First things first: we like Spike Lee a lot. He is still one of maybe 10 or 12 real filmmakers left within the CGI-rendered ruins of the studio system. He made some great movies (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever), and even when he slipped or went for experimental (Bamboozled), he has always been reliable for interesting, thought-provoking pieces.

Thus our surprise when the long-delayed Spike Lee-directed video for Michael Jackson's least-but-we're-sure-not-last single “This Is It” was unveiled recently on the director's website.

It's not just that it's bad (it is). The clip is bad in a cheesy-ass, unimaginative, horrendously whitewashing way (yes, yes, we just used the term “whitewashing” in a Spike Lee/Michael Jackson story–we get all the possible implications/ironies/etc.).

Lee repeatedly cuts back to a STOP sign that has been graffittied to read “This is it, STOP hatin'.” The rest is a montage of MJ photos and memorabilia interspersed with mourning fans paying hommage to the self-proclaimed King of Jesus Juice. As a commenter on slashFilm pointed out, “it looks like an unfunny spoof of Spike Lee movies edited with downloaded stock footage by some barfingly sentimental 15 year old using iMovie.”

Here it is. This is it. Stop hatin'. Just say no. Eat your vegetables.

Michael Jackson – This Is It – Directed by Spike Lee from 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks on Vimeo.

[After the jump, reminders that Spike Lee can direct brilliant music videos when he decides to.]

LA Weekly