Blue Like Jazz, the Movie

Can I just say, “FINALLY!”?

I like Don Miller. I have long loved the rascally Steve Taylor. The latter, musician-turned-filmmaker, pushed buttons and stretched the envelope in the small little “Christian” sub-culture I was a part of long ago. I credit much of my great and relative sanity (and a lot of my absurdist humor) to him and what he did musically, lyrically, and even artistically. When he released his first movie – The Second Chance – my whole church went. As a church boy from an urban neighborhood with a lot of condescending suburbanites coming through, a lot of that movie resonated with me, to be honest. A lot of the dialog really hit home for me and some of my friends. But it wasn’t quite satisfying. Michael W Smith (the envelope of the Christian sub-culture) actually did a decent job being the condescending suburbanite pastor’s kid, but I wasn’t convinced that he fully turned (and I think the point was that he was still learning). But what stood out to me as a Taylor fan was the lack of visual punch. Starting with his own music videos as early as the mid-80’s with Meltdown at Madame Tussaud’s (a song I vehemently disagree with now, but still, it’s cool for what it is), he has been a great visual innovator – if not always the best storyteller through those visuals.
Donald Miller is a fine writer. A conversational essayist with quite a bit of self-deflective humor and pathos. No And I liked Blue Like Jazz as a book. But not nearly as much as many others. I’m not sure his fanboys and girls found in him the voice of a fellow traveler or of a liberator, but I thought the narrative a bit disjointed. Maybe I wasn’t ready to be liberated yet. I’m not sure. But I found the next book, Searching for God Knows What (which started shortly after he got together with Steve Taylor and they plotted out the idea of making the movie. Miller went to a script-writing conference. Hence, the book begins and is framed by the idea of what makes a popular hit versus the substance and yet relevance of the person of Jesus.
Anyway, yay for this film. The confession booth is the emotional crux of it (and I like the idea of it), but it really looks stylistically capable.

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