Bad 25

Normally come the end of any holiday, I get bored. The food is eaten, the family is gone, the alcohol is wearing off, and you find yourself at 8:30PM saying, "Well, what the hell am I supposed to do now?" But not this past Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving I sat down to watch Spike Lee's new documentary, "Bad 25," about the follow-up to Michael Jackson's monster album, "Thriller." And it was awesome (despite the inclusion of interviews with domestic abuser/all around asshole Chris Brown).

I've always been a Michael Jackson fan. My brother got me into it when I was really young as he was a big fan, and I have good memories of listening to "Thriller" on vinyl (still have it). I loved the documentary/concert film "This Is It" (albeit not the stupid title), and "Bad 25" is just as good. If you didn't get a chance to see it, you have to check it out. As someone who writes and records, I am always interested in the creative process of people who are very successful at it, and the thing that struck me most was not only Michael's monster talent, but also his monster work ethic. Video was shown of the late-night dance and rehearsal sessions he would have with his collaborators, sometimes going until 2 or 3 in the morning after a full day of work, and it just blows you away. And he would use two different recording studios with two separate groups of musicians and engineers to compete against each other in pursuit of the best songs and recordings. Talk about impressive. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you have resources.

I especially enjoyed the interviews with Siedah Garrett, who I crossed paths with in LA in April 2009. I was at a conference and attended an intimate night of performances by a handful of songwriters, and she was one of them. She told the story of how she came to write "Man in the Mirror" with Glen Ballard (which she also told in the documentary), and then she performed the song accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. It was a very special moment that I will remember forever.

In death, lots of artists receive praise and elevation to a level that they do not fully deserve. Michael Jackson is not one of those artists. He really was that good, and this documentary is just more proof of it.

According to imdb.com, the full film is 123 minutes long, but on Thanksgiving it was cut down to about 69 minutes for airing on TV. I can't wait to see the additional 54.

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    © STEVE SCHULTZ