Michael Jackson's This Is It

When Michael Jackson died I became semi-obsessed with Michael Jackson music for a solid two weeks. Off The Wall, Bad, and Thriller only really. Listening to this stuff on headphones for the first time hit refresh in my head. Freshened up my ears to it. Headphones were key. And I was surprised by how much I liked the songs! My respect for Quincy Jones went through the roof. I played songs like Off The Wall over and over again listening all over it. Separating the tracks out in my head. Singling out the baseline. Listening to the light strummy strummy guitar constantly dancing in the background. How the song resets like a carriage return on a typewriter. Surprisingly touched by Michael's discovering his confident voice with his 'Heeee!' And 'Tuh!' And 'Ho!' And the groovy bridge.

Listen to what makes up this song:

Song after song I listened to how they were sewn together (granted there's ALOT of crap mj songs. many made me wanna puke) but for the most part, the primetime hits simply stunned me. And I soon participated in the sad net-addicted activity of researching individual songs. Getting at the stories behind them. I was impressed with the idea of Michael fighting (and winning) with Quincy Jones to keep the long :28 second drumbeat intro to Billie Jean because 'That's the jelly...' And how when they wanted to round out the album Thriller with a rock-n-roll song-- Michael disappeared for a week or whatever and then came back with Beat It. Soon it became apparent to me that I was most impressed with Michael Jackson as a songwriter first. The dancing was good and all. The voice is good and all. But Michael Jackson wrote (by himself!) Get this... Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', Beat It, Billie Jean, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Dirty Diana, Smooth Criminal, Black or White etc...

Michael wrote Dirty Diana? Michael wrote Smooth Criminal? By himself?! And Bad? When? On what? Where? I assumed he kept a hand in stuff and co-wrote and inspired songs-- but I didn't know he was off on his own putting together these hits. Over and over. On his lonesome.

I eventually burned through the MJ Rolling Stone Commemorative Issue and of course got sad about his decline. Bummer stories like how he wore a prosthetic nose and once he was rehearsing and he knocked it off his own face and at the tip of his nose was just a hole-- where I guess it got screwed in or whatever. Was ew. And his eventual descent into loony toon sad madness blah blah. But with all the junk piling up it seemed that up until Invincible-- Michael was actually at the controls of the machine. The one he'd actually built. He wasn't simply a puppeted corporate product. He was the boss.

And with this flick, although obviously it would be distorted-- I thought maybe it would give a glimmer into how he looked as an actual legitimate artist. To provide closure to me for the reintroduced Michael by giving me a few moments of the aspect of him I respected the most. (yes this is overly dramatic compared to my actual reality)

Anyway, 10 seconds into this movie I realized I made a terrible mistake. A lapse in judgment that led to me walking out inside of 40 minutes. Freak marionette Michael did his death dance throe final moves. Hearing songs like Smooth Criminal played through 'live' was nothing I needed. At all. And yeah, there were glimpses of how he interacted with people but nothing that was too revealing other than that sketchy director guy speaking slowly when describing a stage problem to Michael. It was boring to me. And why should I have liked it? This Is It! as a live show would spark zero interest in me if Michael was still alive-- of course unless it all went horribly wrong.

As I walked out of a near-empty theater I got closure on Michael Jackson officially. I probably won't listen to his music again for years. Nor will participate the soon to be assault of products and newly discovered songs (new albums?) of course. I'm done with it. I'm sure whatever is left over is mediocre at best. But regardless of how fked up and skinny and drugged out Michael was at the end-- it was interesting to see him barebones that way. So close to curtain call, it seemed all he had left were his little dance steps and still solid voice. Everything else was already ghosted and gone. But it is an honest testament that underneath the mental shellshockery and grotesque appearance-- it was apparent his energy was still disco pulsing around in there. Somewhere. And it was surprisingly bright too.

Three Good Things About this Movie

- It was interesting to stare at with a tilted head and a mouth hung half open.
- For hardcore showman Michael fans there's probably a decent payoff here.
- It was kind of cool to see music course through him in a natural setting.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- The looming number of 50 (fifty?) shows made everyone involved blatantly guilty of pushing him too hard.
- The whole thing smelled clammy.
- From what I saw-- there was zero footage outside of the stage area. Nothing genuinely backstage.

All in all, this probably will be an interesting DVD rental to the mild fan on up. If you have the right TV set and speakers or whatever you might appreciate the experience extra. But the whole thing is really unnecessary. There's nothing here you can't imagine. Dancers on scaffolding against skyline lighting posing like they're hanging out. Tapping their feet. Michael bopping his head while fiddling around with a keyboard guy to get the right sound. And some semi-impressive muted dance steps and vocals of a 50-year old superstar about to drop dead-- arguably at the right time.