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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

January 1970 Archives

‘Arctic Tale’ is ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ for Kids

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Before we get started, let’s clear up some misconceptions: Arctic Tale is not the sequel to “An American Tail,” so don’t look for an appearance by Feivel Mousekewitz. And it’s not about penguin migration as narrated by Morgan Freeman. Instead, […]

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‘Damages': Where Ethics and Profit Clash

posted by Douglas Howe

I tuned into the encore of F/X’s “Damages” premiere last night, hoping for a new slice of great material at the crossroads of faith and culture. I love law shows, and in this one Glenn Close plays Patricia Hewes, founder […]

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Rev Run’s Rise

posted by lsheahen

Beliefnet recently interviewed Bishop E. Bernard Jordan, a self-described prophet whose book “The Laws of Thinking: 20 Secrets to Using the Divine Power of Your Mind to Manifest Prosperity” develops the think-and-grow-rich ideas also found in “The Secret.” Bishop Jordan […]

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Michael Moore on ‘Sicko’

posted by mkress

Mister Rogers: Jesus Loves You

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Did Mister Rogers create a generation of slackers? Fred Rogers spent his life telling kids they were special. By telling children that he liked them, the theory goes, he freed them to like themselves. But a recent column in the […]

Bergman: Avenging a Religious Upbringing

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Like many artists born to oppressively religious parents, Ingmar Bergman ran away from his upbringing, only to devote his work to questions of faith, eternity, and redemption. The great Swedish film director, who died over the weekend, broke with his […]

‘The Simpsons’ World of Faith

posted by mkress

“The Simpsons” movie may not have lived up to it’s almost-two-decades of build-up–could it possibly have?–but I laughed my way through it nevertheless. From Homer’s “Spider Pig” song to Bart’s full-frontal-nudity skateboard trip through town, to Marge and Homer’s romantic […]

‘No Reservations': It’s Abigail Breslin’s Movie

posted by Donna Freitas

I went to see “No Reservations” expecting the cheesy Hollywood romantic comedy promised in all the trailers (I love cheesy Hollywood romantic comedies so this would not have been a bad thing). What I experienced instead was a story that […]

Ingmar Bergman: An Appreciation

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, famous for his unique psychological, dreamlike storytelling style, passed away today in Sweden at the age of 89. Though he has not directed a feature film in many years, discussion of his work by film […]

‘Simpsons’ Movie Short on Hilarity

posted by Donna Freitas

During the first fifteen minutes of “The Simpsons Movie,” not only did I laugh so hard that my stomach was starting to hurt, but I thought to myself gleefully, “Hmmmm, this movie is going to be a religion bloggers dream!” […]

Lindsay’s Pastor Problem

posted by Paul O'Donnell

It’s difficult to tell who is more self-indulgently indifferent to Lindsay Lohan’s problem: the tabloids that denigrate her as a pop tart while devoting their front pages or kindly pastors who publicly urge her to turn to Jesus–strike that, turn […]

The ‘Faith-Based’ Christian Gap

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The autopsy on “Evan Almighty” continues, as Hollywood suits and evangelical media mavens all try to figure out why the modern day Noah story was not the faith-based box-office monster everyone expected it to be. In a recent Fox News […]

‘Paris, je t’aime’ is Not to be Missed

posted by Ellen Leventry

Paris is often referred to as the City of Love. The food, the fine wine, and the historic atmosphere all serve to act as an intoxicating aphrodisiac–the perfect recipe for a romantic relationship. The very title of “Paris, je t’taime,” […]

‘Shakespeare Retold': My DVD Pick Of The Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I know what some of you are thinking: With the thriller “Zodiac” out on DVD this week as well as the recently released, family-friendly, Hallmarkish “Sweet Land,” how could I make something to do with Shakespeare my DVD pick of […]

Avoid ‘Hot Ghetto Mess’–Whatever it’s Called

posted by nsymmonds

After weeks of controversy, dropped sponsorship and a last minute name change, BET aired the series premiere of “We Got to Do Better,” formerly known as “Hot Ghetto Mess.” For starters, the show was a hot ghetto mess. The title […]

Peter O’Toole Joins ‘The Tudors’

posted by Donna Freitas

Despite the period drama, the history, the great costumes, the intrigue–and yes, of course, all the religion–I can’t say that I loved Showtime’s first season of “The Tudors,” which chronicles the life and times of the infamous English king, Henry […]

Sad State of Sports

posted by mkress

Baseball is about to annoint a new home run king who has allegedly boosted his late-career stats with the help of steroids. Basketball is coping with a referee accused of betting on the game, including games he worked. Football is […]

Who Are Your Celebrity Soulmates?

posted by vreiss

Even if I could lure him away from that gorgeous French woman, it turns out that Johnny Depp and I would not have a hot romance, or even a deep soul connection. Sigh. And me and Charlie Sheen? A total […]

“Thirsty,” A Real Quencher

posted by nsymmonds

I could tell that “Thirsty,” Marvin Sapp’s seventh album, was going to be a hit from the cover alone. Sapp looked youthful and vibrant, and he had a sparkle in his eyes that hinted at things to come–which I found […]

Introducing ‘Burn or Burn’

posted by Patton Dodd

Growing up Christian means growing up conflicted about popular music. Different families and churches handle it in various ways, but it’s generally true that all secular music (What Everyone Listens To) is seen as either potentially dangerous or completely taboo, […]

Send Lindsay to Jail!

posted by dross

Out of the “3 Bimbos of the Apocalypse” (as the New York Post calls Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton), I’ve always felt more sympathetic towards Lohan. She has a dad who’s done his own share of jail time, […]

Ron Jeremy: No Porn Before 18!

posted by dross

Even porn star Ron Jeremy has to draw the line somewhere when it comes to sex.The aging adult film legend and wannabe actor has teamed up with Christian organization XXXChurch.com and their anti-porn mascot, Pete The Porno Puppet, to create […]

Can I Be as Moral as Harry Potter?

posted by lsheahen

Spoiler alert: This review hints at some plot developments in Harry Potter Book Seven, but does not reveal who lives and who dies. Reading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” changed my life and made me want to be a […]

“Hairspray” Is A Blast From The Past

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the Broadway version of “Hairspray,” but I do remember not being a big fan of the original movie by John Waters. (For some reason, it was just a little too creepy for me.) […]

‘Big Love’s’ Margene: Why I Love Her

posted by Donna Freitas

Last week’s “Big Love” episode, “Dating Game,” had Bill considering a fourth wife(!). More fascinating than this married man–already with three beautiful wives–courting yet another and seeking out his polygamist friends’ support about wining and dining Ana (the potential wife) […]

Singer Chris Rice Grows Up

posted by Douglas Howe

Those who follow Chris Rice will notice he’s growing up in a lot of ways, at least if his newest album, “What a Heart is Beating For” is any indication. It’s mellow, jazzy, reflective, and indicative of, well, the kind […]

Faith Is (Almost) Better than Sex in “Saving Grace”

posted by Donna Freitas

Or so says Holly Hunter’s hard-as-nails character Grace Hanadarko as she basks in the heavenly glow of an angel in the pilot for TNT’s newest police-with-a-twist drama “Saving Grace.” TNT isn’t kidding in its advertisements about how the show is […]

We’re All Barry Bonds Fans

posted by Patton Dodd

Until a few weeks ago, I pretty much knew what to think of Barry Bonds and his inevitable breaking of the home run record. I was on board with Michael Kress in thinking that Bonds was a great player, no […]

“Mad Men” and Modern Morality

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Hollywood’s envisioning of the turbulent 60s has primarily relied on JFK, riots, Woodstock, and Vietnam as the defining images of that decade. Former “Sopranos” producer Matthew Weiner has instead dared to relentlessly and fearlessly examine every sacred cow of that […]

Premonition: New on DVD

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Call it my devotion to the peculiar, but I think there’s something about a non-linear film. It challenges you to pay attention more closely–to look for clues at every turn. From Pulp Fiction to Memento, these flicks are about more […]

The Desperate Barry Bonds

posted by mkress

I’ll start by saying that I feel a sense of awe and history when imagining the moment when Barry Bonds’ 756th home run will sail over the outfield wall, sending him into the history books with the most career home […]

Tammy Faye: Fabulous and Fearless

posted by Ellen Leventry

Yesterday afternoon, a friend of mine sent me the CNN.com link flacking Tammy Faye Messner‘s “Larry King Live” appearance scheduled for 9:00 p.m. The subject line read, “This is terrifying.” For anyone who tuned in last night, or saw the […]

McCartney “Almost Full?”

posted by Douglas Howe

You can’t walk into Starbucks without being aware that Paul McCartney’s “Memory Almost Full” has been out for awhile, and we figured it was time for Idol Chatter to weigh in on it. The reviews have been mixed. From Entertainment […]

“Traveler” Began with a Bang, Ended with a Fizzle

posted by Donna Freitas

Since I gave such glowing reviews to the first few episodes of ABC’s new summer series “Traveler”–about the two good-guy Yale graduate students, Jay and Tyler, who are framed by their “friend” Will Traveler for bombing a New York City […]

Boycott the NY Times

posted by shuang

Being a native New Yorker, I have always admired the NY Times as the venerable authority on current events, movies, dining, and books. Unfortunately, the unexpected and unwelcomed surprise of seeing the NYTimes post an early (late Wednesday night) book […]

Harry Potter vs. the Jews

posted by mkress

Saturday is Harry Potter day (starting at 12:01am). But you know that already. The problem is, Harry Potter day is Saturday–or, for us observant Jews, Shabbat, the Sabbath, day of rest, yadda yadda. Of course, nothing is more relaxing and […]

Video: Obama Girl vs Giuliani Girl

posted by dross

If you haven’t already seen this music video, check it out. It’s in response to the widely popular “I Got a Crush on Obama” video that circulated the Internet last month.

Spoiler Alert: Harry Potter Will…

posted by shuang

As the days crawl by for millions waiting on the release of The Final Book, there are those out there threatening to destroy our dreams of flying golden snitches and dancing chocolate frogs. Who are these evil people, worse than […]

Homer vs. Pagans

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

In a field north of Dorchester in Dorset, Britain is a chalk drawing known as the Cerne Abbas giant–a fertility symbol with a giant phallus. As it is said in the reliable book of Wikipedia, “For hundreds of years it […]

Bill Maher’s Spiritual, But Anti-Religious Movie

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Liberal pundits in need of a boost seem to have found a surefire way to rev up the base: by bashing religion. Christopher Hitchens, suffering a rough patch for his support for the Iraq War, countered with his crowd-pleasing book, […]

Wrestler/Murderer Tests Positive for Steroids

posted by dross

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation released lab results today indicating that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Chris Benoit had steroids, painkillers, and anti-anxiety drugs in his body when he killed his wife and 7-year-old son last month–before committing suicide. Although […]

Lindsay Lohan Looks to ‘The Prince’

posted by Ellen Leventry

Paris Hilton found the Bible–or at least “The Bible for Dummies”/”Idiots Guide to the Bible,” according to inside sources–and the self-help blockbuster “The Secret” while incarcerated, but rival starlet Lindsay Lohan has decided to outdo her frenemy‘s literary forays by […]

Romney’s Not The First Mormon to Run for President

posted by Douglas Howe

When I was growing up, my mom taught me there were three things not to talk about in public: religion, sex and politics. Don’t worry, this post won’t be about sex! But Republican Mitt Romney’s candidacy is igniting conversations about […]

The Scientologist Behind the Curtain

posted by mkress

Unless you’re a true Hollywood insider (or a N.Y. Times magazine reader), you’ve never heard of Milton Katselas. But this veteran acting coach is responsible for shaping countless souls into true actors. Head of an acting school called the Beverly […]

God is Harry Potter’s Latest Victim

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Time, the newsweekly that caused a stir in the mid-60’s by asking “Is God Dead?”, opens this week’s issue with an essay tracing reports of the Deity’s most recent demise to Harry Potter. As the world awaits the release of […]

‘Rush’ To Get This Album

posted by Idol Chatter

If you haven’t already heard about the up-and-coming Christian rock band Rush Of Fools, I highly suggest that you check them out as soon as possible. This five-man group from Nashville stepped into the spotlight by winning Band With A […]

Best Protest Songs of All Time?

posted by Douglas Howe

The lead feature going out to America Online’s millions of subscribers this weekend named the Top Twenty Protest Songs of All-Time, from spinner.com’s “The Hit List.” I thought it was a decent start, but the list lacked some that are […]

Barry’s Cross to Bear

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Barry Bonds waits in full uniform in a hallway at PacBell park, waiting for a man to drop by with an item Bonds has told the guy to rush because he just can’t play without it. Steroids? No, an earring […]

‘The Closer': New Season is Better than Ever

posted by Donna Freitas

Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick)–with her southern twang, her infamous, sweet-sounding “thank you’s,” and her hard as nails interrogation tactics–is not only back in full force for season three of “The Closer,” but she has taken this series […]

What is Hell? 20/20 Explores

posted by nsymmonds

I’ve always been fascinated with the dark side. In college I contemplated going Goth–inasmuch as a Hot Topic shirt could take me to the dark side. I once flipped through a copy of the Satanic Bible–not because I was up […]

Paula Abdul’s Jewish Life

posted by mkress

I knew Paula Abdul was Jewish, but in this video, she talks with two Orthodox rabbis at a Chabad house about lighting Shabbat candles, praying, and living Jewish, as they compliment her dedication and assure us it’s real. Props to […]

Depressing Summer Songs

posted by dross

Every summer has its song–the one you blast through your car’s open windows and sing along to as the sun beats down on your face, your sweaty legs sticking to leather upholstery, and your hair blowing in the breeze. I […]

‘Big Love’ and Catholic Prejudice

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, so I finally caught up on Season Two of HBO’s “Big Love“–a series that I became addicted to in my efforts to critique the show’s treatment of women (whoops)–and this week’s episode, “Vision Thing,” had an interesting twist. We’re […]

Is Harry Potter Jesus?

posted by Douglas Howe

Was Daniel Radcliffe doing some heavy marketing or a sublime giveaway of the next book’s ending in his recent interview for Entertainment Weekly? After answering some nice questions from Steve Daly about his personal and physical growth, his fame, and […]

‘Baldwin Hills’ redeems BET

posted by nsymmonds

After a serious drought, BET–Black Entertainment Television–has redeemed itself with the creation of the reality series, “Baldwin Hills.” It documents the lives of 11—actually make that ten—upper-middle class African-American teens and 1 middle-class outsider. Does the plot sound familiar to […]

That’s Rev. Tori Spelling to You

posted by lmarcus

Tori Spelling has had a lot of roles, from Donna Martin on “Beverly Hills, 90210″ to whatever that girl’s name was in the trashtastic Lifetime movie “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?”. In real life, she’s had just as diverse […]

Why I Love the All-Star Game

posted by Douglas Howe

Baseball’s All-Star Game was televised in prime time again last night, and it continues to endure as an underrated, understated institution that stands as the finest and brightest of all of the major sports’ all-star games. Why is that? A […]

Potter’s “Phoenix”: A Dark, Dazzling Prophecy

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Watching “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” late, late at night with an audience younger than me and far more into the wizarding world than me was a fascinating reminder of why Harry Potter has become an iconic […]

On “Live Earth,” Ratings, and Evangelicals

posted by Douglas Howe

“Live Earth: Ratings Blockbuster” it was not, but “Live Earth: Concerts for a Climate in Crisis” still drew a record web-audience and drew decent enough television ratings to raise some bucks and hopefully generate increased awareness for the cause. With […]

‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is Splendid Indeed

posted by dali

Khaled Hosseini, whose brilliant first novel, “The Kite Runner,” captured the world’s attention with its look at fathers and sons and the evolving relationship between two young boys in Afghanistan, has scored another knockout with his second novel, “A Thousand […]

WWJD About Paris Hilton?

posted by Douglas Howe

The antics of Paris Hilton are such a big story these days that even the non-reporting of her news has become newsworthy. I don’t know what she did that originally made her worthy of stardom, but she certainly has become […]

Borat Conquers JewTube

posted by mkress

Thanks to our friends at Mixed Multitudes for the heads up about the latest site in the ever-burgeoning Jewish web world: JewTube.com. Yes, our very own YouTube. The site gets points for being clean and uncluttered, though the there doesn’t […]

Meet Jewperhero!

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Flight? Heat vision? The ability to shoot spiderwebs out of your wrists? And then there are the myriad accessories, gadgets and cool rides that go along with being a superhero: […]

‘Simpsons’ Movie Stays “Sacrilicious”

posted by Ellen Leventry

There are few things one can count on in life other than death, taxes, and the fact that people will be dressed as stormtroopers at San Diego Comic-Con. But now we can add the bastion of pop-culture punditry known as […]

‘Transformers': More than Meets the Eye?

posted by Ellen Leventry

Like many in the nation this week, I took advantage of the gloomy fourth of July weather and headed into the dry confines of the local cineplex to take in “Transformers.” My expectations were mixed: Many renderings of favorite cartoons […]

Will Harry Potter Die? Should He?

posted by mkress

Harry Potter mania began long ago–or, rather, never stopped–and while I am not personally a Potter fanatic, I am married to one and work with several others, so it’s impossible not to be caught up in the predictions, analyses, and […]

Revoke ‘License to Wed’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

If you have ever watched a really awful tv sitcom, watched Robin Williams do stand-up comedy or, if you are old enough, even watched Robin Williams in a bad sitcom, then I feel safe in telling you that you can […]

Hymns Done Right: Old-School Style

posted by Douglas Howe

Singer Mary Donnelly Haskell has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the pre-inaugural gala for President George W. Bush, and aboard the presidential yacht, Sequoia. The president certainly likes her music. And if you’re a fan of hymns […]

The Failures of ‘Sicko’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Long before Stephen Colbert coined the word “truthiness,” filmmaker Michael Moore perfected, if not invented, the concept and changed documentary filmmaking forever with movies like “Roger and Me” and “Bowling for Columbine.” In both films, as well as the now […]

Essential Summer Reading: “The Book of Jane”

posted by Donna Freitas

Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt write chick lit with a twist: all their novels are retellings of Biblical stories. Their first, “Emily Ever After” was the story of Esther, and their second, “Consider Lilly” was the story of Samson and […]

“Hidden Palms”: Over Before it Began

posted by Donna Freitas

I’ve been meaning to blog about the CW’s new summer series “Hidden Palms“–which, yes, is totally trashy, almost a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “One Tree Hill”–but I got addicted to it from the word go. The thing is, it’s […]

dc Talk: Rap? Rock? Pop? Right? Left? Good.

posted by Douglas Howe

The “Jesus Freaks” have grown up, as has their audience, a dynamic captured nicely in the new release entitled “dcTalk: Greatest Hits.” Since Christian songs often linger in terms of airplay, it actually takes a compilation CD such as this […]

Savor ‘Ratatouille’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

As unlikely as it may seem, a lowly rodent kicked John McClane’s butt at the box office last weekend. Disney/Pixar’s latest animated adventure “Ratatouille,” about a French rat who dreams about being a gourmet chef, sets new standards for creativity […]

The Case for ‘An MTV View of God’

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Despite its mediocre reviews, many Christian media types are ecstatic about “Evan Almighty,” the big-release Hollywood movie that updates the Noah and the Ark story to modern-day Washington. But not Dick Staub. “If it is just a fun, uplifting night […]

Welcome Back, McClane!

posted by Douglas Howe

“Live Free or Die Hard” is really fun. It’s got action, cast, plot (though sometimes implausible), humor and, well, just more and more action. But what really makes the movie is the authenticity and likeability of Bruce Willis’s John McClane, […]

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posted 3:39:12pm Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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posted 2:05:00pm Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

The New ‘Peanuts’ Trailer Is Here, And We Just Can’t Get Enough
[youtube]https://youtu.be/El7chqzwKlo[/youtube] Charlie Brown and the gang have a whole new look in the first-full length trailer for the “The Peanuts Movie”, and it’s absolutely fantastic. We promise, you’ve never seen them quite like ...

posted 5:28:01pm Jun. 17, 2015 | read full post »

‘I'm Tired of Watching America be Led by Lunatics’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j_JmeYUsZM Conservative talk show host Kevin Jackson was signed to a national syndication deal by USA Radio Networks and will launch July 20th on USA Radio Networks XDS Channel 3. The Kevin Jackson Show will ...

posted 9:41:20am Jun. 16, 2015 | read full post »

Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman Will Produce 'The Story of God'
National Geographic Channel and Executive Producers Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger of Revelations Entertainment announced today The Story of God, a new global series exploring mankind’s quest to understand the divine. Host ...

posted 9:17:12am Jun. 12, 2015 | read full post »

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