Michael Jackson and dancers from "This Is It" rehearsals
Yesterday I did something uncharacteristic. I saw a film at a movie theater on its opening day in New York City, no less. “This Is It,” is an amazingly well-made music documentary about Michael Jackson, the performer. For 111 minutes, you get to watch MJ at work, and you can't take your eyes off him. He was a gifted entertainer who could do it all -- sing, dance, choreograph, write songs, compose music and mesmerize an audience with the sincerity, intensity and originality of his performances. Director Kenny Ortega, his collaborator of nearly 20 years, brilliantly put together a loving tribute from rehearsal footage shot between April and June, 2009. The rehearsals were captured using high definition cameras, and the music was recorded in stereo. You get to see how much hard work goes into preparing for a live show. During many hours of rehearsals, a myriad of details come together. It feels like you have the best seat in the house to watch over the 3-month period. Clearly, Michael Jackson was a musical genius ... still at the top of his game. What a treat to see him interacting with his cast and crew, gently correcting a tempo or refining a group dance move and spurring his tour family on to aim for perfection. The music and dance is sensational, with full run-throughs of his famous songs from "Billy Jean" to "Smooth Criminal." He will be remembered as one of the greatest entertainers of our time. And for me, it was a must see movie on a big screen. I loved it. If you go, sit through the credits so you don't miss anything.
Earth Song - From 1996's History tour. Both songs - words and music by MJ.