Thursday, April 26, 2012

Good Movie: Blue Like Jazz: The Movie

Blue Like Jazz The Movie official trailer

I think I've read most of what Don Miller has published, and much that he has posted on his blog.  The first thing I read of his was Blue Like Jazz.  Then next it might have been Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance (which got reissued as Through Painted Deserts).  Then Searching for God Knows What, and after that Father Fiction, and finally A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  I like Prayer, Searching, and Million Miles better than BLJ.  Yet when I heard he and Steve Taylor (and hundreds others) were working on a script to turn it into a movie, I was eager and excited.  The movie is out. I have heard that the movie is not like the book.  It has been so long since I read the book, maybe six or eight years, that I have no basis for judging.  If I were to read the book again, I am guessing I'd say I like the film better.

I had to drive 75 miles to the nearest theater that showed it.  I spend money to see films maybe once a year.  For most films, I wait until the local public library gets them on DVD and I can view them for free.  I have a hard time paying $10 to watch a film.  I feel like I don't have to be that current on pop culture.  My wife and I made the drive to attend the 11 am matinee showing (so it was only $8 per person).  We got into the dark theater, viewed all the previews at VERY LOUD VOLUMES, and when Blue Like Jazz started playing, we got almost a private viewing: only one other person was in the theater.

I liked the film much, in many ways.  After the film my wife asked me why I liked it.  I said it seemed to be real, genuine, honest about relationships.  Don, the main character, has a very hard time being real, genuine, and honest about relationships.  That struck me as true.  It is hard to open myself up to another person, for if I do I become vulnerable to be hurt.  What I find hard about relationships is just being able to be with another person.  I can do stuff with other people, be busy with them, talk, play, go for a drive, interact.  I find it hard to just be with another.  Maybe too it is a way to mask the lack of clarity about who I am, or who I want to become.  It is hard to have a good relationship.

I resonated with the Don character in other ways.  Don was raised in a fundamentalist christian environment and, for college, he goes to a very secular, very anti-christian and perhaps anti-religious (but that is debatable) place where he hides his religious commitments, and even goes beyond that to poke snarky fun at some christian beliefs.  I know exactly what that is like.  Still, some of the snarky comments are right on track.  In the end, trying to not give too much away, Don achieves a kind of reconciliation with christianity in a way that might stretch many christians' credulity (since for many christians proper creedal commitment is primary).

The real Don Miller, the author, says the film is a christian film, but not like what we've come to expect when we think of the genre of "christian film."  It is not preachy.  It raises questions.  It makes you think. Like he says, you probably haven't seen a christian film in which a lesbian pisses in a men's room urinal.

The stories of the various characters seems genuine, not contrived. They seem not like stock characters. They are at times as puzzled about themselves and their identity as Don or anyone else.  If you see the film, I think it will impact you.

No comments:

Post a Comment