Author Topic: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT  (Read 8106 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« on: November 01, 2009, 07:33:53 am »
Itís an emotionally exhausting picture.  My wife cried on and off throughout.  The movie doesnít reach for your heartstrings, it just goes there naturally.  The dancers talking about their gratitude for this opportunity; Michael matter-of-factly talking through the people that mean the most to him; the end credit dedications.  You donít miss the water till the well is gone, and this unfinished artifact that would have rocked the entertainment world removes the smirk that often accompanied Michael calling himself The King of Pop.  That was a title he earned. 

Some are complaining about the ďdisappointingĒ grosses this weekend, but how do they compare to the recent Rolling Stones concert movie directed by the great Martin Scorsese, or the 3-D U2 movie, or even the Jonas Brothers movie?  Most concert movies donít perform.  Michaelís has, expectations aside.

I also really see Quincy Jonesí influence on Michael.  The focus on love, on his musical perfectionism, his social consciousnessÖ.not that Michael didnít have those things before, perhaps he did, but if you spend time with Quincy, you know how much those things are a part of him and the reflection in Michael was evident to me. 

Michaelís voice still sounds great, even with him holding back in rehearsals.  One of my disappointments in Michael was that he never had any choreographic breakthroughs after Thriller, but watching this film, I was impressed that a 50 year old man moved nonstop for pretty much the entire show.  Doing truly original choreography for two hours is probably too much to ask for, and I wasnít mad this time.  As a side note, I was always amazed that people never called out Michael for not simply reviving an old dance with the moonwalk.  I remember pretty much airbody doing at our senior graduation parties back in 1979.  It couldnít have just been us in East St. Louis, could it?  Who else remembers it pre-Motown 25?

I spent the first part of the movie feeling very bad about Michaelís face. Iím actually relieved that the vitiligo story proved to be true, but the surgeries were tragic.  With his imposing height, thin frame and large hands (never noticed those before) he looks like a love child of Mickey Mouse and Snow White.  But I got over it as I focused on his personality and performance.

Michael didnít look frail or sick to me.  Given how vital those back up dancers are, the fact that he in any way kept up with kids half his age was impressive.

I love stories about the artistic process, and thatís what this is film is about.  Kenny Ortega is not getting enough credit for putting together an amazing show, and an amazing movie.  The pacing and style is great. 

The blackness of Michaelís core collaborators was also striking.  His choreographer, vocal leader, his musical director and much of the band are black (a smartly placed young female guitarist is the most prominent white member of the team).  We know that Michael only chose the best, and itís nice to see that the best was black.

Watching the film, I kept thinking about a generation of artists that would study this film endlessly on tour buses, trying to equal or top Michaelís magic.  Michael keeps giving. 

As I left the movie theatre and walked through the mall to my car, there were a half dozen young black kids in skinny jeans and acey ducey baseball caps trading ďjerkĒ moves.  And the beat goes onÖwhat a perfect coda.

 

Jenn

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2009, 08:05:53 am »
Dear morons:

If I hear one more of you talking about how MJ was "struggling" to move or "shuffling" across the stage, or how "weak" his voice sounded, I'm going to scream. See, there's this little thing called a DRESS REHEARSAL. During a DRESS REHEARSAL, you're not supposed to be at 100%. A DRESS REHEARSAL is the little thing that comes after the readthrough/blocking stage and before the final dress rehearsal. MJ and Co. were in the second stage. So no, Mike wasn't "straining" to sing, or "painfully" dancing. He was doing what he was supposed to do. And Michael at 65% is better than any of us will ever be.

Catch a clue,
Me

Jenn

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2009, 08:31:23 am »
Quote
One of my disappointments in Michael was that he never had any choreographic breakthroughs after Thriller


See, this is why we don't let old people do movie reviews.  ;D Beat It, Remember the Time, Smooth Criminal (which brought a whole new meaning to "gangsta lean"), Bad...those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. He completely revolutionized the music video. You can't compare anything to Thriller because Thriller is Thriller and nothing else compares to it. And the one move I LOVED watching him do is that...thing he does where he kinda hops on one leg (you see it here @ around 2:48, 4:25, & 4:58). Puffy tries to do, but only ends up looking like a slave trying to shake a chain off his ankle. And only MJ could grab his junk in public over and over and nobody cared. In fact, one can argue that Michael made dancing with a group the thing to do.

One thing I hated is that Michael Jordan (who was in the Jam vid) didn't make it to the funeral. Magic Johnson (who was in Remember the Time) should've been up there w/Jordan, not that wack-ass Kobe Bryant.


Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2009, 10:42:24 am »
Quote
One of my disappointments in Michael was that he never had any choreographic breakthroughs after Thriller

See, this is why we don't let old people do movie reviews.  ;D Beat It, Remember the Time, Smooth Criminal (which brought a whole new meaning to "gangsta lean"), Bad...those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. He completely revolutionized the music video. You can't compare anything to Thriller because Thriller is Thriller and nothing else compares to it.



When I say THRILLER, I mean the entire album, not just that video...ie including BEAT IT. 

The SMOOTH CRIMINAL lean was a dope effect, very much in the MGM tradition of extending choreography with visual effects...but not a replicable dance move per se.  REMEMBER THE TIME is a great video, the one I enjoy watching repeatedly the most, and my girl Fatima did a fantastic job with the dance work, but I'm not sure if Michael did a new move that equalled or topped what he had done before - a daunting ambition, to be sure.

Jenn

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2009, 11:17:42 am »
But has anybody? I can't think of a single other post-Thriller "move", unless you want to count the Soulja Boy dance or the Tootsie Roll. I can recall certain video breakdowns - most of which were done by Michael or Janet - but not an actual dance step. (I think it's because kids don&;t dance no mo'.) Being disappointed that the Moonwalk wasn't topped is like winning $100 million in lottery and being pissed that your next lotto ticket only has four numbers out of six.

And everybody knows that Off the Wall > Thriller. So there.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2009, 02:59:40 pm »
As albums, of course OFFICE THE WALL owns THRILLER.  I said it when they came out, and have never wavered.  Of course, there are millions who will disagree with you and I, but so what. 

And yes, I am asking too much.  But Michael begs the question of whether the impossible is possible. 

And whether anyone else has done it, well yes.  Beyonce with SINGLE LADIES. 

Offline bluezulu

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2009, 03:55:58 pm »
Great discussion all the way around. What I took from the movie.


100 hours of film two hours. I remember seeing a solo of him doing Beat it on youtube that did not make the film. We will be blessed for years from those few weeks.

Michael at 50 reminds me of Miles Davis with his approach to his craft. What a wonderful boss. I don't want a buddy for a boss, I want someone who is going to teach and expect the most out of me. Mike can get into your sh*t. He don't play.

Everybody in entertainment needs to step their game up. I'm not saying you have to give it your life in all but if Mike could give his you can at least give your best effort.

Mike got style. Those shirts was off the chain.

He got swag to. His gum chewing is like Miles gum chewing intense and like look mofos come correct or don't waste my time.

Mike could probably pull your girl.
It was a big mistake for his people to not let us see unscripted views of him. Yes he knew a camera was on him, but his main focus was the show and his art not playing to the cameras because he knew we were watching.

Jenn

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2009, 05:45:47 pm »
And whether anyone else has done it, well yes.  Beyonce with SINGLE LADIES.  


Buhhhh? I love that vid to death, but that was a blatant ripoff of Mexican Breakfast. Hell, somebody even put Beyonce&;s music to Gwen's performance, and it nearly matches beat for beat. Can you really claim the music video crown when all you do is jack other people's sh*t?

He got swag to. His gum chewing is like Miles gum chewing intense and like look mofos come correct or don't waste my time.


Oh GOD, the gum chewing. At the funeral, Prince was just chomping away. I think Paris and a couple of the siblings were as well. They can chew the hell out of some gum!
« Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 07:34:06 pm by Jenn »

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2009, 07:23:42 am »
Yes, it was clearly inspired by Mexican Breakfast.  Didn't mean it had to work.  And it's not like I don't see the roots of Michael's moves...that hip move from James Brown, that kick step from traditional African dance, another move from 70s lock n pop crews.  I love that in the movie. He was a living compendium of black dance.

Jenn

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2009, 09:52:43 am »
that kick step from traditional African dance

Is that what that...thing is called? It would be nice if it had a name. I just go all nuts when I see him do that, and I don't know why.

Offline jcinmn

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2009, 12:31:35 pm »


Quote
It couldnít have just been us in East St. Louis, could it?  Who else remembers it pre-Motown 25?

Reg, of course we had it going on in East Boogie back in the day (JCrisp, AHS class of 80), but everyone knows that Jeffrey Daniels from Shalamar taught Mike how to moonwalk.  That's OK, he may not have invented the dance, but he sure mastered it. 

The movie was great.  I plan to see it again soon.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2009, 01:58:55 pm »
that kick step from traditional African dance

Is that what that...thing is called? It would be nice if it had a name. I just go all nuts when I see him do that, and I don't know why.
Yeah, I feel so badly educated when I can't say what it is either.  I'm sure it has a name....and after all that time I spent with Kathrine Dunham, I'm embarrassed. 

But yeah, it's so dope when he does it.  It's not an obviously fly move, but damn it is fly.  It's the visual equivalent of his soul makossa chant.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2009, 02:00:11 pm »


Quote
It couldnít have just been us in East St. Louis, could it?  Who else remembers it pre-Motown 25?

Reg, of course we had it going on in East Boogie back in the day (JCrisp, AHS class of 80), but everyone knows that Jeffrey Daniels from Shalamar taught Mike how to moonwalk.  That's OK, he may not have invented the dance, but he sure mastered it. 

The movie was great.  I plan to see it again soon.

Love all the East Boogie folks on the board! 

I saw the movie again with my daughter Sunday.  Another nice thing about Mike.  In a world of nasty stuff, he's kid friendly.  The parents on the board understand.

Offline Magic Wand

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2009, 03:33:29 pm »


Quote
It couldnít have just been us in East St. Louis, could it?  Who else remembers it pre-Motown 25?

Reg, of course we had it going on in East Boogie back in the day (JCrisp, AHS class of 80), but everyone knows that Jeffrey Daniels from Shalamar taught Mike how to moonwalk.  That's OK, he may not have invented the dance, but he sure mastered it. 

The movie was great.  I plan to see it again soon.

Welcome to the board, Pioneer!
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Offline Magic Wand

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Re: Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2009, 03:36:30 pm »
I saw the movie again with my daughter Sunday.  Another nice thing about Mike.  In a world of nasty stuff, he's kid friendly.  The parents on the board understand.

C'mon, Reg.  You didn't really preview it first because you thought there would be cussin' and violence in it did you?
This is MICHAEL!
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." --Aristotle, Greek philosopher

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