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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

August 2006 Archives

There’s Something About “Fluid”

posted by esther kustanowitz

There’s something about the word fluid, and it’s not something good. It conjures up Ben Stiller and untraditional “hair gel”; or Bill Clinton and a Navy Gap dress; or in its least offensive incarnation, “lighter fluid.” But when you add […]

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A Prayer for Andre

posted by doug howe

The only thing America loves more than a winner is an underdog. Andre Agassi has been the former AND the latter… twice. Monday night, I had to stay up past midnight to watch him win a 4-set match in the […]

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Dylan Sings About The Signs Of Our “Times”

posted by kris rasmussen

While not necessarily a huge fan of his music, I have been reading with great interest the different interpretations that publications like Rolling Stone and the New York Times have been giving the “Modern Times”, the new CD by iconic […]

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Who’s Really an ‘Outsider’?

posted by sherry huang

Last night’s Primetime ran a segment called “The Outsiders” that focused on what most Americans consider to be religious groups with “outsider” status: the Amish, fundamentalist Mormons, and the Children of God. Three stories were documented by ABC: (1) Mary […]

Tom Cruise: I’ve Found the Villian, and It Is I

posted by doug howe

Forget “Shame on Tom.” How about “shame on us.” In reading several articles and blog pieces–including Idol Chatter’s reliable Kris Rasumussen’s–I think almost everyone has missed the real point. Tom’s exit from Paramount wasn’t due as much to his behavior […]

Mel & Tom in Martyrwood

posted by burb

The news that Tom Cruise has signed a deal to finance future movies with the owner of the Washington Redskins football team, Daniel Snyder, and his investment partners restores hope that we’ll live to see “Mission Impossible 13.” But what […]

‘Last Days on Earth': The Good News About the Bad News

posted by burb

In the gospels, Jesus foretells of nations rising against nations, of famines and earthquakes, pestilence and other troubles–a millennial moment ABC cites in its special two-hour edition of tonight’s “20/20,” titled “Last Days on Earth.” Lucky for Jesus, Stephen Hawking […]

“Justice” Isn’t Blind, But Thin

posted by doug howe

The “Law” side of “Law & Order” meets “CSI” and “Boston Legal” in Jerry Bruckheimer’s new TV series “Justice,” debuting tonight on FOX. While Bruckheimer’s countless action movies have became more intelligent over time, this show seems to be more […]

Holy Hoover!

posted by ellen leventry

By now, the football as religion analogy is about as played out as steroid scandals in competitive cycling. But folks in Hoover, Alabama, take the phrase God on the Gridiron to a whole new level and MTV is there to […]

God, Emmy, & Hair Loss

posted by

In eschewing the usual “thank you to everyone I’ve ever come into contact with” speech at the Emmy’s last night, “My Name Is Earl” writer Greg Garcia decided to enumerate those for whom he did not feel any gratitude. Among […]

Catherine Keener, Would-Be Priest

posted by donna freitas

Indie film star Catherine Keener–known for her character acting in such cinema favorites as “Capote,” “Being John Malkovich,” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”–was just interviewed for the New York Times Fall Fashion issue. In “Being Catherine Keener,” Keener spills all to […]

The $28,000 Chastity Belt (I Mean Bracelet)

posted by donna freitas

For 26 years, the ultra-luxe Cartier has been selling the “Love bracelet”–a gold bracelet that must be secured onto a lover’s wrist with a screwdriver. How romantic! Cartier’s Love bracelet was originally “inspired by medieval chastity belts,” explains New York […]

Resurrection from the Dead on “The 4400″

posted by donna freitas

The USA Network’s series “The 4400“–about a group of 4,400 people, all of whom went missing at different points in the 20th century and return together bearing special powers, not having aged a day–is about to conclude its third season […]

For the Record, He’s Not a Mason Either

posted by burb

How Jewish is Jackie Mason? “As a matzo ball,” says the comedian. “Or kosher salami.” So Jewish, that when Jews for Jesus published a pamphlet suggesting that Mason had accepted Jesus, he let loose with a $2 million lawsuit. The […]

“Survivor” of the Stereotypes

posted by dena ross

“Blacks to the right. Whites–you go over there. Asians, step to the left. Latinos, stay where you are. Remember to stay within your groups. We’re going to drop you off in the middle of nowhere, with limited supplies, and want […]

“The Exodus Decoded”: Worth a Watch

posted by donna freitas

This week the History Channel is celebrating Ancient Week (kind of like Shark Week at the Discovery Channel, but with no sharks). In honor of Ancient Week, they premiered a hokey, but ultimately interesting, TV documentary called “The Exodus Decoded,” […]

Did a Bad Breakup Cause the Mideast Conflict?

posted by esther kustanowitz

Dear Daniel, Our time together at the Geneva Convention was nothing short of magical… the way we “released international tension together”.. back when you were just a little nameless country called “Jewlandia,” and I a poor naïve Palestine, when the […]

Tom Gets Dumped By Paramount: His Behavior, or Their Greed?

posted by kris rasmussen

Has all of the couch jumping and Suri speculation finally caught up with Tom Cruise? In a surprise announcement yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, Viacom exec Sumner Redstone claimed that Paramount–Viacom’s movie arm–is terminating its 14-year business relationship with […]

So Madonna and I Are Apparently Gossip-Worthy…

posted by donna freitas

Despite fellow blogger Charlotte Allen’s rather icy assessment of my recent posting in praise of Madonna’s crucixifion act and my defense of a woman’s right to image the divine on the cross, my NPR commentary on the same topic was […]

Shawn Green’s Aliyah

posted by burb

Like any good Jew, Shawn Green had to wander the desert for a few years before coming to the Promised Land. The All-Star outfielder, who was traded to the New York Mets yesterday after playing his last seven seasons in […]

Broken Levees, Faith Intact: The Conclusion of Spike Lee’s “Requiem”

posted by abigail malik

Tragedy awakens the need for something to grasp, something sturdy, reliable, and familiar. We saw this need after 9/11, with congregations growing within churches and other places of worship. We see this in times of war, especially in soldiers’–and their […]

Spike Lee’s “Requiem” for New Orleans

posted by abigail malik

The first half of “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts“–a documentary from Spike Lee that chronicles New Orleans’ struggle before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina–is terribly disappointing in just one aspect: more people are not able to […]

A Pagan Presence on Sesame Street?

posted by ellen leventry

Last week marked the introduction of a new character on “Sesame Street”: Abby Cadabby, a fairy-in-training. Abby, who hails from Fairyside Gardens, Queens, is young, eager to learn, and has been described as a feminist who also likes being a […]

Colbert in a Foxhole (Reading Beliefnet)

posted by

Last night on The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert–in his phony pundit persona, of course– mentioned that he’d visited Beliefnet.com (where he goes, he said, “after sinning on other sites”) and found our Atheists in Foxholes article by Rebecca Phillips. […]

Bruce Cockburn’s Faith Reminds Us: “Life Short Call Now”

posted by kris rasmussen

I’m not sure the mainstream music industry has ever given Canadian folk-rocker Bruce Cockburn his due along side the likes of Paul Simon, James Taylor, or even Bob Dylan. And I know that the Christian music industry has never known […]

Those T-Shirts I’m Wearing are Christian?

posted by donna freitas

Forever 21–the homage to cheap and chic that’s almost (but not quite) as ubiquitous on the streets of Manhattan as that other homage to cheap and chic, H&M–is apparently preaching the gospel with every sale. Deborah Kolben, a staff writer […]

Thank You, Madonna!

posted by donna freitas

At this late point in summer, the controversy about the crucifixion scene in Madonna’s Confessions Tour–when Madonna sings “Live to Tell” while up on a cross, arms outstretched, with scenes of poverty in Africa flashing behind her–has escalated to a […]

Not My Image of Christ

posted by charlotte allen

In my opinion, the best commentary so far on Madonna’s crucifixion stunt in her “Confessions” tour comes from that important 21st-century theologian Manolo the Shoeblogger: “Ecce Ho!” Because, frankly, the image of Ms. Ciccone Penn Richie standing with her arms […]

What Madonna Controversy?

posted by

I emailed with Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s longtime publicist, seeking comment from the Material Girl about the brouhaha concerning her on-stage crucifixion. Here’s what she (Rosenberg, not, alas, Madonna herself) had to say about the act that has German authorities reportedly […]

Salvador Promotes the Bible

posted by dena ross

Award-winning Christian pop band Salvador has teamed up with the American Bible Society (ABS) on its “La Biblia Es Mi Guia” (“The Bible Is My Guide”) national advocacy campaign, designed to promote Bible reading among Hispanics. During concerts, the band, […]

Hollywood Celebs Do Battle With Hezbollah

posted by kris rasmussen

I love it when Hollywood celebs go out on a limb, take the moral high road, or decide to influence the complex nature of world politics by taking out a newspaper ad. Dozens of celebrities and Hollywood execs, including Nicole […]

The Greatest Story Ever Told in Four Panels

posted by burb

There are comics strips about babies, romance, the Army, sports, teenager, knights, Vikings and car mechanics. Ready for charitable Christians? King Features Syndicate, the purveyor of daily comics from “Apartment 3G” to “Zits” has introduced “Heaven’s Love Thrift Shop,” a […]

Youth Springs Eternal in the Bahamas?

posted by ellen leventry

“Sure he may have walked through the Great Wall of China, wooed Claudia Schiffer, and used his superpowers to thwart would-be robbers, but those were mere parlor tricks,” writes Eonline‘s Josh Grossberg of magician David Copperfield‘s claim to have discovered […]

Madonna on the Cross

posted by

Before we get a glimpse of Madonna in handcuffs for her on-stage mock-crucifixion scene–German authorities are threatening prosecution for mocking religion–take a look at the offending scene and judge for yourselves:

Adam Sandler Does His Part for the War Effort

posted by

As if he hasn’t already done enough good for the Jewish people by giving the world “The Hanukkah Song,” Adam Sandler is now donating 400 Sony Playstations to Israelis whose homes were damaged by missiles in the recent conflict with […]

New Exorcism Pilot: Touched by an Anglican?

posted by ellen leventry

What if Joan Girardi, the lead character on CBS’s retired smash-hit “Joan of Arcadia,” heard a voice, but it wasn’t the voice of God. What if it was a voice telling her to do very bad things? Well, Joan’s family […]

A Mass for the King (and the Queen)

posted by charlotte allen

For Catholics, yesterday was the feast of the Assumption of Mary. For almost everyone else, it was the eve of a different kind of holy day: the 29th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death on Aug. 16, 1977. So Catholics in […]

War, Terrorism, & Conspiracy Theories at A Theater Near You

posted by kris rasmussen

As if this past week’s orange and red security threat alerts aren’t making us nervous enough, there are a slew of documentaries coming out soon on DVD or working their way across the country in limited release at art-house movie […]

Step Right up! Get Your Indulgences Here!

posted by donna freitas

Apparently, with just 1 million “points” you can get into heaven! At least if you attend The Church of St. John the Evangelist in Ontario, Canada, that is. St. John’s and radio station CHEZ 106 (106.1 FM) have teamed up […]

One More on Mad Mel

posted by

I promised myself: No more Mel Gibson blog pieces. But I can’t resist sharing this thought, one insightful point in a long article full of insightful points, by Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman: WAS IT MEL’S RAGE, OR HIS BETTER ANGELS, […]

“Ricky Bobby,” Relief for a World-Weary Soul

posted by abigail malik

Simply put, Will Ferrell is a funny man. And “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” is just what we need right now, among all of the extremely-not-funny things going on in the world. A lot of us like to […]

New Life for “The Servant”

posted by burb

James C. Hunter’s book “The Servant,” is hardly something new in the business-leadership genre: its theme, that execs should be not taskmasters but facilitators of their employees’ growth as human beings, was first struck by Robert Greenleaf in his 1977 […]

Is an Ayurvedic Vacation for You?

posted by donna freitas

Patricia Leigh Brown, a reporter from The New York Times travel section, tried her hand at the ever-more popular ayurvedic spas popping up all over southern India to cater to Westerners, and describes the experience in her rather humorous article […]

Bono Challenges Pastors to Rise to the Occasion in Africa

posted by donna freitas

Bono, the lead singer of U2 turned celebrity AIDS activist wants to know why Christian churches are virtually absent from the effort to address the AIDS pandemic, and whether they are willing to rectify their reluctance. How is Bono leading […]

MTV: Multi-Faith Television?

posted by ellen leventry

As my fellow blogger Doug Howe recently noted, last week marked MTV’s 25th anniversary. Doug has decided to forsake the cable giant for more “positive, spiritual” pastures, but I am still on board. It’s true that the channel hawks such […]

“Miss Sunshine” Is Morally Cloudy

posted by kris rasmussen

While I almost always agree with what fellow blogger Tim Hayne has to say–and I appreciate that he seems to be a fellow enthusiast of slightly darker, indie films–I found myself disagreeing with him after watching “Little Miss Sunshine.” While […]

Just 112 Days Left till Movie Christmas

posted by burb

All Hollywood wants for Christmas is another “Passion”-sized blockbuster, without the Mel-sized controversy. This year’s hopes are placed on a chronology of Christ’s birth and toddlerhood titled “The Nativity Story,” due for December release, and Time Warner’s New Line Cinema […]

Mel’s Mouth Mires Mouse

posted by burb

Fox News reports that Disney is looking for other distributors on which to unload scandal-tainted Mel Gibson’s new movie, “Apocalypto,” about the mysterious expiration of the Incan Empire. Fox’s sources point to Lion’s Gate Films, which picked up Kevin Smiths’ […]

I Want My MTV?

posted by doug howe

MTV celebrated its 25th anniversary last week, but I couldn’t figure out what they were celebrating. I find myself singing the Dire Straits’ classic lyric, “I want my MTV,” because my MTV–or, at least, good MTV–hasn’t been seen in a […]

‘World Trade Center': Unromantic, Uplifting, & Terrifying

posted by abigail malik

What happened on September 11th, 2001, didn’t just leave its mark on the New York City skyline, it scarred a nation. Everyone has a story. We all remember where we were the moment we learned the twin towers had come […]

A Theme Park for the Whole (Non-Pacifist) Family

posted by donna freitas

At a time when U.S. citizens, religious and otherwise, are divided over whether the U.S. should pull troops out of Iraq, not to mention whether the war itself was justified in the first place, the military is desperate for some […]

Build It and They Will Clear

posted by burb

Earlier this summer, I wrote in this space about the growing popularity of Faith Night promotions at minor-league baseball stadiums. The faith in question was typically Christianity. Leave it to the Newark Bears, an independent New Jersey team, to celebrate […]

Michael Moore & Me at the Movies

posted by kris rasmussen

The Sundance Film Festival has Robert Redford. Tribeca has De Niro. And the film community in Michigan… well… we have the polarizing docudrama director and producer Michael Moore. Yes, filmmakers from Hollywood as well as Iran, South Africa, and Italy […]

Lewd Lyrics = Sex Sooner?

posted by ellen leventry

First Al Gore was right about the environment, and now Tipper Gore and her Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) may have been right about those explicit lyrics warning labels!? A recent study by the Rand Corp. showed that “teens who […]

A Hefty Dose of Moral Ambiguity: “The Closer”

posted by donna freitas

As TNT’s “The Closer” headed toward its 9th episode of season two Monday night, “Heroic Measures,” Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson (played wonderfully by Kyra Sedgwick) delivered some more of her trademark, morally ambiguous detective work. This time around, the […]

Welcome to Football Television Nation USA

posted by doug howe

There no longer is a Sabbath Day in Football Television Nation USA. Am I the only one who remembers a time when the colleges played on Saturday, the NFL played on Sunday afternoon, Monday Night Football was a special treat, […]

Oh, Baby, Baby! Britney Night at the Ballpark

posted by kris rasmussen

Pop star diva and tabloid darling Britney Spears made a surprising appearance at a minor league ball game in New Jersey last weekend–sort of. The Newark Bears hosted a “Britney Spears Safety Night,” using Britney’s numerous “oops” parenting moments–including an […]

Carlton is a Kaplan: Jewish Soap Opera Drama

posted by ellen leventry

A handsome Midwestern man discovers that his family is actually of Jewish heritage and that his mother was forced by the Nazis to catalog stolen art during World War II. Now the matron is working to see that the art […]

Allen Manages To “Scoop” Up A Few Laughs

posted by kris rasmussen

Though Woody Allen’s last movie, “Matchpoint,” was a dark psychological thriller, Allen is still most recognized for his unique brand of screwball comedy. Allen once again throws together eccentric characters, mix-ups, and mayhem in his latest effort, “Scoop,” but this […]

The Soon-to-be-Famous Gay Jehovah’s Witnesses Pop-Star Twins

posted by

A new reality show debuting this fall on the LOGO network has given “niche marketing” a whole new meaning. “Jacob and Joshua: Nemesis Rising” follows the two J-named boys, 20-something twins from Montana, as they pursue a music career (their […]

Mel’s Sins–and Ours

posted by doug howe

A lot has been made of Mel Gibson’s recent indiscretions and its bearing on the national cultural character assessment. Whether it is media hype, national fascination, authentic character examination, or passing conversation, it has become the job of many to […]

‘Mel Gibson Is a Very Spiritual Man': A Classic ‘South Park’ Moment

posted by

With Mel’s anti-Semitic antics making headlines, it seems like as good a time as any to revisit a classic “South Park” episode. Though, really, who needs an excuse? (Warning: It’s “South Park,” so there’s some bad language and other potentially […]

A Virginity Celebration Halted By a Virgin Pregnancy

posted by jenny halper

Slated for a young girl’s 15th birthday, a Mexican Quinceanera celebrates virginity and coming-of-age with the extravagance of the ritziest bat mitzvah. In Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s appropriately titled film (that would be “Quinceanera“), emphasis on all the trimmings–a […]

Spiritual Swayze Defends Religion

posted by dena ross

Religion has found a hero in Hollywood. Actor Patrick Swayze, best known for bumping and grinding his way into our hearts in the 1987 hit film “Dirty Dancing” and for that killer pottery-making scene in “Ghost” (1990), has come out […]

State Religion

posted by burb

Is California’s tradition of spiritual experimentation a kind of faith in itself? In a new book, “The Visionary State: A Journey Through California’s Spiritual Landscape,” writer Erik Davis and photographer Michael Rauner explore California’s long history–make that pilgrimage–from promised land […]

Alice Cooper’s Wonderland: A Christian Youth Center

posted by ellen leventry

In the immortal words of Alice Cooper, “School’s out for Summer.” But Cooper, the heavy metal maestro, is making sure that the kids of southwest Phoenix will still have a safe place to go once school doors are closed. MSNBC.com, […]

The ADL’s Passion for Mel

posted by

The Anti-Defamation League has formally accepted Mel Gibson’s apology for his anti-Semitic outburst last Friday. After calling Mel’s first attempt at apology “unremorseful,” the ADL has helpfully offered to take the “Passion of the Christ” creator up on his offer […]

Mel’s Mea Culpa: Help Me, Jews!

posted by ellen leventry

Criticized yesterday for an apology that was deemed “insufficient” and “unremorseful” by Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, actor Mel Gibson released a full statement today asking for the forgiveness of the Jewish community for his […]

Is Jon Stewart God?

posted by

This past weekend, I was sitting in New York City’s Union Square, waiting to meet a friend, when a group of people caught my eye. They were all wearing long, white, flowing robes. Their leader was strumming a guitar. And […]

Colbert vs. Donohue: Judge for Yourself

posted by

Last week, Donna blogged on Stephen Colbert’s interview of Bill Donahue, leader of the Catholic League. It’s now up on youtube.com, so you can judge for yourself: Click to watch.

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posted 10:14:42am Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

The New ‘Jurassic World’ Trailer is Here, And It Doesn’t Disappoint
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posted 9:09:39am Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Meet Vera, a main character in the upcoming show “The Messengers.”
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posted 12:24:16pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

‘Little Boy’ is a Story for Everyone
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_BdzqsIX6A The question this father and son always have for each other during their adventures is "Do you believe we can do this?"  The answer is always "Yes, partner." If you’re a big fan of a movie ...

posted 5:01:43pm Apr. 13, 2015 | read full post »

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