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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

January 1970 Archives

Ashley Cleveland’s Latest: ‘God Don’t Never Change’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

The other day I discovered the best pick-me-up-to-beat-the-work-week-blues ever. The news that put a smile on my face was that Christian rocker Ashley Cleveland has finally announced the official release date of her new album “God Don’t Never Change.” While […]

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A.J. Jacobs’ Exegesis: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You?

posted by Donna Freitas

I see Esquire’s beloved writer A.J. Jacobs as a stunt man of a certain sort: he picks a crazy project with a beguiling, humorous hook–one of my favorites was when he “outsourced” his life to India, including arguments with his […]

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Is Jon Gosselin Cheating? New Photo Emerges

posted by dross

Things that make you go “Ewww.” Reality TV dad and alleged philanderer, Jon Gosselin of TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ is getting sleazier by the day. As I mentioned back in March, Gosselin was reportedly crashing college parties, getting […]

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Inspired by Susan Boyle–The Top 10 Movie Underdogs

posted by Kris Rasmussen

With “Britain’s Got Talent” turning Susan Boyle into an international household name overnight, I have been thinking a lot about other great underdogs, real and fictional, that have captured my heart and mind over the years. As a society we […]

Is Tupac Alive?

posted by dross

In the world of music and pop culture, the question “Is Tupac really dead?” will generate as many answers and explainations as “Is there a God?” and “What’s the meaning of life?” Everyone has an opinion. According to media reports […]

‘Family Guy’ Clip: Meg and Kirk Cameron

posted by idol chatter

In this funny clip from “Family Guy” Meg, who is sick in bed with the mumps, watches evangelical Christian actor Kirk Cameron talk about God.Check out our video interview with Kirk Cameron.

10 Most Inspiring Baseball Movies of All-Time

posted by Douglas Howe

CNN recently invited its I-reporters to opine on the greatest baseball movie of all time to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of “Field of Dreams” and “Major League.” At least one of those two is a must for your DVD collection. […]

Wynonna Judd on Her New CD, Death, and Dreams

posted by Douglas Howe

Wynonna Judd is celebrating her 25th anniversary in the music industry. She released a new CD called “Sing: Chapter 1″ in February, which includes cover songs from some of her favorites including Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” […]

‘Weeds’ Creator, ‘Tara’ Producer, and the Hebrew Mamita Take on Images of Jewish Women in Media

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

If you’re a consumer of media and you’ve never met a Jew in real life, you’re likely to think all Jewish women are superficial busybodies with New York accents or yiddishe mommas trying to match up their daughters with single […]

A Good Read: ‘The Last TV Evangelist’

posted by Douglas Howe

There’s a new book out that may provide some of the most compelling reading in years for those who are interesting in spirituality, pop culture, and faith-based television. “The Last TV Evangelist” is authored by Phil Cooke, a veteran producer […]

Marlon Wayans Signs on for ‘Year of Living Biblically’

posted by Douglas Howe

Several insider websites including comingsoon.net, themovieinsider.com, and cinematical.com are reporting that A.J. Jacobs’ book “The Year of Living Biblically” is being made into a movie. And, for some real fun, they’ve signed Marlon Wayans to play the lead role. This […]

Is the Christian Music Industry Dying?

posted by Douglas Howe

Recently I was checking some concert schedules to see if my favorite Christian musicians are touring this summer. My family and I love Third Day’s current stuff and we’re nostalgic for the likes of Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis […]

Watch Clip: ‘Angels & Demons’

posted by dross

In this clip from the upcoming Ron Howard film, a priest talks about the war the Catholic Church is fighting with the Illuminati and how “science and religion are not enemies.” “Angels & Demons” hits theaters May 15. For more […]

‘Gladiator’ as Robin Hood? A New ‘ Star Trek’?

posted by Douglas Howe

For movie fans who love a truly inspiring movie, there are some wonderful and curious upcoming mega-films for which I’m still awaiting my Premiere invitations. (See more upcoming trailers on Premiere.com.) First up is “Star Trek,” the prequel that brings […]

April Showers Bring Rainy Movie Scenes…

posted by Douglas Howe

Well here we are in the midst of “April showers” which I hope will soon give way to “May flowers,” as well as a whole lotta sun! But while it’s wet, it’s also a good time to curl up with […]

Miss California Appears at the Dove Awards

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Miss California, Carrie Prejean, may have lost the Miss USA title for explaining her opposition to same-sex marriage, but it looks like she’s gained a new gig as Christian idol. After appearing on Fox News, NBC’s “Today” and other talk […]

Rev. Timothy Wright Tribute

posted by dross

Many today are mourning the loss of gospel music star and pastor Rev. Timothy Wright, of Grace Tabernacle Christian Center in Brooklyn, NY, who has died of injuries sustained in a car accident last year that killed his wife and […]

Watch Sneak Peek: Michael J. Fox’s ‘Adventures of an Incurable Optimist’

posted by dross

In an ABC primetime special, actor Michael J. Fox talks about what he’s learned in his battle with Parkinson’s Disease, what optimism means, and how it’s a force in our lives. The special airs Thursday, May 7.

‘Father Roy': My Online Movie Pick of the Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

For quite some time now I have periodically posted DVD picks about little heard of films that are then released on DVD , but now with the burgeoning world of online access to movies, I may have start posting an […]

‘Baby Shaker’ Baby Killing App Pulled; Violent Video Games Still Popular

posted by dross

Even if you don’t own an iPhone or iTouch you’ve probably heard about the plethora of “apps”–downloadable programs–created for the iPhone. There are apps to help you find recipes, get directions, read books, and up until earlier this week, practice […]

‘State of Play’ Pays Homage to a Time Gone By

posted by Douglas Howe

I was engaged, thrilled, and entertained while watching the wonderful “State of Play” recently. And whether it was the Easter season on my heart or some classic traditions on my mind, it hit me that “State of Play” is as […]

Tony Dungy’s ‘Off-field’ Coaching Career

posted by Douglas Howe

How wonderful to see the choice for the cover story at USAtoday.com–and on the cover of Monday’s print editions! Tony Dungy, former Super Bowl coach of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts made headlines not for what was happening on a football […]

‘Angels & Demons,’ and Spiritual Questions Thereafter

posted by Douglas Howe

Having lived for quite a while in the wonderful media city of beautiful Downtown Burbank, I got to play men’s league basketball with “The DaVinci Code” and “Angels & Demons” director Ron Howard and his brother, Clint. Ron was known […]

Richard Jenkins as ‘Pray’ in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’?

posted by Douglas Howe

How does a long-time-clean-square-white character actor get selected to play one of the most complex roles to come down the pike in a long time? Such is the crazy business of movie-making, especially when it comes to movies where faith […]

Ron Howard Responds to Campaign Against ‘Angels & Demons’

posted by idol chatter

Director Ron Howard has recently come under fire from Catholic League president William Donohue because of his new film, “Angels & Demons,” based off the Dan Brown best-selling mystery fiction novel–the prequel to “The Da Vinci Code.” In a recent […]

Bono: The New Religion Opinion Columnist of The New York Times?

posted by Donna Freitas

Bono of U2 is certainly known for his works (of activism, that is) and his music has always been known for its Christian influence–but Bono the Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times? Taking a place alongside the likes of […]

Perez Hilton vs. Miss California: And the Crown Goes To…

posted by Ellen Leventry

I’m all for gay marriage and I love me some Perez Hilton, but I have to take exception with the “gossip gangstar”s’ vitriol during the whole Miss California gay marriage answer brouhaha. During Sunday night’s Miss USA competition, the very […]

Susan Boyle or Paul Potts?

posted by Donna Freitas

Like the rest of the world (or most of it), I am obsessively following talk of Susan Boyle–her glorious singing voice and her inspirational story (though I am the avoiding makeover talk because it is unfortunate and unnecessary.) And I’m […]

Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci’ Sequel Due in September

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Word is out from Random House yesterday that Dan Brown’s sequel to “The Da Vinci Code,” titled “The Lost Symbol” and featuring “The Code’s” main character Robert Langdon, will be released in September. Five million copies are planned. The new […]

A ’24’ Update: Good Drama and Good Questions

posted by Douglas Howe

As “24” wraps up “Day Seven” and as a matter of business, “Day One” after a writers’-strike-induced 19-month absence from its regular Fox slot, the questions remain: How will this day end? Has the show regained relevance? And, I believe, […]

Jon & Kate Plus Sustainabilit-eight

posted by Ellen Leventry

Just last week I was bemoaning the fact that shows featuring abnormally large families, at least by today’s standards, such as “18 Kids and Counting” and “Jon & Kate Plus Eight” are sending irresponsible signals in an era striving for […]

Adam Lambert Sings…in Hebrew

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

America loves Adam Lambert. As well they should, because the dude has serious stage presence and amazing vocal range and energy. But what many “Fanberts” (I’m coining that phrase now) might not have known is that he can also take […]

Why Does Susan Boyle Need a Makeover?

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Along with the rest of America, I was immediately captivated by Susan Boyle’s inspiring performance on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Yet I am equally as dismayed at how quickly the discussion of Ms. Boyle’s extreme makeover has taken off. What made […]

Hulk Hogan Leans on His Faith

posted by dross

Wrestler and reality TV star Hulk Hugan has been in the news a lot the last couple of days for a quote he recently gave Rolling Stone magazine during an interview about his pending divorce from wife Linda. The quote: […]

Susan Boyle’s Makeover

posted by dross

As was to be expected, now that overnight singing sensation Susan Boyle has won over the hearts of the “Britain’s Got Talent” judges–as well as almost anyone who’s seen her performance–many are speculating that the show’s producers are going to […]

Kevin Roose’s Excellent Evangelical Adventure

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Kevin Roose was a junior at the Ivy League’s Brown University when he convinced his parents and his college dean to let him take his semester “abroad” at Liberty University, the conservative Christian school founded by the late Rev. Jerry […]

Interview: Nicole Beharie of ‘American Violet’

posted by Nell Minow

“American Violet” is based on the true story of a woman who helped to expose corrupt and racist law enforcement in her Texas community with the help of the ACLU and local counsel. Dee, the lead role, is played by […]

New ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’ Trailer

posted by dross

Everyone’s talking about the new trailer for the next “Harry Potter” movie. What do you all think? Post your thoughts below

Inside TV’s Best 50 Dramas

posted by Douglas Howe

AOL’s Inside TV has announced its choices for the “50 Best TV Dramas Ever.” Which would you choose? From “House” at #50 to “The Sopranos” at #1, the popular blog scoured the decades and actually accomplished a rare task, in […]

Watch Trailer: ‘The Stoning Of Soraya M.’

posted by dross

In this film adaptation of the novel of the same name, an Iranian woman (Shohreh Aghdashloo) tells the story of her niece’s violent death to a journalist (Jim Caviezel). The film opens June 26.

Jamie Foxx Disses Miley Cyrus

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I both accept and ignore the insatiable need of some media to scrutinize and criticize celebs like Miley in hopes that they will fall, but I really don’t understand when one celebrity trashes another. No I am not talking about […]

Susan Boyle Stuns ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ Audience and Even Simon Cowell

posted by Douglas Howe

The evening and morning news shows–as well as 5 million YouTube viewers–are abuzz over a lesson we all need to learn. And the first live audience was enthusiastically willing to do so, as their judgmental laughter and eye-rolling turned into […]

John Mayer Attracted to Jessica Simpson’s ‘Spiritual Side’

posted by dross

Reason #759 to hate John Mayer. According to sources who spoke with the New York Post’s Page Six, When Mayer and Simpson were dating, he was really with her for her looks and preferred it when she was quiet. John […]

What Is Your Favorite Movie of All Time?

posted by Douglas Howe

Has anyone ever asked you: “What is your #1 favorite movie of all time?” It’s a challenge to choose, isn’t it? Or maybe for you, it’s not. Post yours below if you can think of it. This week, Turner Classic […]

God Made Me Film It? ‘Audience of One’

posted by Donna Freitas

Over a decade ago, Pastor Richard Gazowsky, the focus of a new documentary called “Audience of One,” heard the voice of God, and God told him to make a movie (the audience of “One” is, of course, God):”The Lord spoke […]

Watch Exclusive Clip: ‘American Violet’

posted by dross

In “American Violet” a young African-American single mother, Dee Roberts, who lives in a small Texas town is wrongly accused of a major crime and fights to clear her name. In this clip, she asks her lawyer if her lawsuit […]

Lindsay Lohan’s eHarmony Profile

posted by dross

No word yet on whether Lindsay Lohan is still converting to Judaism, since her break up with girlfriend Sam Ronson. But one thing’s for sure–the girl’s got a great sense of humor.Created in conjunction with the hilarious website Funny or […]

The Duggars and Environmental Sustainability

posted by Ellen Leventry

It’s no surprise that Josh Duggar, the oldest child of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s 18 children, and his new wife Anna have taken up the family tradition of being in the family way (the couple announced Anna’s pregnancy yesterday) […]

‘Twilight: New Moon’ Gets New Cast Member

posted by Donna Freitas

Everyone is abuzz every time a new member of the ever-expanding cast for “Twilight” is announced. This time, on Sunday everyone was talking about Michael Sheen, the British actor who got the part of Aro, the head vampire of the […]

The Intrigue of William Lobdell’s ‘Losing My Religion’

posted by idol chatter

By Chris Sagona I felt instant foreboding when I ripped open an orange Fed Ex package two weeks ago and saw that the next book I was being asked to review was called “Losing My Religion.” It wasn’t just the […]

Godwink Stories with SQuire Rushnell

posted by idol chatter

Best-selling author and storyteller SQuire Rushnell–yes, that’s a capital Q– launched his popular Godwink Stories™ on Beliefnet this week. Look for his twice-weekly video vignettes that will lift your heart and make you smile. A “godwink” is what some people […]

Is LeBron James Jewish?

posted by mkress

LeBron James, basketball phenomenon…. and a Member of the Tribe? I often tease my people about our collective obsession with the question of whether this celebrity or that is Jewish. But this one is a real mystery, and a big […]

Mel Gibson and Wife to Divorce

posted by Douglas Howe

I was discouraged to hear the news of Mr. and Mrs. Mel Gibson’s pending divorce. Robyn Gibson signed the paperwork last week, the day before Good Friday. Mel must have had a different kind of passion this Easter. The Gibsons […]

Easter Made the TV News!

posted by Douglas Howe

Of all of the Easter traditions on television, I hope a new one was born this past weekend. Easter came to network television, and I hope it continues for years to come. On just about every weekend since the 60’s, […]

Inspiration from the Masters, and Then…

posted by Douglas Howe

One of the most inspirational and highly watched events of the television sportscasting year took place Sunday, as the Masters beamed out from Augusta to a staggering number of interested homes on Easter. Ratings for the first days of the […]

Nellie Oleson Strikes Back

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

A few weeks ago, we shared the news that everyone’s favorite prairie tomboy, Laura Ingalls–and her alter ego, Melissa Gilbert–were hitting the road with a touring company of “Little House on the Prairie: The Musical,” a show of great nostalgic […]

Tips for Decorating Easter Eggs

posted by dross

This year when it comes time to decorate Easter Eggs, I am going to put aside the vinegar scented PAAS (sorry PAAS!) and pick up some colorful glitter, paint, and rubber bands. Yes, rubber bands. I just read this great […]

Dog Yoga? Oh No.

posted by Donna Freitas

Tell me it ain’t so. Tell me that the next yoga craze does not have to do with people and their dogs on those little, squishy mats. And what if you owned a giant, chocolate lab? How would the two […]

Bruce Cockburn’s Offering a New ‘Slice O’ Life’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I returned to folk artist Bruce Cockburn’s music a couple of years ago when he released“Life Short Call Now,” one of the best recordings I listened to that year. Now Cockburn has a new two CD live set called “Slice […]

Kristin Chenoweth’s Questions for God

posted by idol chatter

Actress Kristin Chenoweth, known for her roles in “The West Wing” and “Pushing Daises,” as well as her extensive work on stage (most notably as Glinda in Broadway’s “Wicked”) has a new book out April 14, “A Little Bit Wicked: […]

‘House’ Loss is White House’s Gain and Offers Valuable Lessons

posted by Ellen Leventry

Apparently the signs pointing to actor Kal Penn’s eventual political career were pretty evident: his character in the “Harold and Kumar” series craved White Castle hamburgers and he played a doctor on a show called “House,” clearly portending an eventual […]

Billy Ray Cyrus Talks About the Evils of Hollywood

posted by dross

Actor and “Achy Breaky Heart” singer Billy Ray Cyrus has seen a resurgence in his career, thanks to daughter Miley Cyrus, who stars in the Disney Channel series “Hannah Montana,” where she plays a girl leading a double life as […]

Music Video: ’20 Things To Do With Matzah’

posted by dross

In honor of Passover, check out this hilarious (and well done!) music video detailing all the wonderful things you can do with unleavened bread.

10 Ways Passover is Like ‘Lost’

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

This Wednesday night, Jews worldwide will sit down for the Passover seder, an organized meal with a set order of rituals and readings, which are compiled in the Haggadah. At our seders (Jews outside of Israel generally have two), I […]

In the Age of ‘Gossip Girl,’ Kids Need Empathy Lessons

posted by Donna Freitas

The CW series “Gossip Girl” has not only made sniping–among both the younger sexes–ubiquitous, but it’s glamorized it, too. It’s not that middle school and high school students never talked behind each other’s backs before, or but the internet has […]

Pro/Con Views About New Series: ‘Kings’

posted by Donna Freitas

Given that NBC’s new series, “Kings,” is lifted straight from the Old Testament, it’s more or less a feast for religion scholars and for “religiously minded” folks when it comes to pop culture. Even though we might agree that “Kings” […]

Another Opening Day is Here, and Thank God for It

posted by mkress

Despite the rain pouring down here in New York City, despite the recession, despite the unsettling feelings pervading so much of our lives these days, another Opening Day is here for Major League Baseball. And not a moment too soon–a […]

National Poetry Month: Wendell Berry’s ‘Wild Blessings’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Beliefnet has begun its celebration of National Poetry Month and while I love poetry, in trying to think of a poet to write about for Idol Chatter, I came upon a favorite of Crunchy Cons, the egrarian philosopher/minister Wendell Berry.I […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Star Trek’

posted by dross

In this J.J. Adams directed sci-fi film, we learn the backstories of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) from the original “Star Trek” series. The film hits theaters May 9.

Download a New Sam Phillips Song for Free

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I recently posted a list of songs to celebrate the coming of spring, but I am already going to alter that list and add one more song. One of my favorite artisits, Sam Phillips, is offfering a free download of […]

‘Pedro': AIDS as a ‘Real World’ Disease

posted by Ellen Leventry

Pedro Zamora, the HIV-positive, AIDS activist from MTV’s “The Real World: San Francisco,” broke new ground when he made the courageous decision to have his life televised and become the “face of AIDS” for a generation. Unfortunately, the new MTV […]

5 Favorite Movies For Holy Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

In the final days leading up to Easter, it is, of course, common to bring out the biblical epics on film such as “The Ten Commandments” or dramas like “Ben-Hur.” You may even have the stomach to watch “The Passion […]

New Yankees Retrospective Details Last Season at Historic Stadium

posted by dross

As a Yankees fan, I was thrilled when a gorgeous new coffee table book, “The Final Season: The Official Retrospective” by Alfred Santasiere III and Mark Vancil came across my desk. The book details the final season at the original […]

Watch Clips: ‘VeggieTales: An Easter Carol’

posted by dross

In these three clips from the “VeggieTales: An Easter Carol” DVD, Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and an angel named Hope show Uncle Nezzer what Easter is really about. The full movie will be broadcast on the Gospel Music […]

‘Guiding Light’ Will Shine No More

posted by Kris Rasmussen

The announcement yesterday that CBS cancelled the soap opera after airing over seventy years of shows wasn’t a surprise but it certainly is a watershed moment in pop culture. Gone are the days of marketing drama in the afternoon to […]

Review: ‘They Killed Sister Dorothy’

posted by Ellen Leventry

We all know that sustainability is a serious issue, but the documentary “They Killed Sister Dorothy” reminds us that it is deadly serious. A Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur nun from Dayton, OH, Dorothy Stang spent 30 years working […]

Watch Exclusive Clip: ‘Faith Like Potatoes’

posted by dross

In this behind-the-scenes clip from the film “Faith Like Potatoes,” based on the book by Angus Buchan, Buchan talks about a time when his Christian faith was put to the test by his Zulu neighbors. The DVD hit streets on […]

Celebs Stump for Autism Awareness

posted by dali

In case you haven’t heard already, April is Autism Awareness month and today is World Autism Awareness Day. It’s a developmental disorder/cause that’s near to my heart since my husband and I have been helping our eight-year-old son manage and […]

Celebs Use Reverse Psychology as Fundraising Pitch: ‘Don’t Give’

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

You’ve heard of reverse psychology? Telling someone not to do something you want them to do it, or to do something you don’t want them to do, with the result that whatever you tell them, they do the opposite. Perhaps […]

Top 10 Songs to Celebrate Spring Fever

posted by Kris Rasmussen

To say I have spring fever right now is an understatement. I still have snow outside my window but no, I cannot see Russia from my house. Spring still seems a long way away to me even though it may […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Where the Wild Things Are’

posted by Donna Freitas

Coming this October, one of my most favorite and classic picture books of all time is being brought to the big screen, “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak. This beloved story of Max, who at bedtime one night […]

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'Where Hope Grows' is a Much Watch
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