I read Miller's book (wow, it's almost been a decade ago) and really liked it. Then, over the years, as I thought about and discussed it more, and as I read other authors more, I grew into disliking it. Now, I hestitate to recommend or condemn the book. It's still got some good questions, some quite unhelpful generalizations, and may have reached required reading status just as a purely educational/cultural frame of reference now.
... even though Steve doesn't want it to be labeled a Christian film, that's what it is. It's a good Christian film, but that might make it the tallest midget in the room. The film has some significant flaws, no doubt -- it may be a great deal better than his first film, but it is still feels quite a ways short of being a great film or a film for all film lovers. The audience for this movie is exceedingly small - but I'm in that demographic, which is why I liked it as much as I did. But conservative Christians will hate its liberalism and tolerance preaching, while most Christians open-minded enough or left-leaning enough to appreciate it won't bother to see it because there are too many other top-quality films out there for them to see.
The thing that bothers me the most about this film is purely personal. From all the previews and trailers, this is absolutely not the kind of, or quality of, a film I'd be interested in. Because of the Christian content, it is a film I'm interested in. I am contradicting myself?
My review ballooned into an essay.
And your review is probably convincing everyone here into seeing the film. But I can't help but get the impression that your argument is that in terms of film quality
, it's not worth seeing, but in terms for purposes of Christian discussion, it is
A Girl with a Dragon Tattoo
For another thing, the films themselves have radically different perspectives: one poses difficult questions about the shifting faces of good and evil in a resolutely post-Christian society, while the other, I gather, seeks to offer reasons not to give up on Christianity. When a film is made by Christians and purports to be about Christianity, then it is appropriate for a Christian reviewer to apply theological questions that probably aren't very useful for other types of films. That does not amount to a double standard.
"poses difficult questions"?
Actually, my assumption here that your comment reminds me of again is that I'm a Christian and that, therefore, I ought to see films made by Christians which purport to be about Chrisitianity. I thought I didn't have this assumption anymore. I thought I'd chucked it. Blue Like Jazz
is reminding me that it's still been there this whole time.
I'm a little surprised that no one here has linked to that Atlantic article that Josh linked to on Facebook yet ('Why 'Blue Like Jazz' Won't Save Christian Cinema')...
And it's a good review, btw. Barkhorn makes you ask what the film could have been and then points out a few simple things that, if it hadn't refused to do them, would have made the film so much more interesting. Oh good grief, now there's a "pro-life subgenre"?
Steve Taylor wrote:
: 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.
Just wondering, did anybody ever figure out why, exactly, a church that produces movies with an almost all-volunteer, non-professional crew would have ever issued a statement like this? Was Blue Like Jazz itself relying strongly on volunteers?
It only tangentially related to their filmmaking. It's the sort of thing they do in regards to all aspects of life, like boycotting Target or Walmart if it turns out that some CEO's nephew's girlfriend's aunt donated some money to Planned Parenthood.
I was hoping I could just ignore this film. Pretend, on the weakness of the trailers, that it wasn't worth another look. Then you guys had to come along with all your reviews and discussion.