Blue Like Jazz (2012)

Comedy, Drama
Marshall Allman, Claire Holt, Tania Raymonde, Justin Welborn
Don, a nineteen-year-old sophomore at a Texas junior college, tries to escape his Bible Belt upbringing for life in the Pacific Northwest at the most godless campus in America.
  • Roadside Attractions Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 13 Apr 2012 Released:
  • 07 Aug 2012 DVD Release:
  • $0.6M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

A refreshingly honest film for everyone9/10
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.
A Masturbatory View of Christianity3/10
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.
Great film that leads to discussion5/10
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!
I just couldn't get myself to like this movie3/10
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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Don't do it if you aren't already Christian!2/10
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.