah, that’s that show where I, Rob Vincent,

GILA:

And I, Gila Drazen,

ROB:

Show one another movies that are important to us from our combined collection that the other has not seen,

GILA:

Right. And it’s our combined collection. Because we are in fact, a married couple of film geeks…

ROB:

We are indeed that

GILA:

…With very divergent tastes.

ROB:

And we’ve done two whole seasons of this stuff.

GILA:

26 episodes.

ROB:

And this is our 27th.

GILA:

27!

ROB:

Our season premiere.

GILA:

And I think it’s interesting that we’re starting Season Three with episode 27. Because 27 is three cubed. So three to the third power is in fact 27. Whoah!

ROB:

Wow, you’re a nerd.

GILA:

I cannot believe you’re just figuring this out now.

GILA and ROB:

(laughing)

ROB:

Who did I marry?

GILA:

So we are very excited to be back for season three. I’m very excited. Because for those of you who are keeping track, the final episode of season two, that’s episode 213 was Rob’s pick. So you know what that means?

ROB:

Wait a minute, is it your turn?

GILA:

It is!

ROB:

I think I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do this tonight.

GILA:

(laughing)

ROB:

Okay.

GILA:

So it’s my pick.

ROB:

So it’s your pick.

GILA:

And I am going to go pick it up.

ROB:

Go pick up.

GILA:

(sings, ska-style) Pick up, pick it up, pick it up, pick it up, pick it up.

ROB:

Alright, you go pick up the pick and then we’ll come back and pick up where we left off…

GILA:

Oh, just talk to the people for a minute

ROB:

I can talk to the people and I can do so with my eyes closed so I don’t see what you’re getting from the shelf because the way we’ve arranged the recording environment now I am actually looking right at the shelf. Which I am not right now because my eyes are shut and I cannot see through my eyelids because if I did they would not be very good eyelids.

GILA:

If you could see through your eyelids that would actually be heckin’ creepy.

ROB:

It would and I might have trouble getting to sleep and you might have trouble getting to sleep.

GILA:

I’m gonna say – speaking as the person who sleeps next to you, I’m really glad that your eyelids work.

ROB:

Can I open them again?

GILA:

Yes, you can.

ROB:

Okay, now I can’t see from here what gap is on the shelf now that wasn’t there before…

GILA:

You didn’t memorize the entire map before I got over here?

ROB:

I did not. You know, I could have done that and had an advantage but no. Okay. What have you got for me?

…Keeping the Faith.

GILA:

Keeping the Faith.

ROB:

Okay, this is already… just based on the poster image here on the cover of the DVD, I feel like I hate this already.

GILA:

(bursts out laughing)

ROB:

Just because – okay, if you’re if you’re listening to this and you look up the cover image to Keeping the Faith – about which I know nothing else right now, except that it stars Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman, and Edward Norton – it is just one of those covers to like a rom-com-y looking movie that, you know, everyone’s sort of squinting at each other and like they’re in mid-fake laugh. And there’s a city in the background because of course there is. And it’s just that image. You’ve seen this on so many posters.

GILA:

This movie came out in the year 2000 – this movie came out 21 years ago. And yeah, okay, so it’s a romcom from 2000.

ROB:

Okay.

GILA:

Yeah, that’s the cover.

ROB:

And is that New York City I see?

GILA:

It is New York City.

ROB:

Okay. Let’s look in the back here.

“Ben Stiller (There’s Something About Mary), Jenna Elfman (EdTV), and Edward Norton (Fight Club.)

(sings) One of these things is not like the other.

GILA:

At least they didn’t say American History X.

ROB:

Right?

“…star in Keeping the Faith, a sexy romantic comedy so fresh and funny, you’ll fall head over heels in love! Jake Schram (Stiller) and Brian Finn (Norton) are single, successful, extremely popular guys who have been best friends since, well… forever. They’re about to be reunited with their other best childhood buddy, the feisty lanky tomboy Anna (Elfman). Anna has grown into a high-powered, workaholic beauty whose reentry into their lives turns this old circle of friends into a love triangle – a very complicated one at that, because Jake’s a rabbi and Brian is a priest. But have faith, this gem is going to steal your heart.”

Okay. Yeah, this this all has kind of – oh, yeah, there’s a picture of Jenna Elfman doing a zany pose, because that is her thing. And here they are, Ben Stiller and Edward Norton at the bottom with sunglasses on. Yeah. Okay, so romcom?

GILA:

-ish.

ROB:

-ish. Romcom-ish.

GILA:

It’s hard to quantify. But I’m gonna reserve all of that till after we’re done.

ROB:

PG-13.

GILA:

PG-13. Written by Edward Norton and a friend of his, directed by Edward Norton. This is his directorial debut.

ROB:

You know, growing up, there was one Edward Norton connected with New York City. And that was Art Carney.

GILA:

Yeah, this is a little different.

ROB:

But you know, Edward Norton, been in some stuff that I’ve liked. Ben Stiller, of course, I like his comedy. And Jenna Elfman’s here too. So let’s…

GILA:

(laughs) So let me tell you what.

ROB:

Tell me what?

GILA:

Let’s have Torley play some music for the people.

ROB:

Yes, indeed.

GILA:

Let’s watch this movie.

ROB:

We’ll watch this movie.

GILA:

And when we come back, we can determine if you’re still speaking with me.

ROB:

Okay, and we will properly kick off this third season of Modern Technology Watches.

GILA:

Indeed we will. And we will begin with 2000’s Keeping the Faith.

ROB:

Keeping the Faith.

MUSIC

(Interstitial music)

GILA:

Hey, Rob.

ROB:

Hey, Gila.

GILA:

Are we back?

ROB:

We are back.

GILA:

That is so exciting.

ROB:

It is exciting. We have just watched 2000’s Keeping the Faith.

GILA:

We’ve just watched 2000’s Keeping the Faith. I’ve seen it before. So what do you think?

ROB:

You know, I did not hate it like I thought I would when I saw the cover. It was cute in its way. There were a lot of things that kind of spoke to real-life stuff that we have gone through and that I’ve gone through before we met. It was cute. I will say the low point of the movie for me, what I really didn’t like about it – and we’ll get into this more – was Jenna Elfman.

GILA:

Well, yeah.

ROB:

Yeah. But the rest of it, it was a cute picture. And I’m not sorry I put that in my eyes and ears.

GILA:

You know, I think “not sorry you put that in your eyes and ears” is really the most I can hope for in this particular endeavor of ours.

ROB:

Tell me about you and this movie. How did you meet this movie?

GILA:

I met this movie… It came out at the end of my sophomore year in college, my friends and I all went to see it, really enjoyed it, had a very interesting discussion about it afterward with my roommate. There is something about this movie that you don’t think is going to lend itself to deep discussion. And then it does.

ROB:

And no real shade on people who genuinely enjoy it as their favorite genre. But you don’t usually think romcom and think, “Okay, there’s going to be deep discussions coming out of this.”

GILA:

No, which was why when you said romcom, I said, romcom-ish, because there’s romcom elements. But it’s not exclusively a romcom.

ROB:

No, no, it is not. But it is definitely – I think if I had to file it somewhere, if I had to put it in a category, I would throw this in with the romcoms. This would be in with like the Lloyd Doblers and the Truths About Cats and Dogs and all the rest of it. But it would maybe be one of the more thought-provoking examples of the genre.

GILA:

Very true, but also, as you say, Say Anything and The Truth About Cats and Dogs, are you just reading our DVD shelf?

ROB:

I’m reading your tattoos actually.

GILA:

No, I’m making one of those movie lists. Like the guy in Memento, just so I don’t forget – all over myself, really. No, that was it. I saw this movie when it came out 21 years ago, and I have liked it. I have wanted to watch it with you for a long time, but I haven’t seen it in a good long time. So this is my first viewing of it in ages. The first thing that really resonated with me, again, was the music. I forget how much I liked the music in this movie.

ROB:

You did keep chiming in every time they started playing a song with “This is such and such by such.”

GILA:

The two probably most prominent song-songs are a song called “Heart of Mine” by Peter Salett, which I have on a mix CD that I had my brother make for me years ago when I didn’t know how to download music by myself.

ROB:

Yes, and which I heard as “Peter Salad” and I still think that would have been a cooler name.

GILA:

Probably. Yeah. Peter Salett is awesome. And I love that song. The song “Pitseleh” by Elliott Smith, who was a singer-songwriter who died by suicide and features pretty heavily in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums. His music is pretty prominent in Wes Anderson movies. Anyway, “Pitseleh” and “Heart of Mine,” love them both. It’s always something that grabs me is the music in a movie

ROB:

Mm-hm.

GILA:

And I enjoyed a lot of things about this movie. And I will tell you that there was a an article that I recently saw publicized on social media on a Jewish women’s vertical about this movie. And it passes the Bechdel Test. But let’s just say the way that some of the women characters are portrayed is not so ai-yi-yi.

ROB:

Yeah. How would you say in general, having seen it when you were younger and having seen it now, for the first time in a while, how would you say it’s held up?

GILA:

I still think pretty well. The stuff that made me cringe 20 years ago still makes me cringe. And the stuff that I liked 20 years ago, I still like and, I mean…Jenna Elfman. I will say, without giving anything away, that there is a moment at the end, where you see Anne Bancroft and Eli Wallach together, and it’s like, oh, that’s so sad.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

It’s…

ROB:

Because for those unfamiliar,

GILA:

They’re both dead.

ROB:

Yeah,

GILA:

Both actors have passed away. But I liked it before. I like it now. We are not having a Tao of Steve situation.

ROB:

So you’re not about to apologize for this.

GILA:

I am not about to apologize and decry this movie. No. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed watching it with you. I was a little nervous from moment to moment to see how you were going to do with it. But I think we did okay.

ROB:

Well, shall we kick things off here by going through the cast?

GILA:

Let’s go through the cast!

ROB:

On the Wikipedia article for Keeping the Faith.

GILA:

We’re gonna start bottom-up because that just tends to go so much better for us.

The final name on the cast list here is Brian Anthony Wilson as T-Bone.

ROB:

Yeah, he was a security guard in the office building in which Jenna Elfman worked.

GILA:

Yes.

ROB:

And his job was to stand there and be the big thick security dude. And he did that.

GILA:

He did that. And he manhandled Ben Stiller occasionally, which was just fun to watch. That was that; moving on.

Next credit is Radio Man, as himself.

ROB:

Radio Man.

GILA:

Radio Man. He was known for being this guy who walked around New York with a radio around his neck. And people used him a lot for local color in stuff in New York. And he was homeless, and he’s not anymore.

ROB:

That’s good to hear.

GILA:

And it was interesting, because the way that they used him is you see a lot of the characters in their neighborhoods with these people that they know. And Brian says, “Hello, Radio Man.” And Radio Man says hello. And that’s it. They just – they know each other, they move on.

ROB:

Radio Man is a person in your neighborhood.

GILA:

Yes, yes.

Up next we have Catherine Lloyd Burns as Debbie.

ROB:

Was she the personal assistant?

GILA:

She was the assistant.

ROB:

Yeah, I feel like I’ve seen her in other things, but I’m not terribly familiar. But she was cute in the little sidekick role there.

GILA:

Malcolm in the Middle.

ROB:

Didn’t watch it.

GILA:

Nor did I. Everything Put Together.

ROB:

Oh, she was in Jane Austen’s Mafia!

GILA:

She was in Jane Austen’s Mafia! And you know, she’s a jobbing New York actor.

ROB:

A lot of stuff in television here. Okay.

GILA:

Up next, Susie Essman as Ellen Friedman. Ellen Friedman is the wife of the synagogue president. And Susie Essman is now probably best known for her work on Curb Your Enthusiasm,

ROB:

Which I also didn’t really watch.

GILA:

Right. But there you go. Some of the women in this movie are treated very well. Some are mostly set dressing.

ROB:

Right.

GILA:

Ellen Friedman is mostly set dressing. She says hello a couple of times.

ROB:

This movie was directed by Edward Norton.

GILA:

Correct. We’ll get to that in a minute. But yeah.

Okay. Up next we have Ken Leung as Don the electronics store owner.

ROB:

When he comes on screen, he’s the guy selling karaoke machines. And he comes out doing a very stereotypical over-the-top comedy Asian accent.

GILA:

Yes.

ROB:

And it was one of those moments where like okay, is this movie going to do this? And then he drops it and starts talking in his regular voice. Yeah. And it’s okay. You know, is what it is. It was a little moment there and they did that.

GILA:

Yeah.

Okay, up next, Eugene Katz as the mohel. We didn’t even see the man’s face. It’s fine. Moving on.

ROB:

Yeah, he’s lucky his part wasn’t cut.

GILA:

(groans)

ROB:

(laughs)

GILA:

You want to explain to people why that’s funny?

ROB:

People can look that up.

GILA:

All right.

Up next with a one line cameo is David Wain as Steve Posner.

ROB:

From our very second episode we’ve established that we appreciate David Wain in this household.

GILA:

We definitely appreciate David Wain in this household.

ROB:

Along with the rest of The State.

GILA:

Very much. So to hear his voice. I was like, “that’s David Wain!” And then you looked and there he was and it was Baby David Wain and that was that.

Ron Rifkin as Larry Friedman. Larry Friedman is the congregational president.

ROB:

Yeah. And Ron Rifkin- his face is very familiar. And I’m sure I’ve seen him in a ton of stuff. But it strikes me so much, how much he looks like our recently departed Governor Andrew Cuomo, especially around the nose and mouth, like when he makes that sort of hangdog face that Andrew Cuomo, disgraced former governor, was very known for.

GILA:

And I didn’t really see it when you said that until there was a freeze frame at the end of the movie. And I said, Okay, now I see it. Now I see it. But Ron Rifkin has been everywhere, doing everything. He’s been on Broadway, he’s done a bunch of stuff, and sometimes I would get him confused with Bob Balaban. Because they’re both, like, small Jewy guy. You know?

Up next, we have Brian George as Paulie Chopra.

ROB:

Now, what else was he in?

GILA:

He has done a lot of stuff. Let’s take a peek.

ROB:

Oh, he was in Seinfeld. Okay. That’s where I remember him from. And he’s Israeli.

GILA:

And he was born in Israel.

GILA:

He played a Pakistani restauranteur in Seinfeld.

ROB:

Born in Israel, raised in England and Canada.

ROB:

Does this this guy get all the restauranteur parts?

GILA:

(laughs) Fascinating.

ROB:

Oh! He was in Star Trek. He was in Deep Space Nine. Okay, I remember him from that as well.

GILA:

And he was in Inspector Gadget. The movie. Been a lot of places, done a lot of things. So the fact that his character is so fascinating.

ROB:

Oh, he voiced Bob in Bob and Margaret. I loved that cartoon.

GILA:

So anyway, a lot of stuff going on with this guy’s career. Seen him a lot. Enjoy him a lot.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

He was a helpful part of the framing device of this film.

ROB:

One thing this film liked is its sort of magical foreigners. You know, they have their little speeches to motivate the main characters to go do their thing.

GILA:

I didn’t think about that. But we’ll get there.

ROB:

Yes.

GILA:

Okay.

Next is Bodhi Elfman as Howard. This is a great role for Bodhi Elfman because he doesn’t say anything.

ROB:

There’s a running gag where Jenna Elfman’s character is watching him mess around with women in his office from the office building across the road with her binoculars.

GILA:

So just a nice way for her to get her husband into the movie, basically.

ROB:

By perving on him.

GILA:

By perving on him, but he says nothing. He smiles a couple of times. That’s pretty much it.

We have Rena Sofer as Rachel Rose,

ROB:

Who was the news reporter

GILA:

Who was the news reporter. The first thing I saw her in – or the first thing I remember seeing her in – was the movie A Stranger Among Us.

ROB:

(laughs) How would you sum A Stranger Among Us up really quick for our listening audience?

GILA:

Garbage, is the very short version. A Stranger Among Us. Part of the reason I enjoy this movie so much is because of movies like A Stranger Among Us. Because the way that Judaism and Jewish life is portrayed in this movie is first of all, obviously a lot closer to my own experience, but also is not… (groans) Okay, A Stranger Among Us is a movie about an undercover cop who has to… a police officer has to go undercover in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn to find a murderer.

ROB:

Yeah, it’s Jewish Witness, basically.

GILA:

It is Jewish Witness, with the Harrison Ford role played by Melanie Griffith.

ROB:

It’s Hasidic Witness.

GILA:

Hasidic Witness. And, of course, Melanie Griffith falls for the son of the Rebbe, whose name is Ariel, which she can’t say, and at one point they’re having a discussion and he’s explaining to her why he can’t leave his family and his community to be with her. And she says,

ROB:

(doing a pretty credible Melanie Griffith impression) But Ariel, you’re different.

GILA:

The movie is truly terrible.

ROB:

Yeah, I saw this at your parents’ house.

GILA:

Yep.

ROB:

For the first time and watching that movie with your father, the rabbi. And your mother, the rebbitzen, and you, the you.

GILA:

Yeah.

ROB:

That was a kick because it was Misery Science Theater is what

GILA:

It really was. Yeah, but Rena Sofer shows up at the end, as the daughter of another rabbi from France, who’s basically being imported to marry this guy. And she comes in and starts talking about Kabbalah with a worse French accent than mine, thank you so much. “ze Kabbalah says…eh…” No, uh-uh. It’s bad. It’s very, very bad. She’s been around. She’s done a lot of stuff.

ROB:

A lot of stuff that is not a Melanie Griffith vehicle.

GILA:

Correct.

ROB:

Praise be.

GILA:

She was on Friends for a while. She dated Ross. Yeah, that’s Rena Sofer. Her role in this movie – you know, there’s one moment where Edward Norton says to her, “It must be lovely in the Middle East this time of year.” And she says, “Well, not if you’re Kurdish.”

ROB:

Right. And this was the year 2000, just to drive that home there.

GILA:

But just the idea that like this woman has no sense of humor whatsoever.

ROB:

I don’t know if she’s like had any starring vehicles. I can only wish good things to the reviewer that gets to write up something she’s in and say Sofer, So Good.

GILA:

…I know that we’re working in an audio medium right now but I can only hope that that look translated.

ROB:

Oh, I’m sure it did, even through the pop screen.

GILA:

(laughs) I’m never not fascinated by the order that people put the Wikipedia cast lists in. Because Rena Sofer is in the movie several times. But she’s listed after Lisa Edelstein, who has one scene.

Lisa Edelstein as Ali Decker.

ROB:

The date.

GILA:

The date, the first date. The place I recognize her from the most is she was on House the whole time, or for the first eight seasons, I think.

ROB:

Okay, I didn’t watch House much. Like every pop culture reference today is oh, I didn’t watch that much.

GILA:

Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, it’s just spitting into the wind here.

ROB:

I’ve never seen television.

GILA:

It’s just I’m throwing things at the wall and nothing is sticking.

ROB:

What is the strange magic box with lights and pictures?

GILA:

Exactly. I had such issues with the scene that she had. Very, I hate using this phrase – but very JAPpy. JAPpy, workout obsessed.

ROB:

That’s what they were doing, right? They were going full stereotype.

GILA:

Hardcore. Hard core.

ROB:

And they were using that I think to and I’m not excusing it, but it seems like they were they were going that extreme end to use that as the “Oh, yeah. Look how none of the Jewish women from his congregation are doing it for him.” And so this Gentile woman shows up and-

GILA:

The phrase we like to use is “shiksa goddess.”

ROB:

Shiksa goddess, of course, it’s a trope, isn’t it?

GILA:

There’s actually a musical called The Last Five Years in which there’s actually a song entitled “Shiksa Goddess.” Oh, it’s fully a trope. Up next we have Holland Taylor, as Bonnie Rose, Rachel’s mom. There’s a fantastic scene, when, after services, everybody’s trying to get Jake’s attention. He zeroes in on Bonnie Rose, who introduces her to her daughter Rachel, who says, “Oh, yes, my mom does all my PR.” And Jake says “oh, yeah, my mom is the same way.” And Rachel says “no, my mom’s firm handles all my PR.” But again, playing into that nice little thing that everybody knows about Jewish moms.

ROB:

Yeah. And she bears a physical resemblance to like, two dozen people that I know in my life of all different extractions and ethnicities, but like she’s got that face.

GILA:

She’s also been everywhere. She’s kind of a that guy. She was in The Practice. She was in Two and a Half Men. Seriously, she’s everywhere. You know, now she’s older and dating Sarah Paulson.

Now, Eli Wallach as Rabbi Ben Lewis.

ROB:

(laughs) And who doesn’t love Eli Wallach?

GILA:

I know no one who doesn’t love Eli Wallach! There’s a movie called The Holiday, which I have not watched with you because it would make you miserable. It’s like a hardcore fantasy Nancy Meyers romcom.

ROB:

Okay.

GILA:

About Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two women who swap houses around Christmas.

ROB:

Ooo-kay…

GILA:

So Kate Winslet goes to LA and lives in Cameron Diaz’s house and Cameron Diaz goes to England and lives in Kate Winslet’s house; hijinks ensue,

ROB:

Because of course they do.

GILA:

So Cameron Diaz winds up dating Kate Winslet’s brother Jude Law,

ROB:

As one does,

GILA:

And Kate Winslet winds up making friends with Cameron Diaz’s neighbor, who’s played by Eli Wallach. And she winds up dating Jack Black,

ROB:

As one does.

GILA:

I really like this movie, I’m not gonna make you watch it.

ROB:

It doesn’t seem like my particular cup of tea.

GILA:

It is so emphatically not your jam, or jelly, or preserves. It’s just not something you would enjoy in the least.

ROB:

Part of what I appreciate about this project is we’re not just throwing everything that we like at each other. It’s stuff that we think the other might be in some way interested.

GILA:

Exactly. Exactly. Eli Wallach, man, what a gem.

ROB:

Yeah, I mean, how would you describe Eli Wallach? Old school comedian, comic actor, was he a Borscht Belt guy? I think he must have been.

GILA:

He must have been.

ROB:

You look him up, and you’ll go, “oh, it’s that guy.” I’ve seen him in a zillion things. And they were all great – or at least his bit was.

GILA:

He was wonderful. He was…

ROB:

And dead now.

GILA:

Dead now. Last year? two years ago?

GILA and ROB:

Recently.

GILA:

He was almost 100 years old, I want to say.

ROB:

Yeah, and we were watching the gag reel on the DVD. And there were a lot of scenes in this movie where people were just doing stage business for montages, and whatever. So you didn’t hear what they were saying, really. And a lot of that is Ben Stiller just doing his sermons in his synagogue. And in the deleted scenes, you get to actually hear what he’s saying in some of them and in a couple of them, he just goes to this room packed with extras, gestures to Eli Wallach behind him and he’s like, “and we have Eli Wallach here. Can you believe it? It’s Eli Wallach!”

GILA:

“Eli Wallach, ladies and gentlemen.”

ROB:

And he’s looking all embarrassed and like waving, and it’s adorable.

GILA:

It’s very sweet.

ROB:

And he’s nice in this film. He’s good.

GILA:

I think the way that this actually ties in very nicely to the next person in the cast list is the way that they set up the mentor characters for these two people is really great.

So you had Eli Wallach as Ben Stiller’s mentor rabbi, and Miloš Forman as the mentor priest.

ROB:

Yeah, Miloš Forman as the Czech immigrant mentor priest.

GILA:

And Miloš Forman you don’t think of primarily as an actor, so it surprises you to see him.

ROB:

Yeah, it surprised me to see him. I saw his name come up in the front credits of this, and that totally caught me off guard. I’m like – Miloš Forman. The the. I didn’t know he acted at all. I’m familiar with his directing. But that’s a new one on me. And you know, he did well.

GILA:

He did. He did. Liked him a lot.

ROB:

In what are you going to do with having to talk about “this, this happened in the old country. And then I came to the United States and…” while you’re drinking and smoking cigars with your buddy, the main character. It’s that sort of role and he does well in it.

GILA:

Reflectively smoking a cigar.

Up next on the list we have Anne Bancroft as Ruth Schram.

ROB:

There’s another one. Who doesn’t love Anne Bancroft? She and Mel Brooks, one of the all time Hollywood love stories.

GILA:

So also fascinating to have cast her in this particular role. Because she was married to a Jewish man for a very long time, but was not Jewish herself. Which is also a very interesting piece of the puzzle, I think, when you’re looking at the big picture of this movie.

ROB:

Yeah, but she was there playing the Jewish mama whose son was the rabbi.

GILA:

So interesting: There’s a moment when they’re all having Shabbos dinner. And the way they caption it, she’s pointing at her head and shouting “sickle, sickle,” which gets captioned as “sicko, sicko,” but I think what she’s trying to say is “seikhel,” which means common sense.

ROB:

Ah.

GILA:

Seikhel.

ROB:

Seikhel.

GILA:

Right, but she’s shouting “sickle sickle.” Which again, gets captioned as “sicko, sicko.”

All right. Are you ready for the big three?

ROB:

Do it.

GILA:

All right.

Jenna Elfman as Anna Riley.

They also mention the people who played the teenage counterparts of each of these next three people, but I don’t really think we need to talk much about the teenagers.

ROB:

Yeah, meh.

GILA:

They were there.

ROB:

They kind of looked like the adults but not so much.

GILA:

I think young Anna looked more like grown up Anna than either the boys did.

ROB:

But Jenna Elfman.

GILA:

Jenna Elfman.

ROB:

I have never enjoyed watching her in something. And I wasn’t a fan of the shows she had, or whatever, but she pops up and stuff every so often. There is something about watching her acting where it’s just… You watch the other characters and it’s like, okay, they’re acting, you know these are actors saying lines, but you watch it and their performances are effective enough where you’re just watching the characters. She pops up on screen and you’re watching Jenna Elfman in the process of doing the acting thing, and it’s like the difference between watching a car run and like picking up the hood and watching the engine and all the parts move around. And Jenna Elfman has the parts moving around, you’re seeing the process happening but it’s it’s not really effective in that it doesn’t suspend disbelief or whatever. Every moment she’s on screen this is Jenna Elfman, the actor, saying lines and moving her face like someone’s telling her to but it just never clicks as a performance for me.

GILA:

It boggles the mind to me that this woman is the motivating factor in a love triangle.

ROB:

Yeah. And we’ll talk more about the love triangle when we get into the plot, but I did not buy her in this. And I did not buy her character as the romantic, uh…

GILA:

Instigator?

ROB:

Instigator, the instigating factor in what happens between the two male leads. It’s just… eh.

GILA:

I mean, she’s very pretty.

ROB:

Yeah, she’s pretty.

GILA:

She’s pretty, but the character is not nice. Not funny. Not warm.

ROB:

The way it’s all being portrayed on screen. It’s like, “boy, isn’t this funny how she’s being?” No, it isn’t. “Boy, isn’t she just the most desirable thing on the screen?” No, she isn’t. This movie is telling us to believe things about this character that she does not make anyone believe.

GILA:

Exactly. Exactly.

ROB:

It just, I don’t buy it.

GILA:

Couldn’t get there.

All right. And up next, we have Edward Norton and Ben Stiller.

ROB:

Edward Norton. I like him a lot. I like him a lot and things. Fight Club – I liked Fight Club. Saying you liked Fight Club is kind of a double-edged sword in that there are certain kinds of people who really like Fight Club in ways that maybe is a red flag if you’re speaking to someone you don’t know well. But I enjoyed Fight Club. He was in an Incredible Hulk movie.

GILA:

Yes.

ROB:

That nobody liked. I liked it.

GILA:

I liked it. I saw it. Did you know that?

ROB:

I did not know you saw it.

GILA:

Yeah! I saw it.

ROB:

I don’t automatically assume you’ve seen a superhero film? Kind of totally not your thing.

GILA:

(laughs) I understand that impulse. But it was like Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, I gotta go.

ROB:

And that movie had a lot of weirdness about it and did things with the story that a lot of comic book diehards don’t like but I think it was more fun than I think the other Hulk movies that have been done, I’m not really into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe or whatever. So Mark Ruffalo is okay as the Hulk in the modern era, but I really liked Edward Norton as the character. Because it makes sense that like, the Hulk is the big muscle bound monster but comes from this little willowy guy. Also, he was he was just likable in it. He was fun in it, he was believable. And that’s him in other things, too. Like the complete antithesis to what I was just saying about Jenna Elfman, looking at Edward Norton act in things is just… it’s a good time, because whatever he’s saying, you’re just on that ride with him. He is a very believable actor.

GILA:

He really is.

ROB:

And he’s played such different things.

GILA:

Very, he’s got a really wide range.

ROB:

I mean, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t call like, like him playing the Nazi likable in American History X, which I’ve only seen bits of, but I’ve seen I’ve seen some of his bits, and they are not the likable, likable weenie that he plays in a lot of other things. But even that was an effective performance.

GILA:

He’s great. And remember, a few years ago – God, like nine years ago now, he hosted Saturday Night Live. And it was just completely random. He had nothing to promote. He just randomly was hosting Saturday Night Live, it was around Halloween, and I’ve made you watch this sketch because it was so funny. Edward Norton is going through a basket of Halloween candy.

ROB:

Oh, yes. Yes. I remember this.

GILA:

It’s, it’s amazing. (laughs) He’s going through a basket of Halloween candy and saying ridiculous things. And the thing that has always stuck with me the most is he’s like, “okay, focus in on this. Focus in on this. This is one single Nerd.” and then he flicks it at the camera and says, “Psych, it’s a boogey.” They did it with Michael Keaton and a basket of Easter candy. I like the Halloween one better.

ROB:

Yeah. Yeah. No, Edward Norton. You’re just like, Yeah, I’m on his side in this movie. And sometimes it doesn’t work well when a star is also directing. But it works in this. He makes it work.

GILA:

Absolutely. I liked a lot of what he did here. And it’s interesting that in the credits everybody’s identified by first name, except for his character, which was a little “all hail Gila,” but not terrible.

ROB:

Ben Stiller.

GILA:

Ben Stiller.

ROB:

What’s there to say about Ben Stiller?

GILA:

I have a few things to say about Ben Stiller, honestly. Don’t forget, at this particular moment, both Ben Stiller and Edward Norton were kind of at the height of their powers.

ROB:

Yeah, I think that’s fair to say.

GILA:

This is a year after Fight Club. This is two years after There’s Something About Mary. It was before some of the Ben Stiller oversaturation that we’ve had in the last few years.

ROB:

Before Fockers? Or maybe the first one?

GILA:

Mid-Fockers, I think – first Fockers was like ’99 or 2000, I think, so this is contemporaneous with that, I want to say. And given the choice of this or any of the Fockers movies, this 100 times.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

Not least because Ben Stiller got to be a person. And he was – there were things that his character was struggling with. There were things that he got to do that he enjoyed, and he wasn’t just like, whiny caricature Ben Stiller, which Ben Stiller winds up being a lot.

ROB:

Yeah. We both grew up watching Ben Stiller, like on The Ben Stiller Show.

GILA:

Hey, we’ve got it on DVD.

ROB:

We’ve got the set over there and, and other stuff in which like, he was doing this weird-ass comedy. And he was that guy. And then he had, he would do like the talk shows and things like that. And it was oh, yeah, there’s Ben Stiller, cool Ben Stiller. And so after being the cool, hip, rebellious, younger guy, in this one he’s in his 30s. He’s a rabbi, who is also kind of dorky and figuring out his shit…

GILA:

Dorky, and figuring out his shit but also, the fact that in this movie, you got to see a rabbi who was portrayed as cool and attractive,

ROB:

Cool and attractive, and also a human being. Because this is something else that this movie really does. Well, I think the lead characters are a priest and a rabbi. And both of them are portrayed as human beings.

GILA:

Yeah.

ROB:

They’re not super-powered direct lines to God that happens when clergy shows up in another movie. It’s kind of a realistic portrayal of that now, having spent time with you and your family, and I’ve gotten to know your late father a little bit, and gotten to know and hang around with other rabbis and people with with jobs of note in the synagogues. And you know, I have clergy in my family. I myself am not Catholic, but I was raised such. And it was interesting to see just how it was all portrayed in a reasonable human manner here.

GILA:

Yeah. The humanity of the clergy in this movie has always something has always been something that’s really spoken to me, because growing up with a parent who was a clergy member, knowing a lot of clergy, having almost become clergy myself. And just the understanding that yeah, these are people. And these are people who live lives like anybody else. And that is something that I’ve always appreciated. I want to say that the screenwriter is like his brother’s a rabbi?

ROB:

Okay, so we’re now looking at the Wiki article for Stuart Blumberg, who was the screenwriter of this movie.

GILA:

He and Edward Norton were roommates at Yale.

ROB:

So there, there you go.

GILA:

He wrote The Kids Are All Right.

ROB:

He was a writer on Mad TV.

GILA:

He was a writer on Mad TV.

ROB:

Okay.

GILA:

Okay, sorry, getting sidetracked.

ROB:

I think it was nice to see also. Usually you see a movie about a rabbi, and it’s all about the Jewishness and everyone else is the outsider, or you see a movie about the priest and it’s about the Christianity, the Catholicness, the whatever, and everyone else is the outsider. But this one strikes a really nice balance, which I like to see.

GILA:

It does, and there’s a segment in the very beginning where they’re talking about as kids, they were very close, but they were both very into their religion and telling each other about them.

ROB:

Right. And they were both curious about each other’s religions. And you see, like, the one who grew up to be a priest -Ed Norton’s younger self – coaching Ben Stiller’s younger self on doing the sign of the cross.

GILA:

And they do it with the Telestrator. And this is – I told you about this before. And I always enjoyed that. But I thought it was cute.

ROB:

Yeah. And there was the other one. What was the thing where he got knocked over?

GILA:

Jake, who grew up to be Ben Stiller, was trying to show Brian, the kid who grew up to be Ed Norton, how to do the priestly blessing hands, and he just knocked himself in the face and fell over.

ROB:

It was cute. There was never an element of, like, this one’s the right one or the wrong one. It’s just, here are these guys and they’re each doing their thing.

GILA:

I find it interesting because one of my best friends… There’s no good way to say that! Like, you can’t say, “oh some of my best friends are Catholic…” but one of my best friends is actually Catholic. And he is an observant Catholic. And it was one of the things that we really understood about each other from the very beginning was how significant this was to both of our lives. We didn’t do it the same way. It wasn’t the same stuff. But we understood that about each other. And like he would come to shul with me and I would go to Mass with him. And it’s great, you know? So there are a lot of things in this movie that rang really true to me. Which I appreciated.

ROB:

Yeah. Okay, now that we’re back, and thanks to the magic of editing, nobody will know that an entire day has passed since we did the cast section.

GILA:

No one will know at all. We’re super secret, stealthy like that.

ROB:

Yeah, we’re pretty sneaky-devious. So I am going to suggest we go on to the plot section.

GILA:

Let’s go on to the plot section. And something I noticed, minorly/moderately frustrating, is that the plot summary on the Wikipedia page is skipping the framing device.

ROB:

The Wikipedia page for Keeping the Faith. I suppose we could pause the podcast while you rewrite this sucker. But then that I feel like that would be breaking the prime directive or something, it would just be interfering with the simple culture of Wikipedians that have prepared this data bounty for us to feast upon. So…

GILA:

I mean, frankly, it would also kind of negate the way that I deal with Wikipedia, which is I just complain about it and never change anything.

ROB:

You’re one of those people.

GILA:

I am! However, I did find out that there is a… now I don’t remember what it’s called. But they’re some sort of podcast aggregator something where they have information about podcasts and what have you, and they did some sort of automated thing for us.

ROB:

Oh.

GILA:

And they put that you had a Wikipedia page.

ROB:

I don’t have a Wikipedia page to my knowledge.

GILA:

It was someone else named Rob Vincent. So I actually signed up for an account and edited your listing to say that this is not your Wikipedia page. (dissolves in laughter)

ROB:

Thank you. Yes, there are some more Robs Vincent. One or two of them are more famous than me, I think, in certain contexts.

GILA:

Nobody’s more famous than you.

ROB:

Well, there’s an English footballer and if you like English football, you’re very likely to know the other Rob Vincent, instead of me.

GILA:

I mean, I like some English football, but it’s mostly fictional.

ROB:

Yeah. I like the Ted Lasso English football. No interest in real sports, but I like that fictional sports show.

GILA:

(singong) Rob likes a sports show! Rob likes a sports show!

ROB:

(jokingly) Shut up! I do not! I like a comedy/drama that just happens to involve people who do a sports… or a sport because it’s sport over there.

GILA:

It is sport. Yes.

ROB:

There are not multiple sports. There’s just the one in the UK.

GILA:

Yes. And it’s interesting because they have singular sport, multiple maths.

ROB:

Yes. You go to school for maths. You don’t go to school for math as you do in America.

GILA:

Here it’s just math class. And you play sports. And there you play sport…

ROB:

And do maths. But you need maths to keep score at sport.

GILA:

See, now, we’re just… this is spiraling.

ROB:

Yeah, I mean, if we’re not careful, we’ll end up in hospital.

GILA:

Now, in Britain, do they have to wait on line to get in hospital?

ROB:

They wait in a queue.

GILA:

Yes. But is it in queue or on queue? Because I have to tell you – I’ve lived in New York for a long time now. And I still refer to it as in line and will always refer to it as in line.

ROB:

Well, I love you, dear, but you’ll always be at least that bit of a foreigner. (laughs) I kid. It’s our diversity that fuels this relationship. So much.

GILA:

Absolutely. It’s our diversity that keeps us strong.

ROB:

Speaking of which, we’ve got this movie about a Catholic and a Jew who are pals with a huge Scientologist although…

GILA:

The character’s not a Scientologist.

ROB:

But in real life, Jenna Elfman.

GILA:

Oh, Jenna Elfman is definitely a huge Scientologist. Okay, so as I was saying, the plot summary here in Wikipedia skips the framing device.

ROB:

So before we get into the plot, as Wikipedia is spoke, tell us about the framing device.

GILA:

The framing device, is it starts with Edward Norton is wandering the streets of New York in the dark and he walks into a bar, rather inebriated, and begins talking to the bartender. Edward Norton says, “I know you’re busy.” He said, “not that busy.”

ROB:

Yeah. He said, I know you’re busy. And then cut to the wide shot of the completely empty bar.

GILA:

So he said, “tell me what’s going on.” And Edward Norton pulls out this picture of three kids. The bartender says, “Okay, I see: your wife kicked you out because you were chasing a skirt and she took the kids,” and he says, “It’s a little more complicated than that.” The bartender says, “Everyone thinks their story is the one with the twist.” Edward Norton unzips his jacket, revealing his priest’s collar. The bartender says, “Holy shit.” Edward Norton says, “Exactly.” So the bartender pulls out a towel, puts it around his neck, and says, “Father, how long has it been since your last drink?” He pours him another shot and then we begin to get the story.

ROB:

Yes. And this story as as described in the plot section of Keeping the Faith on Wikipedia.

GILA:

Yes.

“Father Brian Finn (Edward Norton), dedicated to his calling as a Catholic priest since childhood, shares the duties of his New York parish with the older Fr. Havel (Miloš Forman).”

Did we ever get Father Havel’s name? I don’t remember that.

ROB:

I don’t remember either. It was Father Miloš Forman.

GILA:

“Rabbi Jacob ‘Jake’ Schram (Ben Stiller), best friends with Brian since they were children and the youngest rabbi at his synagogue, focuses on his work to the detriment of his private life, much to the chagrin of his mother, Ruth (Anne Bancroft).”

ROB:

It’s all pretty straightforward. Again, as we said earlier, the kids look reasonably like the adult actors. It’s cute. It is what it is.

GILA:

The Sign of the Cross thing with the Telestrator, though, I always get a kick out of that bit.

“The two men show a close bond even in their professions, planning to open a jointly-sponsored community center.”

Okay, pause. So we get this whole thing about these two young men grew up very involved in their religions. They became clergy people, came back to New York, and then you have this little montage of things not exactly going correctly for them, including Edward Norton as a young priest with the incense censer, hits somebody in the head with it, drops it, lights his dress on fire. I’m sorry. What’s the word? What’s the actual word?

ROB:

Robe? Cassock?

GILA:

Yes, yes. Lights his cassock on fire. And then winds up jumping in the holy water to put out the fire.

ROB:

Right. Yeah. And Ben Stiller is – he’s rabbi-ing at a bris. And the mohel does the snip and Ben Stiller’s eyes roll back and he faints. So, you know, hilarity ensues.

GILA:

It’s fun. So all right. Oh, and their jointly-sponsored community center is really a senior center, a joint Catholic-Jewish senior center. And they’re going to put a karaoke machine in there.

ROB:

Yeah, it’s cute. And this movie does a decent job of like, just setting all the pins up, getting across what’s going on. I think the bit with the kids, it wasn’t too long, it wasn’t too short, it was just right.

GILA:

Yeah. And this movie is two hours and eight minutes long.

ROB:

It did not feel that long.

GILA:

No, it’s snappy.

ROB:

It’s a snappy picture. And yeah, if you hadn’t told me that, and just asked me how long I thought it was right now – because I wasn’t paying attention to the clock when we were watching – I would think it was maybe a standard hour and a half type thing.

GILA:

Yes. It’s two hours-plus. I know, right?

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

All right. So things are going great – they’re clergy-ing in New York City, having a blast, and there’s a a brief montage of the two of them walking down the street and greeting people, and it’s set to “Smooth” because this movie was shot in 1999.

ROB:

Right. Yeah, an(Ending theme music concludes)d it’s that little sort of Odd Couple opening titles type of montage. They’re walking side by side and they got their sunglasses on and their –

GILA:

Leather jackets.

ROB:

Yeah, leather jackets.

GILA:

Ben Stiller’s got a kippah on, Edward Norton’s wearing his collar. You know, two young clergymen out doing their thing.

“The pair reminisce about their childhood friend Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman) meeting them in middle school after beating up a bully. The three were close friends until Anna’s family moved to California and they ultimately lost touch.”

ROB:

Yeah, that’s all out of order there, isn’t it? They didn’t show them reminiscing as adults until she calls one of them in a paragraph or two.

GILA:

Exactly. Like it began by saying this is the setup and the three of us were inseparable. And then she moved and the two of us stayed inseparable.

ROB:

Right.

GILA:

And again, I’m wondering if this is like working off like a novelization or something. We’re missing some stuff here.

ROB:

Wikipedia is weird.

GILA:

Wikipedia is weird. I mean, I appreciate the open source community nature of it, but sometimes it’s really annoying.

“Sixteen years later, Anna moves to New York for work and calls Jake and Brian out of the blue, rekindling their friendship.”

She calls Brian.

ROB:

Yes, and Jake’s for a minute going, “why did she call you and not me?”

GILA:

“It’s alphabetical! Finn before Schramm!” “Well, I suppose that makes sense.” Then you cut to them…

ROB:

That’s after this scene of them playing basketball. They’re playing basketball in the park. They’re playing a game of horse or something with each other. Then because this is a ’90s movie – or a 2000 movie, but I guess it’s still a ’90s movie – the crowd of people of color walk up to use the field and they’re like, hey, and they challenge them to basketball and you see the white guys getting pummeled.

GILA:

And then at the end, they’re sitting there feeling sad, like feeling… they’ve been completely destroyed in this game, they’re hurting. And Jake says, “We got to stop playing with those guys from the Jewish Theological Seminary, it really lowers the bar.” So I must tell you seeing that movie with a group of young, mostly conservative Jews, oh, my God, we were hysterical. It’s also very New York-y. Very specifically, Upper West Side – mostly Jewish, honestly. And no, it knows its people. I appreciated that part of it.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

Quite a bit.

ROB:

Yeah. All the all the New York stuff in this movie by and large rang true. I appreciate that. Because not every movie set in New York manages that.

GILA:

It’s true. This recap also skips over all of Jake’s dates. So we got a couple of pieces to fill in here. Okay, so Jake says to Brian, that the senior rabbi at his synagogue – who’s played by Eli Wallach, by the way – he’s retiring. And he might like to have the job, but the fact that he’s single might be a problem for some of the people at the synagogue. “Hasn’t been a single senior rabbi at B’nai Ezra since the synagogue opened.” So, there’s an ongoing thread in this movie of moms at the synagogue trying to set him up with their daughters. So first, you have his date with Lisa Edelstein? Ali Decker. That’s her name. Who’s super into working out? The one who he punches in the stomach because she says, “Feel my abs, punch me in the stomach.”

ROB:

Right. And then there are these like trippy-out-y sequences of all the mothers in his synagogue trying to get his attention and like panicky shots from his point of view of all these Jewish mamas coming up with their daughters in tow.

GILA:

“They’re very persuasive. It’s like the Kosher Nostra.” So yeah, Ali Decker has what looks like a row of hardback leather-bound books in her apartment. Jake goes to touch one of them. It turns out, it’s a false panel, and there’s a bunch of workout videos hidden behind the panel. Later, she’s explaining that her headband was beaded by people who have developmental disabilities but under very strict supervision…

ROB:

Right. And because this is a ’90s movie, they don’t describe it as disabilities, they use the hard R word.

GILA:

They do. And the mentally hard R word just so you understand what they’re really talking about. And then a homeless person comes up to the table, and she hits him with her handbag. She’s awful, basically, is the long and short of it. She’s absolutely awful. And also, it doesn’t mention Rachel Rose. She’s special correspondent for ABC News. And they go on a date. And he asks Anna and Brian to come along to make it like a double date. It’s weird.

ROB:

Yeah, he asked them to pretend to be a couple so they can double date and help him out because he’s nervous to go on the date by himself.

GILA:

Yes. And she’s very nice, but like, no sense of humor. It’s not going great. And at one point, she runs away… she gets a buzz, a beep from work. And has to answer, has to go call them back…

ROB:

Because this is the beeper era.

GILA:

Yes. Jake asks a question. And she says, “Brian, can you explain it to him?” It’s very weird. So the evening ends because Rachel has to go pack to go to Baghdad. She’s fluent in Arabic. Oh, we also skipped the Rain Man scene where Edward Norton got to bust out his Rain Man impression.

ROB:

Right. All right. That all goes by and while they’re pretending to be a couple, Edward Norton and Jenna are smooching and being couple-y, and there’s that implication that like, is this really some kind of spark? Or are they just totally faking it? Or whatever.

GILA:

Right. And then later that evening, Jake shows up at Anna’s door. She says, “What are you doing here?” And he says, “I don’t know. What am I doing here?” Has anyone ever said that in, like, a real life situation? Is that supposed to be sexy? “I don’t know. What am I doing here?”

ROB:

I don’t know. But it works for Ben Stiller.

GILA:

It does work for Ben Stiller.

ROB:

And they immediately end up smooching and she pulls them into her apartment and they’re in bed.

GILA:

“I haven’t screamed that hard since the US hockey team beat the Russians,” she says. “Anna and Jake begin sleeping together but he is reluctant to become seriously involved as she is not Jewish.”

ROB:

We’re back to the article now.

GILA:

We are back to the article now.

ROB:

If any listeners are heavy duty Wikipedians and would like to fill all that crap we just talked about in where it’s missing here. We are not going to touch this ourselves, I don’t think.

GILA:

“…he is reluctant to become seriously involved as she is not Jewish, which could compromise his relationship with his congregation and his mother Ruth, who disowned her eldest son for marrying outside the faith.”

ROB:

Now, let’s talk about this for people in general, who might not be familiar with the possibility of heaviness around that whole thing?

GILA:

Yes. Well, I don’t think that the idea of endogamy – of “in-marriage,” if you will – I don’t think the idea of endogamy as a goal is a secret to anyone.

ROB:

Right? The whole idea. One of my best friends in middle school, probably my best friend in middle school, was a Jewish kid. And we spoke a lot about what each other’s family traditions were and such like that. And he explained to me in no uncertain terms that he could mess around with who he wanted, apparently, in as much as any middle school kid is doing anything with anyone. But he had to make sure to end up with a Jewish girl, or his family would disown him, basically, it was that heavy. And Judaism being a matrilineal thing, I think it’s maybe a bigger deal for a Jewish person to end up with a non-Jewish woman than it would be to end up with a non-Jewish man.

GILA:

It’s certainly… In the movement of Judaism in which I’m involved, in the Conservative movement, yes, Judaism is solely matrilineal. There are practices where Judaism is also patrilineal. It’s not my pattern of observance, but I’m not saying it’s not valid.

ROB:

Right. If you’re the hopeful grandparent wanting to have some nice Jewish kids come along, it has to be – if you’ve got a son in this situation, a heterosexual pairing – you want him to find a Jewish woman, because it’s the Jewishness of the woman that will count when the kid comes out.

GILA:

Correct. And, but also just the idea of Jewish wedding for two Jews, where even if you’re looking at matrilineal Judaism, but can a Jewish wedding be performed for two people who aren’t both Jewish?

ROB:

Right, which we found not to be the case when we got married?

GILA:

Correct. So that’s a reason that women would want men to choose Judaism, if you will. But he never talks with her about it. You know? Like that, that’s… (sighs) I’ve always had lots of feelings around this movie, for obvious reasons.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

But even then, you know? And what the expectations are, or were, or should be, or will be. And one thing that I have learned or realized, really, as an adult, is that in a lot of Jewish youth spaces, the goal of endogamy – endogamy as the end goal – allows a lot of stuff to happen that’s not necessarily great. Things that are uncomfortable, things that are inherently problematic. But if you’re saying that the point of what you’re doing is to get young Jewish boys and girls to meet each other and get married and produce other young Jewish boys and girls, then it’s okay if the entire atmosphere is hyper-sexualized in certain ways.

ROB:

Uh-huh.

GILA:

Because you just want them to meet and marry each other – can be very difficult. There’s a lot of toxicity around hooking up. And if you’re a person who, just as a random example, went to youth groups for four years, and went to camp for several summers and grew up and worked for youth groups and never hooked up in all that time, there is sort of a weird drumbeat of “Oh, my God, you are a failure.” And I’m not even talking about the points system. Quick shout out to Jewish Teens For Empowered Consent. I am so amazed of the work that you do. And thank you for shedding light on so many difficult moments for so many people and helping to bring this culture to light. This is a very loaded…(laughs) a very, very loaded subject for me.

(exhales) Going back to endogamy as a concept for a minute, I remember I taught a class. I taught an elective called “Jews on Film,” which I could have called any number of things, but I like Duran Duran, so I called it “Jews on Film.”

ROB:

Yeah.

ROB:

(laughs)

GILA:

And I did one session on the way that endogamy is portrayed in popular culture. And I can say that around, let’s say 2005-ish, endogamy was being portrayed in Jewish media as a choice you make to make your parents happy, not something that you would do on your own. But I remember… there’s a band called The LeeVees, and they were sort of a side project for a bunch of musicians. And they put out a Hanukkah-themed record of all original music. And it’s wonderful, I love this record. But there’s one song called “Jewish Girls (at the Matzoh Ball)”, which is about going to a Jewish singles mixer. And the last two lines of the song are “Make your mom so happy she’s ecstatic, you’re bringing home a Jewish girl.” Right? So at this point, probably the ’90s, beginnings of the 2000s, endogamy was really seen as something that you had to submit to, but not necessarily something you wanted. But at that point – and if this is getting too academic also, just…that’s fine too – we’re talking 20 years ago, we were 50 years past the Holocaust, there were still a lot of survivors around. And people were saying they did not survive that so that you could marry a non-Jewish girl and have non-Jewish grandchildren. I’m not even joking.

ROB:

And that’s around the same time as this film.

GILA:

Yeah. And endogamy was your responsibility. It was your responsibility to only put yourself in situations where you were going to meet people who would allow you to accomplish that. So if you were a kid in, say, the Midwest, with not a lot of Jews in the area, and the ones who were in the area were people you either knew too well to date or were not interested in dating or they were not interested in dating you for whatever reason… it could be kind of a lonely life. And in the ’50s and ’60s, for a long time, when Jewish young adults married non-Jewish young adults, yes, their families literally disowned them. Their family sat shiva for them. They pretended they were dead. Right? There was a show on CBS in the ’60s called Bridget Loves Bernie. Did you know about this?

ROB:

I did not.

GILA:

It was a sitcom about a Jewish young man and a Catholic young woman who had just gotten married. Bridget loves Bernie. And there were protests against the show. What was it teaching the children? I think it lasted for one season, but people were adamantly opposed to it.

ROB:

And on the one hand, that seems so like, out there and wacky and on the other hand, if you put that in the context of like, the Holocaust was 10 years ago, the population had taken that huge hit. You know, obviously, I am not going to come down on the side of endogamy on any of this, but at the same time, you can see where it came from.

GILA:

No question. But something I often think – and I say this as a woman who wears a kippah. I wear dresses and kippot, because I like wearing dresses, and I wear kippot. And it confuses the shit out of a lot of people in this neighborhood. Especially the kids.

ROB:

For those who might not be familiar with the term, kippah is the same as a yarmulke.

GILA:

So when I see these kids, they see me, they, like, point at me, they don’t understand. And the thing I have in my mind is, “First of all, you guys know I can hear, right? I hear you. I see you. You can ask me questions if you have them.” I’ve never actually said this, but I think it a lot. But the thing is, you don’t have to like it. You don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to make it part of your personal practice. Your responsibility is not to be an asshole about it. And if your – and I think about this in a lot of ways now – if your understanding of the world, if your understanding of your values and your place in society is challenged by someone else doing it differently? That is your problem. That is exclusively your problem. But as we see right now in so many political areas, as we see now in…quite literally everything, right? If everything has to be exactly the way that you want it to be, and exactly the way that you understand it and nothing else can happen, how does the world progress? This went deep.

ROB:

Yeah. Validly so, I think.

GILA:

So. Here’s the other thing. I am an observant Jewish person. I have been an observant Jewish person my entire life. I was observant before we got married. I was observant before we met. I am still observant. Our home – We have a kosher kitchen. I observe Shabbat. I observe holidays. I read Torah on a regular basis before COVID. And the idea that who I love precludes my being an observant Jew – because I know that there are people who would be all up in arms about it – is really frustrating, in a lot of ways.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

And knowing that there are career paths that are closed to me because of our marriage. People ask, “Why don’t you go back to rabbinical school? Why don’t you go to cantorial school?” I can’t. They won’t let me in. And when people say intermarriage is the greatest threat to American Judaism, intermarriage is the greatest threat to Judaism in the whole world, intermarriage… (makes babbling noises) We are active members of our Jewish community. You are a fairly active member of our synagogue community, and you’re not Jewish.

ROB:

No, but I’ve got so many friends over there.

GILA:

Exactly! (laughs) Intermarriage, I think, has been the great boogeyman of American Judaism for a really long time. And I know that there are people who will disagree with me. And that’s fine. But when we started dating, and things were getting pretty serious, I think it was around the time we moved in together, someone said to my dad, “How is this happening? How is she getting this serious with someone who’s not Jewish and not planning to become Jewish?” And Abba said, “She looked for a really long time. She looked in exclusively Jewish spaces for a really long time. And no one was there. And now she met the person she’s supposed to be with. She’s happier than she’s been in her entire life. So yeah, he’s not Jewish. BFD. She found who she’s supposed to find.”

ROB:

Your father may be my favorite rabbi.

GILA:

He’s certainly mine. And again, I know a lot of rabbis – I’m friends with a lot of rabbis. I love a lot of rabbis. But it’s, I’m sorry, my dad.

ROB:

And I’m going to drop another fun little story here about your late father. When when things were getting serious, and we thought it was time for our parents to meet each other.

GILA:

(laughs)

ROB:

You know where this is going.

GILA:

I do but keep going.

ROB:

I love telling this story.

GILA:

It’s wonderful.

ROB:

And I tell it at the drop of a hat because it is wonderful. Your parents came out to Long Island where my parents live – separately; they divorced when I was very young. And they had some other stuff to do in the area. So we made a day of it. We all went out there together. We had dinner in the evening with my father and my stepmother. But before that we had gone to a diner to have lunch with my mother. And everyone was sitting around the table and everyone was getting along great, and it went well and everything. And my mom had ordered a bacon cheeseburger, which she enjoys. And she was sitting across from your father a chomping on this bacon cheeseburger, which I filed away in my mind silently as, “Well, that’s pretty funny. She’s chomping on this bacon cheeseburger in front of the rabbi.” And your father at the end of the meal was very kind in picking up the whole check for everyone at the table. And we all went our separate ways after the lunch. We all got into your parents’ car while my mom got into her car and drove off and I got to say one of my favorite things I’d ever said to your father, which is, “Thank you, Rabbi, for buying my mother a bacon cheeseburger.” He cracked up and responded, “It wasn’t on my work credit card, so I don’t have to explain it to anyone.”

GILA AND ROB:

(laughing)

GILA:

But that’s it, you know? You don’t have to do it, you don’t have to like it, you don’t have to understand it. I personally have never been bothered by people eating non-kosher food around me, it’s never bothered me, just don’t try to shove it in my mouth.

ROB:

Right. And I totally dig that. And of course, in this household where we live together, this is your household, so it’s a kosher household. The food in the fridge is compatible with you, the way we keep the crockery and everything is the way you want to do it to keep kosher. And that is fine. But you have never leaped in front of me and pulled the menu out of my hands when we’ve eaten out somewhere and I ordered something that was not Gila-friendly.

GILA:

But with that said, you have always been very conscious, when we’re out at restaurants that are not under kosher supervision, to get things that I can eat so that we can share with no compunction. And you were the first person I dated, including the Jewish person! – you were the first person who took that into consideration.

ROB:

That is a shame. But then, should I be regretful that you didn’t have better dates that weren’t me before I came along? I mean…

GILA:

No…no… I appreciate you so much because of it.

ROB:

So marrying a non-Jew or getting into a relationship with a non-Jew, for some Jews, is a major deal. I doubt the Wikipedia article goes into this. But the movie didn’t actually communicate very clearly until the very end, what the deal is behind the mother and her attitude towards all that.

GILA:

Right. So it had been alluded to, somewhat. Also, I think, because of Jake’s position, it was amplified. Because I don’t know how people would handle a rabbi in a serious relationship with a non-Jewish person.

ROB:

There it is. So that is how this movie sets things up. Now, the rabbi is messing around with the serious business lady and they decide to keep it from their friend.

GILA:

They decide to keep it from pretty much everybody. Yeah, also because Anna is like, “You know my life is really crazy, I don’t really have time for this.” So they basically decide to be friends with benefits.

ROB:

Yeah,

GILA:

But I think we all know that never works.

ROB:

Yeah, not in romantic comedy land. Jenna Elfman’s character, Anna, the movie really pushes – aggressively pushes – the message that she’s the ’90s corporate lady who is living her business life of business and doing all the business. And this doesn’t leave her time to be a woman or do woman things.

GILA:

To be in a relationship. She’s taking classes – she takes kickboxing and flower arranging. And she and Jake’s mom, Ruth, are talking about all the classes they take. They take a bunch of classes, Jake’s not interested. They take a bunch of classes.

ROB:

Right. But she’s living that life. And also she is supposed to be in town only for a temporary arrangement.

GILA:

Like a consulting gig type situation.

ROB:

So she’s only in town for a while. So that looks like she wants to just have fun with Ben Stiller while she’s in town.

GILA:

Correct. Back to Wikipedia:

“Between the conflict [with Ruth] and their desire to spare Brian’s feelings, the relationship is kept mostly secret. As the relationship continues, Jake remains unwilling to view the relationship as serious, despite Anna’s hints at her ‘taking a class…’”

Which I never picked up on as indicating anything.

ROB:

She was taking classes. That’s a weirdly formed sentence. Wikipedia – fix yourself.

GILA:

“She is upset when they run into members of Jake’s congregation while on a date, and Jake introduces her only as ‘my old friend Anna’.”

ROB:

That’s when a bunch of people from the synagogue show up at the movie theater. She walks away and he’s holding the two sodas, and then a bunch of the people from the synagogue show up and he’s awkwardly greeting people, and then Anna comes back. And they’re like, “who’s this woman, when we’ve been trying to get him one of our nice daughters,” or whatever. And one of these people is…

GILA:

It’s Bonnie Rose, the mom of Rachel Rose,

ROB:

Yes, and also there is the president of the congregation…

GILA:

The president of the congregation, and Bonnie Rose and a couple other people…

ROB:

Andrew Cuomo.

GILA:

(laughs) So this whole idea of we’ve been trying to set you up. And as someone who grew up in the family of a pulpit rabbi, I can tell you that, yeah, people take a very active interest in what you’re doing outside. What movies are you going to see? What are you buying at the grocery store?

ROB:

Well, it’s like that that weirdness where like, when you’re a kid in grade school and you see your teacher outside of school like shopping for groceries or something, and you’re like, “Wait, that person doesn’t belong in real life. They’re in school!”

GILA:

Exactly. And I will also tell you that if you grew up a member of the family of a Jewish clergy person, in a town, a city, where not a lot of people know a lot of Jews… and people are like, “Wait, your dad’s a rabbi? Is that allowed?” “Yes. We’re not Catholic.” “Well, what do you call your rabbi?” “Father.” “Everybody?” “No! Just me! He’s my dad!”

So:

“Brian is in private turmoil after also developing feelings for Anna, in conflict with his vows. He misinterprets Anna’s words and actions, some of which are subtle signals to Jake, and even has an erotic dream about her. He seriously considers leaving the priesthood to pursue a romantic relationship with her. While the three have dinner with Ruth, she reveals to Anna that she knows about her and Jake’s secret relationship.”

Yeah, Wikipedians, do better.

“Jake and Brian…”

ROB:

That describes it accurately.

GILA:

Well, “the three have dinner with Ruth, she reveals to Anna”…it’s not great.

ROB:

That makes sense to me.

GILA:

“…That she knows about her and Jake’s secret relationship.” It’s a little clunky. Anyway.

“Jake and Brian walk in on the tearful moment and Jake and Anna later argue over the religious issues complicating their romance and part ways.”

It’s interesting, when Jake is arguing “I can’t do this because who I am is all these things; it’s my mom and my congregation.” And Anna’s like, “I don’t think so; I think you need to learn to have faith in other people in the same way that you have this religious faith that you have.”

ROB:

And this is after they had a date on a ship out at the pier. And she let slip that she was considering staying in New York because she was having serious feelings for Jake and wanted to make a proper go of it.

GILA:

Yeah. “What would you think if I stayed?” “I don’t know what to say. I was not expecting this.”

ROB:

Yeah. And then when she realized that she’s not getting the answer she wanted she just laughs it off and grabs a couple of drinks and downs them both and goes dancing.

GILA:

Two tequila shots.

ROB:

Yes.

GILA:

So they fight; they break up. Anna calls Brian…

“Anna calls Brian for comfort and he rushes to her, taking her tearful ramblings to be a confession of feelings for him.”

This whole scene is so awkward.

ROB:

Yeah. It’s kind of one of those standard issue romcom scenes where two people are like trying to talk to each other but they’re each having some fundamental misunderstanding about what they’re talking about. And hilarity ensues or awkwardness ensues or a fight ensues or whatever because it’s a romcom and that’s what happens in romcom land.

GILA:

“When he kisses her and confesses his love, she interrupts him, admitting she’s in love with Jake and they have been seeing each other secretly for months.”

ROB:

(sad trombone) Womp womp.

GILA:

“Embarrassed and rejected. Brian spends the night drinking on the streets. Still drunk the next day, Brian stumbles into Jake’s temple and interrupts a post-Bar Mitzvah gathering, resulting in a confrontation with Jake that ends with the priest punching the rabbi.”

So we’re gonna stop here for a second. And we’re going to talk about the bar mitzvah kid.

ROB:

Yeah, I wonder who that kid is? Because he was pretty funny.

GILA:

He was – but I also enjoyed the bar mitzvah tutoring segment. Yes. And this is actually pretty well recognized in Jewish teaching circles, where Jake says to the kid, “This was never going to be easy. It’s designed to test you. Why do you think you have to get up and do this? God knew your voice is going to be changing at this time in your life. You have to fight through it. You have to love that you suck.” So this kid is sitting there chanting, “I love that I suck. I love that I suck.” It’s great. And being someone who has been teaching bar mitzvah kids since I was one, basically, I think also a key to find the way that you connect with that kid. And what it is to get through to that particular child and make them understand you and work with you well. And I just I loved that moment. It was great. “I love that I suck.”

ROB:

Yeah, having having seen you do the teaching on occasion, yeah, it all it all seemed pretty spot on.

GILA:

And that is where the framing device picks up.

ROB:

Right because the drunken priest then ends up walking the streets and ends up in that bar with the Indian bartender.

GILA:

Correct. Who is a Sikh Catholic Muslim with Jewish in-laws who owns an Irish pub. So, Paulie the bartender says, “Thank you. Now I can retire. Now I’ve heard everything.” So now the motion picks up again. And at this point, no one’s speaking to anybody. Everybody’s fighting with each other. Well, they’re not fighting with each other. They’re just not speaking.

ROB:

Right? Except Anna keeps leaving Brian messages on his phone that he doesn’t or on his answering machine that he doesn’t pick up.

GILA:

Right. They’re all leaving each other messages and doing what they can but no one’s seeing each other.

“As the community center’s grand opening approaches, along with the end of Anna’s East Coast assignment, Jake reconciles with Brian, as does Anna soon after.”

This is actually backwards. Anna reconciles with Brian first, and the way that she does that is by showing up at Confession and talking to him.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

It’s an interesting apology. She says, “I can’t bear that I hurt you. And I’m sorry if you were hurt by some of the ways that I was acting out these feelings I was getting to experience for the first time in a long time.”

ROB:

Then it also…

GILA:

It’s kind of a cop out of an apology in a lot of ways.

ROB:

It’s a cop out of an apology. But also it’s that really kind of toxic take on the whole thing, which is that like, here she is, a woman, and she has to apologize to a guy who thought she was into him for the way that she made him feel.

GILA:

And a priest, of all people.

ROB:

And a priest of all people. But, yeah, that that whole thing of like, “Well, I’m sorry, it’s my fault that you got turned on by me.” It’s not a good look.

GILA:

No, it’s really not.

ROB:

I’m sure it wasn’t a good look then; it’s really not a good look now- 20 years later, 21 years later.

GILA:

So Anna and Brian make up. And at the end of that scene, they both walk out of the confessional? Confession… What’s the word?

ROB:

Confessional.

GILA:

Confession-er?

ROB:

Confession-er? (laughs)

GILA:

They both walk out, they hug each other, and two parishioners who are standing in line waiting for Confession see this, and one says to the other, “Is it me, or is Confession getting a little touchy-feely these days?” The woman who said that? Donna Hanover.

ROB:

Who is…

GILA:

Was she Rudy Giuliani’s third wife? Second?

ROB:

She was his wife at the time he was mayor.

GILA:

She was definitely married to him at some point.

ROB:

And yeah, she was the mayor’s wife. The thing for those unfamiliar, Catholic Confession, it’s very much about the guy staying in the in the little cabinet there, and you don’t see him, you just speak to him.

GILA:

You don’t… technically you’re not even supposed to know – he’s not supposed to know who you are, right?

ROB:

Right. There’s supposed to be that sort of plausible deniability. You don’t know which priest of the church is sitting in the box. And he ostensibly doesn’t know who you are, though, I guess you would recognize it by voice or whatever. But yeah, and it’s very dark in those things. And whenever they have these things in movies, it’s always much brighter in there so you can see it on screen than it is in real life. It’s a dark little booth and you don’t see the other person through the grille.

GILA:

Never been in one.

ROB:

It’s been about…how many decades has it been since? Yeah, no, it’s been a very long time since I was involved in any of that. But, you know.

GILA:

So they’re getting stuff ready for the community center opening. And then Jake’s mom has a TIA, a transient ischemic attack. So they go to the hospital. And Ruth asks where Anna is, no one says anything. And then Brian says, “I’m going to get a cup of coffee, you guys talk.”

ROB:

And she’s also she’s like at full strength sitting up in bed going, “bring me this, bring me my computer, I gotta get some emailing done.”

GILA:

Yeah, and it’s Anne Bancroft, which is just so lovely. She says, “I made a mistake with your brother, and I don’t want that to happen again.”

ROB:

Right. And the implication is that Ben Stiller’s brother married someone who wasn’t Jewish, and she didn’t speak to him over it. And they’re completely estranged now and don’t talk to each other.

GILA:

Yeah. But basically, the implication is that she wouldn’t do that in this situation. And maybe that’s because she knows Anna. I have so many questions about that, too. Because there’s no… she says, “I assume your brother knows about this.” “Yeah. I’ve talked to him. He’s stuck in the Hamptons, but he’ll come out” and this whole thing, and how is that gonna get reconciled? I’ve always kind of wondered.

ROB:

Yeah. Little something for the fanfic.

GILA:

(laughs) Yeah. So they’re getting stuff ready for the evening’s opening of the community center. Brian says, “You know she’s leaving. She’s leaving in a couple hours.” So there’s this lovely scene at a stoplight. “What are you going to do? When are you going?” And all these people gather around as the light is red. And he says, “What are you doing here?” Jake says, “What am I doing here?” Brian says, “What are you? What are you doing here?” And this woman behind them goes, “the light hasn’t changed!” And then Edward Norton starts yelling, “We’re New Yorkers! Who needs a light to change?”

ROB:

“Who waits for the light?”

GILA:

“Go! Go forth and…prosper!”

ROB:

Yeah, so he has to do that standard romcom thing of running like an idiot toward where the woman is that he loves and is about to leave.

GILA:

So he comes to the building tries to call up to get in. No one can hear the phone ringing because it’s her goodbye party. So he goes – after a couple of thwarted attempts to get into the building…

ROB:

Right, because there was a joke earlier in the film where he was trying to get chummy with the security guard at her building.

GILA:

T-Bone.

ROB:

T-Bone, who we mentioned in the cast section, and he’s just there to be like, big and impassive. And he’s like, “I’m gonna be coming here a lot” because they they had that thing, and it was going on. But so this is later in the film, and he tries to get in, but the guard can’t raise anyone on the phone. And he’s just like, “You’re not coming up.”

GILA:

“What is this in reference to?” “I just want to go up there.” “I’m sorry, I can’t let that happen.” So in another nifty little callback, he can’t get up in that building. But where he can go is to the office of the Casanova across the way, who he knows Anna can see his office from her office.

ROB:

That skips over the bit where he does a cute little bit of business where he tries to like, dodge and weave his way past this guard and just gets the shit beat out of him for it.

GILA:

Yeah, eventually, the guard just picks him up like in one arm and carries him outside.

ROB:

Some fun physical business there.

GILA:

So he gets into the Casanova’s office, he’s holding up a sign that says Anna Banana to get her attention, which is also a nice callback to when she landed at JFK, or LaGuardia, or whatever airport they were at. And they’re standing there with the drivers and everybody’s holding different signs. They’re holding a sign that says Anna Banana. It’s cute.

ROB:

Yeah. Back before 2001 you could stand right at the gate in an airport and hold up a sign waiting for somebody.

GILA:

Now you have to do it at the baggage claim.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

So he gets into Howard’s office, calls her, her assistant puts the call on speakerphone.

ROB:

He gets into Howard’s office and holds up a sign and is waving it around and somebody at her party notices because there’s a clear view into that office.

GILA:

She does because she said I’m gonna miss my Casanova across the way and then she sees him holding up a sign.

ROB:

He’s holding up a sign and she gets her binoculars out that she had been using to perv on the guy in that office, played by her real life husband…

GILA:

So she can see that he’s holding up the phone.

ROB:

Yes.

GILA:

She picks up the phone.

ROB:

Yes. So she picks up the phone and they’re talking on the phone.

GILA:

And they work everything out over the phone.

“Interrupting Anna’s going-away party Jake gets her attention from a window across the street and calls to explain himself and offers to set things right.”

It’s your very nice romcom moment, “I’ve been waiting for someone like you my whole life and I’m not gonna let you get away.” So she goes running downstairs to meet him. He comes running from the other building. And as he gets in the door T-Bone just clotheslines him, and you knew it was coming. But it was still kind of fun.

ROB:

And so later, you see Brian at the community center, getting the party going. And then he sees Jake and Anna show up and Jake is holding some ice to his head.

GILA:

He sees Jake show up holding some ice to his neck. And then he sticks out his hand and Anna comes in. Because like that was the afternoon she was supposed to leave. It was unclear whether he was going to get her to be there at all.

ROB:

Right. So they all have a big group hug and everything’s fine with everyone. One thing that Brian said that I thought was very sweet after everything went to crap. He said he was sorry that he didn’t get to see them together.

GILA:

Yeah, he said, “In a weird way. as upset as I am, I’m also just sad I didn’t get to see you guys together,” which is very sweet and kind of what you hope when two of your good friends get together. So at the opening, Brian is singing “Ready to Take a Chance” by Barry Manilow, Don comes in, and they do a duet. Rachel Rose shows up with her new boyfriend, introduces him to her mother…

ROB:

Yes. And he is a person of color and they’re all just, like, “huh?” So it’s happening all over the place now.

GILA:

So Anna comes in and Jake tries to introduce Anna to Rabbi Lewis, who says, “Miss Riley, you missed our last class,” which is, like, supposed to fix everything, I suppose? Like, Oh, Anna has been taking conversion classes and just didn’t tell Jake.

ROB:

Yeah, unless he was supposed to be teaching some other kind of class, like he was a yoga teacher or something

GILA:

Right. She says, “I hope we can get started again because it turns out I’m not moving.” And then Jake and Anna are dancing. Brian comes over and says, “Is three a crowd?” Anna says, “Not this three.” Ruth comes up with a Polaroid camera, takes a picture, and that’s the end of the movie.

ROB:

And it’s a picture of them basically in the same position as the photo from the beginning of the movie when they were kids.

GILA:

Yes.

ROB:

And roll credits. And that is 2000’s Keeping the Faith.

GILA:

That is 2000’s Keeping the Faith. I know your expectations were low when I showed you.

ROB:

I mean, you know me and romcoms – like, my expectations are super low to begin with, but there are ones that I don’t regret watching. And this one is when I don’t regret watching, even though it had Jenna Elfman in the in the love triangular role, and I’m really not a fan of her, but the other guys pulled it off well, the guest casting was good, New York played New York very well. And, yeah, New York’s one of my favorite recurring film characters.

GILA:

Oh, absolutely. One thing I always found very interesting about this movie is the humanity with which it treats clergy.

ROB:

Yeah.

GILA:

Which I appreciate so much. And I was reading something about this not long ago. And it said, also, the fact that Ben Stiller is shorter than Jenna Elfman, and the movie was just like, okay. This is how that’s gonna be.

ROB:

They didn’t get out the Tom Cruise boxes for him to stand on.

GILA:

They didn’t. You know? He was sexy, and she was sexy, and he was shorter than her, and that was okay. So many things in this movie that the movie didn’t apologize for, which I really appreciated. And that was one of them.

ROB:

Yeah, it was, it was very cute. And the way it dealt with the religious stuff was mostly fun to watch and interesting and relevant to the plot and just nicely done. These things have the ability to go really hackneyed and bad if you don’t do it right.

GILA:

And this didn’t. Not at all.

ROB:

This did it right.

GILA:

I like it a lot.

ROB:

Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll be rushing to watch this one again. But there’s a gag reel on the DVD, I really appreciated that. And, yeah, it’s nice to have this one on the shelf. And I wouldn’t say no to watching this again, sometime down the line.

GILA:

Oh, thanks, honey. I’m glad to hear you say that.

ROB:

Thank you for showing it to me. I might also check and see if there’s a commentary or something on it.

GILA:

I believe there is.

ROB:

I might be interested in that.

GILA:

Well, I’m glad you liked it. I’m glad we are back in the saddle, so to speak.

ROB:

Yes, we are. And I am glad at so many things. You know, it’s been a while but it’s great to have the gear set up again and be podcasting again. We’re gonna have some interesting stuff in store for the rest of this season. There’s a fun surprising little side quest that we’re gonna go on that I will say no more of just yet, but it’s gonna be great, but it’s going to be great. And in in between that we are still going to keep doing what we’re doing, which means next, it’s my pick. And I have something in mind –

GILA:

Well, that does not sound ominous at all.

ROB:

No, I’m not gonna mention anything more about it. But this is Modern Technology Watches, and we would love to hear from you.

GILA:

We would love to hear from you. You can find us on Twitter @MTPodcastNet. You can find us on the web at modern.technology.

ROB:

You can contact us via email, you can email this podcast at watches at modern.technology. Or you could go to modern.technology/contact on the web. And there’s a little box for you to write an email in. Or you can call us! We would love to hear from you. You can call us and leave us a message on our clunky 90s answering machine, which you can reach at United States phone number 1-929-399-8414. And you can leave us a message with what’s on your mind about stuff we talked about in this episode, stuff we’ve talked about in past episodes,

GILA:

Stuff you’d like us to talk about in future episodes,

ROB:

And we might play your message on a future edition of this program. Or if you write us at watches at modern.technology, we can read your message on a future installment of this program.

GILA:

If you tape a note to the leg of a pigeon and send it to us, we might get it. We can’t promise anything. But if we get that letter, we’ll also read it on a future episode of Modern Technology Watches.

ROB:

After we scraped the pigeon leavings off.

GILA:

We would like to encourage you to leave a review of our podcast wherever it is that you pick up your podcasts. But reviews are great. And we would love to have more of them, please and thank you.

ROB:

Reviews are great. Also, word of mouth is great. And if you have a kind word in your mouth for us, we would appreciate you telling anyone you like about this. If you post it to your social media, or tell your co-workers over the water cooler or tie a note round an arrow and fire it into somebody’s window or…

GILA:

Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.

ROB:

And I think that’ll do it for this particular episode.

GILA:

301!

ROB:

Episode 301.

GILA:

What what! So, for Modern Technology Watches, I’m Gila Drazen.

ROB:

And I’m Rob Vincent.

GILA:

And we’ll see you at the movies.

ROB:

We will catch you on the flip side.

(Ending theme music fades in)

GILA:

You’ve been listening to episode 301 of Modern Technology Watches with Gila Drazen and Rob Vincent. Go to modern.technology on the web for more on this show, our other work, and our social media confessionals. Our music is “The Promise” by Torley Wong, released Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. Find more from Torley at torley.com. Thank you, Torley!

Content from wikipedia.org is used under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0. This podcast is released under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0, and is a production of Joyful Firefly, LLC. Email us at watches at modern.technology. And if you like us, tell a friend!

(Ending theme music concludes)

GILA:

What the hell is the name of the movie?

GILA:

Keeping the Faith. (laughs)

ROB:

That memorable picture Keeping the Faith which was also a … wasn’t it a Bon Jovi album?

GILA:

Might be a Bon Jovi album. It’s definitely a Billy Joel song.

ROB:

Oh… Keep the Faith was a Bon Jovi album