I just walked in the door from an advanced screening of Blue Like Jazz, a movie based on the non-fiction book by Donald Miller of the same title.
The first thing I need to say about it is that Christians, non-Christians, and struggling Christians NEED to see this movie!
If someone were to ask me what two non-fiction books (other than the Bible) had the most impact on my life, I would answer with Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and Blue Like Jazz. I read Blue Like Jazz several years ago and it changed my life, as well as my outlook on Christianity for the better. I learned a lot about myself as a Christian by reading that book. So, when I heard that they were making a movie based off of the book, I wanted to see it, even if it was going to be another cheesy Christian film.
I was surprised! The movie, though independent, created by Christians, and made with less than five million dollars, was very good. The cinematography was great and the acting was brilliant. I believe that Donald Miller, Steve Taylor, and everyone else who was involved succeeded in making the first “Christian” movie that I can honestly say that I not only liked, but enjoyed.
You might ask me why this PG-13 rated film that has cussing, drug and alcohol use, and homosexual characters ranks higher in my book than movies like Facing the Giants, and other such Christian films. The answer is a bit complicated, but I will do my best to convey it…ahem…
BECAUSE IT WAS REAL!
Blue Like Jazz (just like the book) doesn’t censor what real Christians go through sometimes. The subtitle of the book is “Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality”. The book tells the story of a real man figuring out what Christianity really is. The movie does the same thing.
Without giving too much away, the movie is about a young Christian man who goes to the most godless college in the U.S., and while he’s there he becomes ashamed of his Christianity, and of Jesus. This doesn’t “just happen”, real life circumstances take place that drives him to that point. But in the end, he learns what it really means to be a Christian.
This movie may be a “Christian” movie, but it feels more like a movie made about Christians; not fake Christians who put on a mask and try to be holy and look good on Sunday, but Christians who have experienced real life’s ups and downs. It was very well done, and I do believe that everyone needs to see it.
Yes, the movie has stuff in it that Christians scoff at, swearing, drugs, alcohol, etc. but it’s not explicit. It shows the “world” as it really is without going too far.
Readers of The Paradigm, I ask that you please watch this trailer and choose to support this movie, because I think it accurately depicts what a lot of Christians struggle with at times.
The movie hits the theaters on April 13th, and that will be the day when it’s decided whether the movie will “make it” or not, it needs to make a certain amount of money in order to continue to run. Please consider seeing it on that day or the day after (14th), as those days are when the numbers really matter. The movie has a fantastic message, and I must say that the ending was amazing! All the info on the Blue Like Jazz Tour, and where the movie will be showing can be found at the movie’s website: www.bluelikejazzthemovie.com If you’ve never read Blue Like Jazz, I recommend that as well.
After the movie, Donald Miller had a Q&A, and I asked him how much of the movie was fiction (because he mentioned in his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that the movie was going to have some fiction in it), and he answered that some of facts were changed, and some elements were added to make it more appealing as a movie and work as a film, that it would have been boring otherwise, and to “avoid love triangles”. But he mentioned that the message, essence, and a lot of the experiences were accurate. For example, the confessional scene is accurate…to know what I’m talking about, read the book or see the movie.
I give this movie five stars, two thumbs up, and hats off to the makers for daring to show what a lot of Christians experience in a real and creative way.
Oh, and I got my picture with Donald Miller!