I saw This Is It over the weekend, and was blown away. I think everyone—Michael Jackson fan or not—should see it. You come away with a new respect for the man and his artistry. Whether or not he was talented isn’t debatable—even his detractors couldn’t argue with that—but what impressed me the most was his insane dedication to his craft. He obsessed over every detail of the show, from beginning to end, and not in a diva/superstar “flatter me and make sure my lighting is perfect” sort of way, but as a true, bona fide artist who was really at one with his work, an artist who truly cared about the quality of the entire performance and making certain it was presented to his audience in the most authentic possible manner.
Two things you have to get over first: obviously, Jackson wasn’t well, and didn’t look it. In fact, much of the time he looks downright ghostly. The other thing is, yes, it’s an obvious bid to cash in on his death. I think the latter in particular is keeping some people away, people who feel they shouldn’t see the film as a matter of principle. I am telling you, get over yourself and see it NOW while you can still catch it on the big screen. Everyone needs to violate a few principles once in a while, and this is one of those times.
Seeing the film reminded me—yet again—how sad the current generation of entertainers is in comparison. And I’ll take this opportunity to point out a few, just because they make it so damn easy.
Exhibit A: Hilary Duff.
Ten bucks says she's listening to pubescent punk goddess Miley Cyrus's cover of "Baba O'Reilly" on those things.
I don’t think Duff has done much singing as of late, as she appears to be focusing on an acting career. I actually caught Hilary Duff’s performance in War, Inc and I’m guessing Meryl Streep isn’t feeling too threatened by it. (The entire movie is a giant dried up dog turd, incidentally. I love John Cusack as much as the next Gen-Xer, but when he makes a bad film, he doesn’t fool around. See also: Grosse Pointe Blank and Pushing Tin). One entrance in Duff’s musical catalog is particularly horrifying. It’s her cover of The Who’s "My Generation." I checked it out, and it’s every bit as execrable as you’d imagine. I found out about this remake on Cracked.com, which is where I get most of my news these days. They sum up Duff’s hatchet job better than I ever could:
People try to put your generation down, do they, Hilary? Maybe it's because your generation has a habit of mistaking glorified Mouseketeers for musicians. Or maybe it's because your generation gave rise to a version of the music industry that asparagus-pisses in the face of everything rock stands for. Either way, it looks like Hilary's in the process of following her own advice and just f-f-f-fading away.
Exhibit B: Britney Spears and her tired lip-synching.
Holy fucking shit. I think this is the un-sexiest image ever caught on film.
It seems that a certain official in the land down under is calling out Britney Spears and her puppeteers for foisting her phony, bland, karaoke-track lip-synching ass on their fair country.
Virginia Judge, the Minister for Fair Trading for New South Wales (the Australian state that includes Sydney), said she is considering options to make sure fans aren't misled when buying tickets to Britney's Circus tour concerts. Some seats are going for more than $1,300.
"It is Britney's 'prerogative' to lip-sync, and it is my job to make sure consumers know what they are paying for up front," Judge said in a statement released by the government.
Australia, I now totally forgive you for producing Russell Crowe.
Exhibit C: Kid Rock
Actual mug shot. Not kidding.
My friend Marcus and I once decided that Kid Rock looks like a heavily tattooed janitor who definitely can’t work past 5:00 tomorrow because his cousin is giving him a lift downtown to meet with his parole officer, and this time for sure he really positively CAN’T be late, motherfucker, or he’ll get his ass sent right back to the slammer (I believe we also decided he’d served time for something involving crystal meth and domestic abuse).
Kid Rock recently sort of covered/sampled/raped “Sweet Home Alabama” and substituted the original lyrics for his own, which sounds about right. Other than that, I believe he is best known for giving the pork sword to Pamela Anderson, and for being the President of the Asshole Douchebags of America (Eminem is the VP).
In conclusion (going back to the original point of this post), I strongly encourage you to see This Is It. Think of it as paying your respects to the memory of a true artist whose legacy will—let’s hope—far outlast the dog shit-encrusted footprints of the current crop of glorified karaoke-fied lip-synching strippers and abominable musical whores exemplified above.
On a side note…I’m really into the high-falutin’ polysyllabic words today, aren’t I?
My latest offense