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Has its faults, but still manages to hold your attention
The Fancy One | Westchester County, NY | 08/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Jacksons - An American Dream" was very enjoyable to watch, although those of us who grew up with the Jackson 5 know that there was a LOT left out and several inaccuracies in the script. But perhaps the things that were hinted at or weren't mentioned at all in the movie is what made the biggest impression. It isn't necessary to get into all of the scenarios that were missed, but I will say this movie did well to give you a very general understanding of just what Michael, Marlon, Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, and later on, Randy Jackson went through on the road to fame and during the height of their popularity. IMO, the reason Papa Joe Jackson (played excellently by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) worked his kids so hard is because he himself was an unsuccessful musician, and wanted a better future for them. Now I absolutely do not condone the harsh methods he used to discipline his children - but I do understand it.
Now on to the movie...The beginning, which concentates on the life of the young Katherine growing up in Chicago, drags a bit. But it's after the kids are born when the story starts to get interesting. Angela Bassett is effective in her role as the family matriarch, Katherine Jackson, but I've seen Angela in much stronger roles and being cast as the long-suffering wife of Joe Jackson didn't really suit her. But given the material she had to work with, she did a fine job.
The rest of the cast was alright - worth noting are Billy Dee Williams as Motown founder Berry Gordy; Vanessa L. Williams as Berry's protege Suzanne dePasse; Bumper Robinson and Terence Howard, who both played oldest brother Jackie but at different ages; and the son of the real Jermaine Jackson, Jermaine II, playing his father as a teenager - however, who had the horrendous idea of casting Holly Robinson as Diana Ross?! Ugh. She was totally unconvincing and almost laughable. The kids, who were mostly unknowns, were pretty much on point, especially the talented Jason Weaver as the pre-teen Michael (he gives a dead-on performance in this role); the late Wylie Draper, who played the adult Michael; and the actor who portrayed the adult Jermaine, Colin Steele. Their performances were among the best in the film.
I would like to address a couple of remarks that some previous reviewers brought up: WHEN was it implied that Joe Jackson was having an affair with Suzanne dePasse? That must be something I missed, because nothing like that was ever even hinted at. Joe did have a mistress, but it was NOT Ms. dePasse. Also, this was supposed to be the story of the Jackson 5, NOT Janet or Latoya Jackson, so this is why they were barely mentioned...and that suited me just fine. Overall, this is a good film to sit back and enjoy on a Sunday afternoon, although there were parts that were a bit corny, like the constant mention of getting to California being the measure of success in Joe and Katherine's eyes. But Jackson fans are sure to love it and will definitely want to make it part of their collection."
The Jackson's - The American Dream
damikaf | Seattle, Washington | 05/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie.... is the movie for all ages. My kids love it. When I first saw this movie I fell in love with it. I had tape both parts had it for years, then it got lost. I took it over to someon's house and they could never find it. I've always tried to tape it again but never had the opportunity to do so. Evey character is this movie was casted well. I was not disappointed at no time. This movie is a classic, and all Black Americans should have this movie in their homes. I would like to get my hand on the video for purchase, but every-where I go says that it's not availible. Why?, I do not know. This movie should be in high demand. Why doesn't the publisher make more availible to us. Why is it that this particular video is hard to get a hold of? If anyone out there, publisher, someone that has knowledge to how I could get a hold to this video, please let me know. I would really appreciate it. I've been looking off and on for about 3years, so if you know anything please e-mail me with the information."
The Jacksons - WOW!!!
Karenina L. Smith | Omaha, NE | 06/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered this DVD a few weeks ago as a gift for my duaghter. We gave it to her a few days before her birthday the night Michael Jackson died. We viewed it over the next three nights and wow! My husband and I saw it when it aired on network television in the early nineties and thought it was great televison and a wonderful, great story then. But now, in the light of the global mourning over the death of Michael Jackson - it is just phenomenal. That family gave a lot to the entertainment industry and to the world. And the world loved them for it. My admiration, thanks and sincere appreciation go out to the Jackson Family and the producers (Jermaine Jackson and Motown Executive Suzanne DePasse were a couple of them) for making this "Amercian Dream" story."
The actor who played the oldest MICHAEL
Coco | 10/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Someone here asked about him, and his name is Wylie Draper. The movie was released in 1992, and sadly, Wylie died in 1993. He had leukemia."
The mini series is amazing
kirsty | wales | 05/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This mini series is amazing. It catches the true life story of the jacksons and how their life changed through the years. For once this mini series gives you a glimps into the real world of michael and the jacksons. Thsi is a true gift for any jackson fan."