Review: Blue Like Jazz

April 19, 2012, 11:53 am
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It's not often you see a member of the press up and leave a screening in the middle of the thing but I can't say I blame the individual for hitting the road roughly 30 minutes into Blue Like Jazz. Heck, I was this close to joining the dude in the lobby. But straining to be steadfast in my resolve to stick through the flick, I'm proud to say I survived the thing but can't say I'm a lick better for it.

The largest publicly-funded film from Kickstarter - a funding foundation for creative endeavors - Blue Like Jazz is the bizarre for bizarre's sake, big screen adaptation of a semi-autobiographical book about a college-aged kid's battle with his very religion. Raised with a strict Southern Baptist upbringing, Kenny (Jason Marsden) breaks out of the Bible Belt and goes all godless, transferring to a college in the most agnostic of all cities: Portland, Oregon.

At Reed College, the co-eds are anarchists - anything religion-related isn't just frowned upon, it's vilified. In attempts to fit in, Kenny disavows any and all ties to his Christian roots - tossing his God in the trash heap and jumping on the insurrectionist train. 

In an entirely unforeseen plot development, Kenny comes back around to the idea that he is indeed a disciple of God and *SPOILER ALERT* the guy has a covert co-ed companion to aid in the mission to spread the good word across the campus.

Whereas Kirk Cameron's Fireproof wore its religion on its fireman's coat, Blue Like Jazz is furtive in its faith-spreading mission - it's also way too wacky for its own good. Ross College is loaded with crackpots that never once feel real - the kids' rebelliousness is taken to an outlandish extreme.

Similar in feel to the even more disastrous Damsels in Distress, Blue Like Jazz is a hot mess that somehow manages to somewhat redeem itself by the final frame but sadly not enough to save it from ultimate damnation.

Grade: D+

It was many moons ago in a darkened theater that my love of cinema took root as I snuck in to see my first R-rated film, Blade Runner. The futuristic vision that Ridley Scott unleashed on the screen was simply soul-expanding — spiritual even. From that moment, my mission to have that kind of magic strike again began in earnest. My hope is to be able to shine a light on films that may just have that kind of effect on you — films that may be lesser known, but not lesser in impact. 
- Erick Weber

Final Cut Scoring System
99-95% Opening night
94-90% Opening weekend
89-86% In theaters
85-83% On Demand
82-80% Netflix/Redbox
79-75% If desperate
74-70% If dozing off
69-65% If intoxicated
64-60% If comatose
Below 60% If brain dead

Erick's reviews
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