While I was at The Simply Youth Ministry Conference this past weekend I was able to see a screening of the new movie Blue Like Jazz. A few years ago I was able to see a screening of the movie To Save a Life at SYMC and I wrote a review of it you can see here on my blog. I wanted to do the same for Blue Like Jazz so I could provide a review for anyone who may be interested in the movie or anyone who is just interested in hearing my thoughts on it.
Blue Like Jazz the movie is based on Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz. The movie is not an exact replication of the book, but is a story that is based on the book. Blue Like Jazz, the book, explains the story of Donald Miller’s journey through Reed College and his search for faith. The movie takes the same approach as it follows a young man who grew up in Texas. He grew up in typical Bible belt Baptist church and never really knew why he believed what he said he believed. He was the perfect “church kid”-youth leader, preached, etc. But once he finds out some bad news about one of the church leaders he snaps and heads to Reed College. Reed College, one of the world’s most liberal colleges, gives him one crazy experience. While he was there, he partied, got drunk, and abandoned his faith. After meeting another Christian and experiencing a few things, the movie concludes with a fuzzy (in my opinion it was a fuzzy and not clear) confession of his faith.
The only really positive thing I saw in the movie was the picture it painted of most “Christian” students that leave church and enter into a new world of secular universities. Many students, like the guy in this movie, are all wrapped up in a “Christian bubble” and never taught to own their faith in non-christian world. The guy in this movie shows what happens to most church kids. They leave home and enter into a college where partying and questioning truth is popular. This movie showed the real and disturbing things that go on colleges campuses that oppose Christians and discouraged them from being bold followers of Jesus.
I’ll be honest, this movie had more negatives for me than positives. The amount of cursing and inappropriate scenes made the movie almost hard to watch. The biggest negative was the fact that the Gospel was left out. No where in the movie was there a clear picture of the Gospel. Because of the content of this movie, it would be hard to show students and actually use it as a teaching point in a youth group or college group.
Overall, the movie brought up good questions and showed us what we are dealing with when we work with college students. I would recommend this movie to someone who wants to see the devastating transition many go through when they leave high school and enter a secular college. Click here to check out the official website for the movie and watch the trailer. You can check out their Facebook page as well.