Blue Like Jazz - The movie
Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:51 AM
Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:12 AM
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.
It's hard not to judge any filmmaker's work against their earlier work, good or bad. What evens the ground here is that while Taylor did some amazing and brilliant work as a musician, his first feature film was not a good one. I really don't know how you stack Blue Like Jazz against other films -- because 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.
I think Taylor's musical prowess has a lot to do with what really works in the film -- the tone of the movie is set by the soundtrack, and it's an outstanding soundtrack indeed. And what people find funny is very personal, but I found things in this movie hysterical. It's broad comedy with caricatures for sure - so don't expect much serious realism here. There's a scene in a church near the beginning that had me laughing hard enough to make my eyes water. Taylor's best music was both lightly comedic and fairly severe at the same time, and I definitely felt that quality shining through during the best moments of BLJ.
Edited by Scott Derrickson, 11 April 2012 - 02:00 PM.
Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:39 AM
Posted 11 April 2012 - 12:55 PM
Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:12 PM
Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:36 PM
Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:38 PM
Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:35 PM
Which is even funnier for Nashvillians who recognize that church as a conservative Episcopal church (where Steve attends), one where I suspect a large number of members are there to get away from the kind of scene depicted in BLJ.
Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:04 AM
Oh yeah, I forgot about that one...(I like you have not seen it).
Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:31 PM
I thought this bit from the Variety review was worth highlighting:
The budgetary restrictions are plain to see in the serviceable tech package, which uses rudimentary animation and graphics to visualize Don's occasional flights of fancy.
Scott, Jeffrey: What did you think of the cinematic treatment of Don's "occasional flights of fancy"? I'm not so concerned with budgetary limitations as I am with whether or not you thought those sequences made any sense whatsoever, especially to those who haven't read the book. Comment today if you're willing and able, but if you think doing so might constitute a "review," please wait until tomorrow, when the film opens.
Edited by Christian, 12 April 2012 - 12:33 PM.
Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:53 PM
Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:00 PM
I haven't seen anything in a review, but this comparison has definitely been brought up in the AV Club review's comment section.
Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:52 PM
Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:18 PM
Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:59 PM
Not necessarily. I'm a conservative Christian and I liked it. Better than I expected to, actually.
Interestingly, one of the friends who was with me (and knew very little about Miller or the film going in) said that Miller's church at the beginning reminded her very strongly of the liberal church she used to go to -- lots of hokey games and little substantial teaching. Which was why she left that church and ended up at our more conservative one!
Edited by Gina, 15 April 2012 - 06:02 PM.
Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:18 PM
Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:24 PM
I liked the film, but this essay made me appreciate much, much more. After reading it, I felt rather astonished at how other critics had barely scratched the surface of what is truly praiseworthy in the film. Excellent job Jeff.