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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

January 2006 Archives

What “Passion” Effect?

posted by burb

Remember how “The Passion of the Christ” was supposed to be a wet smack in the face for those jaded sybarites of Hollywood/Babylon? How church basements, not focus groups, would be the new proving ground for America’s blockbusters? After the […]

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Out of the Closet, in the ‘End of the Spear’

posted by ellen leventry

Actor Chad Allen and I have two things in common: (1) We share the same birthday, and (2) we both like boys. That’s right, the man chosen to play the dual role of evangelical missionary Nate Saint and his son […]

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More Faith at Sundance

posted by kris rasmussen

According to a Friend of a Friend, who just happens to be a big-shot Hollywood producer, “Son of Man,” which I blogged about here yesterday, is not the only movie dealing with issues of spirituality and redemption at this year’s […]

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Closing the Book on ‘Daniel’

posted by burb

Now that NBC’s controversial show “The Book of Daniel” is no more, it brings up the question, again: What does a television show look like that is both viable and Christian? Not all spiritual shows are Christian. One of the […]

“Son of Man” Debuts at Sundance

posted by kris rasmussen

One of the movies causing the biggest buzz this week at the Sundance Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, just happens to be a movie about Jesus–and Mel Gibson has nothing to do with […]

‘Lost': Shallow-Water Baptism

posted by kris rasmussen

One of the many reasons I enjoy watching Lost week after week is that the show can always be counted on to provide thought-provoking spiritual images that add to the fascinating mythology of the characters as well as the island. […]

Putting a Spear Into Selfish Spirituality

posted by doug howe

“End of the Spear” is the story of how Jim Elliot followed the spiritual promptings within him –and set in motion an unexpected series of events. In short, he and some buddies believed they should give their lives to reach […]

Immortality Cupcakes?

posted by donna freitas

Resident New Yorkers have long enjoyed a love affair with a famous confectionary institution called The Magnolia Bakery, made ever-more famous by the “Sex & the City” foursome who couldn’t get enough of Magnolia’s trademark cupcakes, and more recently, by […]

‘The Aristocrats’ Faithfully Transmits the Faith

posted by

It may seem like a movie such as “The Aristocrats,” out this week on DVD, would hardly be fodder for a self-respecting spirituality blog like Idol Chatter, but My Friend the Rabbi offered up some wise insights about this film, […]

Men in Black

posted by burb

There’s a people in this country clamoring for wholesome but engaging entertainment that speaks their language and addresses the concerns of their Scripture-based lifestyle. I refer, of course, to haredi Jews–the fervently observant, sometimes called ultra-Orthodox. At last, they are […]

Kanye West’s God Complex

posted by ellen leventry

John Lennon declared the Beatles to be bigger than Jesus Christ, but at least they didn’t try to be Jesus Christ. Kanye West, the multi-platinum selling rap artist and outspoken celebrity who criticized President Bush’s Katrina relief efforts last year, […]

‘The Closer’–And Why Confession Is Good for the Soul

posted by donna freitas

The promotional campaign last summer for TNT’s “The Closer,” a Law & Order-like crime-solving drama (but way, way quirkier), featured the show’s main character, Chief Brenda Johnson (played by Kyra Sedgwick), announcing: “Confession. It’s good for the soul.” For those […]

An American at Home in India: Sheetal Sheth in “Looking for Comedy”

posted by

Albert Brooks may be getting all the press for “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” but his costar, Sheetal Sheth, deserves a moment in the spotlight, too. In the film, Sheth plays the young assistant hired to help Brooks […]

The Real Questions of ’24’

posted by doug howe

Watching this season of ’24’ continue to unfold, I’m moved to continue the debate I’ve been having with fellow Idol Chatterer Donna Freitas on the show and its hero, Jack Bauer. (Read my original posting here, and her response here.) […]

Mormon Movie Massacre

posted by burb

The culture has been furiously digesting religious fundamentalism of late, and that process hasn’t been kind to Mormons. The history of the Church of Latter Day Saints, after all, has plenty of violence and controversy, and besides, they live way […]

Looking for God in “The New World”

posted by ellen leventry

Just past the two-hour mark in Terrence Malick’s “The New World,” a character named Opechancanough–one of the “naturals,” as the film calls Native Americans–tells Rebecca, known as Pocahontas before her baptism, that he is being sent to England to “meet […]

“Desperate Housewives”: Gabrielle Kicks a Nun From the Heat to the Cold

posted by sherry huang

While the Christian faith tells us that “the truth will set you free,” it is a lie that set Gabrielle free from Carlos’s bondage to Sister Mary Bernard on last night’s “Desperate Housewives.” As Carlos pines away for a baby, […]

Superman Converts!

posted by

The much-anticipated “Superman Returns” won’t be released for several months, but the trailer is out and contains this shocker: He’s become a Christ figure. We’re used to thinking of Superman as something of a Jewish tale, but it seems like […]

Revamping Jewish Cultural Stereotypes–Through Food!

Just as Jewish culture isn’t all about black hats and beards, and Jewish humor isn’t all about guilt and your mother, stereotypical Jewish foods such as bagels, matzah balls, and gefilte fish may soon have to share the plate with […]

Pat Robertson’s Perplexing Protein Pancakes

posted by jmcgee

It may be old news, but in light of his recent statement regarding the health of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Pat Robertson’s moral compass is an open target for scrutiny. Although not as attention-grabbing as his verbal forays into […]

My Baby, My Moses

posted by burb

Naveen Andrews, who plays the Iraqi character Sayid on “Lost,” recently admittedly that he had impregnated a woman—pardon, “fathered a love child”—while on hiatus from his longtime girlfriend Barbara Hershey. Unfortunately, that news preempted a bunch of more interesting tidbits […]

George Costanza’s Ten Commandments for “Working Hard”

posted by donna freitas

Apparently, good old George from “Seinfeld” has his own version of the Top Ten things We Shall and Shall Not do. This was forwarded to me by a friend: 1. Never walk without a document in your hands: People with […]

More “Lost”: From Messiah Complex to Confronting the Island’s “Monster”

posted by sherry huang

Does Jack have a Messiah Complex? As recounted by Donna, the latest “Lost” episode revealed Jack, the doctor who prides himself on rational, scientific thought, as a man under pressure to perform medical miracles, even as he doesn’t believe in […]

“Lost”: Man of Science Becomes Miracle Worker

posted by donna freitas

Last night’s “Lost” episode, called “The Hunting Party,” revolved around Jack’s (Matthew Fox) character and revealed an interesting tidbit about his history. Known thus far as the “Man of Science” on the Island–as opposed to Locke ,and now Mr. Eko, […]

Bishop of Blues

posted by burb

While on the Blog of Daniel, the Episcopal Church’s site for discussion of the NBC series “Book of Daniel”–check out the entry titled “My Bishop Rocks–Literally.” (Click here to go directly to it.) It announces a rare New York City […]

“Scrubs” Finds Its Heart & Soul in a “New God”

posted by kris rasmussen

I tuned in last night to NBC’s Scrubs, a quirky sitcom about a group of doctors and residents, and was, to my surprise, treated to one of the best half-hours of television I have watched in a long time. The […]

Jack Bauer’s Martyrdom Complex Rides Again

posted by donna freitas

Fans of Fox’s smash hit drama “24” are already well into another season of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) withstanding the most stressful of situations by sheer willpower and his serious penchant for bodily danger. By now in its “fifth day,” […]

Hindu Baby, One More Time!

posted by ellen leventry

It seems that Britney Spears is still following in the spiritual footsteps of her mentor Madonna. Having been introduced to Kabbalah by the Material Mom, the former Baptist was soon seen wearing a red string around her wrist and toting […]

Blog for Life

posted by burb

When the Washington diocese of the Episcopal Church USA erected “The Blog of Daniel,” a page on the diocesan website that welcomes discussion of the controversial NBC series “Book of Daniel,” I thought: pure genius. Rather than bridle the way […]

Wanted: More Hate in “Munich”

posted by

I finally saw Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” yesterday, and I emerged–after a way-too-long 2 hours and 44 minutes–about as ambivalent about it as I was beforehand. Certainly, as a suspense-thriller flick, it works. The acting is top-notch, the production values strong, […]

There’s Laughter in This “Hood”

posted by kris rasmussen

I recently complained on this blog about the need to demand better family entertainment at the box office, but I saw a quirky, fun new family movie on a friend’s recommendation: “Hoodwinked,” which ended up being the surprise hit and […]

“Paradise Now” Gets the Globe

posted by dilshad d. ali

Since when does Palestine get recognized by any facet of the entertainment industry? Since a film from that region won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film on Sunday. Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s taut thriller, “Paradise Now,” surprised all by […]

Life (Really?) From the Golden Globes!

posted by doug howe

Two wonderful signposts on the spiritual pathway are humor and humility, both of which were present and on display at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony. They were characterized by Joaquin Phoenix’ quickly famous line, “Who would have ever thought I’d […]

Karma: The Newest Religion in the World!

posted by

“By next season we are going to start a religion. It’s going to be all over the world. Karma is taking over!” –“My Name is Earl” exec producer Greg Garcia, in Entertainment WeeklyGreat idea! Why has no one thought of […]

They Love Us in Allentown!

posted by

Idol Chatter and its editor are profiled in the Allentown, Pa., Morning Call newspaper by Jessica Berthold, who writes a column called “Bloggernaut.” Holding back tears, Idol Chatter would like to thank Jessica, the Morning Call, all our readers, our […]

The Times Goes Indigo

posted by burb

The New York Times has a few stalwart religion writers, like Laurie Goodstein, whose work saves the editors’ decided parochialism when it comes to religion. (See “Rites,” an oddly inanimate photo series of Jewish, pagan, and other supposedly arcane ceremonies […]

Steven Colbert: Funny by “Design”

posted by kris rasmussen

I have been a fan of comedian and satirist Steven Colbert since he began doing segments on “The Daily Show” such as “The Week in God.” No religion or religious figure was above Colbert’s barbs. That certainly hasn’t changed since […]

Rites of Passage: Brutal… or Just Shorter?

posted by doug howe

Saturday night at 9, the National Geographic Channel’s “Taboo” series presents a look at “Rites of Passage” from around the world. Tune in, TiVo it, or have someone record it. Here’s why: This show visits different cultures from around the […]

How I Learned To Stop Feeling Betrayed & Love “JT Leroy”

posted by ariana speyer

[Editor’s Note: Idol Chatter was so confused by news of scandal within the literary world–whom to believe? how to tell fact from fiction?–that we turned to guest blogger Ariana Speyer, a freelance writer with a personal connection to one of […]

Whole Foods Grows More Metrospiritual With Each Passing Day

posted by jmcgee

In yet another step aimed at enhancing its image as an eco-friendly grocer to the world, Whole Foods is set to have its energy needs met by Colorado-based Renewable Choice Energy, a purveyor of wind-generated energy. This leap into “green” […]

On “Lost,” No Man Is an Island

posted by kris rasmussen

Most of last night’s episode of “Lost” focused on revealing the secrets of Mr. Eko, one of the survivors from the tail section of the plane, who we learn knows all-too-well the history behind the crashed plane Charlie had discovered […]

Laugh Holiday

posted by ellen leventry

Queen Latifah made me cry. I wouldn’t normally admit that I teared up during a heartwarming, inspirational romantic comedy, but I’m willing to go on the record so that others might not pass up “Last Holiday, “a remake of the […]

The Soprano Family’s Existential Angst

posted by donna freitas

As my effort to catch up on “The Sopranos” continues, I am now making my way through Season Two, currently available through HBO’s “On Demand.” Two episodes in particular have caught my attention with their interesting religious themes. Episode 20, […]

BET Bets on Faith

posted by burb

In addition to a L’il Kim reality show–chronicling the rapper’s last two weeks before going behind bars–BET, the cable station aimed at African-American viewers, is hoping to liven up its lineup with a weekly show called “Meet the Faith.” The […]

’24’ & Its Murky Hero Return to Fight Another Day

posted by doug howe

“24” returns to Fox this Sunday after a loooong lay-off, and it’s about time. “24” is the kind of dynamic and necessary post-modern good vs. evil story that we need, because most of us have little tolerance for easy feel-good […]

Standing Between Left & Right on “Brokeback Mountain”

posted by kris rasmussen

I was planning to stay out of the whole debate over Hollywood’s current critical darling, “Brokeback Mountain,” a.k.a. “the gay cowboy movie.” I even resisted the impulse to respond to fellow Idol Chatterer Donna’s eloquent analysis of the movie. But […]

God’s Chosen Beer?

posted by donna freitas

I was at a dinner party the other day–you know, a little chips, dip, some chile, good conversation, and to wash it all down, He’brew: The Chosen Beer! Imagine my surprise when I noticed the bottle, whose label has what […]

“Daniel,” Jay, and Jesus

posted by doug howe

From Jay Leno last night, referring to Jesus’ occasional appearances as a character in NBC’s “The Book of Daniel“: Tough year for Jesus. Last year, He was the superstar leading character of the biggest movie of the year, “The Passion […]

Christ Is My Bounty Hunter

posted by dena ross

Although it may surprise a lot of people, I find the new face of religion on TV in the form of the “Dog: The Bounty Hunter” (Tuesdays at 9), A & E’s highest-rated series ever. The show, which gives us […]

Good Is God (With an Extra ‘0’)

posted by donna freitas

William Safire, in his weekly “On Language” column in the New York Times Magazine, writes about the origins of the word “good,” in an effort to explain its common contemporary usage in the phrase “I’m good,” which usually means something […]

“Country Boys”: What A Difference Faith Makes

posted by donna freitas

Frontline, one of PBS’s flagship programs, most famous for controversial political reports on issues such as the use of torture by the United States, brings viewers a different kind of story–“Country Boys,” airing tonight through Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 9pm […]

Try Your Luck With “Match Point”

posted by donna freitas

Woody Allen’s newest film, Match Point, starring Scarlett Johansson as Nola Rice, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Chris Wilton, is a far cry from the typical screwball comedy for which he is famous. Opening nationwide today, this well-acted (for the most […]

“Earl” Goes Spiritual

posted by holly rossi

NBC’s “My Name is Earl” is predicated on the spiritual idea of karma–and while it may fall somewhat short of the concept’s traditional Hindu meaning, Earl has doggedly tried, week after week, to right all the wrongs he’d done in […]

Adult Expo 2006: Where The Gospel Is Rated XXX

posted by kris rasmussen

Craig Gross and Mike Foster, a.k.a. “the porn pastors” and founders of XXXChurch.com, are at the country’s largest porn convention this weekend, the Adult Expo in Las Vegas. They’re there to remind customers, producers, and porn stars that Jesus loves […]

Who You Gonna Call? Kabbalah!

posted by ellen leventry

MSNBC.com’s Scoop breaks the news States-side that Gwyneth Paltrow is demanding “proof” that her newly-renovated London home is haunted. According to London’s Daily Mail, Ms. Paltrow feels that her current pregnancy is not going as easily as her last one […]

Matsiyahu Brings the Cred

posted by burb

This week’s revelation that Hasidic reggae artist Matisyahu makes a guest appearance on Christian band P.O.D.’s new album is not news in itself. Collaborations between Christians and Jews are increasingly common–Rabbi Lawrence Kushner and Gary Schmidt of Calvin College have […]

Blog of Daniel

posted by

With NBC’s “The Book of Daniel” debuting tomorrow night, the Episcopal Church is weighing in on the drama–which centers around an Episcopal priest and his troubled family–via a blog of its own, cleverly titled “The Blog of Daniel.” Idol Chatter […]

End Times for Hal Lindsey?

posted by burb

The bestselling non-fiction author alive has lost his television show. The Trinity Broadcasting Network, the nation’s largest Christian broadcaster, has suspended “The International Intelligence Briefing,” starring Hal Lindsey, whose apocalyptic book “The Late Great Planet Earth” has sold some 30 […]

Countdown to the New Sopranos Season

posted by donna freitas

I’ve been told by just about everyone and their mother (quite literally) that HBO’s “The Sopranos“–starring James Gandolfini as New Jersey mafia boss Tony Soprano and Edie Falco as his wife Carmela–is the best show on television. Better than “The […]

WWCD: What Would Casanova Do?

posted by donna freitas

It’s no joke: Heath Ledger–in the new movie “Casanova,” playing the absolute antithesis of his role in Brokeback Mountain–actually utters the line, “What would Casanova do?” in an attempt to give an aspiring lover-boy advice and inspiration about how to […]

What Might Have Been: A Look Back at the 2005 That Wasn’t

posted by kris rasmussen

Just in time to start the new year off with a laugh, I stumbled across a funny article from the Associated Press. The writer’s premise was that the major moments in pop culture for 2005 could all be traced back […]

Is the World Ending? Join the Left Behind Prophecy Club and Find Out

posted by doug howe

The world is closer to its end… or so suggested the press release set to Beliefnet by the Left Behind Prophecy Club (associated with, and intended to increase sales of, the highly successful “Left Behind” series). It pointed to such […]

Culturally Acceptable Prayers?

posted by doug howe

It was a tragedy that coal miners were trapped in Tallmansville, West Virginia, and an even greater tragedy that news spread of 12 survivors when in fact there was only one. Whenever hard things happen, it is heartwrenching and I […]

ABC Rights the Wrongs of the Justice System

posted by

I caught the preview episode on Sunday night of ABC’s new “In Justice,” which will be airing on Friday nights, starting this week. If you like court shows, it’s worth a look-see. The series focuses on the lawyers of the […]

Previous Posts

Academy Award Nominated Film Unbroken Releases on DVD
The highly acclaimed film Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie that tells the inspirational story of Louis Zamperini hits DVD on March 24, 2015. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Louis Zamperini won a personal meeting with Adolf Hitler, who complimented his fast finish. In 1941, Zamperini enlisted in

posted 9:19:32am Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Self/Less: 'God Created Man, Man Created Immortality'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71fWtJXEI0Q What would it really feel like to feel immortal and you know longer had to worry about failing health? Phoenix Biogenic offers this once in a lifetime offer where the new body will be genetically mastered to perfection. Only a select few are chosen to

posted 10:57:15am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

The New Trailer for CW’s ‘The Messengers’ Is Here, And It’s Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen
[youtube]https://youtu.be/61AfGNlXf9M [/youtube] CW’s “The Messengers”, starring Diogo Morgado from the hit series “Son of God”, centers around five individuals who die as a result of an earthly phenomenon. When they return to earth as Angels with unique abilities, they must band together

posted 11:13:54am Mar. 12, 2015 | read full post »

Open Letters to Oscar Night Standouts
The following is a guest post from one of our Entertainment contributors, Malayna Dawn. Enjoy! Dear John Travolta: We know you are multi-talented and have played many characters, but lately it seems like you may be having trouble expressing your true self – at least in ways that the public ca

posted 10:46:28am Mar. 04, 2015 | read full post »

We Bid Farewell to Leonard Nimoy
Friday, February 27th Leonard Nimoy, famously known for his role as Spock in the infamous Star Trek series, passed away at the age of 83. His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, stating that the cause was the end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nimoy publicly announced last

posted 2:25:26pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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