Lifetime stumbles in tackling Michael Jackson biopic (Merecedes' Movie Review June 7)

Merecedes on… Movies

Lifetime has done it again. The network has managed to create another biographical picture about a deceased musician, and this time, it’s Michael Jackson.
“Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland,” which premiered on Memorial Day, is based on a book written by two bodyguards, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, who protected Jackson and his family up until his 2009 death.
Social media, especially Black Twitter, did not waste any time to crucify the film. They were relentless with the insults and memes about the inaccurate portrayal of the King of Pop.
Some of the claims the Internet made were precise, but the movie was not that bad. Navi, the actor who portrayed Jackson, did a lot better than Flex Alexander as MJ in “Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story” (2004).
I actually learned a lot. If MJ’s bodyguards were truthful, then that means Jackson was battling some heavy demons. Poor spending habits seemed to be a constant topic in the movie.
In one scene, he is buying almost $40,000 worth of toys for Christmas and his credit card gets declined. The pop star is forced to use his lawyer’s credit card to complete his purchase.
The film also showed his deep appreciation and love for his children. He tried to protect them from the public eye and he went above and beyond to provide them with a loving home.
Jackson “searching for Neverland” was another major issue he was dealing with in the aftermath of leaving his famous theme park ranch. While his children longed to go back, Jackson wrestled not only with the financial upkeep of the land, but the bad vibes it permeated after a child molestation trial.
I do agree with Black Twitter on one thing. If anyone has the gall to do a biopic on Prince, please let BET handle any movie production, casting, and distribution. They seemed to have favor in telling the story of Black musicians.
Clearly, no one’s safe on this recent biopic trend. I hope Lifetime doesn’t do Prince like they did Mike.
What Lifetime should have done was pick up where “The Jacksons: An American Dream” (1992) left off, depicting Jackson’s life from 1990 until his death. He deserved that much. “Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland” was not enough. Just over an hour and a half was not enough time to properly convey the rest of his story.
If you missed the movie, an encore presentation of it is available via On Demand and at
(Follow Pittsburgh’s own Merecedes J. Howze on Facebook… Merecedes J. Howze – and on Instagram, @moviescenequeen)


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