QUADRIVIUM

Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Initial Thoughts on Blue Like Jazz, The Motion Picture…

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The boom in Christian filmmaking since the release of The Passion of the Christ lends hope to the belief that films that affirm Christian values can draw an audience, but the results have seen less than favorable returns.  Recent efforts over the last year have caught the fire, but have stumbled over creating a solid, well-delivered story.  A couple examples…

–I liked The Nativity Story for breathing fresh character into the person of Joseph, but much of its characterizations either fell flat or came off as clichéd.  Angels on film should never look like they just stepped out of a VBS skit. 

Facing the Giants, while it had a tremendous heart at its center, suffered under numerous script problems.  This movie was written by two men, and shot with one camera. One camera.  You can’t tell me passion didn’t play a part in the creation of this movie.  And the film they delivered was all right.  But it could have been great.   

Studios have begun tapping the well for good stories to sell to their Christian patrons, purchasing the film rights for books ranging from The Screwtape Letters to even nonfiction works like The Purpose-Driven LifeAnd now, Blue Like Jazz.  I’m one part excited and about two parts terrified, because I can see here the potential for a could’ve-been-great that just might wind up lingering around all right. 

Despite the profundity contained within, Don Miller’s non-religious thoughts on Christian spirituality amount to little more than a collection of short essays.  He tells some good stories, too—but a good story alone does not a good film promise. 

I love the book, and Miller writes with a casual, comfortable prose.  But screenwriters live in a world far removed from essayists.  (Read this little nugget over at Libertas, and you’ll get a small taste of the screenwriter’s life.)  If they can deliver a story that can capture the humor and wisdom of Miller’s essays, then we could have a decent film on our hands.  Maybe. 

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Written by taj

June 28, 2007 at 11:22 am

Posted in Books, Movies, stories, Writing

One Response

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  1. As an aside–Andrew, I read your comments regarding Steve Taylor’s work. I know almost nothing about him. I found an interview on Christianity Today that highlighted a little about his career. It seems he actually spent some time writing lyrics for the Newsboys before he turned to screenwriting. I trust your assessment of a person’s prowess with a pen more than most, so my confidence in this project has jumped up a few notches. I want to keep an eye on this because I am really hoping for a knock out movie.

    taj

    June 28, 2007 at 11:25 am


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