Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

End Times for Hal Lindsey?

posted by burb

The bestselling non-fiction author alive has lost his television show. The Trinity Broadcasting Network, the nation’s largest Christian broadcaster, has suspended “The International Intelligence Briefing,” starring Hal Lindsey, whose apocalyptic book “The Late Great Planet Earth” has sold some 30 million copies and served as the template for the “Left Behind” fiction series. Lately most of Lindsey’s intelligence (as well as his most recent book) has worked to equate Islam and terrorism. As TBN has extended its reach overseas, including to the Middle East, it blanched at Lindsey’s insistence that the only Muslims who rejected violence had yet to read the Qu’ran.

At first, TBN said Lindsey’s show was being preempted by Christmas programming. Only later did a TBN executive admit that Lindsey’s program “placed Arabs in a negative light,” a waffle that has contributed to the idea among the most conservative Christians that TBN, operated by Christian broadcasting pioneers Paul and Jan Crouch, has lost both its moral compass and its stomach for conservatism. (“Is this the end of TBN?” asks one blogger.) Lindsey countered yesterday by quitting TBN, but his widespread support, and his plans to find an outlet for his new show, “The Hal Lindsey Report,” suggest a feud may be brewing in Christian media circles.

Countdown to the New Sopranos Season

posted by donna freitas

I’ve been told by just about everyone and their mother (quite literally) that HBO’s “The Sopranos“–starring James Gandolfini as New Jersey mafia boss Tony Soprano and Edie Falco as his wife Carmela–is the best show on television. Better than “The West Wing”? I have to say, I can’t imagine that’s possible. But after many years of resistance and despite the violence and contsant trips to the Bada Bing (a strip club they love to hang in, so not my thing), I decided to take the plunge and take part in HBO’s “Countdown to the Sopranos.” Starting in December, HBO released Season One to On Demand viewers, followed by Season Two yesterday, and so on and so forth until March 2006, when the long-awaited new Season Six finally airs (fans have been waiting almost two years now).

And I have to admit, now that I’m a little more than halfway through Season One and racing to watch all 13 episodes before getting too behind on Season 2′s release, I’m hooked. I’ve decided I’m in it for the long haul, between the utter complexity of Tony Soprano’s character–good-guy/caring family man/guy who’ll “wack” just about anyone who gets in his way–and the growing tension between Carmela and Father Phil, her confessor and the local parish priest, and all the hilarious Italian references and commentary that anyone growing up in an Italian family can’t help but recognize and love (that would be me). A total of 65 episodes, I figure there will be plenty of time between waiting for new episodes of “The West Wing” and the start of “24″ once again on Fox to catch up.

One of the highlights so far is in Episode 9, “Boca,” when Tony thrills at a moral milestone in his life: He resists doing serious violence to a man who is hurting his daughter Meadow and her friends–and instead turns him into the police. Perhaps there’s hope for Tony yet.

WWCD: What Would Casanova Do?

posted by donna freitas

It’s no joke: Heath Ledger–in the new movie “Casanova,” playing the absolute antithesis of his role in Brokeback Mountain–actually utters the line, “What would Casanova do?” in an attempt to give an aspiring lover-boy advice and inspiration about how to get women into bed. Whether the allusion to WWJD is intentional or not is unclear, but I laughed out loud in the theater when Ledger delivered it.

Unlike Kris Rasmussen, my fellow blogger who reported going 0 for 2 in Christmas week movies (disliking both “Rumor Has It” and “Cheapter By the Dozen 2“), I had a bit more success. “Casanova” is a fun farce with a fantastic cast (Oliver Platt, Sienna Miller, Lena Olin, Jeremy Irons, and did I mention Heath Ledger?). Since legend has it that Casanova was quite the lady’s man of 18th-century Venice, and his name is known to us only by way of his fame as a seducer, you’d think the movie Casanova would be all about sex, sex, sex. But it’s not. Though there are certainly allusions to a good deal of sex, this movie is more about the romance that Kris complains is lacking in so many recently released movies. And a good deal of ridiculousness, swordfighting, and other fun things to watch on the big screen.

So if you’re looking for romance, Casanova gets an A in my book. (Getting to watch Heath Ledger on screen as a romantic lead for 105 minutes also gets an A as well.)

What Might Have Been: A Look Back at the 2005 That Wasn’t

posted by kris rasmussen

Just in time to start the new year off with a laugh, I stumbled across a funny article from the Associated Press. The writer’s premise was that the major moments in pop culture for 2005 could all be traced back to one significant event: Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch. If that one event had not happened, we would have had a completely different year of entertainment–no Paris Hilton engagement, no Russell Crowe arrest, etc. It’s a complicated theory, so I won’t go into the details, but in the spirit of that idea, I thought it would be fun if I came up with my own list of what could have or should have happened in entertainment in 2005 and how the year might have been different. I invite my fellow bloggers, and all our readers, to offer their own lists.

Instead of “Insider” host Pat O’Brien being interviewed post-rehab by Dr. Phil, he’s interviewed by the Reverend Billy Graham and has a profound religious conversion experience. “The Insider” promptly changes its format to replicate “The 700 Club.”

Jude Law actually attended a Promise Keeper conference in an effort to convince fiance Sienna Miller to reconcile after his, um, indescretion. However, Sienna Miller read my fellow Idol Chatterer Donna Frietas’s book “Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise” and had a revelation–she doesn’t need Jude Law for anything.

Hoping to demonstrate the need for religious understanding and tolerance, Donald Trump created yet another reality show where people of various religious faiths compete against each other in a variety of tasks to see who can recruit the most converts to their religion and become the next… “Apostle.”

In an effort to shut up “D List” star Kathy Griffin, numerous movie stars such as Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt got together and unanimously voted to promote Griffin to the ”A List,” causing Griffin’s Bravo series to be cancelled and her career to disappear.

Feel free to add: Ashlee Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, Jen and Ben Part 2, and many others are out there….

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