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MattP

Blue Like Jazz (2012)

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I know Steve tries mighty hard to destroy the label, but the trailer does nothing to help his cause-- that thing looks and feels exactly like a christian movie to me. A little amateurish, a little too milquetoast trying to be edgy, and a little too stilted...in that "inexperienced cast", un-ironic way. I cringed a little.

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I know Steve tries mighty hard to destroy the label, but the trailer does nothing to help his cause-- that thing looks and feels exactly like a christian movie to me. A little amateurish, a little too milquetoast trying to be edgy, and a little too stilted...in that "inexperienced cast", un-ironic way. I cringed a little.

I agree. I'm hoping for the best because I like Steve Taylor, Donald Miller, and Blue Like Jazz the book. But that trailer is really disheartening.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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I've seen it, and I think you might be pleasantly surprised. Despite the trailer. Would love to hear what others think, to see if I'm way off base here. Of course, I haven't watched many "Christian" movies, so perhaps I'm just plain wrong.

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The Christian Movie Establishment vs. Blue Like Jazz

by Steve Taylor

So maybe I should be flattered that, based on recent evidence, the Christian Movie Establishment they represent is out to get us.

Exhibit A: The Executive Pastor of Sherwood Baptist (where the Kendricks Brothers movies are produced) issued what amounts to a fatwa against Blue Like Jazz when he made it known that nobody who worked on our movie would be allowed to work with them in the future.

...

Huh. Cuz that's what Jesus would do. Then again, I suspect they don't want any competition in the crappy movie Olympics.

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I can appreciate some things Steve says in that article, but the overwhelming question I take away from it is "Why the hell are you still putzing around with your art in those claustrophobic religious circles?"

How can the same guy who released "I Want To Be a Clone" 25+ years ago, actually be surprised by the political shenanigans of these people? He writes as if he's mortified. It's almost more concerning to me that he's still holding so tightly to his evangelical security blanket and hoping for their acceptance after all these years.

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Sadly, that is a great point, Greg.

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Unless, of course, he's not doing it for his own sake. Which I think is more likely.

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I didn't read into his article that he was all that surprised (possibly horrified) but that he was simply trying to expose what was going on in a somewhat charitable way. I would think that Steve has often walked in the uncomfortable place of being on the peripheral of the "system" while also exposing some of it's nonsense.

Edited by Attica

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Blue Like Jazz (the book) was a huge seller for Thomas Nelson publishing... hardly a company on the fringes of the evangelical mainstream. This seems more like an issue of the super-fundamental subset of evangelicalism being offended by Donald Miller's (and maybe Steve Taylor's?) very existence. It's the same type of folks who try to keep Derek Webb's albums out of Christian bookstores.

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It's almost more concerning to me that he's still holding so tightly to his evangelical security blanket and hoping for their acceptance after all these years.

My reactions are very similar to yours, Greg. That trailer looks so dreadful, such that it appears the creators of this film have zero insight into what life at a 'secular' college (or more broadly, outside the evangelical comfort zone) truly looks like. I used to admire the guy greatly, but it didn't take much reflection for me to hypothesize that 30 years in the ghetto have morphed Steve Taylor into a clone.

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Oh... oh. Blue like Jazz has already got a rating of 4.8 out of 10 on IMDB. It is getting some good reviews there though.

Edited by Attica

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Oh... oh. Blue like Jazz has already got a rating of 4.8 out of 10 on IMDB. It is getting some good reviews there though.

I saw it at the Pasadena Archlight tonight. I think it's quite good, actually - I laughed quite a bit in the first half, and thought the ending was strong. Soundtrack is excellent. I think what I like most is that it explores enormous cultural and Christian ideas with such lightheartedness. It's a strange film, indeed, but coming from Steve Taylor that's a good thing -- it's light years ahead of his first film. It has it's flaws, no doubt, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Edited by Scott Derrickson

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Oh... oh. Blue like Jazz has already got a rating of 4.8 out of 10 on IMDB. It is getting some good reviews there though.

I saw it at the Pasadena Archlight tonight. I think it's quite good, actually - I laughed quite a bit in the first half, and thought the ending was strong. Soundtrack is excellent. I think what I like most is that it explores enormous cultural and Christian ideas with such lightheartedness. It's a strange film, indeed, but coming from Steve Taylor that's a good thing -- it's light years ahead of his first film. It has it's flaws, no doubt, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Oh. Good. I liked his first film, so if this is light years ahead then I'm happy. Profound yet lighthearted is surely a Steve Taylor trademark.

Edited by Attica

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I am really looking forward to this, as I thought the confessional was genius. So Somebody please tell me that that is the highlight, maybe the climax of the film.

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I am really looking forward to this, as I thought the confessional was genius. So Somebody please tell me that that is the highlight, maybe the climax of the film.

It is indeed, at least in the early screening that I caught a couple months ago.

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Oh... oh. Blue like Jazz has already got a rating of 4.8 out of 10 on IMDB. It is getting some good reviews there though.

I saw it at the Pasadena Archlight tonight. I think it's quite good, actually - I laughed quite a bit in the first half, and thought the ending was strong. Soundtrack is excellent. I think what I like most is that it explores enormous cultural and Christian ideas with such lightheartedness. It's a strange film, indeed, but coming from Steve Taylor that's a good thing -- it's light years ahead of his first film. It has it's flaws, no doubt, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Oh. Good. I liked his first film so if this is light years ahead then I'm happy. Profound yet lighthearted is surely a Steve Taylor trademark.

To clarify, I said it dealt with "enormous" culture and Christian ideas, not necessarily profound ones.

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Thankfully, I was wearing my Blue Like Jazz film T-shirt while I read this, so I knew that "enormous" didn't equal "profound."

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To clarify, I said it dealt with "enormous" culture and Christian ideas, not necessarily profound ones.

I guess I can settle for "enormous". ;)

Edited by Attica

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I can't review it until Friday, but I'll just say right now that I'm feeling a tremendous sense of relief. My highest anxiety about this film was that it would be one for which I would have to fumble for nice things to say in the company of people connected to the film. No fumbling will be required.

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I can't review it until Friday, but I'll just say right now that I'm feeling a tremendous sense of relief. My highest anxiety about this film was that it would be one for which I would have to fumble for nice things to say in the company of people connected to the film. No fumbling will be required.

Yeah, that's how I felt. Steve's a good friend and I gave him quite a bit of advice along the way - but after his first feature and the less-than-impressive BLJ trailer, I was still half-expecting a train wreck. A week later I still like the film, and no one has ever made anything like it.

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So Steve's a good friend of Scott, and Jeffrey hints that he hangs around with the people who made the film and wonders what he might say.

I'll add a note of caution: I think it's relevant to judge this film against Taylor's earlier work, but in no way do I think that, if this movie is superior, it's therefore worth recommending. The point of comparison for most people is not going to be Taylor's previous film, but other films in general. How does this one stack up against similar films?

Scott says there's never been anything like it, and in some sense I suppose that's true. But again, that doesn't tell me whether the film is worth seeing. What might be a good point of comparison -- films with similar subject matter (there aren't many), or maybe films released by the same distributor? Yeah, maybe the latter.

So, is Blue Like Jazz on the same level as Margin Call or Project NIM? Biutiful or Winter's Bone? Goodbye Solo? Heck, even Bella?

EDIT: I haven't been able to find many reviews of the film, but Rebecca Cusey has just posted hers.

Edited by Christian

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I've been trying to think of what films could serve as helpful reference points, and it is difficult. One that came to mind is Me and Orson Welles, actually... in its light-hearted look at a young man who has to figure out who he is, how he's being manipulated, and what's worth fighting for, in the midst of ego battles and potential romance. Blue Like Jazz is probably made on a much lower budget than that, but it's more visually inventive. I'll save my criticisms for opening day. (Keep in mind... all I've really expressed so far is relief that it's not the disaster I'd feared and relief that I won't have to work to find things worth applauding. I haven't called it a must-see, nor have I expressed anything like "Meh.")

Edited by Overstreet

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Having read the book (and disagreeing w it somewhat at the time, without remembering why), wouldn't a proper comparison be that documentary " Lord Save Us From Your Followers"?

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