sooooooooo. went to check out MJ’s ‘This is It’ last night. i guess i don’t have to worry about spoiling the film because we all know how it ends 😦
there’s actually not too much to say about the actual film footage. it was what it was: a nicely edited collection of video recorded rehearsals of what was to be his sold out 50 performance show. it is edited in such a way that you feel like you feel like you’re being taken through the show, starting at the first song michael wanted to do and ending with the song he chose to close. mike says that he’s not really singing because he has to save his voice, and it looks like he’s putting forth little effort when it actually comes to singing. but light singing for mike is normal singing for anyone else, and i didn’t realize that he wasn’t really giving it his all til he said so. we get to see what the set design would have looked like and the vignettes that would have been shown throughout the show. it was neat. and it was sad, because u do know how the story ends. its sort of like watching captured video of the first 8 months of a woman’s pregnancy, all the excitement and preparation, all the while knowing that that baby would never ever take its first breath.
there were some funny observations i made while watching, one being that michael jackson looked really, really weird in normal clothes. by normal i mean the regular, plain old every day black jacket (it looked kind of like a knock-off starter jacket). most of the footage shows him in something michael jackson-esque, be it a pair of sparkly gold lounge pants, or a shiny red military jacket. probably/possibly just for the effect while rehearsing; it wasn’t a dress rehearsal, and maybe he wanted to give everyone a better feel of what things would look like. or maybe he just wore that shit in his everyday life. i think the latter is true. and that’s fine! but i was really thrown off to see him in layman’s clothing. probably just because the most popular, frequent images of jackson we see don’t feature him in normal clothes. at one point he wore a jacket with big pointy shoulder pads that i think contained Larry King’s actual shoulders. he looked like a cross between Larry King and Jack Skellington from ‘the nightmare before christmas.’
i also noticed, and this is something that wasn’t new, i don’t think, but very prevalent in the way he communicated with people, that michael was definitely a visionary. he
saw, thought, experienced, and envisioned things in a very special way. when trying to describe something that he could see but others couldnt, he did it with such confidence that you knew that he was sure in what he saw, and that when he finally got it out of his brain it would be awesome. that happens with me a lot in my daily life too (ie – ‘i just feel so…okay, so like imagine you’re at a bowling alley, right, and instead of bowling pins, you’re aiming at a bunch of prosthetic legs, right, and instead of a bowling ball, you’ve got a head of lettuce. know what im talkin about? does that make sense? no?? FUCK!’) the problem with that is that when you try to explain those things to people, things that make perfect sense to you, it can sometimes just sound weird, for lack of a better word. at one point michael was telling the sound guys that it sounded like there was a fist inside his ear. ….what do you do with that? lol. it’s funny to think about, but there’s real tragedy in it, i think. just one more thing for people to point to when talking about how weird and not right he was (mike tyson knows all about this).
anyway, we also get to see a small bit of the auditioning and selection of the dancers that were going to do the show with MJ. it was actually very moving to see so many young people, probably in their late teens/early 20s, so overcome with emotion when talking about mike, his brilliance, and the impact that he’s had over their lives and careers. its the same feeling i get when i watch my 6 year old niece singing and dancing while listening to his music on my ipod (‘billeh jean is NAT my luuuh-vuuhh.. she wisha giirrl who said that iiiiii have a gun!’). its a great example of his talent and legacy.
we also get to see what a perfectionist mike was. he was definitely captain of his ship, and was very straightforward and plain about what he did and did not want. still, he was kind in his corrections and criticisms, saying ‘that’s okay; this is why we rehearse’ while correcting, and, genuinely, ‘god bless you’ when someone finally got it right. he was very gracious. very, very gracious, always, and seeing that made me feel a little guilty.
it made me feel guilty because it made me think of what his life could have been like if people, particularly the public and the media, were a little more gracious to him, if more people had said ‘god bless you’ instead of laughing and pointing and making jokes. while mike was on stage performing alone, his dancers were in the audience spot, watching and having fits, completely hyped and excited at being able to watch mike do his thing and really appreciate it. i felt so jealous of them, not only because they got to witness what so many people have not, but also (and mostly) because they could see that then, before all the post-mortem adoration, and really enjoy it. they were among the group who could see past all the rumors and the allegations and pictures of him dangling children off of balconies at a time when the rest of us were too distracted by it. they were free enough of the harsh judgement to appreciate the genius while it was still alive and in front of them. i envy those people because i was one of the distracted. i was among those who said more about his weirdness than his talent when he was around. and though i guess it makes sense to be derailed when it comes to someone so supremely engulfed in controversy and otherness (being afraid of the unknown and things that look different is an evolutionary trait; its what keeps us from walking up to what we may not recognize as a hungry mountain lion and going ‘LOOK, THIS BIG FUZZY THING IS SMILIN AT ME SO BIG I CAN SEE ITS TEETH! IM GONNA GO HUG IT!’), i realize that i cheated myself.
maybe we have a little blood on our hands, and maybe that’s what we get for using these hands to point and laugh and ridicule so much. since he died, ive often wondered what things would have been like for him if we had the ability to say, ‘you want a different nose? fine, whatever makes you happy!’ or ‘you like to sleep with children? wait, i think i know what you mean by that. it came out really weird, but i get it.’ or ‘you have a monkey named bubbles? is he well taken care of? are u safe with him around? awesome.’ in other words, what if we didn’t have this appetite for the flawed and bizzare in our celebrities, the people that we build up to tear down? and more importantly, what if we were just more tolerant and accepting of those who are different? not just concerning michael jackson, but everyone? how many teen suicides could have been prevented if kids didn’t have to worry about being picked on and tormented? if we would have just left mike the fuck alone, maybe he’d still be around, and a lot happier than he was when he was here?
when mike died, a friend and i were talking about it all, and he said to me, ‘if you believe in fate and destiny, you have to believe that he did what he came here to do.’ i think that’s very true. he gave us an amazing body of music that will probably be blasting from our great grandchildren’s iPod Intras (featuring tiny ipod speakers and a storage card that you can have implanted in your ear drums and turn on and off with the neurons fired in your brain), and maybe, hopefully, he taught us a lesson in tolerance and appreciation.
maybe that was it.