I’m cautious to show you this clip from Blue Like Jazz, because it is what they call – a spoiler. An almighty spoiler really, it’s the peak of the movie. The final scene. It’s not quite one of those bits where you find out ‘whodunnit’ but it’s close. However, the movie is still not available over here as a region 1 release, so I feel that gives me some excuse for showing you this (and it’s out there on youtube anyway). We watched Blue Like Jazz in a film and faith group this week and I was amazed at how powerful this final scene proved to be for us all. And I’ve seen it quite a few times now.
Don Miller has spent the movie trying to hide his faith. Why wouldn’t he – he’s at a progressive, atheistic kinda college. Early in the story he befriends Lauryn who advises him to ‘get in the closet, baptist boy, and stay there.’ So Don does, and along the way he ends up rejecting his old work friend who looks him up after having had a conversion experience, he insults and pushes away Penny who is his one Christian friend at the college, and he ultimately isolates himself as he does everything he can just to ‘fit in’.
And then comes the unexpected pay off. Don is elected college Pope – a role which demands that he hear everyone’s confession at the end of year Renn Fayre – a weekend of indulgence in drugs, sex and rock’n’roll. All year the previous pope has lambasted him with the merits of atheism, and the negative, harmful effects of religion. Even to the point of going round the college burning any books which this former pope thinks are dangerous. So now Renn Fayre comes round again and Don is pope, and his first job is to hear the confession of the last pope. The old pope mutters something about stealing a condom from a guy’s wallet, then he wishes Don all the best as he’s off to the Grand Canyon for a summer trip. Then here’s what happens…
Wow. That is some conversation.