21 November 2003 | bob the moo
Never gets near Jackson or Martin but it is still a fascinating journey!
In 2001, Louis Theroux decides to set out on a journey to interview Michael Jackson. When Michael comes to the UK, Louis approaches Uri Geller but gets turned down. He then finds out that ITV has been granted an interview and Louis sets out for LA to meet a close friend of the Jackson family - promoter and magician Majestik Magnificent, who claims he can set up an interview with Joe Jackson, Michael's father. However nothing seems to go easily for Louis and his target seems further away.
I have never seen a documentary on Michael Jackson that so spectacularly failed to get anywhere near him, but still managed to be fascinating. The reference to Martin Bashir in the title is partly Louis slight sour grapes that Uri Geller decides to grant ITV the interview over Louis (a decision he regrets by the end of the film). Fans of Michael will be let down, but fans of Louis Theroux will be overjoyed as he is almost the subject of this film. In the start of the film, Uri Geller really makes it clear that Louis' style is suspicious and that he has no intention of trusting him to be anywhere near Michael - the discussion they have on this subject is very tense.
However it is nothing to the trials Louis faces when he tries to get near Joe Jackson! First of all Majestik is a very shady character who is very touchy and gets very irritable when they discuss fees, calling Louis a `f**king idiot' for not being clear about what is meant by `terms and conditions'. They settle on £5000 cash for Joe and £500 as a finder's fee. After the deal is made (in a mall parking lot), director Yapp is very verbal to Louis about the fact that `we're going to get shafted, we're gonna get f**ked' and he's sure Joe will just use it for promotion of his artists. The actual interview with Joe is 2 hours long but turns into Joe bringing all his artists with him and only leaving Louis with 5 minutes where he is so flustered that he doesn't make sense with his questions!
After the Martin Bashir interview has happened Louis tries Joe again and the interview is even tenser. Joe is very touchy, although in fairness Louis doesn't really help himself by making his first question `Michael says every time he knows he's going to see you, he regurgitates. How does that make you feel?' The deal breaker is a question about Joe's hopes for Michael to find love - `settle down with a boyfriend or girlfriend?' offers Louis, with an immediate reaction from Joe and Majestik of homophobia - the interview ends there!
Overall this is a very enjoyable little film. It doesn't help me know anything more about Michael but more about Joe and Uri, plus I got to see Louis lots. It was more a film about him than anything else and it works very well for that reason. I wonder if Louis ever really believed that he would get anywhere near Michael Jackson or if he just believed that the journey itself would be interesting viewing - if it was the latter, then he was totally right.