As if it isn’t enough to be badgered by paparazzi and crazed fans, now David and Victoria Beckham, Britain’s celebrity royals, are reportedly being fought over by Tom Cruise and Madonna. Does Tom want the soccer phenom to star in his next movie? Nope. Does Madonna want the former Spice Girl to do a duet? Nope. According to MSNBC.com’s The Scoop, Madge and Tom are waging a battle to win the super couple over to Kabbalah and Scientology, respectively.
Pictures of Posh with Cruise’s fiance, Katie Holmes, have been splashed all over the celebrity gossip magazines for the past few months. But it seems that Jewish mysticism is winning out: Those same tabloids are now carrying pictures with Mrs. Beckham sporting the red string bracelet popular among Kabbalah enthusiasts.
“Perhaps Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie have the edge,” Rick Ross of Cultnews.com tells Scoop, “since Ritchie after all is a Brit and his wife keeps a house in the English countryside.”
Perhaps Madonna and Cruise should just get together and form a religion called Sciencabbalism. Maybe then they’d finally land America’s celebrity royal, Oprah–who according to reports, has so far been able to resist the efforts of both the couch jumper and the Material Girl.
The category “Christian rockers whose band is not Christian”—think Scott Stapp, or P.O.D.–is getting less exclusive every day. But at least one band is willing to sue to get on it. Mute Math, a Louisiana prog-rock group, is suing Warner Brothers for labeling them a Christian band. Headed by Paul Meany, formerly of the out-Christian act Earthsuit, Mute Math played to raves at Christian festivals over the summer and opened for Mae, a Christian band, last fall. But when Warner released their EP on its Christian subsidiary, Word Records instead of one of their mainstream labels, the band balked, first putting their full album out on a label co-owned by Meany called Teleprompt, then filing suit.
Naturally, the band’s move has bred resentment in the evangelical ranks that calling any entity Christian is a litigatable offense. But think of the upside: the case may yield a court-approved definition of the term “Christian band.” A Mute Math spokesperson sketched out a sort of negative definition in saying what Mute Math is not: “Mute Math is not a worship artist. They don’t preach from (the) stage. They don’t preach in their interviews.” That’s a start. But Meany himself intimates there’s more to the distinction when he told Billboard, “I had no desire to be the Christian version of a real band.”
Tangos and foxtrots are hot, hot, hot once again, thanks to shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and movies like “Mad Hot Ballroom.” And now you can take a spin around the dance floor with a new movie that celebrates life, death, and a mean quick-step. “Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School” was the big crowd pleaser last summer when I saw it at the Waterfront Film Festival, and the film is finally releasing in theaters nationwide this weekend–only 15 years after producer Randall Miller originally shot the story as a short film with the same name.
“Marilyn Hotchkiss” tells the story of Frank Keane, a recently widowed breadmaker (played by indie film favorite Robert Carlyle), who is making a delivery run one day when he comes across a terrible car accident. He stops to help the man in the wrecked car (John Goodman) but then recklessly promises the dying stranger that he will honor the man’s final wish by keeping an appointment the man had with a childhood sweetheart at a place called the Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School.
Though the childhood sweetheart never shows up, Keane is drawn to the slightly eccentric atmosphere of the school as well as the oddball characters he meets there. He begins to take dance lessons and becomes an immediate hit with the ladies there–though the other men in the class have a different take on Keane’s sudden appearance on the scene. From there, he begins a slow process of healing, as he begins to fall in love with a woman, Meredith (Marisa Tomei), he meets in class.
“Marilyn Hotchkiss” might be too sweet or sentimental for some and a few of the plot points are a little implausible, but what I liked best about this movie–in addition to the phenomenal supporting performances from such unlikely actors as Donnie Wahlberg—is the way it represents the process of grieving. All of the characters in this movie are grieving the loss of something–a spouse, a reputation, a leg–and in the process of wallowing in that grief, they have become disconnected from the world around them. “Hotchkiss” celebrates the uneven, uncomfortable growth each character experiences as he or she takes a leap of faith by once again daring to accept the unconditional love of another–a risk that in Mariyln Hotchkiss’ world is only slightly greater than the risk of embarrassing yourself by trying to learn that quick-step.
A study published recently in the Journal for Adolescent Health concluded that media—TV, movies, music, and magazines—operate in teenagers’ lives like a “super peer,” a beyond-cool kid whom the whole class models its behavior on. And sex is what this cool kid is recommending.
By comparing a group of U.S. teens’ answers about what they watch, read, and listen to with their sexual activity, researchers determined that the teens got much of their input about sexual behavior from media sources. This could be a problem because, the report says, “media programming rarely depicts negative consequences from sexual behaviour, and depictions of condom and contraception use are extremely rare.”
The good news is that parents, religion, and school came in a strong second in kids’ sexual decision-making.