In the last few days I've watched This Is It and A Piece of Work. Both were movies I chose utterly at random at my local branch of the St. Paul library (Merriam Park, after all the good "fiction" movies had been checked out), both were documentaries (kind of) about famous American pop culture icons, both of whom had an amazing, disfiguring amount of plastic surgery done, and both of whom possessed a supernatural amount of talent and drive, with a capital DRIVE.
Let us start with Michael. Michael, Michael, Michael. Good lord, has there ever been a human being both so blessed and so cursed at one time? Do you remember Thriller? Do you remember the motherfucking moonwalk? Jesus Christ. At one time, this dude was GOD, and then god got a series of face lifts, and then god tried to save the earth, and then god tried to recapture his childhood in really, really ill-advised ways...
You get the picture, Icarus. You fly to close to the sun, then your wax wings melt. Or your wax face melts. And then suddenly you're fifty years old, every dumb mutherfucker out there "tweets" and the people EXPECT you to lip synch, their youthful shock over the exploits of Milli Vanilli notwithstanding. You're old school, you were in the fucking JACKSON FIVE, but you still want to push the limits. You're a showman, a true showman, through and through, and you want to give the groundlings one last show they'll never fucking forget.
And then you die, a week before you start a run of 50 sold out shows in London, before one last comeback tour that might have destroyed every concert sales record since my man Bruce S. showed up on the scene. And your cohorts were left with nothing but a bitter taste in their mouths, a lot of work wasted, and a movie called THIS IS IT, about a tour you yourself labeled THIS IS IT, before it really was...it.
Okay, in hopes of wrapping this up before I get too drunk to type (hey! St. Patty's day started a half hour ago!!! What a holiday!) I will now list my observances of THIS IS IT in numerical fashion:
1. Who is this middle-aged Asian businessman?
2. Why is he dancing?
3. Oh, that's MJ!
4. Is this Arsenio Hall's old band?
5. Did that drummer really say the word "booty" to MJ? I think he did!
6. Uh oh. Mj's gonna snap soon and go all shithouse on these plebs.
7. This IS why we have rehearsal!
8. I hope his concert is all new stuff.
9. He spent millions of dollars on ONE outfit for ONE GODDAMN SONG?
10. Please don't include "Black or White".
11. Oh no. Where's Macaulay? I guess all your friends do abandon you, in the end. The rear end.
12. What time is it? I have been drinking and watching MJ almost snap for a long, long time now.
13. I hope he doesn't sprain something.
14. His director really has a big belly. But that's cool.
15. Wow, MJ's dancers not only have taken the kool-aid, they might have injected it into their veins, heroin style.
16. Can we really save the world anymore, and make it a better place? For you and me and the entire human race?
17. Who cares! Someone give my an iPad or something.
18. Jesus Christ, this is some pretentious shit. It takes a lot to make Rush seem gritty and minimalistic, you know?
19. Fuck, the man can still dance. Can you really become the greatest entertainer who ever lived and STILL not live up to your potential? Well done, cruel universe, well done.
20. Too soon, MJ, too soon.
(Note: one of my very earliest memories involves "Thriller". They would play the song on a "record player" at my daycare, after pre-school or whatever I was into back then, and every soul in that place, from infant to fat middle-aged despot, would dance like there was no tomorrow. Even the bullies would dance, and L.C. had no shortage of those.)
To be continued...