At the conclusion of a rehearsal duet on “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, MJ loses it and begins to really sing his heart out hitting every note and singing directly from the heart. It is beautiful and MJ is angry. “Don’t make me sing like this” he says to the applauding dancers, ” I have to rest my voice.” The concert director Kenny Ortega trys to placate him. “It’s only once Michael, it won’t hurt you.” But MJ is furious and for good reason. Rehearsals are for rehearsing especially when you have fifty concerts on the horizon.
So how are we meant to judge these rehearsal videos, some for the MJ archives and some, like the “Smooth Criminal video being filmed, to be screened during the concert? When NYP claims MJ was like a walking cadaver and only a shadow of himself, you wanna shake the writer. MJ wasn’t trying to kill to wow an audience, he was dealing with the technical aspects of putting on a show. All through the movie Michael will do small dance steps, just to get his movements down, and they are perfectly fine. It is impossible to judge whether MJ was a member of the walking dead or an accidental OD waiting to happen -either way, MJ was apparently in a lot better health than we had lead to expect.
The movie still sucks.
It’s boring and if you ever been in a reheasal you know what I mean. The dancing isn’t any good, the music isn’t any good, and despite Ortega’s attempts to cobble together song routines, the song routines aren’t very good. Sure, you can see the performance that might have occured in London peeking throug and winking at you, but what’s on the screen is a drag. MJ isn’t really singing, isn’t really dancing and definitely has his mind on the minutea of the production and how it’ll reflect to an audience once there is an audience to be elected to.
The few times it becomes interesting, the few times it grabs you, is when Michael discusses the music with the band. Spectacularly once, during MJ explaining how he wants the piano motif of “The Way You Make Me Fear” to simmer and on “Black And White” when he sings to his guitarist, the drop dead Orinana, how he wants the guitar solo to sound. Otherwise, the music is completely negligible.
As far as the dancing is concerned either Ortega doesn’t know how to or didn’t have the material to film dance sequences and the only time MJ let’s his feet go is during “Beat It”. You know MJ isn’t trying, is just taking it easy and figuring out each big production number, but occasionally he can’t help himself and from what I can see I think he would’ve been just as great as ever once he got in front of an audience. There are no body doubles I can see.
Perhaps most telling is the dancers and musicians affection for Michael. He comes across as a really nice boss and really, as child molesteting eccentrics go, he always seemed nice enough. You just know he wasn’t butt fucking those young boys, just mutual masturbation and the occasional blow job.
Still, if MJ acts healthy he looks terrible even by his standards, like an aneroxic transvestite scarecrow -scary ugly, and his body looks old man thin not healthy thin but if one thing AIG and Sony wanna claim is they didn’t over work him to death this should do it.
Conclusion: it should make money which is the wholepoint of these exercises. My suggestion: wait for the Blu Ray or rockband or both.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1983 (Volume 14, Number 11)
the final issue edited by Susan Whitall
hard rock meets classic rock meets Americana
Chuck D is at the Grammy Museum
On The Red Carpet For The Screening Of “The Beast Inside” At The Angelica Cinema, Sunday, January 29th, 2023: pictures by Billy Hess
a powerhouse performance by Sadie Katz and SohoJohnny as you never thought you’d see him
that SNL gig was excellent
Miley rises to top of the celebrity food chain
captivating, hooklined, country pop songs
it’s a bit different because it’s smaller