Pick of the week
Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall Sunday, 9.10pm, Nine In the seven years since Michael Jackson died, aged 50, after suffering a cardiac arrest, there have been countless words written and films made about the show pony. Whether or not you were a fan, he was one of a kind, and talented (in a weird way). Now it’s Spike Lee’s turn to shine the spotlight on a remarkable career. The New York director, producer and screenwriter has collected fresh material, including from Jackson’s collection, along with interviews with musicians who knew him well and family members. He starts with the boy wonder signing his first deal with Motown Records as a member of the Jackson 5. His breakthrough solo album, Off the Wall, released in 1979, sold 20 million copies and it is this collection of 10 songs that Lee examines in detail. What emerges from the documentary — which, by the way, is full of live performance clips and wonderful photos — is that this rock star was more than an exceptional singer and dancer; he was a genius inspired by an insatiable craving to learn from people in the music industry. The generation that grew up with Jackson was never in doubt about his brilliance, but an older generation had its doubts — many probably still do. Lee deftly marries the geeky details of the pop star’s life with a subjective interpretation of Jackson’s cultural significance and impact.