April 8th, 2009
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
(Various clips of Michael Jackson, peace be upon him, performing are played.)
NC(vo): Believe it or not, there was an age when Michael Jackson was a GOD. His songs were smash hits, his dancing was beyond compare, and women fainted at just the sight of him rather than fainting at just the sight of him.
NC: So at the height of his reign, Jackson released his cinematic opus "Moonwalker".
(A montage of clips from "Moonwalker" are played.)
NC(vo): A strange little ego trip which shows us that not only does Jackson know how to sing and dance, but...actually, that's it. Sing and dance.
NC: Because clearly he doesn't know how to tell a story, keep focus, or pull us in by any emotional means!
NC (Voiceover): Instead, we get sort of a photo album of his table scraps that look like scenes that would have been edited out of much better music videos.
NC: What do I mean by all this? Well, let's journey into this little amusement park of awkwardness to find out.
(Moonwalker begins playing.)
NC(vo): First off, why is it called "Moonwalker," anyway? I mean, yeah, he does the dance a few times, but there's no real focus on it. You could just as easily have called it "Crotch-Grabbin'" and it would have made just as much sense. So we see the world's first universal answer to every joke ever written, Michael Jackson. We catch him at that stage where he wasn't really a good looking black man anymore, but at least he was a halfway decent looking white woman. We see him performing at a concert, singing about how we can all change the world. And apparently, all of the world leaders buy Jackson's plea for world peace.
(Jackson continues performing as footage of various world leaders appear. NC imitates them as they appear.)
Mohandas Ghandi: I am in total support of Michael Jackson.
John F. Kennedy: Ich bin ein Michael Jackson.
Ronald Reagan: You know, uh, Michael Jackson made this all possible.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: I have a dream! To support Michael Jackson's dream!
Michael Jackson: (finished singing) Make that change.
NC: I believe YOU can change. (Successive images of Jackson's appearance are shown) Your plastic surgery operations have clearly shown that.
("Moonwalker continues playing)
NC (voiceover):So, okay, we get a bit of him performing. Now what? Oh, we see pictures of him performing. (Beat) Alright.
Female Background Singer: For such a long time...
NC (Voiceover): Okay, we see pictures of him performing, now what? (An animation sequence of the song "ABC" plays) Oh, we get freakish animations of him performing. That...that's nice.
Animated Singers: ABC / It's easy as 1, 2, 3
NC: And they...turn into the California Raisins for some reason.
NC (voiceover): When did the Michael Jackson performances suddenly turn into the Monty Python cartoons?
Footage of Moonwalker is played, accompanied by the Liberty Bell March, which normally opens "Monty Python's Flying Circus."
NC (voiceover): (as John Cleese) Michael Jackson's Flying Cir-cussss!
Back to the movie.
NC: (voiceover) So, okay, we get animations of him performing. I must ask again, what's next? Oh, we get a MONTAGE of him performing!
NC: Wow! He's just...so humble about his fame!
NC (voiceover): It's like he doesn't even know that he's famous! Oh, Michael, please! Don't be so modest! Indulge yourself a bit! I don't think the image of you as a shiny golden Messiah is strong enough! (Such Photoshopped images of Michael as Jesus Christ are shown) Don't you have any ocean of water to walk on, or dead people to resurrect?
NC: I mean, come on! Splurge a little!
NC (voiceover): I especially like this picture of him and ET which almost looks like a before-and-after picture. (More scenes of Michael performing continue to play) Yes, we get it! Michael Jackson is awesome! Please shut up! (Michael and other dancers are seen doing what looks like The Worm on the ground) Yes, raping the asphalt is cool now! If you did it, it must be cool! Please contribute something other than your ego.
NC: (as Michael Jackson) I'm just showing you how secure I am in my levels of confidence, 'cause that's what they call me. They call me very secure. If they were to name an airport after me, they'd call it Michael Secure Jackson Airport. That's what they'd call me. In fact, that's what they call me right now. Michael Secure Jackson Airport. The airport is just that...People just love how secure I am. I'm so secure. Very, very, very secure. (looks disturbed) Kill me.
NC(vo): So, and I'm not kidding here, after 20 minutes of just watching his self indulging clips, we finally get some new material.
NC: No please, I think there was a Pepsi commercial you might have missed.
NC(vo): So we jump to a strange recut of his famous "Bad" music video, except this time, it's done with children instead of adults. (Kids start dancing and singing) I guess this is supposed to be charming, but I don't know, this seems kinda like the male equivalent of the "Little Miss Pageants". It's more creepy than it is endearing. (More scenes of the children performing are shown) There's even a scene where the kid accidentally grabs his balls too hard.
NC: Why would you even make that joke? That's, like, a joke I would make. Except when I make it, it's funny. When you make it, it's...unnaturally disturbing.
(Repeat of the crotch grab scene, with the sound effect of a woman screaming)
(Kids repeat the words "Who's bad?" over and over again)
NC: (imitates the kids) Who's bad? Who's bad?! I'll tell ya who's bad! Little kids who wear hair gel and dance like adult ballerinas. THAT'S BAD, MUTHAFUCKAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!
NC: So they exit the scene trying to have some normal conversation, but even that comes off a little abnormal.
MJ Kid: Is Bubbles in my trailer?
Kid Bodyguard: Yes, sir.
MJ Kid: What is he wearing?
Kid Bodyguard: He's wearing a Prince shirt and red sneakers.
NC: (Looks confused, but tries to hide it by smiling) He, uhh......he just asked what a monkey was wearing.
NC(vo): So we see them leave the studio as a cloud of smoke, for some reason, transforms them into adults, because...Jackson wills it, I guess. We then see a tour bus filled with what looks like "Davey and Goliath's" satanic replacements.
Clay Kid: Look! Oh, look, look, granny,
Clay Granny: MICHAEL JACKSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Others on the bus: Michael Jackson?
NC(vo): And believe it or not, THIS is where it gets strange. Jackson is chased by a bunch of stopmotion fans (zoom in on a peculiar character) including the Noid--I don't know, Jackson wills it!--as he interrupts a Western being shot by an impatient director, who also seems to be animated in stopmotion.
MJ: I'm sorry.
Clay Director: My producer is doing this to me, isn't he? I asked for a bad guy and he gives me MICHAEL JACKSON?!
NC: Boy, George Lucas was high strung in his early years.
NC(vo): So they chase him to a makeup trailer, where Jackson finds the perfect disguise to sneak out of: The Easter Bunny version of Joe Camel, OF COURSE!
(The door to the trailer opens with voices of frantic fans, only then revealing the disguised Jackson)
NC(vo): (As Bugs Bunny) Nyeeeea, what's up, douche?
NC (vo): (Normal) Of course, the clay puppets fall for the trick as nobody seems to see past the disguise.
Tim (from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"): (audio) There he is!
King Arthur (from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"): (audio) What, behind the rabbit?
Tim (from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"): It IS the rabbit!
NC(vo): So we see this musical chase scene as all the stopmotion characters ride after Michael. But Michael fools them by shape-shifting into several different characters, like a construction worker, Tina Turner and even Pee-Wee Herman.
Pee-Wee Herman (from his drug PSA): (audio, dubbed over the clay Pee-Wee) This is crack.
NC(vo): You know, they really should've called this "Mind Fucker" as opposed to "Moonwalker".That would've been more accurate. So he loses Gumby's gang bangers as he decides to finally take off the costume. But it turns out the costume wants to dance. Sure. Why not?
(The costume dances and even grabs his crotch in the style of Michael Jackson)
NC (voiceover): Ah, yes, I forgot. This is the guy who made crotch grabbing outside the house popular. But a cop notifies him (Michael) that there’s no Michael Jackson-ing in these parts and is forced to write a ticket.
NC (voiceover): (as Michael ) It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?
NC (voiceover): (as the cop) You’re black?
NC (voiceover): (normal) And just before he leaves, the face of his bunny pal appears to say farewell. Why? Why?? You’re really gonna bother to ask WHY IN THIS MOVIE?! We then cut to the next segment which is probably the funniest, in my opinion. It’s another strange music video with all sorts of surreal images, but the name of the song is entitled, “Leave Me Alone.”
Michael: (sings) Just leave me alone!
NC (voiceover): Are you serious? You just spent the first half of this movie pleading for attention, begging people to look at you and acknowledge you as some sort of musical god, and now you’re suddenly telling people to leave you alone?!
NC: What…did the aliens do to your brain, anyway?
NC (voiceover): I guess this is a response to all the newspaper tabloids that were written about him at the time. I especially like it when he constantly sings the line “I don’t care what you think.”
Michael: (sings) I don’t care what you talkin’ about, baby / I don’t care what you think.
NC (voiceover): (as Michael) That’s right, I don’t care what you think, as this incredibly expensive musical representation of the middle finger clearly shows.
Michael: (sings) Just leave me alone!
NC: Michael, we would love to leave you alone. (Beat) But you just make it constantly difficult that it’s pretty much impossible! (Images featuring notable incidents of Michael are shown briefly) It’s like a train wreck that you’re told to ignore! It’s simply not gonna happen!
NC (voiceover): So we cut to probably the most famous part of the movie. You know, the portion that has that whole Spielberg/Zemeckis “life” feel to it? And I have to say this is easily the best part of the movie, because it starts off with Michael Jackson’s best scene. (Beat) People trying to kill him.
(Michael ducks as several thugs fire their tommy guns at him, destroying bits of the front porch of the apartment building)
NC: (as the thugs, pretending to fire) We want to destroy you before you make “Captain EO!” (He continues “firing”)
NC (voiceover): But, boy howdy, how did all this insanity start? Well, one of Michael’s many children friends cuts to a flashback to show us how this all began. This takes place in the silent days, when Michael was allowed to be around children.
NC (voiceover): (as Michael, sings) The hills are alive, with the sounds of—JAMON!
NC (Voiceover): (normal) We see Michael playing in the hills of Perfectopia when their dog suddenly wanders off into the forest. So Michael and one of the kids go searching for him. And then it goes “Raiders of the Lost Ark” on us for some reason, as Michael stumbles onto a secret bad location.
(Michael presses a button that looks like a spider, opening a door that leads further into the cave, which will appear to be a secret hideout)
Sapito (from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”): (to Indiana Jones) Senor. Nobody has come out of there alive.
NC (voiceover): It turns out they come across an evil gang of drug dealers, because…yeah, all drug dealers do their evil plotting in the middle of the fucking forest, don’t they?
Michael: They can’t be doing that.
Mr. Big (Joe Pesci): I want every kid in this whole world to take drugs because of me. Because of me! I want everyone to know it! Everybody! My name is gonna be in the history books, and they better spell my name right!
NC (voiceover): That poor peacock with leukemia is actually Joe Pesci, playing the sinister role of…well, let’s face it, Joe Pesci. His evil plan is to get ALL the little children in the world completely high on drugs. Why? Because there’s nothing else Joe Pesci can do on a Saturday night, I guess.
(A spider crawls near the girl (named Katie), and she screams at the sight of it, grabbing Mr. Big’s attention)
NC (Voiceover): But their cover is blown as Jackson and the girl just barely escape. But as we see, the evil drug thugs caught up with him as they try to hunt him down and kill him before he reveals their evil plans.
(Cut to all the thugs standing in a row in front of a searchlight before they march in unison and split in half to face each other)
Winkie Guards (from “The Wizard of Oz”): (audio) Oh-Ee-Yo! Eoh-Woh!
NC (Voiceover): But Jackson escapes as he runs down the alleyways while Pesci screams like a Scottish terrier.
Dr. Big: (yells to his men) Come on, get him! Kill him! Kill him!
NC (Voiceover): Michael outwits Pesci by running. (Beat) Yeah, he does a lot of that in this scene.
(The thugs run after Michael)
NC (Voiceover): (as Michael) Jamon, jamon, jamon!
(The thugs split into two teams to go separate ways down two alleyways)
NC (voiceover): (as Michael) Whoo! Ooh-hoo-whoo!
(Some thugs follow him down a dark alley with flashlights on)
NC (voiceover): (as Michael) Hee! Hee! Hee!
(The thugs run across a sewer cover)
NC (voiceover): (as Michael) Oh-buh-je-JAMON! Je-buh-je-HA-HA! Je-buh-je-buh-je-buh-je-buh-je-buh-OW!
NC (Voiceover): (normal) So he…continues to run, and after that, he…runs some more. But then he throws them for a surprising loop by giving them—OH, GODDAMNIT! He’s just running again! Jesus Christ, he’s just running back and forth between the same two locations. How is this exciting? (Michael continues running) And then, because you loved it so much at normal speed, we have running in slow motion. (Beat) How breathtaking. (Michael is seen running from the dogs sent out by the thugs and toward the camera) Please keep your crotch at least 30 feet away from us. That’s a restraining order from the world.
(Cut to Mr. Big and his men having supposedly trapped a hidden Michael in an enclosed alley)
Mr. Big: (shouts into a megaphone) Cover that side! All right, all right! Bring in the artillery! I want everybody here in this place.
NC: (laughs) Listen to him. He speaks into Yosemite Sam.
Mr. Big: (shouts into a megaphone) Cover that side!
Yosemite Sam (from the Looney Tunes cartoon “Knighty Knight Bugs”): Open that bridge, varmint! Open it, I say!
Mr. Big: (continues shouting) Spread out and let’s do hoarder on this scum!
Yosemite Sam (from the Looney Tunes cartoon “High Diving Hare”): (to Bugs Bunny) You dog-blasted ornery long-eared varmint!
NC (Voiceover): But Michael’s in luck, because he comes across a shooting star. But as you all know, when you wish upon a star…
(We see only Michael’s shadow sliding down a wall to transform into a car)
NC (voiceover): …he turns into a fucking Transformer!
(The car drives toward the gang at incredible speed, leaving a trail of fire behind it before sailing into the air and over the heads of Mr. Big and his gang, making its escape)
Background Singers (from the 1980’s “Transformers” cartoon): Transformers / More than meets the eye / Transformers / Robots in disguise
NC: Yeah! Michael’s a car now! (Beat, then shrugs) Surprised?!
NC (voiceover): We then see the kids he was playing with earlier—Don’t read too deep into that—as they meet at the rendezvous point where Jackson said he would come.
(Katie sees the shadow of the car turn back into Michael (NC inserts the transforming sound effect from “Transformers” here))
NC (voiceover): So Michael enters into the night club that was once empty but is now magically full as he partakes in…
(The whole club is silent as Michael flips a coin, and it flies right into a jukebox)
NC: (sighs) …the coolest fucking thing I’ve ever seen in my life. (The song “Smooth Criminal” starts to play before Michael and the rest of the club begin to dance) I’m serious. I have no problems with this music video portion called “Smooth Criminal.” To me, this is about as close to perfection as a music video can get. I mean, God. This is unbelievable. Why is he suddenly singing? What is he even doing there? Suddenly, none of that really matters. We are just sunken into the kickass amounts of awesomeness this whole scene displays. The design, the style, the dancing, the music, I can’t find a single flaw with this entire scene. (Beat) Well, if you want me to nitpick, I guess there are a few things, like just what the hell is he saying, anyway?
(As Michael sings, NC puts in captions that show his own transcription of what Michael is singing)
Michael: (sings, with the following “transcription”) As he came into the window, it was the sound of a crescendo. (Abby came into the window, of the sound of, of the shing-dome (?)) / He came into her apartment, he left the bloodstains on the carpet. (He committed her apartment, and left a blush face on the carpet.) / Annie, are you OK? (Annie itchy oaky.) / Annie, are you OK? (Annie are you walkin’?) / Are you OK, Annie? (Are you Wookie, Annie?)
NC (voiceover): There’s also a weird scene where he (Michael) shoots a guy trying to stab him and then somehow he (the guy) melts through the wall.
(An image of the alien from “Alien” is shown briefly with NC’s caption “Acid for blood?” and a “Boing!” sound effect)
NC (voiceover): But probably [one of] the strangest scenes come right dab in the middle when the music stops and everything goes strangely quiet. (Slow finger-snapping is heard as a woman groans to herself and Michael bops his head slowly) The people start rubbing each other, some women start screaming, Michael…turns into a Bobble-head…and it just keeps going.
(People in the club start making wailing noises)
NC: (puzzled) It’s like they’re at an orgy, but they forgot the sex.
Everyone in the club: (speak in rhythm) Annie, are you OK? Are you OK, Annie? Annie, are you OK? Are you OK, Annie? Annie, are you OK?
Michael: (sings) Annie, are you OK?
Everyone in the club: (shout together) Are you OK, Annie?
(Everyone resumes dancing)
NC (voiceover): (as an announcer) Okay, we apologize for that, ladies and gentlemen; just a slight mental breakdown there. We now return you to your kickass entertainment.
NC (voiceover): (normal) Well, despite that weirdness, “Smooth Criminal” is one of the greatest musical numbers of all time. I’m sure I’m gonna get a lot of negative points for saying this, but to me, this is better than “Thriller.”
(The audience boos at NC)
NC: It is! It really is!
(Footage from the music video “Thriller” is shown briefly)
NC (Voiceover): And don’t get me wrong. I love “Thriller.” It’s a friggin’ masterpiece. But if “Thriller” revolutionized the music video, “Smooth Criminal” perfected it. Look at the style. Look at the staging. Look at the dancing. The entire scope of this music video is just huge. There’s never been another music video like it. (Beat) And don’t even get me started on that “Alien Ant Fuck” version. (Footage from the Alien Ant Farm version of “Smooth Criminal” is shown briefly) How they actually thought they could do a legit sendup to this song is just ridiculous. (He pauses as a performer in the “Alien Ant Farm” video repeatedly bops his head up and down) Yeah, just keep bobbing your heads up and down. (Back to the movie) I’m gonna watch the actual adults here.
(The music video continues with Michael and three other men leaning down at an angle while keeping their feet on the ground and then leaning back up so the dancing can continue; Mr. Big’s thugs are seen walking around outside)
NC (voiceover): (whines) Aw, no, the plot! Please go away! We were having a good time!
(Members of the club bend down away from Michael as he stands up to start firing a tommy gun into the air)
NC: (reacts in surprise) Fuck! Michael’s packing!
(Michael continues firing as a man from up above rolls out of the way)
NC: (chuckles) Why don’t you play that clip on some of the other scenes we saw earlier?
(Cut to Michael at a concert addressing to a cheering audience earlier in the film)
Michael: Make that change.
(Cut back to Michael in the “Smooth Criminal” segment shooting his tommy gun into the air)
(Cut to Michael playing with the kids in the sunny meadow)
Michael: Hurry up.
Katie: (as Skipper the dog runs away) Michael, where did he go?
Michael: He went into the woods over here.
(Cut back to Michael in the “Smooth Criminal” segment shooting his tommy gun into the air)
NC: Well, it’s about as consistent as anything else in this movie.
NC (voiceover): So just as we saw the most epic of musical sequences, the story comes back to ruin the show. We find out that the girl’s been kidnapped, and it’s up to the King of Pop, of course, to go and save her. He goes back to the hideout as he’s surrounded by henchmen. They start kicking the crap out of him and make him watch as the evil Cockatoose starts beating the little girl. But apparently, Michael has some supernatural friends to help him out.
(Thunderclouds begin to form over the heads of Dr. Big’s henchmen)
Gozer: (audio from "Ghostbusters") Gozer the Gozerian, Gozer the Destructor, the traveller has come.
(Cut to Michael having stood up and then opening his eyes, which flash a white light; NC grows concerned before Michael turns into metal and splits his face apart to reveal the underside of it)
NC: (comes to a realization) It’s just as I thought. Michael Jackson is an alien robot! This all suddenly makes sense!
(Michael transforms into a giant robot)
Sean (one of Michael’s boy friends): Amazing.
NC: (confused) I guess. I’d…say more confusing.
NC (voiceover): So without any explanation why he turned into a machine, Michael Jackson becomes Poptimus Prime as he starts blowing the shit out of all the evildoers he can find.
NC (voiceover): (as Michael) I just want to bring love and joy to the world.
NC (voiceover): (normal) Just watch him as he goes G.I. Joe on their asses.
Background Singers (from the “G.I. Joe” cartoon): (audio) G.I. Joe / A real American Hero
Cobra Commander (from the “G.I. Joe” cartoon): (audio, dubbed over Mr. Big) Cobra! Retreat! Retreat!
NC (voiceover): So after all the henchmen disappear, Michael Jackson transforms into a giant—OK, I have no idea what’s going on here. I’m just enjoying the pretty images.
(After Michael transforms into a spaceship, Mr. Big brings out a huge laser gun from a mountainside and aims it at Michael)
Mr. Big: Come on, you…you tin-headed freak!
NC: WHAT DRUG DEALER HAS A MARVIN THE MARTIAN LASER GUN?
NC (voiceover): Was he just dealing coke for the ACME Corporation or something?
Mr. Big: (presses on a button with his fist) Got you!
(The laser fires at Michael the spaceship, and it hits him, causing him to fall)
NC (voiceover): (as Michael) You’re ignorant!
Sean: Oh, no!
NC (voiceover): So Pesci zeroes in to kill the rest of our little heroes until…
(The spaceship reappears and fires a laserbeam at Mr. Big)
NC (voiceover): (as Mr. Big) Drat! I have been foiled by the power of love!
(Mr. Big’s laser gun explodes, along with the rest of the headquarters)
NC (voiceover): So Michael runs out of things to blow up and decides it’s time to call it an action-filled day.
Zeke (another one of Michael’s boy friends): Where’s he going?
Katie: (is sad) He’s leaving.
Katie: (waves goodbye) Thank you, Michael.
NC: WHY IS HE LEAVING? What did the kids know that we don’t know? It’s like, “Hey, here’s some random clichés. We won’t bother to tie it together with a story. We just figure that’d slow things down.”
NC (voiceover): (as Michael) Goodbye, kids. I hope you can catch a ride home.
NC (voiceover): (as John Wayne from “The Greatest Story Ever Told”) Truly, this man was the King of Pop.
NC (voiceover): (normal) So the kids sit and mope as they reminisce about what a fearless godchild Michael was.
Zeke: I’ve made this star to remember Michael with. His lucky star.
NC: It’s OK, kid. On the third day, he will rise again and absolve us of our sins.
NC (voiceover): But it turns out Michael returns! (Beat) Okay! No explanation or anything. He just returns. I guess he couldn’t stay out of the movie for more than two seconds. And not only that, he has something very special he wants to show them. But he has to take them to a big, dark, empty basement where they have to be very, very quiet.
(NC grimaces in fear before chuckling nervously a bit)
NC (voiceover): No, it’s just a concert. Oh! Yay. We started out with an ego-boosting show, and now we end with an ego-boosting show. How charming. Well, at least I’m sure the kids will enjoy it, right? (Beat) I don’t know! We never see them again. The last bit we see of them is them getting reunited with their stupid dog. We don’t even know if they made it to the concert or if they’re even watching. Michael’s ego just seemed to disintegrate them from the story altogether. (chuckles as he speaks) What an absolutely charming waste.
NC: So, how does Michael Jackson’s little psychological art-house film hold up? Well, I can sum it up like this.
(Quick clips of each of the film’s segments are shown in chronological order)
NC (voiceover): Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap (refers to the “Smooth Criminal” segment) HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, THAT IS SO FREAKING COOL, (refers to Michael as the spaceship) crap.
NC: Why couldn’t this film just be a music video? That’s all it pretty much was to begin with: a bunch of music videos. It would have been stronger and more memorable. But instead, we have to sit through…
(More footage from the movie are shown)
NC (voiceover): …this annoying vacuum of attention just so we can get to the good parts, or in this case, just one good part.
NC: Michael, you’re incredible. I mean that in three different ways: Incredibly talented, incredibly gifted, and incredibly scary. Just stick to what you know best, and we’ll watch you. But…leave the whole storytelling element to the pros, OK? They’ll tell the stories, and you can go back to looking like Helena Bonham Carter from “Planet of the Apes.” (An image of Helena Bonham Carter’s ape character Ari from 2001’s “Planet of the Apes” is shown)
Michael Jackson: (in an interview) I will never look at myself in the mirror, ever.
NC: Start. I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to. (He gets up to leave)