[52Movies] Week 7’s Double Feature: Michael Jackson’s Final Farewell & A Tom Hanks Classic

michael jackson [52Movies] Week 7s Double Feature: Michael Jacksons Final Farewell & A Tom Hanks Classic

Michael Jackson (Dave Hogan/ Getty Images)

This week, I add two more titles to my list of 52 Movies in 52 Weeks: the Tom Hanks/ Meg Ryan romantic classic Sleepless in Seattle, a movie from which I’d initially only seen the beginning and ending (how does that even happen?), and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm]’s concert film This Is It, documenting his final days before his untimely death in the summer of 2009.

Movie #6: Sleepless in Seattle (for my This Is It review, click HERE or scroll down & click “Next!”)

sleepless in seattle [52Movies] Week 7s Double Feature: Michael Jacksons Final Farewell & A Tom Hanks Classic

Ross Malinger & Tom Hanks in 'Sleepless in Seattle' (photo: TriStar Pictures, 1993)


After Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) says goodbye to his wife, and his son Jonah (Ross Malinger) to his mother after she dies from cancer, it’s time for the Baldwin men to begin a new chapter in their lives. They move from Chicago to Seattle in the hopes that new surroundings and people will heal them. But, when little Jonah calls a Chicago radio show in an effort to help his dad move on, an unlikely woman named Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) has her heart set on Sam, leaving her own fiancee behind.


It’s hard not to get suckered in by such a sweet, romantic plot. And like I said, I had already seen the beginning and ending of this film, so I knew *SPOILER ALERT* that Sam and Annie get together. But the whole point of the film is the journey the two of them take that leads them to each other. It was that notion of destiny, fate, and true love that made me feel like I was watching a love story that could be compared to the best, right up there with Casablanca or Gone with the Wind (two titles I’ve yet to see, by the way).

It also didn’t hurt that the cast was adorable. Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and the cutest little kid played by Ross Malinger all had great chemistry with each other, which only made me root for all of them even more! Oh, and I’m kind of a sucker for anything to do with radio (shocking, right?) so the scene with little Jonah and his dad Sam on the radio was super cute.


Even though the point of Sleepless in Seattle is to follow the journey of a heartbroken man to happiness, a lonely kid with a broken family back to a whole, and a woman who chooses not to settle but to find her true love, I wish I could have seen what happens next, after that journey. They meet– FINALLY– in what’s quite possibly the most romantic way ever (on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day), and… that’s it. The end. Credits. I wanna know more! Do they even make a date? Does she move to Seattle? Does he move to Baltimore? There’s a lot that could go wrong here, but I guess I’d rather be happy knowing that they crossed paths at all. I suppose, if they made it that far, nothing could get in their way to form a real relationship after that.

Movie #6: Sleepless in Seattle: 8 out of 10 popcorn kernals

What do you think of this movie? What other Tom Hanks films would you recommend for me?


Movie #7: This is It

this is it [52Movies] Week 7s Double Feature: Michael Jacksons Final Farewell & A Tom Hanks Classic

Michael Jackson in 'This Is It' (photo: IMDB.com)


Before [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm] died unexpectedly in June of 2009, he was in London preparing a string of sold-out concerts. This film takes viewers behind the scenes during those rehearsals with the King of Pop himself, offering a rare and up-close look into the last moments of a legend.


At first, one might think that this is just “leftovers.” [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm] dies, someone wants to make money, so they throw together the only footage they have of what was to be a huge comeback for Jackson. But it didn’t feel like I was watching any ordinary rehearsal; I felt like I was watching an actual [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm] concert. And it was just an added bonus that Jackson’s interactions with the backup singers, dancers, choreographers, musicians, and the rest of the crew happened to be captured as well, providing a rare glimpse into a side of his professional life that often went unseen, at least by the casual fan, like myself.

Viewers get to see the set, the choreography, the lights, the visuals– virtually everything the concert-goers would have seen, had these shows actually happened. And the singing! Jackson truly sounded exquisite during these rehearsals. As for his moves: those were right on the money as well. It was clear that he was still very much passionate about his music, and that he wanted to put on an unforgettable concert for his fans. And one thing that was absolutely obvious and unquestionable throughout the film’s entirety was how happy Jackson was. He was always smiling and interacting with everyone involved. He was truly where he wanted to be.


It may sound sappy, but throughout the entire film, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the fact that one of the most significant, influential, and talented musicians of our time was taken away from us much too soon. Now, like I said, I’m a “casual” fan; the only [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm] item I own is Thriller, which, if you ask me, should be owned by everyone. It’s one of the best albums of all time. But, it’s impossible not to have been touched by his music and influence in one way or another.

In June of 2009, I took a road trip to California, and on the way back, I heard a Sacramento DJ announce that [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm] had died. What a shocking thing to hear. For the next three days on our journey back to Chicago, that’s all we heard on the radio: an endless string of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm] songs, which under normal circumstances would have meant the perfect road trip soundtrack. But this time it meant something different. The whole country– the whole world!– was saying goodbye to an icon. He changed music. And that music will live on forever.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t like the reason this movie came out. Had [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm] not passed away, it would have been the concert that people would have seen, instead of the preparations, which ultimately went unfulfilled.

Movie #7: This Is It: 9 out of 10 popcorn kernals

Where were you when you heard about [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Jackson[/lastfm]’s death? How did you react? Did you see This Is It? What did you think?

For more of my movie reviews, click here.


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