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Live Intentionally, Die Empty


My wife Thea and I elected to see “This Is It” at the midnight early screening yesterday. I came home from work, ate and took a nap. When 11:30p rolled around and I woke up groggy I woke Thea up and we looked at each other with the “This may not have been such a hot idea” look because we both had to go to work several hours later, but that thought was soon to be put to rest as we entered the theater at Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

When we got to the theater we were met with an employee giving out commerative badges and posters and people were lined in the halls stopping to take photos with their posters. The movie was showing on three screens. We entered a full theater where the crowd was hype and ready to go. As soon as the opening words rolled up the screen up the excited crowd fell dead silent as the fans read the words on the screen. The silence was interrupted moments later when someone in the crowd yelled… “All right Michael” and the audience erupted in applause!

From the moment it began we were taken on basically what felt like a backstage pass to the concert itself, and the crowd screamed and danced as if we were actually at the concert. There wasn’t a head in the house that wasn’t bobbing to the music. Each behind the scenes break we got to know Michael Jackson, not only as a person, but as a boss and master of his craft. In his rehearsals there is no question who the boss is and the documentary shows a very much in control, focused and confident man. But you could tell that he “reprimanded” with love (or with “the L-O-V-E” as he says in the movie.) I noticed how he seemed to command excellence from himself and others and the musicians and dancers could get a sense for it.

I couldn’t help but to stand in awe of this man as we saw so much rehearsal footage of him dancing and singing. He was truly born to do what he did.  He “became” the music as he danced and as a 50 year old man, he did it better and with more zeal than the other dancers who were half his age. I particularly remember a scene where he walks in to learn the choreography and instantly picks it up. Another instance of awe is where he is breaking into a dance solo and he “kills it” and all the other dancers are watching mesmerized by his dancing and when he finishes they burst into laudation, which shocks him as he says, “at least we got a feel for the music,” and we are sitting there like, “are you kidding me? If that was just a feel, then whatever you’re going to do in the show will be unseen!”

At times it was difficult to hold back emotions when seeing the footage from his rehearsal that took place the day before his death. I would look at the enormously gifted man and know that the next day would be his last. It was hard to believe that one of the few people who discovered what they were put on the earth to do and did it so well was gone from us, particularly when he showed no sign of weakness in the footage. It makes you think watching him that a comeback was undeniable, but never got a chance to happen.

Another big thing I noticed is MJ’s message of love – not only in his songs but his overall demeanor. He seemed to really live this out, even when he worked. He seemed passionate about loving and being proper stewards of the planet. He made these things clear in the footage, and sometimes not intentionally.

Go see this movie only if you are a fan. Michael is brilliant, funny, and you get to see a side of him as a “master” of his craft that we don’t normally get to see. This is a no critics allowed sort of film. It’s filled with some of your favorite songs, I was amazed at the dancing, kept falling in love with the music, (particularly a sexy version of “The Way You Make Me Feel”), loved watching the people around him in the show be amazed by him and grow from his standard of excellence, and appreciated being reminded of his message of love and saving the planet.

When Thea and I returned home it was 2:00am and we were still jacked! It took us a long time to go to sleep because we didn’t know if we wanted to dance or go and feed the hungry!


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