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Olympics Bring Love to Countries at War

posted by Douglas Howe

Ah, finally, day 4, and the Olympics have finally officially started for me. Nope, the run-up and the hype didn’t do it. Every sports event this side of the World Poker Championships has a big build-up. No, the opening festivities–while, […]

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Bernie Mac: Another ‘Done Too Soon’

posted by Douglas Howe

Add another one, Neil Diamond, to your “Done Too Soon” lyrics: Bernie Mac is gone at 50. Although he rose from a poor upbringing to become a household comedic name, there was always a sense that there was more genius […]

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Steven Curtis Chapman Inspires on Larry King

posted by Douglas Howe

Earlier this summer, a celebrity’s son ran over his daughter in a car. The daughter was killed. The son had to deal with the guilt. And, the celebrity is a Christian singer who is gifted, beloved and above reproach, a […]

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McCain and Obama’s Favorite Superheroes

posted by Douglas Howe

Presumed presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama have revealed their favorite pop culture icons, including superheroes, with McCain favoring Batman and Obama, Spider-Man and Batman, according to Reuters. I find myself asking two glaring questions: 1. Was this a […]

Christian the Lion

posted by Douglas Howe

Almost 40 years ago, some unbelievable events happened that, thanks to current technology, are now being broadcast to millions of people around the world. You’ll find this video to be as heartwarming as it is inspiring, reminiscent of rare privileges […]

Jib Jab–For You, Too!

posted by Douglas Howe

The spirit of Bob Dylan, Johnny Carson and political cartoonists everywhere is alive and well in the newest (and best) political satire entertainment on the web. The folks at Jib Jab have again risen to the challenge of creating political […]

John Mellencamp: L.E.F.T. in the U.S.A.

posted by Douglas Howe

There’s still a little bit of summer left, and if you can I encourage you to get out to a John Mellencamp concert, for at least three reasons. First, you won’t believe how many of his songs you’ll know, and […]

Stop The Presses…Positively!

posted by Douglas Howe

Stop the Presses! It’s headline time! Can you believe it?! Fuggettaboutit! USA Today ran two front page stories this week that–get this–involved no controversy, no negativity, no gossip, no political banter, no victims or villains and no one breaking the […]

The Last Lecturer Has His Last Breath

posted by Douglas Howe

One of the most inspiring people, who wrote one of the most inspiring books, as taken from one of the most inspiring lectures (now you’ve guessed him, right?) has passed away from pancreatic cancer. Neil should add him to the […]

Top 5 Election Season DVDs

posted by Douglas Howe

If the candidates’ shticks and the talk shows are boring you, why not spice up your election season–and start some smart conversations with those you love–by buying or renting one of my Top Five Election DVDs of All-Time. With respect […]

Reverend Oprah? Or Religious Overreaction?

posted by Douglas Howe

We’ve talked about Oprah here before, but we’re not in Nielson-ratings-land anymore, Toto, at least according to posts being circled and forwarded about the popular talk-show host and media entrepreneur. “One of the most effective proselytizers drawing Christians away from […]

Is It Now Okay to Swim Right After I Eat?

posted by Douglas Howe

We were Staycationers this past July 4 weekend, and tried something we hadn’t in a long time: we went looking for TV options, flipping the remote a little more than we’d care to and being mostly disappointed with what we […]

Here’s a Patriotic Movie Menu With Meaning

posted by Douglas Howe

If you want to save money on gas, money on tickets and even more money on popcorn and drinks at theater prices, the July 4th weekend is a great weekend to check out some of the great movies that carry […]

Generic Faith Will Prevail in Entertainment

posted by Douglas Howe

The Pew Forum released its second part of its landmark “United States Religious Landscape Survey,” and it explains quite a bit about why certain movies, TV shows, music and other media are well received while others are generally not. In […]

AFI’s Best Sports Movies List Missing Two Greats

posted by Douglas Howe

The American Film Institute’s “Top Ten Sports Movies” of all time features many that you’d expect but excludes two obvious choices that stand out by their absence and undermine the credibility of the list. “Raging Bull” was the top choice, […]

‘Get Smart’ and Wait for the DVD

posted by Douglas Howe

The newest incarnation of “Get Smart” contains two hours of the most intriguing plot twists and inspiring character development of any movie this year. Alright, would you believe an hour of inspiration wrapped by a surprise ending? How about two […]

AFI’s ‘Best Westerns’ List Loves the Oldies

posted by Douglas Howe

The American Film Institute recently named their “Ten Best Westerns” of all-time, and to say it is surprising it quite the understatement. There is one “Clint Eastwood” movie on it. There is only one movie that was made in the […]

AFI’s 10 Top 10s: Romantic Comedies

posted by Douglas Howe

The American Film Institute’s “10 Top 10” show–a three hour Prime Time special earlier this week–named the top ten films in each of ten genres and will give us good discussion fodder for awhile, especially if you’re a list person, […]

Celtics’ Celebration is a Bleeping Dud

posted by Douglas Howe

This year’s NBA Basketball Finals show was a big Prime Time event for ABC and ESPN. It was scheduled to go up against the other networks on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for two weeks. It went head-to-head against everything from […]

Memory Lane at the Movies Tonight!

posted by Douglas Howe

What’s your favorite “Gangster” movie of all time? What’s the best romantic comedy ever made? What movie best brought sports to life on the Silver Screen? What was the best Courtroom Drama? These and other questions will be addressed–and answered […]

AFI: The Best Fantasy Film of All Time?

posted by Douglas Howe

When the CBS network airs The American Film Institute’s “Top Ten” movies for every genre, one of the more interesting and popular choices will be for the “Fantasy” category. The ballot is a As the AFI says it, Fantasy is […]

AFI to Name Top Films by Genre

posted by Douglas Howe

One week from tonight, on the CBS network (not just cable, so this is a big deal!), the American Film Institute is naming its “Top Ten” movies—one from each genre—as part of its “100 Years, 100 Movies” campaign. The genres […]

It’s Time to Go to the Theatre!

posted by Douglas Howe

The summer conversations often go like this: “What are you doin’ this weekend?” “Goin’ to a show.” “Yeah, what movie are you going to see?” There was a time when “show” didn’t mean TV or the movies—it meant live people […]

What Indy’s ‘Crystal Skull’ Says About Us

posted by Douglas Howe

What’s with all the negative reviews for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”? It’s almost as if all of these critics have gotten older over these last 19 years! I think the most profound revelation about the […]

‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ May Be Robbing Us

posted by Douglas Howe

There’s a new release out that piled up well over $500 million—that’s “Fiiiive Hundred Meeeellion Dollarzzz”—in its first week of release, including a whopping $310 million in it’s opening day. What a blockbuster! But it wasn’t the new Indiana Jones […]

Neil Diamond is Actually ‘Pretty Amazing’ This Time Out

posted by Douglas Howe

A friend and I were chatting last week about singers and songwriters who’ve managed to change and adapt, aging gracefully while writing relevantly. James Taylor is one. Sting is another. The Eagles and R.E.M. also come to mind, as does […]

‘Baby Mama’ is Nice, Light Fare…and That’s About It

posted by Douglas Howe

I got out to see “Baby Mama” with my wife, daughters and son this weekend, and came away with these impressions: 1. This is most definitely a chick flick! The girls were giggling and occasionally laughing as if on a […]

NFL Draft: Booooooring!!

posted by Douglas Howe

I still don’t get the NFL draft as a TV event. But apparently I’m in the minority! “According to the NFL, more people will be watching the draft than the NBA playoffs when the two events are being aired at […]

2008: Sequels or Soap Operas?

posted by Douglas Howe

2008, more than any other year in a long time, will be remembered as the year of the movie sequel. I think it’s possible, though, that it should more accurately be described as the year of—are you ready for this?—The […]

How to Know What’s Premiering When

posted by Douglas Howe

With air travel and gas prices going north while housing values and income margins going south, perhaps this is a great summer for going to the local theatre. Sure, you may want to eat at home before plopping down the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

‘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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

Today’s Romney Speech: Must-See TV?

posted by Douglas Howe

Mitt Romney has a big televised speech today. Because there’s anticipation, intrigue and drama surrounding one of the more interesting TV speech events since Bill Clinton’s “apology,” this makes for great TV. Many politicos, evangelical leaders and media members have […]

Spiritual Reads For the Season

posted by Douglas Howe

There are many of us in the faith-based world who enjoy movies, music and culture with an eye and ear towards spiritual matters. This holiday season, why not forego a movie or two and pick up one of a number […]

‘BCS Selection Show’ More of a Sham Than a Show

posted by Douglas Howe

The most uninspiring show on television this weekend was the “BCS Selection Show” on Fox. No, I take it back. It was actually the most uninspiring show of the year. It wasn’t Fox’s fault. They just happened to be the […]

The Message in the Marathon: A Thanksgiving Thought

posted by Douglas Howe

Thanksgiving Day TV was filled with marathons. The western marathons. The “Cold Case” marathon. The Alfred Hitchcock marathon. Football marathon. “Charmed” marathon. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” marathon. While marathons may be really fun traditions, they don’t say much about […]

Steven Curtis Chapman: Share “This Moment”

posted by Douglas Howe

If you’re driving this Thanksgiving weekend, buy and listen to Steven Curtis Chapman’s first new CD project in three years, “This Moment.” SCC fans will love and appreciate this new collection of material that combines a fresh themes and lyrics […]

Top 10: Big Screen on the Small Screen for T-Day

posted by Douglas Howe

Thanksgiving weekend is a wonderful opportunity for us to be reminded of what we’re thankful for. As spiritually minded people, it’s also an important chance to reflect on who it is we’re thankful to. Then, it’s usually an awesome weekend […]

Is There ‘Wonder’ In ‘Magorium’s Emporium’?

posted by Douglas Howe

It was with high hopes for holiday fare and the memory of “Willy Wonka” and “ Home Alone II” that I anticipated the release of Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman in “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” Movies like this raise our […]

‘Tis The Season For…

posted by Douglas Howe

‘Tis the season for…Holiday Movies!! For some, Thanksgiving and Christmas are times to celebrate much that is sacred about our lives and culture. For some it’s a time that shows more than others that our culture is splitting apart in […]

“Hitman:” Sins or Sainthood?

posted by Douglas Howe

You’ve probably seen the trailers for the upcoming “Hitman,” due for release in theatres on November 21. Timothy Olyphant stars as Agent 47, a genetically engineered assassin, direct from the successful “Hitman” video game series. What caught my attention was […]

Top 10 Election Movies

posted by Douglas Howe

On this election day in many parts of the country—and with the presidential primaries on the horizon (and the front page), here’s my list of the Top Ten Election movies (that I’ve actually seen). I’ve evaluated them primarily on the […]

NBC: Goin’ Green This Week

posted by Douglas Howe

It’s been beautiful. It’s been a welcome change. It’s been a bit hokey at times. But all-in-all, NBC’s weeklong commitment to raising awareness of Global Climate Change has been in informative and inspiring addition to this week’s programming, highlighted by […]

My Top 5 Scary Movies of All Time

posted by Douglas Howe

The American Film Institute recently celebrated its 10th anniversary of “100 years, 100 movies,” a listing of its top 100 movies of all time. Since the start of the series, AFI has also cited movies that are inspiring, great movie […]

Why “Halloween” Was This Day’s Best

posted by Douglas Howe

Halloween is here and it’s a good day to give my five reasons why “Halloween” is the most inspiring Halloween movie of all time. “What?” you say, “How can a movie about Halloween be inspiring?” Here’s how: 5. “Halloween” was […]

“The Ten Commandments:” Where Are the Christians?

posted by Douglas Howe

Where have all the evangelicals gone? And for that matter, how about the Catholics? The Americans? Anyone who has remote respect for–and belief in–the Bible? Last week, I heard about a controversy over Disney Radio refusing to mention the word […]

Top Ten Robert Redford Inspirational Flicks

posted by Douglas Howe

With a new Robert Redford film (“Lions For Lambs”) coming out, I figured it was a good time to list the top 10 Inspirational films that he’s either been in, directed or produced. There’s been a lot of attention paid […]

Springsteen’s “Magic” Endures

posted by Douglas Howe

Bruce Springsteen’s “Magic” has been winning fans and critics alike in its initial weeks of release. Some are liking it for its inspiration. Some are wowed by his maturity. Some just love a grittier sound that’s closer to classic rock […]

‘The Ten Commandments’ News Roundup: God Gets Censored, and More!

posted by Douglas Howe

Wow! Another “Ten Commandments” movie is coming out and its getting a lot of buzz. For instance, “Hollywood Takes On the Ten Commandments” read the Yahoo headline. “Film producers take action with Oct. 19 animated release starring Ben Kingsley, Elliott […]

‘Peanuts’ Unshelled: New Biography Makes Schulz’s Darkness Visible

posted by Douglas Howe

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography isn’t the first biography about Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, but according to at least one review, it might be the deepest, and offer some insights into the spiritual journey behind the beloved comic strip. Charles […]

TV Land Promotes Family Dinner

posted by Douglas Howe

Did anyone join in TV Land’s third annual dinner-hour blackout last night? I did …sort of. The TV Land cable network sponsored its third annual “Family Day–A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children” last night. During the dinner hour […]

The “Essential” Jars of Clay Collection

posted by Douglas Howe

Jars of Clay recently released a retrospective called “The Essential Jars of Clay,” and unlike some retrospectives, this one is, well, essential. If you’re not a Jars of Clay fan, this is a great opportunity to get in on a […]

Get Inspired by Barry Manilow!

posted by Douglas Howe

When it comes to hot DVD box sets, one name I would not usually get excited about is Barry Manilow, who’s releasing an upcoming five DVD set. After all, I’m a guy! Seriously, I think Barry Manilow is one of […]

My Tribute to USA Today

posted by Douglas Howe

Unless you paid close attention, you may have missed the major cultural event that took place last Friday all over the country. What is it? Well, in a small box on the top–and in a small column at the bottom […]

The True “Lawrence of Arabia”: Tonight on PBS

posted by Douglas Howe

I hope you’ve had a chance to see one of the host of 9-11 memorials, retrospectives, and history shows that have been featured this week on nearly every network and cable station, including the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery […]

Punish the Patriots–Harshly!

posted by Douglas Howe

Football is everywhere these days, with games being played virtually every day of the week, televised nationally on cable and network TV. All the more reason for the NFL to set a dramatic precedent by dishing out an unparalleled punishment […]

Max Lucado Defines 3:16 and 9-11

posted by Douglas Howe

9-11 and 3:16. What do those two numbers mean to you? For Max Lucado and his publishing teams, the first is the release date of a host of new products, and the second is the product itself. “What if hope […]

Miss South Carolina: The Flub Heard ‘Round the World

posted by Douglas Howe

The speed at which a goofed statement can become national news reached new heights this weekend, as Miss South Carolina, Caitlin Upton, flubbed a question so badly at Friday’s Miss Teen USA pageant that it was a YouTube phenomenon over […]

Scarlett Johannson: A Refreshingly Non-Scandalous Star

posted by Douglas Howe

Here’s some amazing news from Hollywood: a young actress is emerging as a star and she hasn’t—repeat has not—been arrested…

Prince’s Take on the Bible

posted by Douglas Howe

And the newest televangelist is … Prince! Okay, not really. In fact, he’s really just a pop culture icon and singer who talks about his faith. And, okay, there’s probably quite a few religious leaders who would question his theology. […]

Casting Crowns’ New CD A Winner

posted by Douglas Howe

Their last two studio albums were platinum sellers and the Christian world–as well as many in the pop culture world–have been anxiously awaiting the newest Casting Crowns release, “The Altar and the Door.” An opportunity to win a pre-release copy […]

Little League Baseball: A Source of Inspiration

posted by Douglas Howe

When did the Little League World Series become such a pop culture phenomenon? And more importantly, why? There was a time when–once a year–the Little League World Series final was broadcast nationwide (and then worldwide) from Williamsport, PA. Now, it’s […]

“The Company:” Look for the Encore

posted by Douglas Howe

TNT’s “The Company” finally got interesting and spiritually provocative in its last show, after three weeks of hype and (in my opinion) underperformance. Really interesting. Really provocative. The three-week CIA show had a great cast, including Chris O’Donnell (“Grey’s Anatomy,” […]

“The Ultimate Gift” is Worth the Work

posted by Douglas Howe

Watch a clip from “The Ultimate Gift”:Movie Review:If you enjoyed the idea behind “Brewster’s Millions,” and can put up with the kind of preachiness that Steven Seagal (“One Deadly Ground“) and Michael Moore (“Farenheit 911“), then “The Ultimate Gift,” newly […]

Top Ten Most Inspiring On-Screen Presidents

posted by Douglas Howe

In this season of unending presidential coverage, debates, campaigning, newsmagazine teases, ad infinitum and ad nauseam, I figured it’d be a good time to reflect on some of the most inspiring presidents of our generation–on the big screen and the […]

‘Bourne Ultimatum': When Good Mixes with Evil

posted by Douglas Howe

“The Bourne Ultimatum” is a compelling movie that all general movie fans should see, that all action fans will love, and that lovers of the timeless story of good vs. evil should appreciate. It’s that good on so many levels. […]

BarlowGirl: Spiritual Songs with Purpose

posted by Douglas Howe

If you’re a person of faith looking for a great sound that you can share with your friends and kids–or if you’re a Christian who struggles to be bold and stand up for your faith–then BarlowGirl’s “How Can We Be […]

Stryper is a Christian Rock Band!

posted by Douglas Howe

Are there any Stryper fans out there? Or ex-Stryper fans? I’ll bet there are very few new Stryper fans, but I think I’m one of ’em, and you will be too if you pick up their new release, “Stryper—The Roxx […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

‘Evan’ is Cute but Not Quite Almighty

posted by Douglas Howe

If you’re a person of faith who loves any time when biblical stories make it into the mainstream cinema, then “Evan Almighty” is for you and everyone you can invite to go with you. But if you’re looking for great […]

Cleaning Up After the MTV Movie Awards

posted by Douglas Howe

Hallelujah! (And you don’t have to bleep that out!) After watching the rude-and-crude MTV movie awards and readying to post a blog that would have leaked a bit too much anger and frustration at what television is still becoming, some […]

Will Ferrell Hits the Web

posted by Douglas Howe

Will Ferrell just made a new movie for free, and 30 million people have already seen it. What? You didn’t see the trailer? You didn’t hear the build-up? Not much talk about it on E! or Premiere? Welcome to a […]

Turning Points for Lindsay, Britney, Paris?

posted by Douglas Howe

Lindsay Lohan was arrested again and is back in rehab. Britney Spears is blogging theology and confessions. Paris Hilton is talking about how much she dreads her upcoming jail sentence. Who decided that these women’s tales were newsworthy? I hope […]

“Pirates 3″ is Worth It, for the “Code”

posted by Douglas Howe

I have to disagree with my esteemed Idol Chatter colleague Kris Rasmussen as well as, for that matter, several other reviewers, including CNN’s Tom Charity, Rolling Stone’s Peter Travis, and Time magazine’s Richard Schigel, all of whom offered strongly negative […]

Who Represents Christianity in Hollywood?

posted by Douglas Howe

Beliefnet’s Dena Ross has a current story and gallery up, a feature on the Christian music artists. “According to Nielsen SoundScan, the Christian/gospel category was one of only four genres that saw its overall album sales grow last year,” she […]

Shrek (Yawn) the Third

posted by Douglas Howe

I really wasn’t too cynical about yet another mega-franchise sequel in this summer’s movie line-up. I wanted to be sure that I saw “Shrek the Third” with a lot of kids in the audience, including a few from my own […]

Who Will Not Replace Jerry Falwell?

posted by Douglas Howe

The fact that Jerry Fallwell’s passing is being treated as a major media event brings both a resounding affirmation of his impact upon the politics of our country as well as the compelling question about who will take his place–and […]

Watch Tonight: What Will the Future Hold?

posted by Douglas Howe

Tonight’s national 6:30 pm time slot features a potentially wonderfully new kind of drama. This one has to do with the future, but there will be no voting, no calling in, and no consolation prize of an appearance on Leno […]

‘Spider-Man 3′: Why So Dark?

posted by Douglas Howe

Spider-Man 3″ took a huge fall this past weekend. Sure, it took in $60 million, but that was a 60 percent drop-off from its opening weekend, which meant the hype and marketing worked great but the movie itself didn’t go […]

’24′: Brokenness Replaces Heroism

posted by Douglas Howe

A new kind of heroic character trait has emerged on “24:” Brokenness.Brokenness happens far beyond issues of ethics, morals, or even heroism. It’s the occasion of a life event that almost none of us would ever ask for but that […]

Election ’08: A New (Better!) Version of an Old Series

posted by Douglas Howe

One of the newest versions of an old TV series is off and running, and I think it shows signs of being the best its ever been–and the most faith-based as well. Like “American Idol,” the losers will dwindle towards […]

Good Guys Can’t (Usually) Play Villains

posted by Douglas Howe

Time Magazine’s current issue focuses on the many actors who are moving somewhat out of (typical) character to play villains this summer, and reflects on some of the more memorable villains of all time. James Franco will probably be the […]

Summer Sequels: The Good, the Bad, and the Good

posted by Douglas Howe

The summer movie season officially kicks off (are you ready for this?) a week from Friday! May 4th brings us Spider-Man 3—the summer’s first movie release, the first anticipated blockbuster, and the first sequel. Movie sites such as Moviephone and […]

Another “Fair and Balanced” Source?

posted by Douglas Howe

I read in USA Today that ratings for several top-rated shows are down, and it listed several reasons why, including Daylight Savings Time, DVRs, and long hiatuses. I think there’s one huge reason they missed: too many people are switching […]

CSI: Divorce

posted by Douglas Howe

Of the CSI’s (New York, Miami and Las Vegas) I believe “CSI:Miami” is either–depending on your taste–the most outrageous or the most prophetic. Last night’s show featured a future view on divorce that I wish would ignite a national discussion […]

’24’ is Finally Back and All About Choices

posted by Douglas Howe

For the first time in the current season of Fox’s “24,” the show finally became interesting again (at least for me) because it returned to the kind of ethical and moral drama that had made it great for its first […]

Jay Leno Shines for V-Tech–and is Misquoted

posted by Douglas Howe

At times of national crisis like this, it must be hard to be a professional comedian, especially one with a nightly show and millions of viewers. Luckily, Jay Leno is a class act who performed a courageous act at the […]

Firing Imus Wasn’t the Answer!

posted by Douglas Howe

Don Imus was fired–and I think it’s a travesty. I don’t have the same point of view as my esteemed Idol Chatter colleague Nicole Symmonds, who wrote that “you couldn’t have said a more racially-charged comment,” and “the apology is […]

Jesus and Religion are Everywhere This Week!

posted by Douglas Howe

It must be Easter, or Passover, or Holy Week, or Orthodox Easter … or at least Spring Break! I can always tell because there are two times a year (the December holidays and now) when spiritual issues rise to the […]

Redemption on Opening Day

posted by Douglas Howe

I echo Michael Kress’s post yesterday about giving thanks for baseball’s Opening Day. There truly is something refreshing–if not anti-climactic–about the first day of a 162-game season. Most of the country saw the primetime emotion in New York, but I […]

Biblical Redemption–And a New Risk–On ’24’

posted by Douglas Howe

President Charles Logan was among the most unattractive and disrespected characters ever to appear on the “24” series in all of its seasons. We expect the criminals to be vile, devious, and deviant, but Mr. Logan was the Honorable President […]

Before ‘CSI’ There Was … ‘Hawaii Five-O’

posted by Douglas Howe

Watching TV these days is sort of like a travelogue in prime time as the slick and trendy shots of Boston, Miami, Las Vegas, and New York are beamed into the homes of over-cubicled and under-vacationed Americans each night. These […]

Oscar’s Inspiring Moments!

posted by Douglas Howe

Big awards shows show us the human side of stars as they navigate spontaneous moments that can even make them nervous. That’s why we like Oscar night, which is the biggest of these. While the show itself may not have […]

Ellen was nice and…boring

posted by Douglas Howe

Being an Oscar host is a difficult thing. I’ve never done it, but I’ve met two of the three most successful ones ever, and they both told me it was among the hardest gigs they’d ever done. There’ve been a […]

Tom Arnold: Evangelical Preacher!

posted by Douglas Howe

“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” is not a regular show for me, but when Michael Kress, our Idol Chatter editor, told me about the “Brother’s Keeper” episode last night, I was inclined to watch, even though the “televangelist has secret […]

Shatner and Shore: The “Good” Lawyers?

posted by Douglas Howe

Just when I thought “Boston Legal” was going to forever fade into the kind of redundancy that was starting to plague this entire season, it took a nice break from some of the whimsical hijinks and sexual politics that have […]

These Guys Are Better Players Than Actors…

posted by Douglas Howe

…and that’s a good thing! The National Basketball Association and the City of Las Vegas’ tourism bureau went prime-time on TNT on Sunday night, and we found out that these players are clearly gifted for high levels of competition, but […]

Ready–and Not So Ready–To Make Nice

posted by Douglas Howe

It was a night for unity and positivity at the Grammys–except for one glaring omission! “The Police” got back together. African-American-Old-Guy Stevie Wonder won with Older-White-Guy Tony Bennett. Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around” featured a white guy singing with a […]

Some Good Political News?!?!

posted by Douglas Howe

The national reality show that is our national political stage plays on several cable news shows and network news and newsmagazines. There was a great plot twist–and the deepening of a main character’s character–that went largely overlooked last week, which […]

NFL = No Free Lunch

posted by Douglas Howe

When economics meets the spiritual journey, economics wins–at least as far as the NFL and its lawyers are concerned. And that’s a shame. The Bears-Colts match-up included a wonderful and historic storyline, as the first Super Bowl ever to have […]

No Awards for the Oscar Campaign Process

posted by Douglas Howe

The Oscars are fun—in fact they’re one of our family’s favorite nights of the year. We have three girls who (along with my wife) love the fashion show, while my son and I mostly laugh at that part while enjoying […]

Hoorah for The State of the Union!

posted by Douglas Howe

Hoorah for the State of the Union! Three Cheers! It’s the best TV I’ve seen in months, and it almost made it worth the pre-empting of Boston Legal! (I said almost.) Cheer #1—Decorum. Our country has rarely been more divided […]

Conan’s Bit on Homo-Jesus

posted by Douglas Howe

On this week in which we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am growing tired of the disrespect that is tolerated in our culture–and even promoted–toward an individual who has had a far greater effect on the spiritual lives […]

Memo to CNN: There’s No ‘EvangeliPope’

posted by Douglas Howe

I think the media has been propagating a dramatic myth for a long, long time and it does a disservice to our culture and our country. I wish someone would please tell them that I am not an EvangeliCatholic, although […]

Jack’s Back and Giving Like the “Tree”

posted by Douglas Howe

Donna Freitas is a gifted writer of spiritual insight, but her recent blog posting is dead wrong (literally) on both “24” as well as Shel Silverstein’s wonderful book, “The Giving Tree.” If you missed it, “24’s” two-night debut again showcased […]

“Jack is Back”

posted by Douglas Howe

“Jack is back,” or so the commercials promise. Next Sunday, Season Six of “24” kicks off during its traditional slot right after Fox-TV’s playoff coverage. It will be eight days short of eight months since the last original episode of […]

The “Good Shepherd” Generation

posted by Douglas Howe

I liked “The Good Shepherd” and enjoyed Ellen Leventry’s Idol Chatter review of it, with one main point of disagreement. Where she saw it as perhaps an incomplete movie about the CIA, I thought it was a thorough–if not ingenious–look […]

“I’m Sorry” is Big Business

posted by Douglas Howe

One more follow-up to CNN’s “Most Controversial Celebrities of 2006“: Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears not only provided non-stop fun and follies on which a starving (or bored) cultural audience feasted, but something else far more […]

A “Night” to Change Some Lives?

posted by Douglas Howe

While some reviewers panned it, I thought “A Night at the Museum” was full of surprises. The advertising run-up to this movie made it seem like it’d be sort of an indoors version of “Jurassic Park,” and the first several […]

The Ford Legacy the Media Missed

posted by Douglas Howe

President Ford’s death has set off a week of reflection and commentary regarding his presidency and predictions about his lasting legacy. I’m sorry that one of the prime stories about his life has not been overly reported, and I understand […]

Is Meaningless Controversy Even a Controversy?

posted by Douglas Howe

One of the most interesting–albeit meaningless–awards of the year comes from CNN Headline News’ “Showbiz Tonight,” which names its “Most Controversial Celebrity” of the year. For 2006, Britney Spears won out over the likes of Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, Tom […]

“Rocky Balboa” Packs More Than a Punch

posted by Douglas Howe

If you’ve seen all the other family movies this season–or even if you haven’t–take your teens or even your grown kids to see “Rocky Balboa.” It may end up being the kind of bonding that goes beyond inspiration to transformation. […]

Um, About That Missing Family Movie?!

posted by Douglas Howe

Like a lot of people, I love lists, and I love the Beliefnet team of gifted bloggers, writers, and editors, but I have to say it’s a glaring oversight that “The Nativity Story” doesn’t make the list of Top Ten […]

Christmas and College Sports: Bah Humbug!

posted by Douglas Howe

I’m writing this after having just turned off the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) Selection Show, that is airing in prime time on the FOX, even though there’s still a half-hour left to go. The show’s now on its fourth commercial […]

Go See ‘The Nativity Story’

posted by Douglas Howe

If you care about spirituality, go see “The Nativity Story.” Much of the film is more understated and muted than the typical church Christmas celebration and may challenge some of the holier-than-thou notions we have of some of the Biblical […]

Missing the Purpose of Nativity … and Obama

posted by Douglas Howe

First, there is the news that religious groups are feeling pressure about not pulling their support for “The Nativity Story” based on lead actress Keisha Castle-Hughes being pregnant out of wedlock. Then comes the news that Rick Warren, author of […]

James Bond in a New Wineskin: The True Christmas Spirit

posted by Douglas Howe

The current James Bond movie is clearly different from most of the other 23 Bond (21 official) movies. The actor is different. The tone is different. The villain(s) is (are) different. There’s no “Q,” and though “M” is the same […]

Elton John’s Hatred

posted by Douglas Howe

I read Kris Rasmussen’s blog piece as well as the rest of Elton John’s religion-bashing interview, which has been all over the media the past couple of days, and I was stunned at what he doesn’t realize about, well, himself. […]

Football Prayers & the NFL’s Absent Cameras

posted by Douglas Howe

What’s the deal with the networks not wanting to show prayers on sports television? What is so bad about athletes trusting in–or at least pursuing–God? After each game, when the fans are filing out of the stadium and the networks […]

Heaven, or Someplace Closer

posted by Douglas Howe

While combing this morning’s shows for traffic and weather before heading to work, I stumbled onto Matt Lauer on “Today” doing reports on faith, heaven, and religion live from the Holy City of Jerusalem. I was struck by how interesting […]

“Santa Came!” And Polls Have Just Opened…

posted by Douglas Howe

The truest “reality TV” of all commences today, as the news networks are lined up for our viewership as much as the candidates are seeking our vote. Why? Because the drama of the entertainment portion of today overlaps with the […]

Best Word on Haggard

posted by Douglas Howe

Yes it’s election day and the Ted Haggard story news cycle has probably (hopefully?) run its course. But after the treatment on CNN and Fox, Leno and Letterman, and just about every other news and comedy outlet, I found the […]

The Ted Haggard Story: It’s Culture, Not Christianity

posted by Douglas Howe

If you watch the news, read the paper or log onto Beliefnet for news, you’ve heard about Colorado’s Rev. Ted Haggard and his indiscretions. My heart goes out to him, his family, his congregation, and his friends, some of whom […]

What’s the Best Halloween Movie?

posted by Douglas Howe

There are “scary” movies, and then there are “Halloween” movies, and then there are “scary Halloween movies.” With all respect to well-done “scary” movies such as “Silence of the Lambs,” “Psycho,” “Alien,” “The Shining,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” the original “Nightmare on […]

The Culture of Entertainment News

posted by Douglas Howe

There’s a new version of an old mini-series that’s sure to be a ratings grabber for the next week or so. The stakes are high, the subplots are numerous, and the cast features old stars and emerging new characters. As […]

Finally! A Relevant Campaign Commercial

posted by Douglas Howe

Blogging about negative campaigning could seem as old and trite as blogging about taxes: There’s a sense that it’s never gonna change. We even have news networks whose bias is so pervasive that their negativity (or positivity) about certain causes […]

It’s True Spirituality, Live at “Studio 60″

posted by Douglas Howe

After three weeks, here’s my spin on “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip:” It’s about redemption. And it’s awesome. Aaron Sorkin has long been successful in creating compelling and entertaining investigations into the humanity of characters who inhabit noble roles. […]

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

Phil Vischer and Creative Trust Partner for New Series
"Galaxy Buck" is the first narrative video series that Phil Vischer has launched within a decade. The Galaxy Buck space trilogy series will feature the popular characters from Vischer's bestselling series Buck Denver Asks...What's in the ...

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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