I saw Blue Like Jazz, the movie loosely based on Don Miller’s book of the same name, this weekend. It did not disappoint. If I wasn’t broke, and strapped for time, I’d go see it again today. I might anyway. [Update: I did. Not the same day, but the same week. And I took someone else.]
Steve Taylor’s trademark satirical humor shined in his screenplay through snappy dialogue and clever imagery, with an over-arching feel that –as the character Penny put it–“We all have our crap.” We sure do.
Casting was believable, with Marshall Allman (from True Blood) as a young Don Miller, disillusioned upon finding out that his Christian subculture was not all he thought it was, experiencing the world at large and asking questions about God and faith for the first time in college. Justin Welborn (from The Crazies) nails the role as the campus “Pope”, an atheist driven to release souls from the tyranny of religion. Claire Holt (from The Vampire Diaries) plays Don’s activist friend with a heart for India, and Tania Raymonde (from ABC’s Lost) plays Lauryn, their lesbian friend, just trying to figure out her identity. Great music enhances the modern, energetic feel of this film.
Heed the PG-13 rating. Beside the language and self-destructive behavior portrayed, I think the concepts discussed are too heavy for younger kids to process on the level at which they are presented.
This movie is for Protestants and Catholics and atheists and agnostics, both gay and straight. It’s kind of a love it or hate it movie. I’ve read other reviews that argue that the characters are too stereotypically Baptist Christian hypocrites or too stereotypically militant atheist; but this story is based on Don Miller’s life. On his story. These are the kinds of people he encountered.
You’ll love this movie if:
- you love honest portrayals of life and dialogue between people of differing faiths and no faith
- you hate corruption and hypocrisy in the church
- you recognize that no human is totally evil or totally good, we’re just all trying to fill needs
- you want to make a positive difference in people’s lives
You’ll hate this movie if:
- you cannot abide anyone who thinks or acts differently than you do
- you really want to believe that the world is all black and white and nothing in between
- you don’t want to interact with anyone who: cusses, gets drunk, uses condoms, disrespects religion, doesn’t disrespect religion, denies the existence of God, believes in God, questions God, has sex outside of marriage, is gay, doesn’t have sex outside of marriage, listens to rock music, goes to church, votes different than you do, etc.
So, how about you? Have you seen Blue Like Jazz? Did you love it? Hate it?
By the way, for you non-gamers, FTW means, For the Win. It’s a good thing.