Book/Movie Review: Blue Like Jazz

Blue Like Jazz Movie

Hello friends,

On Saturday, Sarah and I went to see Blue Like Jazz. I had read the book a long time ago, when I had first started out in youth ministry, and so I was really excited to see the film version. Plus, Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is one of my favorite books, and it deals a lot with the creation and process behind the movie. A few people have asked me to share my thoughts about it, and so I've been collecting said thoughts and decided to share them here.

First things first, at just about every event I've been to for the last year or so, there have been pre-screenings offered of the movie. I avoided them like the plague. For starters, as a song writer and creative type person myself, I don't think it's super fair to see someone's creative work before it's finished. Also, the Skit Guys were always playing at the same time, and those dudes are hilarious. But probably most importantly, I like seeing a movie in the theater. I like the experience. The popcorn, the sticky floor that you try your hardest not to think too much about.

To summarize my thoughts of the movie in a word: Awesome. I think it did an INCREDIBLY accurate job of depicting what an alarming percentage of our students go through when they go to college. Doubt. Trial. Denial. Fear. And somehow in it all, faith. Honestly, the moment it's available to me on DVD, I'm planning on sharing it with our high school students. This is stuff they need to know.

I had seen some reviews before I went to the movie that said that Blue Like Jazz was a bit critical of the church. That's true, it is. But we need to be honest, especially those of us who work in the church, there's a lot to be critical about. We don't get anywhere by pretending our junk doesn't exist. We don't get anywhere by practicing some kind of cultural monasticism, living in our own little Christian bubble and claiming to have nothing to do with those who are on the outside. We get somewhere (if not everywhere) by being honest. And this film is a heaping bowl of honesty.

I think one of my favorite lines from the movie/book is "Sometimes, you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself." In the movie, Don loves Jesus because he watches his friend Penny love Jesus. In the theater, I fell deeper in love with Jesus by watching the passion and the skill and the direction of Donald Miller, Steven Taylor, and all the folks who worked on this project. And truthfully, isn't that the best compliment that can be given of art? It made me fall in love with my Creator more.

If you get a chance, go see it in a theater. Not only does the sticky floor enhance the experience, but these guys put a lot of work into this thing, and should experience the success that comes from a cloud of people invading their local theater.

Eight thumbs up.