Whether or not someone has a philosophical bone in their body, he or she likely will enjoy "This Is It" -- a documentary featuring rehearsal footage of Michael Jackson preparing for a monumental concert tour.
I do have philosophical bones. And they loved this well-reviewed movie as much as the non-pondering side of me.
Over on my other blog I opined that "This Is It" is a great movie. Also, a terrific philosophy. We're always waiting for It to arrive in the future, or wondering what happened to It in the past.
Meanwhile, life -- It -- keeps yelling "Here I am! Here! Now!" in the present moment. But often we don't have ears to hear it.
This is the main message that I got from the movie. Your results may differ. Side effects may vary.
Regardless, I heartily recommend going to see "This Is It" while it's still playing in a theater with a big screen and Dolby sound (it won't be the same on your TV, believe me). If nothing else, you'll get an impression of Michael Jackson that will be different from whatever you had before.
My wife and I left the theater feeling that Jackson was a genuinely nice guy. Previously I'd put him in my mental box of "weird tortured artists" with strange peccadilloes, like young boys.
This sort of typecasting doesn't reflect the rich complexity of people.
I don't like it when right-wingers sum up our president with one word: he's a socialist. Nor did I like it when my fellow progressives said about George Bush: he's an idiot. (I'd point out that he got a MBA from the Harvard Business School, which idiots can't do.)
I've been surprised at some highly negative comments about Michael Jackson in response to my other blog post about the movie. One guy said that he was selfish. However, it's estimated that Jackson gave over $500 million to charitable causes.
"Selfish," or any other term, can't come close to summing up a human being. Each of us is unsummable. There's no way to add up any set of qualities and arrive at a total that equals Me. Or You. Or Anybody.
Sure, Histories 'R Us to a large extent. We're creatures of our past.
In the movie Michael Jackson carried the record of his plastic surgeries on his face. And reflected his astounding musical career with every note he sang and step he danced. But what really grabbed me as I watched "This Is It" was...
It. The moment. The here-and-now of Jackson captured on film. Which produced a corresponding feeling of It in me.
Michael Jackson had sung the songs -- "Billy Jean," "Beat It," "Black and White," and so on -- that were to be in the show countless times. But the rehearsal footage showed how Jackson was able to seemingly sing them for the first time, every time.
This unscripted documentary showed me a side of Jackson that hadn't been very apparent to me in all the other times I'd seen him perform onscreen: how his music was him, and he was his music.
Now. Always now.
At one point he tells the musicians and other performers that they'll need to wait for his cue before moving to a certain part of a song. Because he was feeling the music say pause -- it's marvelous how Jackson moves between movement and stillness -- and only he knew how to listen to the saying.
I had the sense that if Michael Jackson hadn't died, and "This Is It" had gone on its 50-date tour, almost every performance of a song would have been subtly different.
He was a highly creative artist. Jackson was creating life at each and every moment. We can quibble with his choices, his creations, his art work. But the movie is a reminder that for each of us, no matter what we do or who we are...