This Is It

With my Thursday night unexpectedly free, and a sitter already booked for the baby, I decided to take son Ty to see Michael Jackson’s film, This Is It.  Ty has been wanting to go ever since we heard they were making the film and tonight we finally had the chance and it was wonderful.  Better than I imagined. 

Heartbreaking, too, though.

Michael’s talent was all there, still there, and it was so bittersweet watching the footage from the final rehearsals, to see his artistry, his craft, his perfectionism…it was like having a front row seat for something very special.  For me, there was magic in the film.  Michael was  still an incredible dancer and his voice was powerful.  Those 50 London concerts would have been sensational.    

I’ve only ever owned one Michael Jackson album–and it was Thriller.  I was a freshman at UCLA and I did morning aerobics to Beat It and Billie Jean (as well as to Olivia Newton-John’s Let’s Get Physical but that might be too much information…).   I’ve never been a die-hard MJ fan.  But the movie reminded me that he was so much more than a curiosity…so much more than fodder for tabloid magazines.   He was a bonafide star.  He shaped music.  Changed dance.  Influenced a generation of musicians, artists, and fans.

I’m so glad I went tonight and saw the movie.  So glad to see those feet move.  

Have you seen the film?  Would you see it?  Have you ever owned a Michael Jackson album?


  1. Hi Jane, I had the Thriller album too and I just purchased the CD, This Is It. Michael was so talented and when I saw the footage for This Is It, I thought, wow, the guy still has that magic talent and he’s 50. The training that went in to all his acts must have absolutely tuckered him out, but when he was out on stage he sure knew how to put on a good show. Sure, there was plenty of negative stuff that went on in the media etc, but I think that should be forgotten. We all need to remember that Michael was this small child with enormous talent who had to grow up in the spotlight. That can’t have been easy? I’ve never been a follower of MJ, but I think it’s plain to see, the guy truly was blessed with a beautiful talent.

  2. Thanks for your “review”. I rarely go to the movies, but this is one show I will watch when it hits tv (and tape it). I can imagine I’ll be watching and rewinding constantly.

    I too am 50 and grew up “with” Michael. I knew he had talent in the eighties, but unfortunately “other stuff” interfered since then. I’m glad that people have focused on his talent since he started rehearsals for the tour.

    I have an odd perspective in that I tape tv shows (because I’m out weeknights) and am 4.5 months behind. I JUST got to Michael’s death in the last couple of weeks and am currently watching all the hype. Prior to that, I would see him on Entertainment Tonight practising, and it was great that they focused on his talent and sharing it with the younger generation.

    Michael really did change music forever. Music videos had just come out and he monopolized the screen for years. The clips we’ve (repeatedly) seen show a glimpse of that perfection that he was trying to achieve. Awesome.

    Thanks for sharing today.

  3. I haven’t seen it. I’ve been curious but there is a part of me that thinks that it was put out there not to showcase his talent but as a vehicle to recoop money invested in the tour. By greedy people who didn’t really care about him or sharing his talent. As such, I’ve kind of boycotted the whole thing. I’m glad you enjoyed it though. 🙂

  4. I’m with Laura on many points. He was so exploited during his life but…it is nice to have something to document his career so that the younger generation can see him the way we were able to before life tore him down.Without the film our children would only see what the tabloids will tell them.

  5. No I don’t have any of his albums but I’ve always enjoyed his music. I was saddened by his death and sad to see how his eccentricity made people want to benefit from him. He was an awesome dancer.

  6. I would like to see the film! I have heard from everyone I know that has seen it that it is amazing. I think we have Thriller. That came out when my husband & I started dating in ’86 and I remember dancing to the music in his bff’s basement! LOL My kids like him too and my daughter has done a few dance routines to his songs. Love some Jackson 5 too!
    Have a great weekend!

  7. I would like to see the film… I grew up with the Jackson Five and when they came to Montreal my parents took me and a friend for my 12th birthday. I owned a Jackson Five greatest hits album and I also bought (much later) Off the Wall and Thriller. I saw the Jacksons on tour twice and loved it. I still think my favourite MJ song is I’ll Be There… his voice just soared and he was only 12-13 when it was recorded (and his brothers didn’t sound too shabby either!). I taught aerobics in the early 80’s and his song Don’t Stop was on most of my aerobic tapes.

    I am a classic rock fan, but like other genres and Michael Jackson’s music just seemed to blend in for me. The video of the production We Are the World still brings tears to my eyes.

    He left a huge musical and dance legacy and left us way too soon.

  8. i LOVE michael jackson and always stuck up for him whenever someone i knew tried to cut him down. we all have good and bad things happen to us but it still doesnt change the fact that he was a brillant artist + entertainer. i have yet to see the movie, hopefully soon!

  9. I have to agree with Laura on her points regarding the exploitation and money making after MJ’s death. Such a shame. He was definitely one of the greats though.

    I’ve been meaning to go to see “This Is It” for a while now, but time keeps getting away. Possibly go this weekend with my broken foot to get me out of the apt.

    “Thriller” and Michael always remind me of my high school days and my friend Connie, because she had all of the buttons with him on it from “Thriller” and “Billy Jean”.

  10. I’m so glad you saw it and enjoyed it. I saw it a couple of days after it came out. I loved every second. I echo the sentiment of feeling like a had a front-row seat to something wonderful. His moves, his voice, the fact that he did all that without trying. Obviously he worked hard, but it just came out of him with ease. I loved the whole film.

    While I’m sure that it was a money maker for the concert promoters, it was too much to keep under wraps. Michael was a genuis. The sad part for me was seeing how much plastic surgery he’d had; it was alarming. It seems as though he made a great effort to sculpt his face in attempt to achieve perfection. He had so many “perfect” things about him but couldn’t see that. He was always trying to get back to that happiness of childhood and never seeming to find it.

    After his death, I tried to show my kids (8, 11) his talent and the ways he changed music and dance forever. I shielded them from the scandal that plagued him over the last 15 years. I will definitely let them watch it when it comes out on dvd.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with this, Jane. I hope others who are hesitant will give it a chance and watch with an open heart (and jaw!).

    Have a great weekend!
    Shannon in Tustin

  11. P.S. “Off the Wall” was one my first LP’s. I remember practially wearing the grooves off of it in 6th grade with my girlfriend–we knew all the words and “moves”. Bad is also a good album; get your iPod goin’ and get some new MJ tunes.

  12. I don’t usually comment on comments, but I wanted to step in here and mention that this is the least exploitive film I could imagine. The film itself was being taped for Michael’s personal library. It’s rehearsal footage and some quick words from band members and the dancers, but its mainly Michael, and its simple and real and reveals what an incredible concert it was going to be. Michael worked so hard on this concert. I think it would have been a travesty to just bury the numbers, the choreography, the amazing special effects, as well as the talented band and dancers.

    I went to it thinking, hmmm, this could be bad, but it stole my heart and my breath and I watched with tears in my eyes at one point thinking, this man was brilliant. And he had his demons. But he talent. Buckets and buckets of talent.

    It’s also a film to see on a big screen if you can. It’s empowering. Uplifting. Touching.

    If you can see it, do.

  13. Have not and had not planned to see it, but you description may have changed my mind.

    There are few albums that I could listen to from start to finish, over and over again, and Thriller was the first for me.

    I also loved his work on Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace album around the same time.

  14. I haven’t seen the movie but my sister did and loved it, just like you, Jane, and I value both of your options, and although I loved his music from the Thriller era and his dancing (I think his was the peak of music video and nothing else has matched it, just imitations) I won’t go to see the film on the big screen. I just can’t get over the grotesque mask of his face and that interview where he said he saw nothing wrong with sleepovers with young boys. Your character Tiana’s fear of the knife is justified by his creepy face! That being said, to listen to his music is bittersweet for me, too, as such talent and magic came to be overwhelmed for me by the strange choices in his appearance and behaviors. Is genius always accompanied by torment? I don’t know, but I will remain a fan of the more natural and appealing M. J. who worked with Quincy Jones to “beat up” the music world many years ago.

  15. I saw the movie. I loved it. My brothers and I wore out the “Off the Wall” album that our parents bought for us one Christmas. I wore out two “Thriller” tapes. Yes, I am a die-hard fan. His death makes me feel sad.

  16. Hi Jane,
    I will see this movie and your review is like others I’ve heard. I’m sure there’s some MJ records in that old box in the cabinet. 🙂

    Also, I just finished -easy on the eyes – this morning. I really liked the first half of the book but totally LOVED the second half. Your style and voice are so easy and friendly throughout yet, wow, the second have was pretty powerful stuff. Don’t want to say more to spoil it for readers who haven’t read it yet.
    Great story, especially since I know it wasn’t an easy one for you. Yes, you are a WRITER.

  17. I haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet, but I have always been a huge fan of MJ, right back to Beat It and Billie Jean. He was always a fantastic performer and entertainer, and I’m sure I will have to “own it” when the DVD is released!

  18. Damn, that was pretty extraordinary! Went and caught the 21:30 showing tonight. It’s amazing all of the preparations and work that went into that production (the London show, not the film). It’s saddening that the dancers and musicians will never get to perform the very thing they practiced for and did all of that hard work for with Michael. Awesome that they captured its essence though. For being 50 he still had the agility of a teenager. He will definitely be missed ~

  19. I too loved Mj. How could you not be at our age. I owned albums, and yes they were still vinyl albums. I that does “age” me, I guess the fact that they were still The Jackson Five says it all. This whole passing of Michael really breaks my heart. Every time I hear his classics from his childhood , I still cry. What a true tradegy. I still think that there is much more that will surface with this case. I haven’t seen the movie yet, as I know I will sob. Sob for his children and his family, as well as for all of us who lost a true ICON.
    I don’t think there has been anyone that was more talented.
    Jane since we are exactly the same age , I think we are feeling the same sentiment. We did grow up with him. I remember getting his first album in kindergarten.Just little Michael’s whole head shot. I also remember playing that album over and over again in my bedroom on my little portable record player! Those were the days!
    Michael we will all miss you!

  20. I have the Number one hits of Michael Jackson and one with the Jackson 5. I have several Tiger Beat and teen magazines from the 70’s with all the posters. You could say I knew him when…but as you say, this is too much information. I always wanted to sit and talk with him. He fascinated me.

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