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Blue Like Jazz (2012)

Steve Taylor Christian film

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#1 MattP

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 12:02 PM

http://www.donaldmillerwords.com/


"To say we�ve given the book a Hollywod treatment is an understatement. The book itself would be, of course, difficult to turn into a movie, and so we took creative liberties. But in my opinion, the movie will be infinitely better than the book. Essentially we�ve taken the major, real life characters from the book, and gave them a story all their own. The end result is provactive and humorous and in my opinion quite moving."


I wonder if we're going to start seeing this as a trend, what with this and that Purpose Driven Life movie they're supposed to be making and all.



#2 Christian

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 02:18 PM

I grabbed a copy of the book a couple of weeks ago from the library, started in, and ... stalled. It's not for me. But I'm glad it's selling well and reaching people (people of a certain age, I'm guessing; people in their 20s).

#3 mrmando

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 04:01 PM

Still looking forward to the film version of Kierkegaard's Either/Or ...

#4 NBooth

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 11:32 AM

Not sure how well Blue Like Jazz--even with "Hollywoodization"--would work as a film. It's a very good book--and, at the time I read it, very influential in terms of where I found myself--but there's no narrative.

--Unless they're going to take the narrative of Through Painted Deserts and stick the Jazz title on it (Miller uses the phrase "blue like jazz" in discussing the events relayed in Deserts). Deserts would make a great movie--kind of a road/buddy flick.

Then again, that doesn't look like what they're doing here.

EDIT: link to the Donald Miller thread

Edited by NBooth, 30 June 2007 - 11:42 AM.


#5 Stephen Lamb

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 03:29 PM

Sales of the book are over 800,000 now, so it's doing well.

A friend of mine talked to Steve Taylor last Saturday about this, and Steve said it is about 80% done. If I remember right, he also said the New Line will be involved with it.

#6 theoddone33

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 06:50 PM

Steve Taylor could make it an entertaining movie, but Donald Miller's name will sell it. I've never seen so many people in my age group so excited about some book. Miller's following is almost cultlike.

That said, I have no idea if the message of the book/movie is worth a penny. I kind of doubt it.

#7 Holy Moly!

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 08:44 PM

Well, the book is just awful. Pseudo-rebellious swagger but almost no substantive engagement with theology. It has all the depth of a Dashboard Confessional album. It's fascinating though, on a sociological level, as a document of how obsessive evangelicals can get about others' perception of them, and how they attempt to navigate evangelical identity in a pluralistic world. Still, the misogynistic "humor" makes it a pretty tedious read.

May I suggest casting Dane Cook as Don Miller?

#8 Overstreet

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 11:08 PM

Well, it must have *something* more than "pseudo-religious swagger" going on, because I know people who have been moved and inspired and challenged by it. I haven't read the whole book, but I found myself nodding and feeling some sense of relief that some of Miller's sentiments were actually in print and being discussed by Christians across the country. And when Miller speaks to an audience, he's compelling. I find him much more interesting and thoughtful than a lot of the stuff that passes for "inspirational."

Plus, I sincerely doubt that Steve Taylor would ever agree to bring "pseudo-religious swagger" to the big screen.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet, 30 June 2007 - 11:52 PM.


#9 MattP

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 11:23 PM

QUOTE(Holy Moly! @ Jun 30 2007, 06:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well, the book is just awful. Pseudo-rebellious swagger but almost no substantive engagement with theology. It has all the depth of a Dashboard Confessional album. It's fascinating though, on a sociological level, as a document of how obsessive evangelicals can get about others' perception of them, and how they attempt to navigate evangelical identity in a pluralistic world. Still, the misogynistic "humor" makes it a pretty tedious read.

May I suggest casting Dane Cook as Don Miller?

I'll call your "awful" and raise you an "I thought it was great." If you're looking for a theological tome, you've come to the wrong place, but then I don't think there's any indication it ever tries to represent itself as such. But as a series of reflections on what it means to have faith influence life, instead of just mental belief, and on being honest about what we like to call "authentic" vs. what really is, I found it very insightful. It certainly is one of the only christian books I've ready in the last few years that I'd easily recommend to friends.

It's been awhile since I read it, and I don't remember what you might be referring to by "misogynistic humor" (perhaps you could refresh me on that), I wonder if you're not somewhat predisposed to dislike it based on a distaste for evangelicals in general - at least judging from how I'm reading you here.

edit: Oh, and Jeffrey, I think you meant you doubt Steve Taylor would "ever" agree, but I'm just reading between the lines...

Edited by popechild, 30 June 2007 - 11:24 PM.


#10 Overstreet

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 11:52 PM

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#11 N.K. Carter

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:20 AM

Well, a book of theology it's not, but as a scattered, meandering collection of stories I often found it moving, even though I was predisposed not to like it: I was handed it for free by Campus Crusade, so I assumed it was well-meaning, innoffensive, and thoroughly uninteresting.

Instead, it managed to surprise me: Yes, it's self-consciously "relevant" and "spiritual, but not religious," but I still vividly remember and am delightfully confounded by the Confession Booth bit, and I find myself nodding more and more, somewhat sadly, at the honesty in his admission something to the effect of: "I realized a long time ago that there are some people who know God exists and can prove it, and others who know He doesn't, and can prove it. If I ever turn away from Christ, and pray that I don't, I suspect it will be for reasons of identity, emotion, and personal experiences-- the same reasons anyone does anything."

That said, it's be a tricky adaptation. It's not a narrative, per se, but it is full of stories, and those stories have a certain web of history underneath them. They could turn it into an obfuscated biopic of Donald Miller, actually, or they could find an entirely new framework to put its ideas into. Whatever it is, I'd be surprised if it didn't turn out extremely episodic.

Still sounds worlds better than The Purpose Driven Life movie, though

Edited by N.K. Carter, 01 July 2007 - 12:23 AM.


#12 theoddone33

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 01:11 AM

This review of the book by a man whose blog I read regularly is about the closest I've come to any real understanding of the book's content. Some friends of mine also created a discussion group about the book online. As a bunch of 20-somethings they seemed to like it enough to think it deserved significant discussion, which I never really understood. I'm guessing it's probably closer to the account from the first link... just saying the same things I've been hearing for my whole life in a slightly different way. And "faux-chattiness" *does* grate on me, so the book probably isn't for me.

I'm casually interested in whether the movie will attempt to be didactic or whether it'll just be narrative. And how much of the book's "message", whatever that is, will leak through.

I hadn't heard anywhere about misogynistic humor... I think Greg (first link above) would have mentioned that if he'd come across it.

#13 sel

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 01:36 AM

It's probably worth mentioning that there was a theatrical adaptation of blue like jazz done by Canadian actor Jason Hildebrand. It was a one man show that adapted some of the stories/ideas told in the book and presented them as a sequence of monologues, along with some multimedia stuff thrown in as well (video clips, music).

#14 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 02:13 AM

Link to the (short-lived) thread on Jason Hildebrandt's stage adaptation.

#15 N.K. Carter

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 05:31 PM

Also, a link to the thread in the literature forum ostensibly about Through Painted Deserts, another one of Miller's books, which more or less turned into a discussion about Blue Like Jazz and Miller himself. Any extended venting and defending of the book might be more focused there, I guess.

#16 Holy Moly!

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 09:47 AM

QUOTE
It's been awhile since I read it, and I don't remember what you might be referring to by "misogynistic humor" (perhaps you could refresh me on that), I wonder if you're not somewhat predisposed to dislike it based on a distaste for evangelicals in general - at least judging from how I'm reading you here.


Misogyny might be overstating it--there is just a tendency to play to the "I am sexist and un-PC, which makes me funny and authentic" archetype--more tedious than offensive. I will say though, that I have no general distaste for evangelicals or evangelical lit--one of the best books I read last year was Patton Dodd's memoir My Faith So Far, which could have made a truly excellent film.

I'm struggling to pin down the reasons Miller irks me and I think it has to do with his self-conscious attempts at demonstrating his authenticity, which feel calculated, as if he's trying to prove something. I dug out my copy of the novel and my notes in the margins indicate that my assessment at the time I read it was somewhat more generous than my feelings now. Clearly what he's doing does speak to people, and does challenge people, as Jeffery notes. Certainly, I am excited by some of Miller's emphases-- for example, his call to make friends with people who are very different from you. That's a sentiment that everyone, christian or non-christian, liberal or conservative, young and old, needs to hear.

It will be interesting to see whether the mainstream bands Miller namedrops in the text ("...I put on the new Wilco album...") will consent to being included in the film.

Edited by Holy Moly!, 02 July 2007 - 09:49 AM.


#17 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 10:48 AM

CT Movies interviews Steve Taylor and Donald Miller. Among their revelations: They attended Robert McKee's screenwriting class.

#18 Overstreet

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 11:03 AM

Next month, I'm going to go spend a day with Taylor and Miller and write about this project for CT.

If you have any questions you'd like me to ask, please post them here!

Edited by Overstreet, 05 April 2008 - 12:11 PM.


#19 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 02:31 PM

Jazz Gets the Blues
Blue Like Jazz is still headed to the big screen, but a lack of funding has postponed the project indefinitely.
ChristianityTodayMovies.com, August 26

#20 Overstreet

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 03:16 PM

As you may have guessed... my visit has been postponed indefinitely as well.





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