Blue Like Jazz produces some good notes

Jen and I had an idea recently – what if we hired some kid from a family we know well to come over for a couple of hours to watch the kids while we go and spend time together.  We are calling it “date night.”©  I think it might catch on.  The kid (we call her our “babysitter”™) gets away with a few dollars in her pocket and we get away for a few hours to ourselves.  It’s brilliant!

On this particular date night we headed to Buffalo Wild Wings – a first for either of us and then over to the Harkins Theater to watch the new Steve Taylor movie, “Blue Like Jazz.

First the wings – not bad.  When I think of wings, I think about chewing dark meat between the bones of a scrawny wing slathered in a hot sauce/vinegar combo.  These were boneless, crispy and delicious.  They had a bit of a kick, but not enough to keep you from wanting more.  Of course you could order the pain inducing wings too.  I’ll save that for men’s time.  Jen’s salad was nice and green and had a little kick to it as well.  We walked away fairly happy – a very pleasant surprise.

On the subject of pleasant surprises comes the movie, Blue Like Jazz based on the book by the same title.  I loved the book when I read it years ago and enjoyed the book he wrote later about writing  a movie based on his previous book.  It’s complicated but it’s helpful that I read both of them before seeing the movie – if for no other reason, I can sound reasonably intelligent on the topic (maybe not?).

I used to detest Christian films – typically they were offensive to me as a screenwriter and embarrassing to me as a Christian.  I think they have gotten better by and large – Facing the Giants worked for me, though Courageous missed a bit more.  This movie was different from the usual Christian fare.  There were no soundtracks from famous Christian artists.  The answers weren’t just handed out – like a review I read in the Chicago Tribune, this was unique in that it was a Christian film about doubts.  Yes, there was even some cussing.

The film is a semi fictional account of the autobiographical work penned by Donald Miller.  It focuses on the life of Don, an uptight Southern Baptist boy who on a whim and in the throws of existential crisis decides to enroll at the most liberal college in the country, Reed College.   This puts him in a territory extremely hostile to Christianity but exceedingly open to almost everything else.

While Don embraces the vibe, drinks a lot of beer and ponders the worthlessness of dead faith, he is lead on a journey of re-discovery by a Christian in hiding who is letting her life do the talking – okay don’t get me started – the gospel is a message and faith comes by hearing.  That being said though, Jen and I were discussing in the car back home that it’s easy to use that as an excuse to not make a difference in the world and not care about the social injustices that abound.

I appreciated the message of the film.  It was only slightly like the book but it captured the spirit of it I think.  Steve Taylor produced a really high quality movie – aside from the quirky space interludes in-between scenes I thought the movie worked.  And it caused us to think but it didn’t tell us what to think.  I appreciated that.  You should go and appreciate it yourself.

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About Mike Berk

A father of three, husband of one, worshiper of God - one blessed man.
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3 responses to Blue Like Jazz produces some good notes

  1. Great review Mike!! I completely agree with you. While the film did have a few of those quirky sequences, the message was great. I must admit, when I first heard they were making the book into a movie, I had no idea how they were going to do it; but it’s just like you said – although it’s only a little like the book, they really did capture the spirit of it.I really hope this film sparks some much needed conversation about faith and Christianity in our society.

  2. For anyone considering seeing the movie – I highly recommend it. Here’s a link to the trailer!

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