Bad 25 (2012)

Bad 25 (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Chronicles the making of Michael Jackson's iconic, record-breaking Bad album and Michael's first world tour as a solo artist. Spike Lee examines Michael Jackson's creative vision for the album that ended up defining an era. Michael's lasting artistic legacy comes to life thanks to rare and never before seen footage and the vivid recollections of Michael's collaborators and confidants, such as Martin Scorsese who directed the 18-minute short film for the single Bad.
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
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Critic Reviews for Bad 25

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (7)

On-screen, "Bad 25" moves in the style of a great pop song.

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The posthumous campaign to polish Michael Jackson's tarnished reputation continues apace with this Spike Lee infomercial, commissioned by Sony and the money-grubbing Jackson estate to promote the 25th anniversary of his 1987 album "Bad.''

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
New York Post
Top Critic

Though at times a tad worshipful, the film's tone is ultimately more awed than hagiographic, its commenters too cleareyed and candid to back away from negative publicity or public disenchantment.

October 18, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

Jackson fans will love Spike Lee's look back at the making of a classic, even if the extensive collection of clips and contemporary interviews - which could have used a firm edit - feels more suited to DVD.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
New York Daily News
Top Critic

It's baaad, and great.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Spike Lee has given the world the first tribute that fully measures up to Jackson the artist. Come on and get you sham on.

Full Review… | October 17, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bad 25

.... to be able to deeply explore the work of a superstar is rewarding ... to see and to fully understand the extent of his work is a gift in itself, and it allows us to celebrate this king's life in its prime time, even when he's not here for it. It shows his hard work and dedication to his career and to his music ... he only cared about one thing-making his fans happy and feel a part of his life. He strived to make his fans happy, even with people bashing him. This special gives direct insight into his life, as do many others I have seen. He is just ... such a wonderfully beautiful person, so relaxed and so refined. He's just amazing. That's it. The gist. He's amazing.

victoria lehmbeck
victoria lehmbeck

When I watched Spike Lee's documentary "BAD25", I saw a humble, serious, determined artist at work. Lee uses the talking heads approach and well as much as I admired Jackson as a music artist, I didn't find anything special with what Lee was trying to present with this documentary other then to showcase archival footage fans hadn't seen before. For those hoping the picture will talk of Jackson's personal flaws, won't find it in this documentary. Bad25 is about an artist totally in control of his craft. One of the archival footage I did admired was watching Martin Scorsese directing Jackson, Wesley Snipes and dance choreographer Jeffrey Daniel for the music Bad. At times I was hoping Lee would show more and more footage of them but the clips is pretty standard and it's no different from viewing a behind the scenes footage one would find on DVD. Before going on set, Wesley Snipes mentions a few words about the character he portrays. Jackson and Daniels practising the dance moves for BAD late into the night and the well known breakdown of Jackson and his dancers addressing Snipes and his posse like preachers setting the wicked straight. I also admired of Lee showing Jackson's inspirations. From Fred Astaire, Grace Kelly, Bob Fosse, the old gangster pictures of the times, and the Vincent Mineilli film "The Band Wagon". I also admired watching the working relationship between Jackson and Siedah Garrett. Futhermore Tatiana Thumbtzen remembers working with Jackson's in the music vid "The Way You Make Me Feel". BAD25 also provides inteviews from Chris Brown, Mariah Carey (who was impressed with Jackson's acting skills in BAD), Sheryl Crow, Cee Lo Green, Andre Harell, Thelma Schoonmaker, Richard Price, L.A. Reid, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, and Justin Bieber. Bad25 is good although the album is probably better.I felt "Michael Jackson's This Is It" set the mark. Shamone.

Brian R
Brian R

Super Reviewer

½ 25 years ago, Michael Jackson's Bad was released, a hotly anticipated follow up to the record breaking Thriller. And while Thriller provided Jackson with undeniable stardom and officially made him the King of Pop, Bad allowed him to come spar with his critics: those who said he had lost his blackness; those who saw his shyness as weakness; and those who stoked the fires of paparazzi ready to denounce him as freak, writing headlines about Jackson's affinity for sleeping in oxygen tents, his penchant for hanging out with Bubbles the chimp, or his number of cosmetic surgeries. For director Spike Lee, the criticism about Jackson's blackness seems to drive the first part of the newly released documentary Bad 25. Throughout, the film works to reaffirm Jackson's blackness, analyzing the motifs of black urban dancing in a number of his short films (Jackson refused to refer to music videos - and after being reminded of the length and substance of his work, I can't fault him for it). And while Jackson wasn't as familiar with urban dancing - or setting really if his reaction to the Hoyt-Schemerhorn stop on the Brooklyn G line or the former projects in Harlem are any indication), he sought out choreographers who could bring this influence into his music and moves. A heavy focus is often set on Jackson's Liberian Girl, a song that beatifies the visage of the African woman. In one sense, this view could be skewed to show Jackson's fetish with appearing feminine. In another, there's an endearing look at the beauty of the disenfranchised - something that Jackson experienced ironically. Simultaneously, he was an rich, successful, powerful African American in the 1980's and a target of prejudice and racism. He was both the desired and the shunned; the wanted and the feared. The inclusion of urban dancing and the romanticizing of the exotic are two facets to Jackson that were brought in by outsiders "to make Michael a homie," but something that appears inherent to his soul and core is the way in which he ends each short film with a "break down." Often, the music stops, Jackson slowly falls to a kneeling position amongst his background singers and dancers, and he begins to rile the crew with rhythmic bursts of words and phrases that recall a church revival: Your sisters. Your brothers. Your fathers. Your mothers. They feel it. Can you feel it? You can feel it. It's hard not to be moved in these moments. They're unadulterated film from the ends of his shoots. Organic and pure, they reaffirm that Jackson was the "perfect balance of soul and science" (says long-time music producer Quincy Jones). Bad 25 doesn't necessarily reveal anything about Jackson that we don't know, but it reaffirms what we might have forgotten amidst the three-decade-long landslide of unmitigated media opinion and accusations that never amounted to anything beyond Barbara Walter specials and evanescent headlines. It reminds us that Jackson's professionalism and process should trump rumor and presumed wackiness. Jackson himself took aim at offensive speculation in "Leave Me Alone," a song that embraces, hyperbolizes, and then discards tabloid conjecture about his interest in the elephant man, skin bleaching, and homosexuality. In "Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood," James Baldwin ruminates on the phenomenon of Michael Jackson and notes, "Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated-in the main, abominably-because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires." If we look at Jackson in the 1980's, it near impossible to disagree with Baldwin. Perhaps even now it would be accurate. Jackson wrote and performed music that garnered him fame, wealth, and power, at the same time that it transcended race. 110million copies of a single album (Thriller) exemplifies the unifying power that Jackson had. And this is where fear comes from. The fear of amalgamation; the fear of inferiority; the fear of the dominance of an "other."

Dustin Freeley
Dustin Freeley

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