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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Movie Recommendation—Michael Jackson's This Is It

As I go to movies throughout the week, I often think "Oh, I need to tell folks about this one on my blog."

Then I double-think it and end up not doing it. Why would anyone read a Dharma blog with a movie review?

Well, I would, so here it is!

This week's Movie Recommendation:

Michael Jackson's This Is It

I wouldn't have thought it would be so good, but my guitar teacher fiercely suggested I must see it. It was extraordinary.

Back in the mid-80s I lived in a basement apartment beneath a house owned by a family with two elementary school boys who became completely enamoured with Michael Jackson. They first began to visit our home, wearing their one glove each, and tell us in song and dance how cool he was. It began innocently enough, but after a while it became a full frontal assault. Ding and dash and "beat it" blaring out of small boomboxes outside our front door. It didn't end well. Before it did, we retaliated by blasting Tibetan chants from our tiny tape player. So much for being subtle. Not my finest moment, and it didn't help anything, and the whole thing was both terrifying and funny.

Partly because of these small terrorists, I skipped the whole adoration of Michael thing. Until last night.

Alone with strangers in a crowded theater, unbelievably crowded for a Tuesday night, with my hand deep in popcorn, I watched as this genius (there, I said it) directed musicians, singers, and dancers in stage rehearsals for his upcoming world tour. He directed them as if there was no tomorrow.

Fred Astaire came to mind as I watched him move. Gershwin came to mind as I listened to the chords and vocal arrangements. The jazz scat singers were raised from the ground as Michael scooted up and down and sideways in the vocal scale, always holding back so as not to strain his voice.

He was translucent and commanding. He didn't look as if he would die soon—his dancing showed great stamina and grace, although he was as thin as a man could be.

What this movie does that a world tour might not have done is show an artist at the pinnacle of his talent at work with other artists. It was quite moving and very inspiring. It is a movie that makes you want to dance and practice dancing, that makes you want to sing a phrase over and again until you get it just so, just as he does onscreen.

I didn't expect to be so moved. At times I just couldn't eat popcorn. My throat was constricted with sadness that this talent had been lost.

But maybe there's a bigger plan in all this— there must be if you believe in that sort of thing, as I do.

It made me think about blame and forgiveness. Now that he's gone, I personally want to give him the benefit of the doubt and honor the greatness in him. We'll never know what really happened on Neverland Ranch with the kids. I hope they are all okay. Who can know how to judge? But there should be more to his final story than the sensationalized version we've been fed by the media for years. There should be an acknowledgement of what's he's done artistically.

Go see it. honestly, you'll come home wanting to create and listen to more music. There's a message in the stage production about saving the planet, love, and worship that I think you'll enjoy a lot.

What a high note to end a life on. Sorry that he's gone. Rest in Peace.

Video link is Here.


elsiee said...

This is the second "rave" review I've read from a friend and it's totally motivating me to take the plunge and go see it, probably by myself, just me and the popcorn!

cindy lee berryhill said...

Thanks Laura for that. I've seen it twice and want the DVD from Santa. It made me want to dance (I've been taking some classes) and write more songs. And get my old Garage Orchestra chops back in shape for the new songs.

Jan said...

Good to know, Laura. I would like to see this. Though my husband is not keen. Perhaps when my daughter comes home from college this weekend. I think you might be on retreat. I hope you are having a prayerfully lovely time. xo