Audra Krell

On Purpose

Breakfast Club on Jazz

We attended closing night of the Phoenix Film Festival and saw Blue Like Jazz. The film opens nationwide on April 13.

Let me first say that I loved the book. God used it to change my life. Donald Miller gets abandonment. It was one of the first times I felt understood in my struggle with parental abandonment. Miller helped me to see that even though I didn’t feel worthy of people sticking around, I have a Father who has never left me.

In my ongoing heartbreak with subsequent familial abandonment, I return time and again to the truths I finally understood through Miller’s writing. God’s love lasts much longer than the stabs of current rejection. His love is the only thing that is eternal.

Now on to the movie. It’s not advertised for, nor is it appropriate for children or young teens. We took our 13 and 16 year old sons. I was embarrassed, and as mom to three teen boys, it takes some doing to make me blush. I also was uncomfortable with the mocking of Christianity. I get that for free every day out in the world, through all social media and especially on TV. My son lives it everyday at the University he attends, the other boys at their middle and high schools.

Some reviewers say the movie is a great conversation starter for Christian families and helps them transition their young adults to the next stage of life. I wonder where they think we live? Do they really believe all Christians live out in the country where the most violent act we witness is a calf being born? Where our biggest problem is what dress to wear to church on Sunday? No, Christians face the exact things the world does, on the same moment- by -moment basis. When I attend a film, I want to be taken away from the world, not forced to relive my college days in all their lewd glory.

Reviewers said the movie was going to have a hard time and comments like the one below tend to polarize viewers:

A challenging book to turn into a film due to its stream of consciousness narration, director Steve Taylor and crew have for the most part succeeded in turning out a generally entertaining film, but one that will probably be too centered on Christianity for those averse to religion and too “edgy” for those of the Christian faith who like their films Kirk Cameronesque. -Linc Leifeste, Smells Like Screen Spirit 

I agree, it was too difficult to turn Blue Like Jazz into a film. As a person of faith, an avid movie goer and someone who respects Kirk Cameron, I don’t prefer my films to be Kirk Cameronesque. I further don’t consider mocking Christianity for 95% of the film to be edgy in any way. It’s an effort to reach the masses with an attempt to entertain. Mocking anything is usually good for a sure laugh.

The central message of Blue Like Jazz the movie, is that every flawed creature is worthy of respect, which we know is the gospel truth. The film had the chance to go deep with that and ended up a glorified, modern day version of the Breakfast Club with a jazz soundtrack. Basically an “accept all sin now, just be certain to ask forgiveness later.”

I highly recommend the book, it’s a completely different experience.

Blue Like Jazz the Book


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13 thoughts on “Breakfast Club on Jazz

  1. I read the book and enjoyed it. Appreciate your helpful commentary on the movie. I can see how some of the experiences he shares in the book would be hard to translate into a movie that doesn’t glorify sin, while presenting a positive Christian message.

  2. Floyd on said:

    Isn’t it interesting that the people stuck in a Hollywood mindset never seem to grasp that the majority of the people in our society don’t think like they do with their humanistic, God hating, America loathing, and self indulgent attitude. They use the media to poison the senses of the masses. I won’t be watching this one. Thanks for the heads up. God help our country…

    Happy Easter to you and yours!

  3. And a Happy Easter to you and your family Floyd. Have you read the book? If you can’t tell I highly recommend it.

    I agree with you on the people that are stuck in a Hollywood mindset. Donald Miller is not that person though. This movie almost wasn’t made, he had to do a Kickstarter campaign for it to survive. I’m just disappointed that it was more of the same in what we see in a lot of movies, when he had such an opportunity to delve deeper into the truth of God. There is a powerful closing scene, but it only takes up a few minutes of the film. The closing scenes with the truth about God is what people are desperate for.

  4. Wow, Audra, thank you for that illuminating review. I, too, love Blue Like Jazz, and I, too, prefer not to relive lewd college days, nor pay to be ridiculed. Thank you for the headsup.

  5. My pleasure Susan. Easter blessings to you and yours!

  6. Thanks for the head’s up with the review. The book is a great read, one of his best. Sorry the movie isn’t that way, was hoping for a whole lot more!

  7. Audra, Thanks for the review. I was wondering how they would ever translate the book (which I also loved) into a screenplay. I will pass on the movie version, gladly.

  8. dukeslee on said:

    Audra … I have read the book. And re-read it. And re-re-read it. I had so hoped that the movie could do the book justice. This is disappointing. I do plan to check it out anyway, but very much appreciate your heads-up, especially with regard to child-appropriate content.

  9. nwhannas on said:

    Hmmm…Where to go between the Kirk Cameron-esque (again, I admire him, but the movies seem too canned) and the mocking of Christianity. There HAS to be someone who can do better. May God help someone kick down the doors and give the opportunity and support for better to happen, and soon. Thanks for the review, Audra.

  10. Thanks for your thoughts Gretchen. Have you read the book? So helpful with our daddy issues… : )

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