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Idol Chatter

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January 1970 Archives

Time to Pray on ’24’

posted by doug howe

At this point in Season Five of “24,” The president of the United States has been brought to a place of asking his chief of staff to pray with him. The chief of staff balks, saying “This is a personal […]

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See “The McPassion” for Lent This Year?

posted by donna freitas

Two years ago this Ash Wednesday, Mel Gibson released his much-hyped “The Passion of the Christ” to adoring, and some not-so-adoring, audiences everywhere. This Ash Wednesday brings a new “Passion” of sorts–“The McPassion.” This time, it’s a four minute long […]

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Get the Lard Out!

posted by ellen leventry

“Pancakes make people happy,” goes the slogan of the Royal Canadian Pancake House. But those delectable breakfast treats do much more than that on Shrove Tuesday–they provide the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Traditionally, Christian households were […]

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Colbert and Campolo

posted by doug howe

After reading about “The Colbert Report” and its penchant for luring distinguished public figures into making complete fools of themselves, I tuned in last night, and who was the guest? None other than a Beliefnet favorite, Tony Campolo, a nationally […]

Karma in the ER

posted by ellen leventry

Karma visited the ER last night on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Or at least television’s version of karma – the idea that what comes around, goes around. Outside of Hollywood Hinduism*, karma can best be defined as action or duty. But as […]

The Buddha & Bode–Worlds Apart

posted by kris rasmussen

As the Olympics drew to a close last night, I found that the most disappointing–and annoying–aspect of NBC’s Olympic coverage was the huge amount of airtime given to U.S. skier and 2002 silver medalist Bode Miller. With a daredevil, nonconformist […]

Law & Order in the Journey

posted by doug howe

Whether its prime time or not, weekday or weekend, holidays, sweeps period, or any other time of the year, it doesn’t take long to see that cop shows and court shows are very popular these days. “CSI,” “Cold Case,” “Law […]

Bracelet: Conviction or Convenience

posted by doug howe

Ellen Leventry’s blog entry regarding Sasha Cohen’s Kabbalah bracelet was an interesting piece that brings up an interesting issue that should be seriously debated—or at least reflected on—in our culture: the difference between religion, spirituality, superstition, karma, luck, faith, and […]

Kabbalists on Ice

posted by ellen leventry

That red string around U.S. figure skater Sasha Cohen’s left wrist wasn’t part of her colorful costume–it was a Kabbalah bracelet. Ubiquitous among celebrities, including Madonna, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and even Paris Hilton, the trendy talisman of Jewish mystical […]

Will “House” Ever Find Hope ?

posted by kris rasmussen

He may be a rude, bitter man who likes to pretend he is God, but I am still crazy about Gregory House. Fox’s critically acclaimed series “House”–which centers around a brilliant infectious disease specialist who solves life-or-death medical mysteries–features one […]

What the Bleep!? A New Universal Spirituality?

posted by donna freitas

Mindboggling, jaw-dropping, thrilling, engrossing. All these adjectives apply–and then some–when describing “What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole: Extended Director’s Cut,” playing in select cities now. (It’s basically a long version of last year’s very popular “What the Bleep Do […]

A Martyr’s Death

posted by

I’d never heard of Sophie Scholl until last week, a fact I am embarrassed to admit, especially now that I’ve seen “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days,” an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. Scholl is today a national […]

HBO’s “Big Love”–And Why I’m Longing for TV’s Next Buffy

posted by donna freitas

HBO has given its latest series “Big Love“–about a polygamous family from a Mormon offshoot group–the coveted post-Sopranos time slot, 10pm on Sundays, beginning March 12th. In other words, executives are planning to make a “Desperate Housewives”-sized splash in an […]

“Da Vinci Dialogue” Dissent

posted by kris rasmussen

Is Sony Studios trying to buy the Christian community’s support by hiring a publicity firm to promote its upcoming church conspiracy thriller ,“The Da Vinci Code,” to the religiously-inclined masses? That’s the question being heatedly debated by those in and […]

Turning the Other Cheek on ‘Idol’

posted by ellen leventry

American Idol contestant Mandisa Hundley threw the book at brash Brit judge Simon Cowell Wednesday night–a bit of the Good Book, that is. After the full-figured Hundley’s initial audition in Chicago, Cowell raised eyebrows and ire by asking if the […]

CCM Artists Get a “Second Chance”

posted by kris rasmussen

Because I spent my formative teen years avidly listening to Christian music artist Michael W. Smith and Christian rocker/satirist Steve Taylor, I watched “The Second Chance,” a movie which stars Smith and was directed by Taylor, hoping it would not […]

The New Teen ‘Vagina Monologues’?

posted by donna freitas

I had the fortune to attend the stage debut in Burlington, VT, last weekend of “A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl” (Wendy Lamb/Random House), based on Tanya Lee Stone’s novel of the same name. The story–about three […]

The Bartimaeus Trilogy’s Mystical Side

posted by donna freitas

For fantasy fans who have yet to discover newcomer Jonathan Stroud’s “The Bartimaeus Trilogy,” get ready to indulge. Stroud’s writing is superb, his characters–and his demons–are funny and variant, and now the final installment in this three-book saga about the […]

The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat

posted by ellen leventry

Sure we watch the Olympics for the fantastic athletic competitions, but what we really love is the human drama behind those achievements. And while the past few days have been full of drama–Michelle Kwan relinquishing her spot, Bode Miller not […]

Opening “The White Rose”

posted by burb

Sophie Scholl, executed in 1943 at age 21 for resisting the Nazi regime, has long been a heroine of conscience in Germany, even though the full details of her interrogation and demise weren’t known until recently. A new feature film, […]

Free Pedro

posted by burb

I understand the evangelical Christian t-shirt industry’s impulse to turn every catchphrase and mass-culture motto to Jesus’ purposes. A good “Got Jesus?” surfer tee reminds the faithful to keep their eyes on the prize and telegraphs to nonbelievers that serious […]

“Crash”: On a Collision Course with Oscar?

posted by kris rasmussen

“You think you know who you are, but you have no idea.” That line is both an ominous warning and a promise of hope, and it exemplifies the moral complexity of the Oscar-nominated film “Crash.” Forget the gay cowboys, unconscionable […]

When the “Good Guys” Do the Killing

posted by doug howe

My wife and I viewed two movies this weekend, and we saw a lot of killing. “Firewall” is the new Harrison Ford release. In it, he’s the “good guy” and kills a lot of the “bad guys” who are holding […]

Kwan’s Song

posted by dilshad d. ali

What was that I just heard? Was that the collective voice of America sighing in sympathy when it heard that ice skating darling Michelle Kwan–winner of silver and bronze Olympic medals and numerous national and world championships–decided to drop out […]

Grey’s Anatomy Survives Its “Code Black”

posted by dilshad d. ali

It’s an idea that’s been done to death–what would you do if you knew this was your last day?–but still last night’s Part 2 of the “Code Black” episode on “Grey’s Anatomy” triumphed despite being laden with clichés. The show […]

Forget the Oscars… Introducing the Beliefnet Film Awards

posted by

What was the best spiritual film of 2005? I’m not talking about the latest “Left Behind” flick, or even “The Gospel,” but rather: What big, mainstream film offered both the highest-quality filmmaking and a meaningful, thoughtful spiritual message? That’s the […]

What Becomes a Legend, but Not a Clarkson

posted by burb

Why is it that James Legend thanks God for his Grammy and it fits him like his Valentino tuxedo, while Kelly Clarkson awkwardly sputters something about “Jesus, God and everybody who has supported me” and it sounds like a parody […]

New Line’s New Nativity Play

posted by kris rasmussen

When Hollywood goes looking for someone to helm a new feature film on the Virgin Mary and her life with Joseph prior to the birth of Christ , who do you think is considered to be the most qualfied? Mel […]

Making Peace With Kanye West

posted by dena ross

Although there was an all-star lineup of performers at last night’s Grammy Awards, there was little surprise—for me, anyway—when the winners were announced. For those who read my blog entry yesterday, you’ll allow me a moment to gloat that that […]

Current Reality in Living Black & White

posted by doug howe

Trivia time: Guess where these words about current events came from: • “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.” • “You can’t convict people by rumor, hearsay, and innuendo.” • “We can not defeat terror abroad without confronting it here […]

“Scrubs” Finds A Witness

posted by kris rasmussen

I blogged recently about rediscovering NBC’s long-running sitcom Scrubs. I have enjoyed connecting once again with goofy resident J.D. and the caustic Dr. Cox as they face each day’s ups and downs with a great deal of wit and, occasionally, […]

Moving Mountains

posted by burb

Can movies change how we behave as a society? An opinion piece by Maria Dibattista in Sunday’s L.A. Times argues that they can–except for the movies that set out to do that. She adds the Oscar-nominated “Brokeback Mountain” to a […]

Grammy Time!

posted by dena ross

I love Grammy time. Although, I usually care less about the winners than I do about the performances, I decided this year to make some predictions for selected categories that are relevant to Beliefnet (or that I just wanted to […]

The Burb Tolls for Thee

posted by burb

“Death by Suburb,” a new book by David Goetz, is written as a wake-up call to Christians who have become defined by the size of their house, dress, car and megachurch. It’s a bell worth tolling, even if his vision […]

Will the Real Silas Please Speak Up–and Debunk ‘The Da Vinci Code’

posted by donna freitas

The worldwide conservative Catholic group, Opus Dei–famous for its supposed secrecy and the practice by some of its members of self-flagellation–has been incensed ever since the publication of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel “The Da Vinci Code,” which features Silas, an […]

The Bachelor: From Paris to the Lion’s Den

posted by

Last night’s “The Bachelor: Paris” had a truly jaw-dropping moment. For those of you who haven’t watched one of the last seven seasons, when the eponymous bachelor gets down to four ladies, he goes to spend some time with their […]

Who You Gonna Believe, Me or the Church that Dissed Galileo?

posted by burb

A Slate article chronicles how intelligent design advocates have come to identify with Galileo, the 17th-century scientist who was rebuffed by the Church for saying the Earth went around the sun. The analogy hinges on a recent statement by a […]

Veronica Mars: Is Nothing Sacred?

posted by donna freitas

This week’s new episode of Veronica Mars, called “Rashard and Wallace Go to White Castle,” finally gave me the opportunity I’ve been looking for: an excuse to introduce the UPN series, which airs Wednesdays at 9, to Idol Chatter readers. […]

The Legacy of Betty Friedan

posted by donna freitas

The pioneer of Second Wave Feminism, Betty Friedan, author most famously of “The Feminine Mystique” (first published in 1963), died Saturday, February 4th, on her birthday. Her book, which has sold several million copies over the last four decades, is […]

Kristin Chenoweth: It’s Not Just Her Career That’s Taken Off

posted by burb

Kristin Chenoweth has what’s called crossover appeal. Already, she’s a Broadway diva (“Wicked”), television actress (“The West Wing”), and celebrity spokeswoman (Old Navy commericals), and has a burgeoning film career (the upcoming “Pink Panther”). She’s also a good Christian girl […]

Who Would Jesus Root For?

posted by

In his book “Season to Season,” Joseph L. Price declares, that for Americans, “sports constitute a form of popular religion.” And while it can be argued that sporting spirituality is just as strong across the pond, there is perhaps no […]

Mitch Albom’s Super Plan To Aid the Homeless

posted by kris rasmussen

It’s not only the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks who have a lot riding on Sunday’s Super Bowl. The entire city of Detroit, a city that has been trying for years to recover from economic recession and urban flight, […]

If Anthony Hopkins Can Do It, So Can You

Things been slow for you lately? Try picking up the pace with “The World’s Fastest Indian,” a new Anthony Hopkins film. The movie explores the journey of a New Zealand man, Burt Munro, who dreams of making his classic Indian […]

A Goddess Good Enough to Eat? Or… Not?

posted by donna freitas

I often write about chocolate in relation to, well, anything spiritual, religious, or divine–anything that I can find to justify my oh-so-out-of-control addiction to this confectionary delight. In my most recent book, “Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise: Spirituality for […]

Will and Dis-Grace-ful?

posted by

On an upcoming episode of “Will and Grace,” Jack’s “OutTV” network is bought by a Christian TV network… great idea. Casting Britney Spears as a conservative Christian who hosts a cooking segment on the new network… another great idea. Calling […]

Hollywood & the Church: Don’t Blame Everything on Oscar!

posted by kris rasmussen

I certainly agree with my fellow Idol Chatterer Paul’s observation that we haven’t exactly seen a post-“Passion” wave of successful, thought-provoking, overtly religious films coming out of Hollywood, much less being nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. But before those […]

Previous Posts

Letterman Bids Farewell Tonight
It's David Lettman's last episode interviewing, so what do you do? Well have his first guest, ever, Bill Murray pop out of a cake - of course! [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW8MY9CD-tQ[/youtube] Murray appeared on the first late ...

posted 9:03:34am May. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Finding Neverland - On a Stage!
Calling all fans of Lost Boys!             You loved Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, right? The film about J.M. Barrie in 2004 is back - in the form of a Broadway ...

posted 12:53:47pm May. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Blues Guitarist B.B. King Dead at 89
Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King died Thursday night at the age of 89 in a Las Vegas hospital. King was the son of a sharecropper, and was born on a plantation in Mississippi. He worked his way up from singing in church, performing on street ...

posted 9:27:21am May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

'Where Hope Grows' is a Much Watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L10tIzZZrA Kristoffer Polaha stars as a baseball slugger with Detroit Tigers who was forced to retire early due to panic attacks at the plate. Calvin Campbell struggles with alcoholism, depression, and battles ...

posted 8:58:33am May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

One Good Fella
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKjent3fFcs Jersey Girl, the Body Guard, and Goodfellas--Mike Starr always plays a wise guy. The graduate of Hofstra University’s latest role is the comedy Dancer and the Dame, a film about a police officer ...

posted 12:13:10pm May. 14, 2015 | read full post »

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