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'This Is It' -- My Date with Two MJs

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I learned some life lessons from the King of Pop while on a date with my husband.

this is it movie poster michael jackson

Lenore Moritz: There are two camps when it comes to Michael Jackson: the camp that loves Michael Jackson and sees his true genius, and the camp of all the others (why so bitter, others?). I think you can see where I fall and, mercifully, my husband is in my camp.

It's worth noting that both my husband and Michael Jackson have the initials MJ, and they are both great dancers. I'm pretty sure that the fact that my husband shares the King of Pop's initials didn't have anything to do with my attraction to him, but you can never be too sure how the subconscious mind works ...

MJ the husband and I came of age in the '80s (the heyday of MJ the pop star), and we couldn't wait to see "This Is It" (for those in the other camp, "This Is It" is the film made of MJ's concert rehearsal footage from last spring). We needed to see this film on the big screen as soon as we could ... nostalgia is a strong motivator. A "day date" was in order -- we would blow off work and immerse ourselves in a couple of hours of music we love and compelling behind-the-scenes footage with one of the greatest entertainers ever.

We dropped our boys off at preschool a few minutes early to ensure that we would score tickets and great seats for the 9:30 AM showing of "This Is It" -- we couldn't let all those other early birds beat us to it. Much to our surprise, there was no line. Was everyone inside, and had they taken all the seats already? Surprise again! There were only five people in the theater. No matter -- the 9:30 AM showing is only for the truest fans, and we were there!

With the exception of a little chair dancing, we sat on the edge of our seats, compelled by what we saw on the screen. It was the next best thing to seeing the concert live -- it was totally incredible. Also sad -- hard to believe that this supernatural talent would never again moonwalk across a stage or offer a high-pitched "hee hee" to an eager crowd.

I expected to be entertained and enthralled by the film. I expected to have a great time sitting next to my husband MJ during our day date. What I didn't expect was to leave "This Is It" having learned something about life from the MJ on the screen:

This is so not my virtue, but it seems to be Michael Jackson's ... you see him in the film being polite when he could have lost it or been demanding.

Experience Matters:
Although others around him were younger and might have had more energy, MJ was the master and his presence was unlike anyone else's on the stage.

Humility Is a Strength and Earns Respect:
I love how he tells the dancers and musicians that they are all one big family -- by doing so, he levels the playing field and you can see how they all adore him even more at that moment.

Have a Signature Style and Stick to It:
Military jackets, skinny pants and blazers, fedoras and, of course, one glove -- those things say Michael Jackson. Can striped thermal pajamas count as my signature style?

There was, for one night, even a third MJ in my life -- when my son was Michael Jackson (from the "Black or White" video) for Halloween. Three MJs ... now that is Off the Wall.

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50 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mike November 12, 2009, 1:54 PM

Im gonna go ahead and say the only thing i learned from Michael Jackson is that its wrong to touch boys cause it can get you in a lot of trouble

Nicole November 12, 2009, 2:24 PM

I agree with Mike.

tim November 12, 2009, 6:33 PM

Forget it Mike-must we focus on the negitive rumors? I think Lenore is on to something here…I like her
perspective on things-very enlightened.

Scarlett November 13, 2009, 7:22 AM

Amen to your comments Lenore. I attended an afternoon showing and thought I was to be the only one in the theater until 3 others crept in during the previews. While I had originally thought it would be terrific fun to attend a packed showing of exuberant fans cheering, dancing and singing along, I was ultimately grateful for the more intimate venue. I was mesmerized from the moment Michael appeared on the screen. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. My feet were moving the whole time but I had to hold back my urge to head bopping… I didn’t want to do anything to interrupt what my eyes were seeing. It was BAD. It was DANGEROUS. And I LOVED IT.

Christy Kujawa November 13, 2009, 8:05 AM

“Much to our surprise, there was no line.” Lenore is so funny! I also came of age in the 80’s and loved him back then. It didn’t persevere through all the oddities for me, but I understand his magnetism.

Simone November 18, 2009, 6:37 AM

I love this article. :-) I was also very moved by how even when MJ noted that something was done incorrectly, he ended it by say “It’s all for love.” I never thought I could be even more impressed by him. He’s truly a genius, and “This Is It” only proves it emphatically to the haters.

B November 18, 2009, 7:59 AM

to Lenore, Scarlett & Christy Kujawa:
I’ve been a great (not avid- those are the ones who spend exhorbitant amounts of money to see Michael WHEREVER he was. I never had the money to do that…plus I don’t like big, noisy crowds) fan of Michael Jackson & The Jackson 5 since the early 70’s. I thought michael & I would grow old together (since we were only a few years apart). I cried for a couple of days when he died in such a wasteful, terrible way. I too thought there would be a big crowd for the showing because i’d been hearing they were sellling out in the city (which perturbed me a bit but i had to see him in action - not just performing) and was pleasantly surprised to find the theater practically empty. I loved seeing Michael do what he does best; only my kids and my bad stomach kept me from getting up off of my seat. And Christy, through all of his trials and tribulations, I never gave up on him. No, I did not say blindly that he didn’t do what he was accused of; I listend and read and watched. I weighed it all against what I’ve seen of him and made my decision: Michael ain’t crazy like that. But he did make some mistakes which cost him. for me that was never a reason to turn my back on him as a fan. I urge you to listen to the words of the song “WILL YOU BE THERE”—I’m not sure if he knew he was talking about himself as well as Willy.

to Mike, Nichole & Christy Kujawa: don’t believe everything you read. the early wacky stories that came out about Michael Jackson were put out by his own pr dept. Unfortunately it backfired and affected his career for the rest of his life.
why is it that people are always so ready to believe bad press and haters (coz let’s face it the media hated Michael Jackson and loved to play up the all the bad happenings). The first trial was brought upon by people who saw an opportunity to get money—then EX-emplyees jumped on that money wagon to squeeze more money out of Michael. I don’t see that he “paid off” these parents but that he GAVE THEM THE MONEY because he was hurt to know that these people were accusing him of doing bad things to children—the people he loved most (besides his family) and for whom he wanted to save this planet to give them a chance to live—and if he didn’t put an end to it, it surely would have killed him (although I do agree that he used bad judgement in believing that it should be okay to SLEEP in the same bed with the kids).
The second allegation was proven false, as well it should be since it was made by a family who convince Michael Jackson that their son was “dying” of cancer, but who was seen months later running around looking mighty healthy with not an ounce of weight lost and all his hair intact. On top of that the parents were known in the court system because they are sue-crazy people who’ve been to court countless of times using the system for their own gain. Not to mention the letter from the parents of this “dying” child to the prosecuter stating that nothing ever happened to their son when they went to stay with Michael. This letter was seen once in the papers then it disappeared—never to be seen again—and the prosecuter went on with the trial. I won’t say that this family and the prosecuter (a proven Michael Jackson hater) were in cahoots…but doesn’t it make you kinda stop and think? To me it’s one of those things that make you go hmmmmmmm.
my apologies for making this such a long read, but i can’t sit by and listen to people who believe what they want to believe and not bother to get the facts straight.

Becky November 18, 2009, 8:20 AM

I LOVED it!! And I agree with everything Lenore said. I was crying by the end. I was humbled by HIS humbleness. My mother just looked me and asked what was wrong. I told her that we’ve truly lost one of the GREAT ones. He was gracious even when he was obviously tired or frustrated. He constantly said thank you and God bless you to everyone he spoke with. He was so patient when any other celeb would have been filmed cussing everyone out and throwing a temper tantrum because mistakes were being made or the crew wasn’t catching on to his vision fast enough. I was in awe of the fact that he commanded respect and attention and got everything that he wanted and never raised his voice. I know it doesn’t make for great television, but people like Chef Gordon Ramsey could learn A LOT from Michael’s style. And ultimately, all I could think about was what we as a community have lost. He’s one of the few musicians out there in his realm that tried to make GOOD music ALL THE TIME and make music about social issues and music that didn’t resort to trying to get its hook through going below the belt all the time (just booty-bumpin’ mess). He didn’t degrade women or people in either his music or his videos and shows.

I hurt when I think of all of the things that he’ll never be able to give to us now. Of course we know that we lost a GREAT talent, but more importantly, we lost a GOOD MAN, a GOOD BLACK MAN. They don’t make ‘em much like him anymore.

R.I.P., Michael (finally), thank you for giving us you and see you on the other side someday.

Katie November 18, 2009, 8:34 AM

I also saw This Is It, and thought it was remarkable. MJ was so talented, but also such a consumate professional. The saddest part is when he would say,” I need to save my voice for the concert.” Clearly he believed he was going to live a long life, and have a powerful concert tour in London. I beleve MJ was an innocent, and because he was so deprived of his own childhood, he wanted to be a young man forever. The fact that he was found NOT GUILTY on the 13 counts against him is enough for me to believe in his innocence. When he passed away, and millions around the world mourned him, this told me that the majority also believed in his innocence. So for the haters out there, why don’t you look yourself in the mirror and stop projecting your negativity on MJ. God Bless you MJ, thank you for all the joy you brought this world. You will NEVER be forgotten.

Mary November 18, 2009, 10:55 AM

I agree one hundred percent with all the positive things that have been said about Michael on this sight. As for those who are believing the negative stuff—none of the guilt was proven, and in this country, as we all know-and as that senator who spoke at Michael’s memorial pointed out—a person is innocent until proven guilty. As far as I am concerned, Michael was the most kind-hearted, generous, talented performer God ever put on the face of this Earth, and I am certain God has forgiven him for everything.
I never can say goodbye to you Michael, see you on the other side. xoxox

Gigi November 18, 2009, 11:34 AM


Pamela November 18, 2009, 11:38 AM

“Man Whose Son Accused Michael Jackson of Molestation Found Dead”. I find this interesting. $20M did not buy this man nor his son happiness. In fact, the boy had distanced himself from his father after his father hit him with a DUMBELL! The father had been depressed for years. I wonder what was the straw. Hmmmmmmm. Like I said, interesting.

Nik November 18, 2009, 1:52 PM

Wonderfully written. I love how you extracted life lessons from the movie. You taught me something today.

Holly November 18, 2009, 2:08 PM

I LOVED THIS MOVIE!! I agree with everything you said as well! He always wanted to share the spotlight with his band and dancers. He wanted them to know this was their moment too. He was so cute when he would say “it’s all said with love” I danced, cried, sang, and will never forget this. It was the closest thing to being at an actual live concert. It is so sad knowing that concert never happened and another one never will. I am so glad I was able to live when this wonderful man lived!!! (And to all the people who think he was a molester, he was NEVER convicted. The only reason he settled out of court is because his team of attorneys could NOT GUARANTEE that justice would prevail. They told him that they could not guarantee what a jury would do, and he did not want to be falsely convicted.)

rob November 18, 2009, 2:40 PM

I thought Michael was one of the most overrated singers of our time. I loved the jackson 5 but nothing Michael did on his own thrilled me the way it did ferociously to people. To me everything was him screeching and doing his jam on thing over and over. The last ten years he didnt have a single thing worth listening to in my opinion. No Im not bitter just because i didnt dig Michael the way some others did. And I could care less about whatever lifestyle he had. And I dont think anyone should ever call themselves “THe King” of anything. His ego ran way amok.

Hephzibah November 18, 2009, 5:22 PM

I was humbled by MJ’s patience, humility,love, caring and sharing. “This Is It” was a personal look into who this man was, and what an angel the world has lost. Because love is the not the prevailing emotion of most humans in the world today, it was very hard for most people to understand how MJ positioned his heart. Angels do walk among us and most of the time they can not stay for long, God calls them back because the pain is usually too great and the suffering even too painfully for God’s eyes. MJ left us all a lot of powerful messages, but the one that stands out the most is that if you want peace, love, truth,freedom and justice,change, start with THE MAN IN THE MIRROR.

gnikki November 18, 2009, 6:56 PM

I agree with all of the positive comments. Michael Jackson was an amazing man. i remember when i was 13, i just knew that i would one day marry him. i felt that i could rescue him from a world that didn’t understand how precious he truly was. i promised myself not to forget to marry him when i got older:). the idea that Michael Jackson has died is something that i am not sure i will ever get over. although i saw him in concert at least four times, and i KNOW that he was the best entertainer of our time, to say the least, i still can not explain why he had such an impact on me and the world. it feels like a very special, once in a lifetime best friend has died. i am so thankful to have known of him the way i did. i can honestly say that i loved Michael Jackson, and probably always will.

oh yes, the movie was great. it was wonderful to se that at times in the show, he was as good as he’s ever been. and i loved when he told the guitar player, “this is your time to shine.” now that’s how you get the best from someone.

SoCalGal November 19, 2009, 1:26 AM

Nicole and Mike, you have proven that you don’t think for yourselves; instead, you accept as fact vicious rumors that medialoid (mainstream media infected by tabloid journalism) spread about Michael for the last 15 years. You sound young, too, or you’d know that Michael Jackson could never have committed the acts of which he was accused by two extortionists, one of whom blew his brains out just this month. Get your heads out of your butts and learn to research for yourself. Then you’ll know the truth about Michael Jackson.

SoCalGal November 19, 2009, 1:29 AM

Rob, you have got to be frikkin kidding me. Have you listened AT ALL to Invincible. “Butterflies?” “Speechless?” Oh never mind. You’re hopeless.

He never called HIMSELF the King of anything. Elizabeth Taylor conferred that “title” on him at an awards show and it stuck. But, as I said, you’re hopeless.

Mark November 19, 2009, 3:44 AM

Wait a minute…She says in the article that her and her husband’s initials were both “MJ”….weird, but her name doesnt match that claim.

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