Mar 11 2010

Film Critic Praises Michael Jackson’s Filmmaking Artistry

Category: Photos,Quotes About MJ,VideosSeven @ 3:57 am

It is commonly known among Michael Jackson fans and even non-fans what an astounding filmmaker Michael was. And, it was among Michael’s plans and dreams to move even further into making films as opposed to live performances and touring.  At least one film critic, a man who has actually studied film making as an art, agrees with us that Michael’s filmmaking talent was phenomenal and much unappreciated (and even grossly misunderstood ie: Black or White Panther Sequence) by the public-at-large and certainly by Hollywood.

Here’s what Armond White has to say about how Michael was able to so compellingly bring messages about the human condition and complex social issues to audiences via dance, music, and film:

• • •

Black or White

Black or White

SOURCE: The State News 03-03-2010

Michigan native Armond White remembers beginning the first stages of his film critic career by using the family typewriter to write about movies.

White, notorious for being a controversial critic in New York City, is a self-proclaimed lover of not only film, but music and pop culture, which he spoke about during Wednesday’s lecture, a part of the MSU Film Institutes in the Communication Arts and Sciences Building.

“This is a profession that started as my hobby, but I did study it, and sadly it seems like only in film are you allowed to criticize the form without having studied it,” White said. “There’s a difference between a blogger who reviews films and a film critic who has studied film as an art.”

. . .

During the lecture, White lived up to his reputation, discussing subjects such as how Lady Gaga’s music videos cultivate no real purpose, and although he owns one, he believes Blu-ray players are just a phase along with 3-D movies.

“I do what I do because most of the critics I encounter never say the things I think they should so that’s why I write the way I write,” White said. “Other critics don’t see what I see and don’t understand where my opinions come from.”

He concluded his lecture by surprising attendees and featuring Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” music video as one example of how Jackson was a talented filmmaker as well as music artist who was able to portray difficult concepts through his dance and music skills. White also recently published a book on Jackson called “Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles,” and has authored numerous other works.

“He talks about not being an elitist, and that’s nice because he writes about pop music. And I mean, how many people would have the nerve to show ‘Black and White’ and raise that as a significant film,” associate film studies professor Jeff Wray said. “It’s the controversy he brings to the table that sets him apart — he knows what he’s talking about and there’s no other critic like him.”



SOURCE: New York Press


In The Closet

. . .Despite race, class and puritanical obstacles, Jackson advanced the movie-musical genre his own way—working with the best, trusting his instinct and raising the promo film to an art form every time out.

MJ’s taken-for-granted cinematic passion was ahead of Hollywood in visualizing the complexities of sex (“In the Closet”) race (“Black or White”), ecology (“Earth Song”) and that aspect of our cultural heritage that wrestles with mankind’s aggressive instincts (“Smooth Criminal”).

Put MJ in proper context with Singin’ in the Rain, Shall We Dance and The Band Wagon as serious expression, not trivial daydreaming. Too busy finger-tapping to consider “The Way You Make Me Feel”’s exploration of courtship ritual?

In This Is It, MJ turns masculine drive into iconography that studies eroticism and social custom—all of it beautifully sung and imaginatively choreographed.

MJ’s music video legacy shames contemporary Hollywood’s inability to sustain the music video as an expression of mankind’s dreams. He displayed rare understanding of how music and images can edify the human condition. . . .

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{ Thanks to my friend Insanity X for the pointer to the article on film critic Armond White. – Seven }

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10 Responses to “Film Critic Praises Michael Jackson’s Filmmaking Artistry”

  1. Doris Gorgo says:

    Great article. Many do not know about Michael’s capabilities in film making. He had so much to offer and his life was taken away from him in such a vicious way. I would like to gather up all articles which speak so highly of Michael (there are many who had very wonderful things to say about him)I would also like to get a list of all charities he donated to and all the awards he received and have them printed and photocopied to send to all major TV stations here in the U.S. to make people take notice what Michael was really about. He was not the freak they made him out to be. Besides being the greatest entertainer ever, he was a kind, compassionate and very intelligent individual. I would like to get fans from other countries to submit the articles to the major stations were they live. Not quite sure how to get started.

  2. Pat says:

    I have just one comment to make. Michael Jackson had so much more great, positive contributions to make to this world. If only the greed, lies and racist actions of a few against him were not allowed by the public in general. June 25th 2009 will go down in history as one of mankind’s darkest moments.

  3. Kim Douglass says:

    Michael’s attention to details are unprecedented…he was drawn to masters Walt Disney, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire….and he himself was one of the greatest masters whether it be singing, dancing, film…his legacy will live on…..true artists never die!!

  4. Dianne Chilgren says:

    That was a wonderful article…and I appreciate it. My greatest sadness, apart from Michael not being on earth, is the loss of all the music he would have composed, and the films he would have made. And he was certainly headed into film directing. His son, Prince, has spoken of his desire to become a movie producer/director. Hopefully he has some of his father’s immense talent. Much has been said about Michael’s ability as a film director, film maker..and the fact that the music video genre almost did not exist before his arrival on the scene. What a superbly gifted man…I cannot listen to his music without visualizing his dancing, movements, and acting. His legacy will only become more evident with the passing of time…for this was a true genius in music, dance, film, etc. I speak of his genius as I would of the genius of Mozart or Beethoven (I am a classical, concert pianist). I am grateful that Michael left us with as much of himself as he did. The people (mainly certain members of the media) who made it their mission to smear him, slander him, and generally ruin his incredible career have much to answer for. I am only sorry that they cannot be held accountable in the eyes of the world. Those of us who knew Michael personally, are even more affected by his passing. He was a very GOOD man, and I, for one, shall never forget him. Thank God, we have his music and dance films to view and hear… Thank you, Michael. The world lost a great artist and human being, when you left us.

  5. Diane J says:

    What an awesome article. It is very apparent that everything that within Michael’s eyesight was like a blank canvas to him. A naturally gifted Michael Jackson seems to have crafted everything from him image as an artist,…the single white glove, flooded -too short- pants with white socks, and of course his infamous black (carefully, tilted) fedora…to designing his Neverland-world ranch…additionally, also personally changing (sculpting) his looks to his own satisfaction. I don’t think that anything was ever off-limits in his clever mind, or in his complex world. In my opinion, nearly everything that Michael graced with his touched was an artful form of his extraordinary, artistic-expression. Had he lived longer, I believe that we would have seen many more deep and profoundly crafted works from the core essence of Michael Jackson. He was ahead of his times and he will be sorely missed, as in his own rights, he was a creative genius, the likes of which we may never see another of his kind within our lifetime. Fortunately, and almost 40-year + working Michael left us a large body of work to enjoy, study and learn from.

  6. Nandini says:

    Very nice article. Michael had a very compelling way of portraying mankind’s issues though his music videos. I realised early on that he was a brilliant film maker, with rare artistic vision. He always wanted to innovate and be a pioneer in his field, something he constantly stressed upon in ‘This Is It’. If only those concerts had come through, they would have indeed been the greatest shows on earth!

  7. MJJ-777 » Set and Dance Moves in MJ’s “Smooth Criminal” Was Based on 1953’s ‘The Band Wagon’ Starring Fred Astaire. says:

    […] educator and film critic Armond White mentioned while praising Michael’s film making talents, Fred Astaire’s “The Band […]

  8. Seven says:

    Isn’t it amazing how Michael was blamed for the Farrah/Academy thing and he isn’t even HERE? He had NOTHING to do with that! Jeeze.

    And yes, I agree. WHERE were all these Hollywood people when he NEEDED THEM MOST? They only seemed to support him when it was “safe” for them and “fashionable” to do so. Pfft. Hollywood hypocrisy is something I will never understand. Decades of lies and abuse against Michael are OK with them, but when Farrah (no disrespect meant to her at all) is snubbed at the Academy Awards and they are all over THAT like white on rice. WTH?

    I am also SO saddened to know that we will not get to see the doubtlessly magnificent films that Michael would have produced were he still with us. It’s truly heartbreaking. Totally disappointing. There is NO ONE who could make films like Michael. He was amazing.

  9. Susan says:

    Hi Seven:

    Great article! It makes you think of all the wonderful films Michael could have brought to the world if only he had been allowed to live his life in peace. I am positive he would have been as successful at that as everything else he did. What a loss to all of us. Regarding the Farrah Fawcett “controversy”, as soon as I realized they neglected her inclusion, I thought to myself – somehow Michael’s name is going to be brought up in this mess and it won’t be good. Personally, I didn’t think they would honour him, although it was nice they did, but for me, it’s much too late. Didn’t see many Hollywood types stand beside or behind him during his darkest days or even speak out to defend him, so maybe it eases their conscience to show his face on the “In Memorium” roll. Find it strange how 4 days after the event, people are so terribly upset over it, yet the way Michael was treated by the media for over 17 years, well, that didn’t bother them too much. Hypocrisy – alive and well, especially when it comes to Michael.