Is “Blue Like Jazz: The Movie” worth watching?

There’s a good chance you’ve read Blue Like Jazz: Non-religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality (Thomas Nelson, 2003). Don Miller’s sold over a million of ‘em.

But he and Steve Taylor have adapted it to be a film, and it’s coming out in the spring, on April 13, 2012. Steve (and a swell guy named Dave Palmer who runs Dunk Tank Marketing) came to Madison a couple weeks ago and let some of us at InterVarsity screen the rough cut of the film.

It’s good.

Let’s be honest here, a lot of stuff produced by Christians is either indistinguishable in quality or content from anything else or ham-handed efforts to proselytize make it painful to watch (especially if you’re a thoughtful follower of Jesus).

But Blue Like Jazz comes through:

  • It’s funny (a major victory for adherents to a faith that is plagued by its adherents).
  • They don’t assume the audience is stupid.
  • It doesn’t shy away from issues (or the language) of college students.
  • There is a bear suit, a robot protest, tall bikes, and puppets.
  • It’s genuine and believable, even with a sort of modern day fairy tale feel.
  • The music is great.
  • It raises questions without easy answers.

And that’s the real strength of Blue Like Jazz. Yes, it’s a good film on it’s own merit. But in the film, Miller and Taylor have made some space for honest conversations about what my friends believe, the crazy stuff Jesus said, and how the Christians often are way off in left field (and not in a good way).

So reread the book, maybe give it to someone for Christmas, and get ready.

Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Andy Gill

    I also saw a pre-screening recently… I agree it was good, I was hoping for great. Though it’s better than many christian movies, from what I saw it’s not up to par with the “non-christian” films out there. Though to be fair what we all saw was not the final cut, and it was missing entire scenes, and needed voice overs, and sound effects added, so it was VERY rough… I’m excited to see the final cut, and don’t think I’ll regret spending 10 bucks to see it in the theaters…

    • acjeske

      Thanks for stopping by, Andy. I think I saw a much more developed version, though the audio needed a lot of work. In what way was it not up to par with other films. I thought it took a unique tack and worked really well. Something about the storytelling in it reminded me of Garden State and Lars and the Real Girl…

  • Jessica Grant

    People forget that art doesn’t need to answer their questions, sometimes art is the one who only makes the question, or provokes it. And, anyway, who films a movie is a human being. Should humans use movies (an impressive manipulative media) to tell us how to live, what is wright/wrong? Or should we, as Christians, look for that in the Bible? :) Just thinking… Hugs from Brazil!

  • Jessica Grant