This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael Jackson’s album Bad, his 1987 follow-up to the 1982 mega-smash Thriller. Bad was another critical, artistic and financial triumph for Jackson, launching several hit singles, including the title track, along with “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Dirty Diana” and “Smooth Criminal.” The album itself is the fifth best-selling album of all time, and launched a world tour for Jackson in 1987-89.
Naturally, with anniversaries of this sort — especially when related to departed mega-icons like Jackson — there are several commemorations, and this instance is no exception. In September, a reissue of Bad called Bad 25 was released, and around that time, Spike Lee premiered his documentary, also called Bad 25, at film festivals. The film makes its television debut this Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, on ABC.
With the film, Lee hoped to take people’s minds away from the personal struggles that seemed to define Jackson in his later years.
“Hopefully, that’s what this documentary is about,” Lee told reporters as he introduced the film at the Toronto International Film Festival. “It’s gonna have people return to focusing on the music, his art, which I feel is his legacy, in addition to his children.”
In exploring that artistic legacy for his film, Lee teamed with the estate of Michael Jackson and Epic Records/Legacy Recordings, culling the estate’s archives for rare and never-before-seen footage from the making of the Bad album, and its accompanying world tour.
The documentary features interviews conducted personally by Lee, including Jackson’s confidants, choreographers, musicians and collaborators, such as director Martin Scorsese (who directed the “Bad” music video).