Friday, 31 August 2012

Spike Lee does Good to Michael Jackson's Bad

(Venice, Italy) Michael Jackson's Bad album was released on August 31, 1987, twenty-five years ago today. This morning here in Venice, we screened Bad-25, Spike Lee's exceptional documentary about the making of the album. Bad-25 will leave no doubt that Michael Jackson's estate is in good hands with John Branca, who is also here in Venice. Audiences in the United States will see an edited version on Thanksgiving on ABC. Be sure to watch it, and then go look in the mirror. I promise you will have a new appreciation for Michael Jackson and tears in your eyes.

Spike Lee said the mandate was to "concentrate on the music." He had complete access to everything, and today we "saw stuff that nobody has seen before." The documentary opens the window on Jackson's creative process, and allows us to understand how hard he worked.

The making of the "Bad" short film -- Jackson refused to call them music videos -- was riveting. Jackson wanted to badden-down his image, so he asked Martin Scorsese to make the short film. Richard Price, who was asked to write the video, said he felt he had to do it because the combination of Martin Scorsese and Michael Jackson was simply too bizarre -- Jackson had enlisted an asthmatic Italian and an asthmatic Jew “to show the brothers that he’s down with them.” The film is packed with zesty bits of trivia, such as reminding us that Wesley Snipes made his acting debut in "Bad," and revealing that the "Annie" in Smooth Criminal who Jackson wants to know is okay -- "Annie, are you OK? Are you OK? Are you OK, Annie?" was the name given to all CPR practice dummies.

 Sheryl Crow, who was a back-up singer on the Bad World Tour from 1987-89, said Jackson "changed the molecules in the room." A journalist asked Spike Lee if the Christ-like image of Michael Jackson at the end of the "Man in the Mirror" performance in Wembley Stadium, which concludes the documentary, was intentional. Lee said he didn't know and she'd have to ask Michael. "But you can see by the way he was singing that song that he was not of this world."

Michael Jackson was another extraordinary example of the Creative energy personified on Earth. By focusing on the music and the creative process, Lee has humanized Michael Jackson into the hard-working professional artist he was. I could not find the clip of my favorite line: the young Wesley Snipes' challenge after the dance number: "What you gonna do? DANCE us to death?"

Michael Jackson redefines the word "bad," building on where Mary Poppins had gone before.

Michael Jackson: Bad.

Mary Poppins: Even Badder.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

P.S. The face on that "Wanted" poster that is torn down near the end is of Martin Scorsese.

1 comment:

  1. Spike Lee said the mandate was to "concentrate on the music." He had complete access to everything, and today we "saw stuff that nobody has seen before."