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Don't do it if you aren't already Christian!
mindyloucooper28 December 2013
I have never written a review on IMDb before but felt compelled to after watching this film.

Last night I was looking for a good independent film to watch and this flicked across the screen in my Netflix options. Never having heard of the book and not knowing a thing about what I was getting myself into, I went for it.

There were early hints that I had walked myself into a "Christianity is the bestest" type film, but I didn't know for sure until halfway through when the main love interest professes to the main character something along the lines of, "I can't explain it, I just love Jesus!". I recognized this tell-tale sign of propaganda but decided to suspend judgement. I sat through the rest of the film in hopes that there'd be surprise character or plot development in the second half. Unfortunately, there wasn't.

The plot is thin and predictable. I find it remarkable that others who have reviewed the film found it thought provoking. In my estimation, those who found it to be this way enjoyed the affirmation that the film provided. Can't fault anyone there: we all like a little positive reinforcement from Hollywood every now and then.

For those of us who aren't sold on Christianity, the underlying theme of Christianity being the "right" belief is obvious and more than a little off-putting. In order to be truly thought provoking (to those who aren't already on board with the concept), the message shouldn't have been so obvious and cheesy.

If the hope was that this movie would help put Christianity in a better light with non-Christians, the movie misses that mark too. None of the characters exhibited a need for Jesus/the church - at their core they were smart people with good consciouses, and were clearly capable of sorting themselves out without the church. I didn't see or hear any testimony as to why either required religious support to do this, in fact the movie highlighted several good reasons to stay away from the church: priest pedophilia and some mixed up relationships amongst church members. If a salesperson is trying to sell something, they need to talk about the benefits of the product they're pushing at least a little bit, right?

All in all, this is probably a great film if you are a "church-every-Sunday" kind of person - this may be just the thing to make you feel great about your beliefs (basing this not on personal experience but on other reviews). But if you are that person, please don't kid yourself that this will be the movie to convince your non-believer friends that they should worship with you.

For the non-believers, regardless of your non-believing status, this movie is skippable. The plot, characters, acting and writing is all pretty thin - not a whole lot of meat to chew on here.
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A Masturbatory View of Christianity
jbmister4624 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Blue Like Jazz follows the same formula used by John Moyer in his movies about Mormonism. The questioning believer is critical of his faith but eventually finds meaning in joining a church, usually through his interest in a desirable female believer. See John Moyer's the Returned Missionary. It's basically the same story. In this case, non-believers are depicted by the residents of a secular college as being raucous, injured and without direction. Christians are shown as tolerant, generous and kind. Non-believer's lives are mired in self-absorption, while the Christian character is generously giving her time to traveling to a troubled third world community. What she actually accomplishes there is not revealed. The viewer is left to wonder whether she is giving any substantial relief or is there to proselytize. While the supposed virtues of a Christian life is alluded to, the film never tackles the difficult challenges about historical accuracy and factual evidence put forth by its critics. It simply asserts that non-believers and Christian critics live empty non-fulfilling lives, and Christian's lives are wholesome, peaceful and fulfilling. This is illustrated when the main character comes to his senses, recommits to his religion, and most importantly, gets the girl. The female prize is no ordinary female, but a high quality, highly desirable, attractive, intelligent, caring, wise, and endlessly forgiving white Anglo-Saxon female. This is exactly the prize bait used by Moyer in his movies about the Mormon religion; that is until John Moyer renounced his membership and gave up the religion.
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A refreshingly honest film for everyone
ankawibi20 March 2012
My preconceptions about what a Christian movie would be like were happily proved wrong with this movie. I thought it would be another poorly acted, cheesy feel-good film of the us-versus-them variety like so many Christian films are. But it wasn't.

This story of a college student trying to escape his Bible Belt upbringing at a godless campus deals with universal themes that will appeal to people from many walks of life.

The actors gave solid performances, breathing humanity into the characters. The writers balanced the heavy soul searching with a sense of humor. The producer delivered a final product that rivals studio films with much greater budgets.

An entertaining film that makes you think.
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Great film that leads to discussion
jmalon1610 March 2012
As a big fan of the book the movie is based on, I went in thinking there was no way that the movie could compare with the book.

While it is very hard to translate a series of essays into a story with a flowing plot, the creators of Blue Like Jazz the movie did an exceptional job.

The film is unique in that there is no way to compare it to any other Christian film. The message of Jesus isn't heavily preached, and instead, a truthful representation of a boy brought up in the Southern Baptist religion is presented. It also leads to a discussion on what it means to be a true follower of Christ.

While there is language, alcohol, and drug use, the movie has integrity and heart, and I highly recommend it!
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Disappointing, not authentic, missed the essence of the book.
jim-nikkel16 August 2012
I am a huge fan of the book "Blue Like Jazz" and was so looking forward to the movie. I felt this was a great opportunity to produce a Christian film that would be authentic, could show what Christianity really could be, something based on an authentic relationship with Jesus, something really quite beautiful.

To say I was disappointed with the movie is an understatement. For those of you who have read the book and really loved its essence, its soul, how relationships with the key characters were developed, how his relationship with Jesus was developed and experienced, you will be disappointed too.

The thing about the book was it was so authentic, so real, so honest. The movie is none of those things. To say it is a loose interpretation of the book is giving this movie too much credit. It is not an honest and authentic portrayal of the book.

I feel like in some ways Donald Miller sold out - that is, he allowed a movie to be produced that is not an accurate depiction of how he got to Reed college, his key "struggle" is fabricated, acts of deviance are fabricated, the whole movie is really a fabrication.

I was so sad. What a great opportunity missed.
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Thought-provoking yes, but also preachy and somewhat irritating...
rachelandfilms5 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
If you have seen the trailer for this film then you'd probably be expecting some fun-filled story of coming-of-age that also answers some of those big questions about being young. Well, if these are your expectations, (like they were mine), then prepare to leave unsatisfied. This film isn't really about college life and becoming a new person, its more about accepting the person you already are. Which sounds like a big old stonking stereotype, right?! Well, truth be told, this film kind of is. The trailer might give the impression that you're going to see something hugely original and I don't want to mislead you, you won't, but since when is anything truly original these days? Yep, this film is full to the brim of stereotype. But that's okay because while the story is stereotype its direction and its cast are fresh and bring something to this film which makes you want to stay and pay attention.

The story centres around Don (Marshall Allman), a college freshman who comes from a strong Southern Baptist background and is disillusioned by his life and religion. To escape this former life of religious structure and a stifling parent he moves from Texas to a college (that's university to us English folk) in the Pacific Northwest where religion is mocked and his life undergoes a drastic 180 flip. Don decides that the best way of forgetting his affiliation to religion is to join those who mock it and protest its existence, which involves an hilarious scene where himself and the college "Pope" (random guy who dresses like the Pope every single day and is apparently one of the most popular guys at his college…Yep, seemed strange to me too) put a giant condom onto one of the towers of the local church and a banner which reads "Do not let these people reproduce". Tad excessive perhaps? Yep. Harsh? Yep. But of course, that's kind of their point. Which is an aspect of this film that confused me immensely – I constantly questioned why, a: Don could go from the assistant youth pastor in his local church to a willing participant of church defacement and, b: why the people of this college hated religion so much? If you're looking for an answer to this question like I was then you will be disappointed, because one is never really provided. I could only guess that it is borne from the generation in which we live that has built up an intolerance and disillusionment to religion and its politics and hypocrisy.

You're probably thinking at this point that the film is a huge middle finger to religion and religious faith but this is where our protagonists love interest and biggest "all-things-religious-and- morally-just" contender turns things up a gear and offers us a different perspective. This character's name is Penny (played by Claire Holt whom some may recognise from The Vampire Diaries) and she is a formidable presence in Don's life who constantly questions his motives and in turn makes him consider these motives and his own beliefs throughout the film. Though this character is necessary within the plot she sometimes comes off as high-and-mighty and frankly I find it hard to believe that a character like her could possibly exist in real life. At least not a 19 year old version embarking on the first (maybe second) year of their college life. I mean this character protests the social injustices of bottled water and its effects on the Indian economy, volunteers in foreign countries during Christmas break and has a freaking statue of Jesus in her college dorm room! Doesn't exactly scream realism now does it? But I digress… My point is that this character adds a depth to the film which stops it from becoming a one-sided debate against the relevance of religion in modern society and instead offers a perspective wherein we get too see the positive effects of religion (shitty politics aside) in modern society.

If you're interested in reading the rest of my thoughts on this film then you can visit my blog... (
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FINALLY. A "Christian movie" that doesn't suck.
usmc434114 April 2012
When I heard Donald Miller's book was being made into a movie, I was half elated, half skeptical. While the book-- that sold over 1.2 Million Copies-- is one of my favorites, it doesn't really lend itself well to a movie screenplay.

Or so I thought.

The movie follows a young kid named Don as he grows up in a Southern Baptist church in Texas, the only child of a uber-religious single mother and absentee deadbeat dad he refers to as "the hobo." Don is about to graduate from High School and is headed to Bible College. He's then faced with a situation that shakes him to his core. He ends up at Reed College, a liberal college in Oregon. The stories that follow show us the author's real struggles with faith and how he comes to grips with his own spirituality aside from the oppressive, rigid religious home he was raised in.

In addition to the screenplay, the director of photography does an impeccable job bringing the characters to life. The characters in the book, though not completely identical to the ones in the movie, become so personally vulnerable and familiar through equal parts can't-look-away awkwardness and close, tight, clean camera work that by the end of the film I found myself angry at myself for not interpreting the characters in the book more accurately even though they were in fact the real people.

BLJ is a movie that is desperately needed in the Christian art scene. The stunning dialog surrounding the film and the idiotic, egocentric way it has been received by many evangelical groups and churches clearly illustrate how needed films like this are. It earns its PG13 ranking in earnest, and there's no Kirk Cameron anywhere to be found. People talk about loving Jesus while drinking a beer, and not everyone who professes to follow Christ walks about with a pious attitude praying out loud and thumbing their Bibles incessantly. They make mistakes, hurt each other, and even cuss! In other words, it's real.

Kudos to Miller, Taylor and company. BLJ has, if nothing else, made in-roads for other non-craptastic movies with a Christ-centered message.

Thank you, God.
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An Unfortunate, Poorly Thought-out Script with Some Nice Filming
picturesque-arts15 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I briefly wanted to give my two cents on this film, which I watched without any realization that it was a "Christian" film or having read the book. From the standpoint of an unbiased movie watcher, I found the framing device of the film to be just visually awful. The astronaut in space with the characters' faces photoshopped in, with typed words appearing in space... plainly put, it was bad. As was the hideous carrot and rabbit "traveling to the West Coast" scene. Such poorly placed/developed animated moments essentially ruined the presentation of the film's literary aspects with their artificial and hard-to- look-at appearances. My second thought is the lack of transitions in this film/strange delineation of time in correspondence with the equally strange depiction of college students ended up rubbing me the wrong way. The highly unrealistic and varying sense of time in this film just sent the viewer in all different directions. Along with the purely bizarre and two-dimensional portrayal of students, none of the illustrations of the college and its student body made any sense to me at all (I have never, ever come across an American campus like that, not even on the West Coast). One more thing about character development that bugs is me is that the protagonist is a person trying to cover up his past - but this motif is undeveloped, as the main character never really displays his "shame" of his past, and the film in fact skips over the ambivalence and confusion of his actual attempting to hide his former self. Actually, he seems like he fits in pretty damn well. (It's like the situation in Mean Girls, when Cady tries so hard to forget who she was that she actually does become one of the Plastics). Also, where's the conflict in this film? Obviously, it's not about the girl because she's always forgives him, and it's not about his Christianity because he seems to have quite forgotten about it over his year at college, and it's not about his mom's affair because she really only shows up twice or thrice in the entire movie. One other thing that annoyed me was how much the ending came out of nowhere - Don's emotional confession to Justin and his heedless cry for forgiveness for covering up his past, and his declaration that throughout the pot brownies, alcohol kegs and various activities that southern Baptists would frown upon, he never forgot about God. Interesting return to the "main idea" of the film. There are a lot of issues with this film, from the poor acting to the strange jumping around of themes and messages. Four stars for some well-shot scenes (the big party) and some comedic moments (the Christian/non-Christian debate).
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Finally, a movie that is REAL
Having read the book, I was extremely excited to finally see "Blue Like Jazz" hit the big screen. I had high expectations, and these were greatly exceeded. The film resonates with anyone, Christian or non. Please don't stereotype this movie in with other "Christian movies" because it isn't. It's beautifully and artistically done, well-written, and well acted. The film follows the life of Don Miller, a young Texan from the Bible-Belt south who, after a series of events, begins to question what he believes and finds himself on the most "Ungodly campus" in the country. Through many hilarious, poignant, and relatable scenes, the movie becomes a beautiful storyline of a man who is simply searching to figure out what he believes. And, I mean, aren't we all? I wish more movies were like this… REAL. Go see it opening weekend! You won't regret it.
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We are all searching.
sweetteedee8 March 2012
If you've ever felt empty, or if you've ever wondered if there was more to life, or if you've ever wanted to know more about God, or if you've ever been hurt by the church, or if you've ever felt scared or angry about religion, or if you've ever wondered how God really thinks or feels, this is the movie for you It's a movie about love, acceptance, fulfillment, searching, being lost, finding your way through life and that void inside each of us that makes us constantly wonder--is this it? Is this all there is to life? This movie is about God, but it never preaches to you once. It will completely flip your previous notions of what God is like and will comfort you by showing you that you're not alone in your confusion and mess, and that there IS more to this life. The acting is so authentic and the cinematography is beautiful. I have read all of Donald Miller's books and this exceeded my expectations. You can't miss this movie; the book was literally life-changing for me and I know it will be for many others
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I just couldn't get myself to like this movie
lagudafuad18 January 2013
Blue Like Jazz comes out strong, you start and you feel, "this is going to be great", but then it carries on, on weak acting by some of the cast and a very weak script that makes you want to get up and walk away, the movie message is good and it does preach commitment to Christ.

The movie message can be easily related to, as a Christian I know of times (when I was new in the faith) that I concealed my identity of being a Christian just to blend in, the movie's message rides on that; it rides on a Christian trying to be part of the world, forgetting that we are but on a pilgrimage in this world and heaven is our final destination.

Based on a book of the same name written by Donald Miller, it (the book) is a semi-autobiographical work, and on the cover the book is subtitled "Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality," I happen not to have ready the book, but from the movie I believe it is named such because of the protagonist father's love for Jazz, and the fact that he was the person that pointed the protagonist in the direction where doubt looms.

The book and movie plot follows the life of Don, a nineteen-year-old sophomore at a Texas junior college. Don moves to Pacific Northwest, where he learns that being a Christian makes you an outcast, so in order to escape his Biblical background and Biblical way of life, Don does everything possible to make sure he is part of the cool kids, even denying his faith.

Before watching I did a little research to know what I am getting in to, some people say the movie is a Christian movie, the director claims that it is not, just a regular movie with religious undertones. I have seen the movie and I wonder how people didn't see it in the same view as the director. Also the movie actually came to being from the contributions put together by fans of the book (and more) from the Kickstarter website. The names of the contributors can be seen at the end of the movie, in the credits.

In conclusion, the movie message is great as I said before, but the implementation is just canny the director is trying to cover up a Christian film with a lot of worldly additions just to make the movie look secular. He added controversial things like cursing and homosexuality, knowing that many have different views concerning such. This movie could have been better, but since I have not read the book, I can't ascertain that the story in the movie has strayed from the original, but I can ascertain this though I didn't like this film.
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sometimes you have to watch someone love something to love it yourself
beverlykhayes13 March 2012
If you see one movie this year see Blue Like Jazz! Blue Like Jazz is an honest look at one man's journey of faith. Don Miller doesn't write what traditional Christians want to hear. He shares openly his feelings about others and about God. He speaks with conviction that stirs in one self the desire to take a better look in the mirror and at one's own heart and motives. It is about faith, compassion, community and giving back to others. It is about loving like Jesus. Don doesn't ask for approval or require readers to like him or agree with his view. He shares his experiences in life and what he learned from them. I highly recommend this movie to believers and unbelievers. Some of my friends who believe in Jesus think it isn't spiritual enough. Some of my unbelieving friends think it is overtly spiritual. I say - just watch it for yourself and form your own opinion, but whatever you decide - enjoy the journey and your adventure with Don.

Changed my life forever. LOVE IT.
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Entertaining Film about Finding One's Faith
JustCuriosity13 March 2012
Blue Like Jazz was extremely well-received at its World Premiere at Austin's Paramount Theater as part of the SXSW Film Festival. This is a powerful film about a young man's spiritual journey from an unthinking fundamentalism to trying to develop a better understanding of his own self. The story is loosely based on Don Miller's book about his own spiritual journey from an evangelical upbringing in Texas to the "Godless" Reed College in Portland, Oregon. It is a coming-of-age story about a man searching for his faith in the most unlikely place possible. This independent film is well-written and well-acted and keeps the viewers engaged. The story mixes quirky characters into a film that might otherwise feel heavy. The film's themes remind me of one of my favorite films, Saved!, which also deals with a character's spiritual struggle to find her own faith. This is the kind of provocative films that one wishes Hollywood would make, but which usually end up being produced by Independent films.
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Must-see Film
jtyler41219 March 2012
This film was fantastic: by all counts, blew me away and far surpassed any expectations. The cinematography alone is reason to see it. It was brilliantly written from a book that was not well crafted to be a movie; the result stands on its own feet apart from the book at all. Feel free to read the book to get more in the main character's head, but you should also know it isn't necessary. The two are so drastically different, you might wonder why some of the fantastic scenes in the movie weren't originally included in the book! Whether or not you even read or liked the book: this is a worthwhile movie. This movie has been described as an "edgy" film - but that only applies in the "conservative Christian" realm. The truth is, this film is well suited for teenagers and older. It is rated PG-13 and earned that title, but don't hesitate to let your teenage-kids see it: you'll be glad you did. It will provide an amazing forum for discussion thereafter. That is my greatest recommendation: when you do see this movie - and bring all your friends! - make sure you plan ahead and allow time after for discussion afterward. It is thought-provoking and deep and intellectual and spiritual. This movie will make you stop and think about many things in life: prepare to have your mind blown.
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Heartbreaking, Pathetic, Sell-Out Absurdity
john-wilems12 April 2012
Worse than its wretched boredom, grotesquely bland plot line, and incomparably shallow commentary on Christianity, culture, Reed College and the world in general, this movie sacrifices Miller's own mother.

"What?" you ask. "The whole introduction with his mom having sex with the youth pastor, getting pregnant by him, and all that is actually pure fiction?" Yes. "But he made it sound like this was a 'true' memoir...a story about a his own 'real' struggle with faith and life." You had good reason to think that, but you've been played, by Miller, who threw his own mother under the bus to turn a Hollywood buck. Ask yourself, even if your mom was "cool" with it, would you back a "true- story" movie that portrayed her to the entire world as a sex-starved idiot if it wasn't true?

There is so much to say, but it is simply not worth typing out. This movie will undoubtedly experience an initial explosion of interest, the same kind of painstaking interest you would see if somebody were publicly mocking a handicapped person or punching a child in the're attention is certainly grabbed, but you would feel sick to your stomach. After Miller and this movie are exposed for what they both are, malcontent and ignorantly boring, the premature and ill- considered commendations for Blue Like Jazz will shrink out of the limelight, back to where they belong: on the stale, played-out, cliché shelves of whiny charlatans.

(NOTE: Am I the only one who finds it suspect that more than 30 ten-star ratings, each gushing with uninhibited worship for this movie, were posted well before it was even released?)

For that reason, avoid the trap and save your time, money, and mind. Miller is apparently so amused by his own semi-intellectual babblings that he has made no effort whatsoever to learn about the world that exists beyond his initial, juvenile impressions. Worse, he has through this movie subjected thousands to the horrible void of his unchecked pride. Longing to be accepted, Miller humiliated himself like the desperate boy on the playground who takes on a self-deprecating dare and trashes his own reputation just to get a chuckle from curious onlookers. Suckered in by the promise of fame, and he gathered the cool kids together and started mocking his family, his church, his Savior and himself. All things considered, two hours of doing absolutely nothing will be more profitable to you than exposing yourself to this this heartbreaking absurdity.
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excellent, thought-provoking film
ericepps19 March 2012
I read Blue Like Jazz a few years ago. In the years since, I've noticed changes in my thinking which I can trace back to having read the book. So last night, when I was privileged to go to a preview screening of Blue Like Jazz: The Movie, I was pleased to find that my reaction to the movie matched my reaction to the book--in that sense, the movie is true to the book. While it will immediately alienate some viewers, it will cause many to rethink some things, possibly without them even knowing it. Since it is unashamedly fictionalized, that is no small accomplishment.

BLJ moves effortlessly among comedy, drama, and thought-provoking. Characters are complicated enough to feel real, not so complicated as to feel contrived. Bottom line, it's a good story; realistic enough to feel believable and unrealistic enough to be interesting. It's an excellent film, and I'd highly recommend it to believers and unbelievers alike. You should be prepared to see it more than once; I got the feeling that, knowing the story, a lot of nuanced themes would show up.
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Surprisingly funny and real
gilvanorder13 April 2012
I was expecting another B-rated cheese fest with a perfect tidy ending - it was none of those things. Laughed in this movie almost as much as I did watching the new 21 Jump Street, but this was far more engaging and memorable, not to mention a great date movie. Super-religious types will probably hate it and try to get it banned, but it's actually a refreshing attempt to address a tough topic. We (in the US) often say you shouldn't talk about religion or politics. But movies get political all the time, here's one that tackles religion, or at least pokes at it a little anyway. I give the director, writer and actors credit for having the brass to make this movie. It will be one I add to my library for sure.
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Real life. Real questions. Real good.
cog280322 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
One of the few movies that get's it right when it comes to portraying one man's struggle coming to terms with what exactly he "does" believe. I've seen two pre- release screenings (one last summer and the other on 3/21/12 here in Dallas. There are multiple scenes that stick with you.

For sure the confession booth is stunning as we watch both Don and the Pope come to terms with what they believe and get a better understanding of what it is exactly they do believe and why.

One other scene that stuck with me from both screenings was when Lauren crawls into bed with Don, broken hearted over finding out that her "crush" was actually straight after all. It was touching, real, funny and snarky all at the same time.

The movie is quite tame by "Hangover/Bridesmaids" standards but pushes the envelope for what will be tagged in some circles as a "Christian" film. Just don't put this in with "Fireproof" or "Courageous" and certainly not in with the "Left Behind" series. This is far more along the lines of the great Robert Duvall films "Tender Mercies" and "The Apostle".

Yep, they drink, they barf, the use a few words that fall into the category of "swear" words. There is nothing gratuitous or out of place with their use. If anything, they pull their punches several times. If you don't think so, then you're hanging out with a pretty straight laced crowd :)

So, the movie opens nationwide April 13 and the soundtrack comes out the next day (did I mention that the music and soundtrack is really, really good?). If you want to support a movie that asks honest questions about faith, God, beliefs and doesn't shove the answer down your throat, this is the movie to pay full price for and go see.

Take some friends. Especially take friends who have a big problem with God, the Church and Christians . . . you will have plenty to talk about afterwards over a few pints.
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Many thoughts
shalimar-413 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
(possible spoilers depending on POV) Many thoughts.. but ultimately it's a BS "christian" movie trying to be a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Sorry religious types but it's a FAIL in the end.

As for acting.. actually decent.. but nothing noteworthy.

Short version: Skip it.. unless you are some evangelist...

Pick what you believe and stand by it with critical thinking (something lacking from most people sadly)... and then come on back.

Meantime in the end STOP trying to convert others etc etc etc... regardless of the medium.

We can all think for ourselves. We can actually make our own decisions regardless of your approval.

Like it or not but fact is not everyone is a willing sheep... regardless of what "religion" or lack thereof.

Oh and Don't get me wrong.. if you choose to believe in X.. I applaud!. But I also applaud those that choose to worship -X as well.

Remember.. freedom of religion is also freedom from religion. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

btw No I'm not Atheist.. I'm freedom of choice and my wife is NPRC.
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Pasafist14 April 2012
If you were looking for a clean movie, Steve Taylor's film Blue Like Jazz is anything but. Make no mistake, there's no alter call, no stunning realization, there's no exhortation, or trumpets blaring, there's no rapture, or angels and even the manger is empty. If you were expecting a piece of "Christian" art you won't get it here.

Based on Donald Miller's bestselling memoir/essays of the same name it tells the story of Don Miller, a born and bread Christian kid from Texas who finds himself at Reed College in Oregon. There he shed's his clean cut ways and discovers that we all have to rebel sometimes.

Like an Evangelical Rumspringa Blue Like Jazz is full of objectionable PG-13 content that might make a church lady faint. Swearing, drinking, sexuality and drug use are all accounted for in this film and director Taylor uses it not to offend but disarm. This is a story about the search in everyones life for authentic faith in a secular world. Make no mistake the content in this film is not clean, but it's also not gratuitous. For this film to really work you have to believe that these college aged kids are real. To whitewash it is to destroy the very message trying to be conveyed. This is a film about the meeting of the sacred and the secular, and that never feels clean.

The screenplay tends to lose focus and a good amount of suspense is wasted because you can see a lot of Character motivations from a mile a way. One or two more passes at the screenplay may have fixed some of the meandering plot points, but overall there are moments of sweet serendipity, moments that are honest and real, unfortunately it makes the weaker, and sloppier points of characterization and plot stick out like a sore thumb.

For instance there is a love story buried in this tale and lead actors Marshall Allman and Claire Holt have a sweet and natural chemistry, but the screenplay has a secret it sits on and forces Holt's Character Penny into the background, and shift focus to a character that is funny, but not as compelling. Another pass on the screenplay may have brought this relationship to a higher place.

All in all though for the not easily offended Blue Like Jazz is gutsy, sweet, and pretty funny. Warts and all it presents a fairly realistic and quirky look into the nature of belief, finding truth, and gaining purpose when the world around us looks plastic and manufactured. I liked this movie, warts and all.

It's a film about faith, it's a film about life, and it's a film about how we all have to wake up one morning and decide if what we believe is true. It should spark some really nice dinner conversation, about the nature of faith, and the nature of God. It's about the melding of the sacred and spiritual, but more importantly it's about coming to the realization that we're all dirty, broken, and have rebelled, and yet God doesn't give up on us.

Now where do I get that Coltrane album.
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One of the Greatest Books ever written, to be one of the Greatest movies ever made.
sdenn7720 March 2012
One of the Greatest Books ever written, to become one of the Greatest Movies. Donald Miller is witty and creative. His philosophical approach to some the questions about life leaves his audience with questions well worth thinking about. Overall, the story offers a challenge to culture, a challenge to Christians who pretend to be better than the world, and a challenge to those who hate Christians just because of their title. It is an incredible depiction of what Christians should be like (open and honest) and breaks every norm of what you would expect from a Christian movie. By breaking the cultural boundaries, Don is able to wholeheartedly express problems everyone deals with on a day to day basis, creating a real and relatable story line. I recommend his book to everyone and I am sure I will recommend his movie as well.
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Not your "typical Christian movie" is an understatement in all the best ways.
appleinwaiting14 April 2012
Not your "typical Christian movie" is an understatement for this film in all the best ways. The absence of poor acting or cheap looking Hallmark-like production, gives Blue Like Jazz authenticity to tackle the misrepresentation of Christianity in a boldly candid way. While making fun of the way church is often viewed by the public, the movie tries to show the audience that there is more than meets the eye to this perceptively stuffy, and often annoying, complacent religion. There is a poetry to the universe that should evoke some search for deeper meaning that isn't so much about absolute rightness, as it is about continuous discovery, and pursuit of truth and compassion.

The movie roughly follows the book's range of stories and characters, but introduces several fictitious turns to tie us in emotionally to the story. There are several major themes and little details that anyone who has read Blue Like Jazz would recognize and connect with. However, for those who are not familiar with the book, the overall story should be easy to follow, relevant, and entertaining. And to those who watch it and become intrigued, I can only say that the book takes you on an even deeper and more thorough journey. Don't believe me? Just ask the 4500 fans who financially supported the making of the film when all seemed lost. The story behind the movie is just as poignant as the movie itself.

Disclaimer: There is a decent amount of profanity, drug and alcohol use, and adult themes that nearly cost the movie an R rating. So while it is PG 13 it was made for mature audiences that can comprehend the compromising nature of the real world. I know this film will cause an inadvertent dropping of the jaw for most of the Christian community, but the response of the rest of the world seems to be a refreshing sigh of relief.

So come without expectations, and a willingness to see the bigger picture, and I think it will create a good amount of discussion that could lead to a change in our subculture.
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Great Book: Great Movie
trinityumc-youth22 March 2012
At the National Youthworkers Conference in Atlanta in November, I got to go and see an advanced screening of Blue Like Jazz: The movie. I loved it.

I first read the book in college and loved every word. For me, I was trying to figure out what it means to be a Christian and how to interact with a world that does not care for Jesus. Donald Miller has a way with words and storytelling that help give voice to my struggles. This book was a meaning full part of my Christian walk in college. I list Blue Like Jazz in my top ten books of all time or me. I make sure to hand out a copy to all my seniors that graduate from high school from our church. I know they might not read it right then, but if it is on their self, maybe one day they might open it up and it might seek to them and it did me.

The movie differs from the book in detail, but not in spirit. The movie deals with Donald wanting to get away from Jesus and is journey back to Christ. That story is important to tell and college age kids struggle with this identity of who they are, who Jesus is, and how one has faith. The journey is not easy nor simple, but the journey is important.

The moment this movie hits theaters I plan on seeing it again and if you like good movies that stir your mind and heart, than you will like this movie too.

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Real, wholesome and witty
igpath11719 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Blue Like Jazz was a wonderful book because it kept escalating to a climax and then kept you sustained, delayed and yet dynamically interested in the plot line, because of all of the amazing things the climax made possible. . .Easily arguably a page turner!

Blue Like Jazz the movie was just like this. Slow, introductory and almost mediocre to begin with, the story picked up more and more, until one event led to another, something big was revealed and EVERYTHING changed. Easily arguably a real, wholesome and witty heart warmer!

It left me hanging, which means the climax was toward the end, but it was so profound and good, it would've taken a whole other movie to continue the story of life, love and faith Blue Like Jazz so wonderfully displays!

Parents - Directed at college student and experiential/risky/exploratory teens (most teens in our country, culture and generation), but one most of the family can see, IF you plan on answering a lot of questions at the end.
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Relatable on every level!
abigailanny17 March 2012
I had the opportunity to see a pre-screening of this film and it exceeded my expectations! It gracefully deals with issues all young adults face in their life, but most are afraid to admit, it touches on subject matter that is too often tip-toed around, and it shows life as it really is. While the movie does have an overall spiritual theme do not let that detour you from seeing it! It is definitely not like the stereotypical Christian movie with everyone saying "gosh darn" and scowling at the rebellious teenagers smoking. As I previously stated, it shows life as it really is. You genuinely believe in these characters because you feel as though it could be your life on the screen. And not only does this movie deal with important issues it is thoroughly entertaining, I am not one to often laugh aloud in public very often but this one had me nearly falling out of my chair at some points and not because of some elaborate stunt but because I could relate to the situations and for the first time was able to see from an outside point of view how ridiculous life can be. The book is amazing and I would suggest reading it before seeing the film, but time is of essence! It officially releases in select theaters on April !3th so get your tickets early and go see it on opening night!
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