There was a time whenever Hollywood wanted to make some big cash, it would simply turn to the Bible an make a movie about something. "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "The Ten Commandments", "Ben Hur", "King of Kings", "The Robe", "Barabbas" and many others made Hollywood millions by retelling one of the many stories plucked from the Bible.


I'm sure that the church had mixed feelings about the concept, especially since Hollywood - at least at the time - was mostly controled by people of the Jewish faith. Even with one of the more recent spiritual hits, "The Passion of the Christ", the director (Mel Gibson) is of questionable faith at best.


This has got to be disturbing to the christian church. So in recent years we have seen a griwing number of faith-based films done by genuine Christians. 2011s "Soul Surfer" did a fairly decent amount of business, while "Courageous" was barely noticed. They are films with wholesome, faith based messages about doing the right thing. But the truth is, they make downright boring films unless you really only watch those types of films. Most people do not.

And that defeats the purpose of creating a film to draw people to your religion - if they fall asleep of refuse to go because it looks like it will be boring. People really don't want wholesome; people prefer raunchy or at the very least raunchy changing to goody-goody.


Director Steve Taylor takes a rather interesting route in his "Blue Like Jazz"; it starts out relatively wholesome and turns to the darkside of fun. It's a little of the Christians poking fun at themselves in a peachy kind of way.


The story revolves around a young man named Don (Marshall Allman) who has been raised by his single parent, God-fearing mother to be a good Christian. Everything they do revolves around her church. Surely God is watching.


He is about to leave for his first year of college at [natch] a Christin college in Texas, when he suddenly learns that his Bible study teacher has been bumping hips with his mother!

Pissed off and with the urging of his absentee father, he dumps that idea and goes out to a free spirited college in Washington state that is seemingly as godless as film can be.


There he meets lesbians, a cute activist, a drunken slacker who plays the pope, and other assorted free spirits. He's not in Texas any more! He is encouraged to get involved, drink, get laid and all the things that his uptight hypocritical upbringing was against.


He even butts heads with the local church whom his new girl friend attends, But they aren't anything like his church in many ways. But too bad, he's done with the church... or is he?


Steve Taylor's film makes a valient attempt to convey a message of Christian goodness by first unveiling unholy sin, endulging further in unholy sin, then trying to find redemption from that sin all while pkoing fun at Christians.


The problem is it misses the mark. The sinning looks a lot more appealing that the spiritual goodness. You want Don to nail the activist and possible the lesbian or maybe a threesome with the pope watching!


"Blue Like Jazz" won't leave you blue, but it won't necessarily uplift your spirits either. It kind of lays there wallowing in it message leaving you thinking about the good old days of Cecil B DeMille and Charlton Heston.   -- GEOFF BURTON