Friday, April 20, 2012

Blue Like Jazz Doesn’t Miss a Beat

By  Isaac Stambaugh
Rebel Pilgrim Productions

“Don’t suck. Please don’t suck.” That was my main thought as I entered a pre-screening of “Blue Like Jazz” this week.

I have seen many films in the last ten years that attempt to blend the medium of film with topics of faith. Nearly all of them embarrass me as both a filmmaker and a Christian. Some of them lack adequate production quality, but most of the time, the lacking is more in the story itself. I think part of the problem is that faith-based movies prefer to promote answers rather than ask good questions.

“Blue Like Jazz” asks good questions. And it doesn’t suck. It was actually pretty great. I don’t want to go into too much detail as to not ruin your viewing experience (I feel I should tell you that I haven’t read the book) – but I am going to touch upon the movie’s scope and style.

It offers a look into the life of someone willing to explore God, suffering, creation, and purpose. Reed College, the university attended by protagonist Don, provides the perfect setting to explore some of life’s hardest questions with fairly balanced diverse perspectives. These topics are explored alongside solid cinematography, good acting, realistic dialogue, a great indie rock soundtrack, and a heavy dose of fun not usually afforded to such subject matter. Jazz culminated into a theatrical experience I have longed for – a wrestling match with serious issues while managing to not takes itself too seriously and the acknowledgement of a few of the dark realities of life while delivering a little authentic hope.

If you’re a fan of well-done indie cinema such as “Lars And The Real Girl,” “Juno,” or “Little Miss Sunshine,” or you are interested in spirituality, or you appreciate the quirky humor served up by the TV show Portlandia, then there’s a good chance you will enjoy Blue Like Jazz.

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