A number of years ago, I had a few friends extol the virtues of Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz. Once I actually found time to start reading, it was difficult to put down. The characters were vivid, fresh, and seemed more human than in most Christian books I’d read. There were a lot of messy situations and a lot of messy people and a college campus that seemed to promote messiness. I liked it a lot. Besides, it provided a raging stream of quotable dialogue guaranteed to elicit likes on Facebook.
I shared my enjoyment of the book with a number of folks, hoping (as I always do) that they would reciprocate my feelings about it. Alas, they didn’t. It was too out of the ordinary, too loose, too philosophical, too secular. My disappointment was palpable.
When I learned that Steve Taylor was going to direct a movie version of the book, I was hopeful but quite concerned. Hopeful because films such as Fireproof, Courageous, Soul Surfer, and October Baby have seen modest success in the general box office recently. Concerned because faith-based films of this nature have often involved poor production values, actors staring into the camera, force-fed versions of the Gospel for the whole family, unrealistic stories, and a stubborn refusal to try anything new.
But don’t necessarily take my word for it–the executive producer of the sitcom “Home Improvement,” David McFadzean, has gone so far as to compare faith-based flicks to porn – saying they‘re poorly lit, poorly acted and [one always knows] how they’re going to end.
If that last statement caused you to say “Whoa!,” then you understand the problem. If not, then you’re probably not going to want to see Steve Taylor’s on-screen adaptation of Blue Like Jazz. It’s not what you might expect.
And that isn’t a good thing.
It’s a great thing.