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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

February 2008 Archives

USA Today Gives It to Oprah’s ‘Give’

posted by Douglas Howe

Robert Bianco’s review in USA Today does something almost unheard of in today’s media: it rips into Oprah Winfrey! He hints at the “horrifying” and “stomach-churning” as he describes her new entry into the prime time TV market. Oprah is […]

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Where The Heck is ’24’?

posted by Douglas Howe

Some TV shows are making their way quickly to post-strike prime time. Some are taking awhile and some are in limbo. There are even websites where you can go and weigh in on your opinion. But one show that is […]

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A Biblezine for the Hip Hop Crowd?

posted by Donna Freitas

I am continually fascinated by what is now an industry onto itself with Thomas Nelson’s Biblezines. Biblezines are more or less what they sound like: bibles (usually the New Testament) packaged in a glossy magazine format filled with full color […]

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Angelina Jolie and Aishwarya Rai: Long Lost Cousins?

posted by Idol Chatter

Angelina Jolie and Aishwarya Rai, among the most beautiful women in the world, have always been compared because of their looks. Now they are both back in the news for a different reason. They are being looked at as possible […]

‘Relentless': Natalie Grant’s Latest Album Rocks

posted by Kris Rasmussen

To be quite honest, sometimes I find it a little difficult to distinguish between one pretty, young, new contemporary Christian female artist and another. I miss the days of Leslie Phillips, Jennifer Knapp, and Maggie Becker at her best. So […]

Watch Kirk Franklin’s New Music Video: ‘Declaration (This Is It!)’

posted by dross

Check out gospel artist Kirk Franklin’s new music video, “Declaration (This Is It!)” off his album, “The Fight of My Life.” And be sure to check back with us in March when we feature an interview with the popular Christian […]

Are You a (Fashion) Goddess?

posted by Donna Freitas

In the article, “The Greek Ideal” the New York Times spring Women’s Fashion magazine includes a fun survey of popular Greek Goddesses like Aphrodite (Goddess of beauty and desire) and Hera (Goddess of marriage) but with a twist. In addition […]

The Outrageous Idea of William F. Buckley

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The name of his first book, “God and Man at Yale,” sounds so hidebound and culturally clueless, even for the early ’50s, that it’s hard to imagine that William F. Buckley, who died this morning, made his reputation on it. […]

Liked ‘The Matrix’? Join the Religion of Matrixism!

posted by Donna Freitas

As a professor at Boston University, occasionally I (and my colleagues) get email blasts advertising a new movie that’s coming out that might be of interest to members of the department, or even a non-BU lecture or art exhibit. But […]

The Press and Celebrity Voyeurism

posted by Donna Freitas

Last weekend I was encouraged to see the New York Times article “Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Will Be Hounded,” which poses the possibility of a double standard in the way the press persecutes girl-celebrities like Britney Spears and Lindsay […]

Rev. Rick Warren, the ‘Celebrity’

posted by Douglas Howe

There’s a new kind of media emerging, the kind related to much of what Beliefnet offer, and a window into what will probably be a major future trend. The Washington Post and Newsweek have teamed up for “OnFaith,” advertised as […]

Listen to ‘Unbreakable’ by Fireflight

posted by dross

Due to the Writers’ Strike, filming of new episodes of last fall’s Bionic Woman was put on hiatus. However, now there’s rumors that the show may cancelled, though NBC has yet to confim this. One thing is for sure though, […]

The Spirituality of ‘Spice’?

posted by Ellen Leventry

When it was suggested that I write about attending the Spice Girls reunion concert in terms of spiritual experience, I scoffed a bit. As enduring and as deep as my love of Ginger, Sporty, Scary, Posh, and Baby is, I […]

Larry Norman: Don’t Believe What You Hear

posted by Paul O'Donnell

You may hear today about Larry Norman, who died last night at age 60. You’ll hear that he was the “Father of Christian Rock,” or that he was the genre’s Bob Dylan, or that with his death a chapter in […]

‘Truthlessness’ Reigns on ‘Moment’

posted by Ellen Leventry

Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness,” and now I would like to expand the lexicon with my own truth-based contribution, “truthlessness.” What is truthlessness, you ask? Well, it’s just what it sounds like, truth coupled with ruthlessness, the finest exemplar […]

Definitely, Maybe’ is a New Sort of Second Chance Flick

posted by Donna Freitas

I finally saw “Definitely, Maybe,” starring Ryan Reynolds as a just-divorced and lonely Dad (who turns out to be a great romantic lead) and the ever-adorable Abigail Breslin as his daughter who longs to fix his broken love life. It’s […]

Beliefnet Writer Wins Entertainment Journalism Award

posted by dross

We would like to extend a big congratulations to writer Sara Shereeb Bakhshian, who just won 2nd place in the LA Press Club’s 1st Annual National Entertainment Journalism Awards for Best Online Feature Story. Bakhshian’s piece, “Must-Believe TV,” which covered […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns’

posted by dross

In Tyler Perry’s new movie, “Meet the Browns,” a single struggling mother, played by Angela Bassett, meets the family she never knew after the death of her father. Watch the trailer below. rev; http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1422585174http://www.brightcove.com/channel.jsp?channel=1351363375 // By use of this code […]

Want a Virgin Mary Pretzel?

posted by Donna Freitas

In case you were interested in purchasing the Virgin Mary’s miraculous appearance in what most Americans consider mall food or a sports event snack–a giant soft pretzel–you are out of luck. Four radio hosts at a popular station in Oregon […]

The ‘Other’ Oscars Were So Much More Inspiring

posted by Kris Rasmussen

The Oscar broadcast last night was okay. Too many montages and a few upsets in my predictions (rats!). Stewart was funny, but it wasn’t his “A” game (The best line being “‘Atonement’. Finally a movie that captures the raw passion […]

80th Oscar’s Top Ten Most Inspiring Moments

posted by Douglas Howe

Each year at the Oscars there are goof-ups and fashion slips, which make for lots of water cooler banter the next day. But for me, the most lasting moments are the most inspiring ones. This was certainly the “year of […]

The Best Line You Didn’t Hear at the Oscars

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Blogger and fantasy author extraordinaire, Jeffrey Overstreet, came up with a brilliant joke last night as he blogged the Oscars. If only he could have IM’d it to John Stewart so he could have used it. Jeffrey, in referencing “Wicked” […]

Miley Cyrus Says Her Destiny Is To Bring Hope

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I’ll be honest. The whole Miley Cyrus phenomenon makes me a little nervous. Not even Hilary Duff at the height of her “Lizzie Maguire” fame was invited to present at the Oscars and do a sit down with Barbara Walters, […]

‘Is That How They Reverberate in Universal Harmony in Memphis?’

posted by vreiss

It’s a slushy Friday here in NYC, making it extra-nice to find this bit of breaking news in my inbox: Phil Jackson Yells At Pau Gasol’s Ch’i Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, evidently incensed over new acquisition Pau Gasol’s inability […]

Blind Boys of Alabama Go Down to New Orleans

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Spending five decades on the black gospel circuit is called paying your dues, but now that mainstream success has come for the Blind Boys of Alabama, they aren’t thinking about paying themselves back. As they sing in their new CD […]

‘This American Life’ DVD: The Valedictorian of Reality TV

posted by Todd Havens

Major confession: if I have ever listened to National Public Radio’s “This American Life” series (hosted by show creator Ira Glass), it was only at the prodding of a friend who insisted I check out a specific episode or because […]

Ledisi’s ‘Lost and Found’ Is a Find

posted by Douglas Howe

In her third album, 2007 Grammy Award Nominee Ledisi promises “fiery vocals, funk-up rhythm and absolute soul.” And in her 14 full tracks (and two mini-tracks) that make up “Lost and Found,” she delivers. As one of Billboard Magazine’s “Top […]

My Predictions for Oscar

posted by Kris Rasmussen

The movie geek in me loves the idea of posting my Oscar predictions every year here at Idol Chatter, so that I have the opportunity to feel either smug or chagrined over my prognosticating prowess. However, this year I feel […]

‘The Final Inquiry’ Starts a Good Conversation

posted by Douglas Howe

To me, the title sounded something like an inquest into the Kennedy assassination or the 9-11 Report, but from the first scenes, “The Final Inquiry” clearly takes us back to biblical times, complete with thieves on a cross, a solar […]

Scientology Blocks Sales of E-Meters on eBay

posted by Ellen Leventry

As Americans, we expect three simple things: Life, liberty and the right to pursue happiness by selling things on eBay. But Scientology is standing in the way of that American dream, reports Scott Pilutik on RealityBasedCommunity.net. It seems that the […]

Britney, the Media, and McCarthyism

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Portfolio magazine blogger Jeff Bercovici calls the current state of Britney Spears a “Joseph Welch moment,” referring to the U.S. Army attorney who effectively put an end to McCarthyism in the 1950s by publicly shaming anti-Communist crusader Sen. Joe McCarthy. […]

Dog’s Out of the Doghouse: ‘Bounty Hunter’ Returns

posted by dross

Duane “Dog” Chapman–who you either know as the cool guy who catches criminals with the rest of his family, on the hit A&E show “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” or as that guy who was outed by the National Enquirer for […]

“There Will Be Blood”: The Most Over-Hyped Oscar Contender

posted by Kris Rasmussen

The only movie I haven’t been able to cross off my Oscar nominated must-see list has been the dark, sweeping, would-be epic, “There will be Blood.” I’ve had plenty of opportunities to listen to the rave reviews as well as […]

Politico Pop: Purloined Campaign Anthems

posted by Ellen Leventry

There’s a serious ethical issue that surrounds this year’s presidential campaign. No, it’s not pulling out of the war in Iraq or universal healthcare, but a little thing known as campaign music clearance, a point illustrated once again by Democrat […]

Last Chance to Vote in the Beliefnet Film Awards

posted by dross

Sure, you’ve heard of the Academy Awards–and maybe even the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards–but what about the Beliefnet Film Awards? Every year, Beliefnet honors the best spiritual films, performances, and documentaries in our very own feature. Now’s your chance […]

The Top 20 Most Appalling TV Shows

posted by Douglas Howe

Entertainment Weekly’s current feature—the Top Twenty Most Appalling Shows Ever—provides a reminder of how bad television can get. No matter how bad we’ve gotten in this writers’ strike, it’s actually been worse while the writers were available! (Though not by […]

What American Muslims Want to Tell the World

posted by dali

Fifteen years ago I hardly analyzed what it meant for me to be an American Muslim. I was Muslim, I was American, it was difficult at times being both. But hey, it wasn’t that big a deal. And when I […]

Top 5 Worst Romantic Comedies

posted by Kris Rasmussen

As a singleton who recently survived one of my least favorite holidays, I know this list is going to sound incredibly jaded. But I am not bashing all romantic comedies.There is nothing wrong with an occasional harmless diversion into that […]

A Next-Generation Idol Chatter Blogger

posted by mkress

A picture too cute not to share: my daughter, the pop-culture junkie, reading Entertainment Weekly at the tender age of 13 months. Look for her to join the roster of bloggers at Idol Chatter c.2026.

Science Takes Another Hit in ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics gnash their teeth a lot about how Hollywood corrupts youth and demoralizes the faithful. But if it’s true that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, Hollywood and conservative Christians, who’ve both been putting […]

‘House’s’ Portrayal of Chasidic Jews

posted by Idol Chatter

For a long time now, Chabad, along with many others concerned about the subtle and not-so-subtle influences of pop culture, has been unequivocal about television watching as a harmful, mind-numbing pastime. But that didn’t stop the medium from turning its […]

‘Star Wars’ Wasn’t Made for Cartoons or TV!

posted by Douglas Howe

Unless you’ve had your head in the cosmic dust, you’ve probably heard that the next movie in the “Star Wars” series is due out this August. And, you’ve heard of the two potentially controversial decisions made by creator George Lucas. […]

Writers’ Strike Ends, But It’s Not All Good News

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Yes, it is official that the Writers Guild of America has reached an agreement with Hollywood producers to go back to work, and while I join my fellow blogger Donna in celebrating that the writers’ received at least some of […]

Where Have Baseball’s Heroes Gone?

posted by Douglas Howe

The beautiful American Dream of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet turned briefly into a near-nightmare today as one baseball’s strongest candidates for “hero” status—Roger Clemens—went before Congress to defend himself from allegations that he has used steroids to […]

Sanctus Real: ‘We Need Each Other’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

It is a trend of many Christian music groups these days to find a niche in the mainstream market and distinguish themselves with an edge that helps distance them from that dreaded Contemporary Christian Music label. Pop rockers Sanctus Real […]

Bollywood’s Reincarnation Story is an American Hit

posted by Idol Chatter

At the outset it’s just another Bollywood (India’s version of Hollywood, if you didn’t know already) love story–running around the trees, dancing, fighting villains, costume changes, catchy songs. The perfect formula for an expensive, highly marketed, typical Bollywood movie. It’s […]

Christian Music Artists Share Dating Disasters

posted by Idol Chatter

With Valentine’s Day this week, expectations are high to pull of a perfect romantic date. With that in mind, I asked some Christian artists to share their all-time worst dating disasters. “My husband Joel was a busy youth pastor so […]

Hollywood’s ‘Anonymous’ Scientology Protest

posted by Kris Rasmussen

A few weeks ago here at Idol Chatter we posted about Anonymous, a group of internet-based folks dedicated to exposing the lies of Scientology. Well, Saturday was declared an official day for protesting Scientology and according to reports by the […]

Praying to Save Britney

posted by lmarcus

Most of us are on Britney Spears Information Overload these days, and Idol Chatter is no exception. Some people simply turn off the TV when they hear the troubled star’s name mentioned. But some have gone one step further–rather than […]

Manga Bible Hits Shelves

posted by Donna Freitas

A number of graphic novelists have taken on the Bible in the last several years. Check out “Marked” by Steve Ross, which takes on the Gospel of Mark in both imagery and Word, and pubbed from Seabury books in 2005. […]

Amy Winehouse: The Spirit of the Grammys

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Amy Winehouse was not only the big winner at The Grammys last night, she was kind of a mascot for a broadcast that, as The New York Times pointed out today, were oddly haunted by loss. Video-ported in from London […]

The Grammy’s Gospel Segment

posted by dross

In what was one of the highlights of last night’s Grammy Awards, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin performed a moving deut of “Never Gonna Break My Faith” with gospel star BeBe Winans. In addition, gospel artists The Clark Sisters, Trin-I-Tee […]

My Top 3 Grammy Moments

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I don’t usual watch the Grammys but something about this year’s nominees and the promise of some legendary match-ups on stage (Aretha and BeBe Winans, Beyonce and Tina Turner) made me want to tune in. And while I am sure […]

“Eat, Pray, Duck!”

posted by Paul O'Donnell

I bought my wife “Eat, Pray, Love” thinking the spiritual travelogue (and runaway bestseller) by Elizabeth Gilbert would match well with my beloved’s belief that travel to exotic climes is essentially a spiritual endeavor: hers is the Church of the […]

Praise God! The Writers Strike is (Almost) Over!

posted by Donna Freitas

Glory be, hallelujah! The headline on the front page of the New York Times yesterday was, and I quote: “Writers Reach Tentative Deal With Producers.” Michael Cieply reports: An end to Hollywood’s long and bitter writers’ strike appeared close, as […]

“The Assassination of Jesse James…”: DVD Pick of the Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

There are very few Westerns that I have been able to sit through, much less actually enjoy, and at two-plus hours I didn’t think I would really make it all the way through the latest adaptation of the life of […]

Jaime Jamgochian Shows Fans How To Hear ‘Above the Noise’

posted by Idol Chatter

How can you hear God above the din of your daily life? That’s a question acclaimed worship artist Jaime Jamgochian (pronounced “jam-GO-shzun”) asked herself as she prepared to record her sophomore album from Centricity Records. Her 2005 debut album “Reason […]

Listen to Family Force 5’s ‘Face Down’

posted by dross

If you’re a fan of the rap rock/nu metal sound, you’ll like Family Force 5, formerly known as The Phamily and The Brothers. I’ve just been introduced to their music, and I must say, they’re winning me over. They sound […]

“Oswald’s Ghost”: Anatomy of a Haunting

posted by Todd Havens

One day, while casting a reality show in Dallas Texas several years back, I happened to drive our rental car down Elm Street in Dealey Plaza. Thinking I was touring a random downtown street, I quickly recognized the distinctive white […]

Celebrity, Spirituality, and the Maharishi

posted by Ellen Leventry

Apparently retirement does equal death, even for world famous gurus who once tirelessly toured the world like a rock star, spreading his message and hobnobbing with celebrity seekers. Less than a month after announcing his retirement from handling the daily […]

A Story of Forgiveness, Humor, and Courtroom Violence

posted by Douglas Howe

One of the more profound news stories of the day surfaced this morning via a clip on the MSNBC website and “The Today Show.” I was struck by the ugliness, the beauty, the comic relief, and the missing link. There […]

Something Completely Different: “Life of Brian” on DVD

posted by Paul O'Donnell

I go beyond a cliché when I say that Monty Python’s “Life of Brian,” finally out on DVD, couldn’t be made today: not because the theocrats have won, but because the anti-Christians take themselves so seriously it’s hard to imagine […]

“House”: Dr. Yahweh?

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Television’s crankiest yet most lovable doctor, Gregory House, has finally returned with fresh episodes, and last night’s storyline proved that the doc is an equal opportunity religious offender. House has mocked Christians many times for faith in a God who, […]

My New Frenemy: Famed Singer-Songwriter Donovan

posted by mkress

Here at Beliefnet, we’re frequently asked to comment in the media about religious happenings and headlines, and this morning I was a guest on the local NPR station’s “Brian Lehrer Show,” discussing the death of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The other […]

Beatles Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Dies

posted by dross

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who introduced the Fab Four, as well as a number of other celebrities, like Mia Farrow and David Lynch, to the benefits of Transcendental Meditation, has died. Check out the 1968 video clip below where the Beatles […]

50th Annual Grammys Spotlight Gospel (What Is Gospel, Anyway?)

posted by dross

This Sunday night, February 10th, the music industry will hand out top honors when CBS airs the 50th annual Grammy Awards. I don’t watch award shows, but this is the 50th anniversary of the Grammys, after all. There’s plenty of […]

Supermodel Shalom Harlow’s Percussion Meditation

posted by Donna Freitas

The “Possessed” column in last Sunday’s New York Times Style Section has Shalom Harlow waxing (not so poetically, but still) about her meditation habits and percussion instruments–which include both tapping (as in tap dancing) and playing the drums. Harlow says […]

Losing Faith in (Movie) Romance?

posted by Donna Freitas

I’m an unabashed devotee of the Religion of Romance, but I must admit, the last year’s cinema offerings (or lack of them) left me a bit spiritually starved. As far as straight-up romance goes, I can’t think of a single […]

Listen to ‘Walk the World’ by Charlie Hall

posted by dross

In case you haven’t heard, today marks the release of the new praise and worship compilation album, “God of This City,” by Passion, a group of Christian musicians and speakers that form the Passion movement. Included on the album are […]

NFL Brothers and USA Founding Fathers

posted by Douglas Howe

Every network that broadcasts live TV sports offers several versions of pregame shows, which are usually pretty boring. They serve as great fare for those in sports bars, people having parties, and lonely types who have nothing else to do […]

David Beats Goliath: Super Bowl is #1 Reality TV!

posted by Douglas Howe

In the growing (and potentially nauseating!) world of reality TV, yesterday’s Super Bowl once again proved that professional sports are still the absolute best reality TV programming on the air. And, occasionally, it’s not only entertaining, but inspiring, as in […]

In the Political Blogs, It’s “Juno” vs. “4 Months”

posted by Paul O'Donnell

When is a Romanian movie about abortion in the dark days under Communism not about Romania or Communism? When it opens in the United States, where abortion and childbirth is not only a political issue, but a hot topic in […]

5 Christian Bands Making a Splash in The Mainstream

posted by Idol Chatter

Switchfoot and P.O.D helped pave the way for Christian artists to cross over into the mainstream market. Here are five more acts that got their start in the Christian industry but are currently making a splash in the mainstream: 1. […]

The Patriots, Superbowl Sadness, Jinxes, and Superstitions

posted by Donna Freitas

I may live in Brooklyn, but during the college semester I head to Boston three days a week to teach at Boston University, and today is a day of mourning in this city. The Patriots’ Perfect Season hopes were dashed […]

Ben Stein: The Michael Moore of Darwinism?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The culture wars have officially gotten too complicated for me. Ben Stein, a Nixon Republican–as well as a game-show host and financial columnist–has made “Expelled,” a documentary defending the rights of neo-Creationist scientists to question the arguments of neo-Darwinians. Roger […]

Former ‘Clean Flicks’ Owner Caught in Dirty Dealings

posted by Kris Rasmussen

It was only two years ago that federal courts ordered two DVD rental companies that specialized in distributing “scrubbed” versions of movies (in other words, movies that have had all offensive content such as profanity and nudity removed) to cease […]

Nuns Painting Nudes Advertisement Causes Stir in Boston

posted by Donna Freitas

Equinox Fitness Clubs–a national chain of workout clubs that are almost as common on NYC blocks as Starbucks–have only one outpost so far in Boston. However, it’s already causing quite an unhappy stir among some Boston Catholic folk. In order […]

Can ‘Truth’ Literally Set You Free?

posted by Ellen Leventry

There was a time when the lawyers and PR firms of those accused of crimes and misdemeanors asked that their clients not be judged in the court of public opinion but given a fair trial in a courtroom far from […]

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posted 9:53:33am Apr. 24, 2015 | read full post »

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

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