Posted by: deadmousediaries | November 3, 2009

This Is It – A Movie Review from Mitchell Kyd

   It’s a marvelous thing to enjoy your own company. I liked myself so well on Saturday that I took me on a date to see This Is It, the new release about the Michael Jackson show that will never make it to the stage. I knew no one else in my family wanted to see it – their loss- and I didn’t want to explain myself to find another audience partner so I went alone.

   Although Michael and I grew up together, I never considered myself a fan. I never owned an album and months went by after the release of  Thriller before I even understood how music could suddenly become a video.  Regardless, I did always admire his talent and would never deny the impact he has had on two generations.  So I wanted one last look.  I wanted to be amazed one more time with things that will never again cross my TV screen. 

   As I looked around that theater audience, I was surprised to see it was the gray-hairs just like me who had filled the seats. I suspect that they too had first met Michael in their living rooms when Ed brought him around after Sunday dinner.

   Publicists and pundits have written ad nauseam about this child prodigy and no matter how you view his history — all hype or all attacks – seeing the King of Pop on stage in this raw footage of rehearsals for a major production left me feeling sad.  This was it,  the last of his talent to ever be shared with us, and it came in this rough-cut, piecemeal, insider’s view of an icon just doing his job.  It was grainy and authentic all at once and it froze for all time the other lives on the cusp of career blastoff.

    There is no disputing that he lived his art; he could not be separated from it. That one fact shone through every single moment he was captured on film.  His fire burned so deeply that no number of abuses, bad choices, poor counselors, or public indiscretions could ever extinguish it. 

   As I watched him move with the same intense fluidity that amazed us thirty years ago, I was awestruck, not as a swooning little teenage girl, but as a middle-aged, middle-America viewer who understands now what discipline it must have taken all these years to maintain that control over all that any of us really owns – our selves. How many of us would trade our comfortable and private lives to know for just the briefest moment what it’s like to execute with such passion the work we choose to do?  How many of us could withstand the public examination of our very private lives as the price we had to pay? How painful it must be to push your gifts aside when public sentiment demands it. 

   No matter where you stand on the life he lived, This Is It will remind you that inspiration springs from the very best in all of us. The perfection of his art, his endless passion for his work and his commitment to excellence are the real gifts Michael Jackson gave us –and to the thousands of young performers who entertain us today because he shared them.  Take yourself on a date if you must, or find a friend who doesn’t need persuading.  But be prepared to be reminded that America exacts a hefty toll from its heroes.


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