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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

January 1970 Archives

Oprah and Eckhart in ’08

posted by mkress

Biggest news on the spirituality rialto: Oprah’s book club choice in March will be Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.” It’s the first time Oprah has chosen a book from the self-help/spirituality genre. “This is my […]

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The Britney Beat Goes On

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Everybody, sitting down? Britney was taken to the hospital again in the wee hours. TMZ was running exclusives all night long. You can hardly blame them though–their business model relies on this kind of gossip–for running the story, and proudly, […]

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Country Stars Come Together On ‘How Great Thou Art’

posted by dross

More than a dozen of the greatest names in country music come together to celebrate the gospel classics that are a staple of the Grand Ole Opry on “How Great Thou Art: Gospel Favorites From The Grand Ole Opry,” releasing […]

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Beliefnet Film Awards 2008

posted by mkress

This year’s Beliefnet Film Awards are now live and waiting for your votes! As in past year’s we’ve named five nominees in each of three categories: Best Spiritual Film, Best Spiritual Performance, Best Spiritual Documentary. To see who was nominated, […]

Video: ‘Moment of Truth’

posted by mkress

Last week, Ellen Leventry reviewed Fox’s new reality show “Moment of Truth“–wherein contestants answer questions while hooked up to a polygraph machine–and said she is unsure of the show’s ethical implication. Here’s video from one recent episode. What do you […]

ABC’s Eli Stone Makes Faith Look Easy

posted by Paul O'Donnell

In 2001’s “Joan of Arcadia” God appeared to a small-town teen disguised as a cute boy, a cafeteria lady and other random citizens. In “Saving Grace,” a beer-sipping angel with a Nashville twang pops in on an Oklahoma City detective. […]

Top 5 Ways To Love Your Neighbors by Sanctus Real

posted by idol chatter

After three albums, a string of hit singles (including six No. 1 songs and eleven Top 5 hits), major tours with some of the biggest names in the business, and various awards (including a Dove Award for Modern Rock Album […]

Kicking Kabbalah to the Curb?

posted by Ellen Leventry

It seems that Kabbalah super-couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher may be distancing themselves from the religion, reports MSNBC.com. Sources tell “The Scoop” that the May-December duo haven’t attended services or Shabbat dinner at L.A.’s Kabbalah Center for months and […]

Obama For…Prime Time TV?

posted by Douglas Howe

I love movies, music, books, blogs and just about anything in our culture that helps us be inspired to consider deeper meanings and messages in life. However, I’m getting confused lately at the new line-up of TV stars, which includes […]

Top Ten Most Inspiring Modern Westerns!

posted by Douglas Howe

There was a time—especially back in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s, where Westerns made up a large portion of a year’s annual movies. From Roy Rogers to John Wayne to Clint Eastwood, from the days of cowboys-and-Indians to the towns […]

‘Friday Night Lights': Why Are The Christians So Boring?

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Just last week, I proclaimed my renewed loyalty to “Friday Night Lights” as it righted some of its obvious wrongs from earlier in the season. I still stand by that decision, but last Friday’s episode frustrated me because it highlighted […]

The S.A.G.’s! Better Than Oscar?

posted by Douglas Howe

Did the Oscars just happen? If you weren’t watching, you might have missed it last night! There was the red carpet. Stars showed up. They wore designer clothes and had their hair done. All of the entertainment networks covered it. […]

Fighting Fascists with Fascism?: ‘Anonymous’ Takes on Scientology

posted by Ellen Leventry

If you haven’t seen it yet, you soon will. It’s making the rounds around the Web faster than Tom Cruise’s hyena-esque clip and it’s far more disturbing. A group calling themselves Anonymous is out to expose and “systematically dismantle” Scientology […]

‘The Devil Came On Horseback': DVD Pick of the Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Several documentaries have focused on the plight of the people of Darfur recently (“Darfur Now”) but one that has made the top ten list of several of my favorite film critics is “The Devil Came On Horseback”. While it is […]

HeartSupport Tour Kicks off with Family Force 5

posted by Idol Chatter

I don’t know what it is that causes people to share the most intimate details of their personal lives with complete strangers, but I’ve had dozens of music artists tell me that it happens to them almost every night after […]

Death, Where is Thy Decorum?

posted by Ellen Leventry

The Victorians, for all of their oppressive foibles, knew how to do death right. Sure, the intricate details and prescriptions of protracted mourning periods, sometimes of years, were surely a cause of much consternation, but the Victorians understood what we […]

Winehouse Enters Wine-Free House (That’s Rehab, Folks)

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

In the world of pop culture blogging and Google Image searching, you learn some valuable lessons. Firstly, there are way too many photos of Britney Spears on the internet. (And some of them are “not safe for work.”) But second […]

Even at ’46 and Pregnant,’ We Still Love Chachi

posted by Ellen Leventry

I’ve always been curious as to how “Happy Days” and “Charles in Charge” star Scott Baio managed to nab the hottest women in Hollywood. From Heather Locklear to Pamela Anderson, the perennial playboy never lacked for female companionship; but I […]

‘Moment of Truth’ Lacks Momentum

posted by Ellen Leventry

‘The truth will see you free,” goes the famous saying, but apparently the ‘truth’ itself isn’t free, requiring a commercial break every 90 seconds. At least that’s what I felt like watching last night’s premiere of the highly anticipated new […]

Enter to Win an Amy Grant Album or Poster

posted by dross

In celebration of Amy Grant’s newly released greatest hits CD, we’re giving away three copies of the album. And, as luck would have it, we recently did some office spring (er, winter) cleaning, and came across 10 awesome autographed Amy […]

Meadow Soprano, a Member of the Family

posted by mkress

Who knew? Jamie-Lynn Sigler, best known for her role as Tony’s daughter Meadow on “The Sopranos,” is Jewish–and recently visited Israel with the Birthright Israel program, which runs free tours of Israel for Jewish college students and young adults. The […]

“Muslim Girl” Magazine Celebrates 1st Anniversary; Talks to NPR

posted by Donna Freitas

“Muslim Girl” magazine is celebrating its one year anniversary. Like any other magazine for teen girls, fashion, makeup, television, movies, and music all feature prominently, not to mention advice on dating and boys. Though the magazine does have some content […]

Anti-Gay Minister Promises to Protest Ledger’s Funeral

posted by Ellen Leventry

To hear about Heath Ledger’s death yesterday evening was shocking, but to hear this morning that the Reverend Fred Phelps, keeper of the God Hates Fags website, announced that his anti-gay group would be picketing Ledger’s funeral because of his […]

CCM Announces They’ll Cease Print Publication

posted by Idol Chatter

In an announcement that surprised many (OK, at least the writers that run in my circle), Salem Communications announced last week that they are ceasing print publication of CCM Magazine. The final issue will be April 2008. For more than […]

Another, Too Young: Rest in Peace, Heath Ledger, 28

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

First we lost Brad Renfro, and now the New York Times reports that actor Heath Ledger, critically lauded for his performance in the groundbreaking “Brokeback Mountain,” has been found dead in his SoHo apartment. Pills were found near his body, […]

Still Feelin’ Some Love For Oscar

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Unlike some of my other bloggers, try as I might, I just can’t be cynical or grumpy about this year’s Oscar nominations. They are a far cry better than last year’s popular choices of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Departed.” […]

Tween Sensation pureNRG Best Selling New Artist of 2007

posted by Idol Chatter

For a 40-something mom with a grown daughter, I have to confess that the whole tween scene is a bit too cutesy for my tastes, and I’ve never been a big fan of throwing kids into the limelight; we’ve seen […]

“Jesus People” –“Snatched Up” by Will Ferrell

posted by Kris Rasmussen

With the ongoing writers’ strike depriving me of my favorite television shows, I have finally joined the masses in checking out the vast material on YouTube and similar sites to find some entertainment. Idol Chatter has already covered the irreverent […]

Oscar Noms: It’s the Morality, Stupid

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Or more accurately, it’s the recession, stupid. Just as the major presidential candidates have rewritten their scripts from “change agent” to “steady at the helm,” the Oscar nominations, announced this morning, are asking us to take a second look at […]

Is Oscar Growing Up?

posted by Douglas Howe

No Jack Nicholson? No Angelina Jolle? No Denzel Washington, for either of his movies? And, possibly no Awards ceremony? What is the entertainment world coming to? Maybe, at least for one year, Oscar is growing up. Welcome to the intrigue […]

“Friday Night Lights” Redeems Itself

posted by Kris Rasmussen

With only one original episode left, it might be a little late for me to say that “Friday Night Lights” has finally returned to at least a semblence of its former greatness. Now that Landry/Tyra murder storyline is finally over, […]

Gumball Machines that Dispense Your Favorite Saints

posted by Donna Freitas

Some friends visiting the other night brought an interesting show & tell along: saint figurines they’d bought from gumball machines! For a mere 50 cents you could have your very own Virgin of Guadalupe, St. Anthony, or even JPII (John […]

“The Jesus of Bridesmaids”? Heigl’s ’27 Dresses’

posted by Donna Freitas

Finally, a fun (if formulaic) romantic comedy hits theaters after what seems an awfully long dry spell. It’s no shock that Katherine Heigl (recently, a real life blushing bride herself) lights up the screen and the humor in “27 Dresses” […]

Hijab Me Baby One More Time?

posted by Ellen Leventry

“Britney’s Shocking Decision” tempts the cover of OK! Weekly‘s cover this week. Apparently, we dear readers are supposed to be stunned – absolutely stunned — by the fact that Brit-Brit is trying to get pregnant again so that she can […]

Sister Nicole Kidman?

posted by lmarcus

The new Andrew Morton book about Tom Cruise has mostly gotten attention for its controversial claims about Cruise’s Scientologist beliefs. However, the book also sheds light on the beliefs of Cruise’s ex-wife, actress Nicole Kidman. The book alleges that when […]

U2 in 3D: Music to Change the World

posted by mkress

Unlike some of my colleagues here at Beliefnet, I am not a huge music person. I’ve got my favorite tunes and artists, but I don’t live and breathe music, there isn’t a soundtrack to my life constantly playing at home […]

Iraq Film Flim-Flam

posted by Paul O'Donnell

It’s become a truism that Americans don’t want to hear about the Iraq war, especially not in their entertainment. Last week Noah Feldman led off the New York Times Magazine with a piece bemoaning the lack of Iraq discussion among […]

‘Saving Sarah Cain': Fox’s Latest Look At Faith

posted by Kris Rasmussen

While Christian publishing has profited greatly from the trend of major movie studios looking to capitalize on the Christian marketplace, the average evangelical movie buff can’t say the same. Instead, we are treated to low-budget, unchallenging fare such as Fox […]

Models of Morality?

posted by Ellen Leventry

I can’t say that I watch the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency with any regular frequency, but when flipping by Oxygen, I will sometimes stop and watch the “world’s first supermodel” frantically trying to run her nascent business. In this weekend’s […]

Welcome to the Ice Floe, on HBO

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Assisted living sounds like a rational, caring way to tend to our old folks while giving them their independence. I won’t hear the phrase the same way after watching “Andrew Jenks, Room 335,” a new documentary that debuted on HBO […]

VeggieTales Founder Attempts to Serve God, Bring the Funny

posted by Paul O'Donnell

A New York Times News Service piece on VeggieTales founder Phil Vischer tells the tale of how his zeal to build a world-beating Christian media company overwhelmed both his connection to God and his management skills. “I had made the […]

Tom Cruise, Scientology’s Fundamentalist Spokesman

posted by mkress

Mark Oppenheimer has spent the past year reporting on Scientology, and his articles for The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and elsewhere are some of the most informative and balanced that you’ll find anywhere. Mark has now turned his attention […]

Is Suri the Test Tube Baby of L. Ron Hubbard? No, But Wouldn’t That Be Cool?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Andrew Morton, author of two biographies of Princess Di, is used to getting blowback from his subjects’ defenders. And he expected his new book on Tom Cruise to raise the considerable ire of both Scientology and Cruise himself. (His publisher, […]

Five Questions for… Carmen Rasmusen

posted by lmarcus

Carmen Rasmusen finished in the Top 6 on the second season of “American Idol.” A devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she and her values sometimes clashed with the expected behavior of a pop singer. […]

And Idol Chatter Predicts It (sort of): Haysbert Endorses Obama

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

We don’t often gloat here at Idol Chatter. But last week we published a post by guest blogger John Brooks, who wrote about Obama as “America’s Second Black President,” second to David Palmer, who rose to Presidential power via the […]

‘American Idol’ Inspiration

posted by mkress

Finally, ‘American Idol’ is back, with its new season kicking off tonight. If you’re a fan, check out our new ‘American Idol’ group to dissect the new season and talk about your favorite contestants from years past. Click here to […]

New Cruise Video Stresses “Responsibility” and “No Vacation”

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Last night, I saw this video celebrating Tom Cruise’s role in promoting Scientology to the world, in commemoration of his winning of the Freedom Medal of Honor award (a church honor). I understand that they were playing on “Mission: Impossible” […]

The Year of Jane Austen: “Persuasion”

posted by shuang

You have to love the British. And Masterpiece Theater (now just called ‘Masterpiece’). Masterpiece is devoting half a year to film adaptations of all six Austen novels and one biopic of Jane in her older days, “Miss Austen Regrets.” Starting […]

“Sarah Connor Chronicles”: The Savior as…Anti-hero?

posted by Donna Freitas

So what else am I going to watch during the writer’s strike? Of course last night I tuned in to Fox’s two-night, two-episode premiere of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” which supposedly picks up where “Terminator 2″ left off. (Where […]

“Wide Awake”: DVD Pick of the Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

New DVD releases have provided slim pickings for anyone looking for some quality movie watching, so I have decided to go back in time and mention a little-seen but favorite movie of mine that is great viewing for the whole […]

Scared Straight: Celebrity Rehab

posted by Ellen Leventry

What happens if someone made a reality show and it was too real to watch?That’s the thought that was running through my head last night while watching “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” on VH-1 last night. Yes, the network that […]

“Gossip Girl’s” Odd Valentine to Young Love Amid Shattered Purity

posted by Donna Freitas

The last episode of “Gossip Girl” was both strangely sweet and disturbingly harsh. One storyline had Brooklyn “Lonely Boy” Dan confessing first love for the unprepared, used-to-being-unloved Upper East Side Beauty, Serena–and spending an entire episode convincing Serena why his […]

Golden Globes Unplugged: More Authenticity, Less Hype

posted by Douglas Howe

I, for one, loved last night’s Golden Globes’ Awards presentation, even while everyone from entertainment television to fashion designers to hair stylists did not. The press conference style of handing out the awards was a wonderful change from the overdone […]

A. O. Scott’s Eclectic Advice on the “Family-Friendly” Film

posted by Donna Freitas

New York Times movie reviewer A. O. Scott makes a strange sort of case for this top six family-friendly films of the season. While he thinks “Enchanted” is pitch-perfect for his third grade daughter–it’s as if Disney tailor-made it for […]

This Just In: Scientology Uses Celebs to Draw Recruits

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The New Yorker magazine this week takes a peek inside the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre, the hulking but elegance Hollywood palace that serves as the church’s clubhouse for the likes of Tom Cruise, John Travolta and other Sci-celebs. Built […]

Top 10 Christian TV Characters

posted by mkress

When I wrote about my top 10 favorite Jewish television characters, the response was sharp and the debate robust. So, in these days of TV-strike doldrums, I figured it was time to come up with a list of the top […]

VeggieTales’ “Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” Does Just Enough

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The folks who bring you the Saturday morning Christian cartoon series VeggieTales make movies that appeal not just kids but, as the old Hebrew National kosher hotdog commercials used to say, “a higher authority.” They offer themselves as an alternative […]

Sneak Peek: ‘The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie’

posted by dross

In theaters on Friday, January 11, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie” tells the story of three pirate wannabes who go back in time to fight real pirates and becomes heroes in the process. It will be […]

Enter to Win a ‘Thou Shalt Laugh’ Trip to Hollywood

posted by dross

Our friends at Grace Hill Media are running an awesome promotion to celebrate the release of “Thou Shalt Laugh 2: The Deuce” which features stand up from Christian comedians. Just click on the graphic below and follow the instructions. You’ll […]

‘Vanaja': Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman in the Caste System

posted by Idol Chatter

“Vanaja” is a groundbreaking film about caste, culture, class and most importantly the feelings and emotions of a young mother, and a must-see for movie lovers and those who appreciate art and culture. Vanaja, the titular heroine, is a young […]

Girls of Riyadh: Modern Women, Traditional World

posted by Idol Chatter

Originally released in Arabic in 2005, the novel Girls of Riyadh or Banat al-Riyadh, was immediately banned in Saudi Arabia due to controversial and inflammatory content. Black-market copies of the novel circulated and the daring originality of Girls of Riyadh […]

Seeing Myself in “The Jewish-Americans”

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

It’s part heritage, part occupational hazard–but I have seen more than my fair share of documentaries about Jews. Many of them center on the Holocaust, or the post-Holocaust triumph and redemption earned through the creation of the state of Israel. […]

Cruise is Second Most Powerful Scientologist

posted by Kris Rasmussen

It’s no wonder the Writers Guild brokered a deal with actor Tom Cruise recently to make him the only studio head who can cross the picket line. According to Andrew Morton’s new book (Morton is best known for his Princess […]

America’s Second Black President? Barack Obama Follows President Palmer’s Path

posted by Idol Chatter

Young, bright-eyed, handsome and charismatic to the core; an optimist and a visionary with a profound ability to evoke a deeply rooted, and perhaps dormant, sense of populism in the hearts and minds of Americans. Yes, it has hardly gone […]

‘The Bucket List': A Year’s Last Resolutions

posted by Douglas Howe

The Holidays are over, but there’s still time to see one of the better holiday movies. And, it’s actually more relevant now (at the start of the new year) than it was over the holidays. The plot of “The Bucket […]

Dr. Phil Cancels His Televised Britney Intervention

posted by Ellen Leventry

Several days ago, when I asked if Britney Spears would be “saved” by Oprah, I was being facetious. But, as it turns out, I was being prescient. Over the weekend, Spears’ parents asked Oprah protégé, Dr. Phil McGraw to speak […]

Pie: Good for the Soul (and the Tummy)

posted by Donna Freitas

I feel especially qualified to spread the news about the opening of “Pie Bakery & Cafe” in Newton Center, Mass by two women piemakers, Ellen Kaplansky and Paige Retus. Not only do I stay in Newton a few days a […]

Exclusive Clip: ‘The Great Debaters’

posted by mkress

Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters” is still racking up critical acclaim and awards buzz, while seeking to build a bigger audience at the box office. The film tells the based-on-truth story of the debate team at a small African-American college […]

Britney’s Weekend: Post-“Standoff,” Flees Hospital, Rebuffs Dr. Phil

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Celebrities live in the glare of a harsh, unforgiving and unfair spotlight. But what the spotlight illuminates is often, ironically, the darker side of success, and exposes the inner workings of the human mind, which for all the exposure, are […]

Cruise and the WGA Reach a New Deal

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I have wondered often to myself in the last week how long it would take for another celebrity to borrow David Letterman’s strategy of creating an independent agreement with the striking Writers Guild of America so their production company can […]

Rebuilding Britney: Is Addiction More Acceptable Than Mental Illness?

posted by Ellen Leventry

What Halliburton of the spirit will win the bidding for the reconstruction of Britney Spears? The pop star was taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital last night for an evaluation after a bizarre standoff in which she refused to turn over her […]

Don’t Sell Denzel’s Faith Short

posted by Paul O'Donnell

You hardly need to be told that Denzel Washington is the son of a minister—it’s in the booming authority of his voice, and in the sense we have, from his complete absence in the tabs, that he’s a bit of […]

Mischa Barton–Praying for Forgiveness, or Forgetfulness?

posted by lmarcus

I believe the term “Celebrity Apology Tour” was coined after Hugh Grant went on every TV show possible to try and repair his image following his arrest for soliciting a prostitute. However, with most TV shows on hiatus or slowly […]

Letterman, Leno & The Writers Strike: Who’s Really Winning?

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Last night, I was doing a victory dance in my PJs as I watched David Letterman’s return to late night TV. I have not only become a rabid fan of the Letterman writers’ strike blog, where the writing staff of […]

The New Kissing Babies: Playing with the Band

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Planting one on the forehead of mama’s darling used to be the surest route to public office. These days, it may be playing with a talk-show’s house band. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on Leno last night, and though his […]

“Gossip Girl”: Ethical Dilemmas at St. Jude’s

posted by Donna Freitas

“Gossip Girl” is back! I can’t say I’m sorry that the first of my TV series addictions to return in the new year is this particular guilty, guilty, guilty new pleasure of mine. And after all the syrupy, happy endings […]

Preparing to Get “Lost” Again: Six Easy Steps

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Now that it’s 2008, we can finally say that new episodes of “Lost” are imminent. And by “imminent,” we mean the end of the month. If you’re a fan, you were likely shocked (in a good way) by the season […]

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posted 8:52:03am Jul. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Bobbi Kristina Brown Dies at 22
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posted 9:47:31am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

“The Great” Hope Hits Theaters Today
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11tsR0kI1ZQ&feature=youtu.be Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Billy “The Great” Hope, a junior middleweight boxing champion in “Southpaw.” Hope had all the riches he could dream of--a solid family and a ...

posted 10:20:53am Jul. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Becky Hammon Makes History Again
Becky Hammon made history again on Monday by becoming the first female coach to win a NBA Summer League Title, as she led the San Antonio Spurs to a championship victory at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League Championship. The Spurs first game ...

posted 8:08:40am Jul. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Caitlyn Jenner Receives the Arthur Ashe Courage Award
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sznBIipVekU[/youtube] The 2015 ESPY Awards recognized Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The award is a sports-oriented award, but is not limited to sports-related people or actions, ...

posted 9:26:34am Jul. 16, 2015 | read full post »

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