'The Wiz'

'The Wiz'

There are 34 comments on the Examiner.com story from Jan 9, 2014, titled 'The Wiz'. In it, Examiner.com reports that:

The cult classic " The Wiz " has received mixed reviews since it premiered in 1978.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Examiner.com.

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“at yet more f'loonspin”

Since: Aug 11

I live far away from f'loons

#1 Jan 9, 2014
I heard there was a lot of criticism about Diana Ross forcing the role to be handed to her when Stephanie Mills was the logical choice. That was the first catastrophe about the film.

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#2 Jan 9, 2014
I wonder when Motown purchased rights to the book of the play did they have any control over film casting? Diana Ross basically tried to take the reins and change the entire story. Dorothy was never made to be a grown woman-child (this probably influenced Michael's desire to be a 30-year-old Peter Pan that never panned out, no pun intended). People didn't particularly like Nipsey Russell's role as The Tin Man especially when he would cry and go "tinny! tinny! tinny!" I saw a funny review of the film by the Nostalgia Critic that pretty much corroborated with what I was feeling. The only person to reprise his Broadway role was Ted Ross (who's now dead as is MJ and Nipsey). I also read that "You Can't Win", sung in the film, was only written for the film, for the play, Hinton Battle, who originally played the Scarecrow, did a song called "I Was Born on the Day Before Yesterday". Stephanie Mills and the other original cast members should've been on it. The only reason they use almost entirely different characters was to see if they could get more exposure. I guess the only thing that came out of it was MJ working with Quincy Jones on three of his biggest-selling solo albums. That was pretty much it.
You wish

Avon, CT

#3 Jan 10, 2014
Article very biased

The wiz is the biggest musical flop of all time.

The non self proclaimed king was a top box office draw and the only actor in hx. Where all his movies made money . E.P.
Octopus

Albany, NY

#4 Jan 12, 2014
I was curious about how bad "The Wiz" really was. Certain scenes happen to be on You Tube so I checked them out. First of all, it was definitely a turkey but some idiots still seem to think it was brilliant. The scene where twenty year old Jacko hung up on a stake as the scarecrow was hilarious because I never heard any of the songs from it before now. Actually, the song, "You Can't Win" is pretty interesting. Jacko was certainly weird and he looked like a clown but was still better than what he would later turn into. I was surprised that Mabel King was in the movie because I remember her from the old sitcom, "What's Happening" Anyway, I barely remember this but I met her as a child when she was doing a charity fundraiser years ago. The cast of "What's Happening" were there as well as some stars of the old sixties show, "My Three Sons" So, along with Lisa Marie...I've also met Mabel King who was in a movie with Wacko. I found out that she is dead, She died in 1999 at age 66. They removed both of her legs and one of her arms because health issues.

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#5 Jan 12, 2014
Here's an unknown fact: they replaced the original Scarecrow song with "You Can't Win".

This was the original song they replaced:


You Can't Win by comparison was this close to depressing.

Also you guys would probably love this review of the film from the Nostalgia Critic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch...
Octopus

Albany, NY

#6 Jan 12, 2014
BadMan84 wrote:
Here's an unknown fact: they replaced the original Scarecrow song with "You Can't Win".
This was the original song they replaced:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =9o2BQ2FjP9cXX
You Can't Win by comparison was this close to depressing.
Also you guys would probably love this review of the film from the Nostalgia Critic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch...
I am amazed how good the original song, "I Was Born On The Day Before Yesterday" was compared to what Michael Jackson sung as the scarecrow. Wow.

Was it because Michael wasn't strong enough of a vocalist to pull the original song off? The original song I assume was from The Wiz broadway play. It is strange but I've never checked out the film version before seeing clips off it on You Tube. From what I gather, the movie is still very weird. It reminds be of a cross between "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Tommy" I've read many negative reviews of it being one of the worst movies ever made. From what I've seen though, it was very unusual with a different, stranger and more modernized set than the original 1939 classic. A very unlikely cast too. The whole movie is bad but it was still interesting to check out. All all fairness to twenty year old Michael, his starecrow role was a nice try. He did some impressive dancing from what I can see. Diana Ross looks out of place as Dorthy Gale because I've never seen her look so plain. She was obviously too old for the part though. The acting by everyone was laughable.

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#7 Jan 13, 2014
Octopus wrote:
<quoted text>
I am amazed how good the original song, "I Was Born On The Day Before Yesterday" was compared to what Michael Jackson sung as the scarecrow. Wow.
Was it because Michael wasn't strong enough of a vocalist to pull the original song off? The original song I assume was from The Wiz broadway play. It is strange but I've never checked out the film version before seeing clips off it on You Tube. From what I gather, the movie is still very weird. It reminds be of a cross between "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Tommy" I've read many negative reviews of it being one of the worst movies ever made. From what I've seen though, it was very unusual with a different, stranger and more modernized set than the original 1939 classic. A very unlikely cast too. The whole movie is bad but it was still interesting to check out. All all fairness to twenty year old Michael, his starecrow role was a nice try. He did some impressive dancing from what I can see. Diana Ross looks out of place as Dorthy Gale because I've never seen her look so plain. She was obviously too old for the part though. The acting by everyone was laughable.
It did seem like the film tried too hard to appeal to those who watched the original "Wizard of Oz" film rather than "The Wiz" itself.

“at yet more f'loonspin”

Since: Aug 11

I live far away from f'loons

#8 Jan 13, 2014
BadMan84 wrote:
Here's an unknown fact: they replaced the original Scarecrow song with "You Can't Win".
This was the original song they replaced:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =9o2BQ2FjP9cXX
You Can't Win by comparison was this close to depressing.
Also you guys would probably love this review of the film from the Nostalgia Critic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch...
What a difference the movie would have been had the producers stuck to the play. I had no idea what the original song was, for the scarecrow. Diana Ross was clearly miscast.
Octopus

Albany, NY

#10 Jan 13, 2014
BadMan84 wrote:
<quoted text>
It did seem like the film tried too hard to appeal to those who watched the original "Wizard of Oz" film rather than "The Wiz" itself.
It is difficult to top the original "Wizard Of Oz" since that movie is still an all time classic.

"The Wiz" tried to be a musical but in 1978, it flopped because it just couldn't find an audience. It too silly for adults yet, too sexual to bring the kids to see. The film is still very strange but I actually think Michael did a good scarecrow. He flopped around like he didn't have any bones in his body so he was in character, which he achieved. The music was a bit off too. Looking at it as for what it is.... it was badly acted, a little dark and is basically a cult movie.
Octopus

Albany, NY

#11 Jan 13, 2014
*it is too silly...

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#12 Jan 13, 2014
Len is Disgusted wrote:
<quoted text>
What a difference the movie would have been had the producers stuck to the play. I had no idea what the original song was, for the scarecrow. Diana Ross was clearly miscast.
She surely was. It wasn't like MJ couldn't sing the original song but I guess Charlie Smalls thought MJ's demeanor then didn't call for the song so they wrote "You Can't Win" for him. The lyrics are quite telling despite it being an uptempo funk-ish Quincy Jones production: "you can't win, you can't break even and you can't get out of the game, people keep saying things are gonna change but they look just like they're staying the same". Like I said, it was depressing.

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#13 Jan 13, 2014
Octopus wrote:
<quoted text>
It is difficult to top the original "Wizard Of Oz" since that movie is still an all time classic.
"The Wiz" tried to be a musical but in 1978, it flopped because it just couldn't find an audience. It too silly for adults yet, too sexual to bring the kids to see. The film is still very strange but I actually think Michael did a good scarecrow. He flopped around like he didn't have any bones in his body so he was in character, which he achieved. The music was a bit off too. Looking at it as for what it is.... it was badly acted, a little dark and is basically a cult movie.
Yeah that was probably his best acting role. Rest of his career, he just acted like Michael Jackson. The Scarecrow role was the only one that he sunk his teeth into. Though I do find it funny Sidney Lumet had the gall to call him the next James Dean or something to that effect. Even funnier: MJ had no idea who James Dean was. None of the Jacksons did actually.

“at yet more f'loonspin”

Since: Aug 11

I live far away from f'loons

#14 Jan 14, 2014
BadMan84 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah that was probably his best acting role. Rest of his career, he just acted like Michael Jackson. The Scarecrow role was the only one that he sunk his teeth into. Though I do find it funny Sidney Lumet had the gall to call him the next James Dean or something to that effect. Even funnier: MJ had no idea who James Dean was. None of the Jacksons did actually.
Somebody called him the next James Dean?*laughs* However, given the script, he did a pretty good job. Maybe he should have stuck to acting roles in which somebody else called the shots. His videos were silly.

And Michael didn't know who James Dean was? I swear those people live inside a wall that cuts off the rest of the world.
Octopus

Albany, NY

#15 Jan 14, 2014
BadMan84 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah that was probably his best acting role. Rest of his career, he just acted like Michael Jackson. The Scarecrow role was the only one that he sunk his teeth into. Though I do find it funny Sidney Lumet had the gall to call him the next James Dean or something to that effect. Even funnier: MJ had no idea who James Dean was. None of the Jacksons did actually.
Michael definitely wasn't an actor like his sister, Janet that was actually in the seventies sitcom, "Good Times" As for "The Wiz" being Michael's first film, he did play the scarecrow rather well because he got the movement down right plus he added his dances to the character. However, the movie was miscast and had other problems as well. It was the late seventies and I think the movie reflects that. Everybody was horrible in the film. Comparing a late seventies musical to James Dean is laughable because his films were completely different in the way that they were made. And James Dean only made three films before his death in 1955. "Rebel Without A Cause" "East Of Eden" and "Giant" He was someone that Elvis admired as an actor and you could tell, especially in his early films like "Loving You" "Jailhouse Rock" "King Creole" "Flaming Star" and "Wild In The Country" Of course, Elvis was very hard on himself and claimed that he wasn't a good actor but he was. He was just type cast in Hollywood musicals for most of his film career because his fans wanted a lot of songs. Something like "Blue Hawaii" was a musical but it was still well done because Elvis was asked to sing Hawaiian ballads that actually worked. The acting wasn't bad at all. No other 50's rocker was doing that. Elvis also sung in Latin, which is still impressive. Michael Jackson was not offered roles so basically early MTV videos were the answer. I think it was Prince's "Purple Rain" that was the eighties version of an Elvis movie except that Prince only made a few films.
Octopus

Albany, NY

#16 Jan 14, 2014
Len is Disgusted wrote:
<quoted text>
Somebody called him the next James Dean?*laughs* However, given the script, he did a pretty good job. Maybe he should have stuck to acting roles in which somebody else called the shots. His videos were silly.
And Michael didn't know who James Dean was? I swear those people live inside a wall that cuts off the rest of the world.
Floons think that Michael invented the music video and like to call them "short films" but they were still videos played on MTV for free. In really, I remember Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf" that was shot like a movie. Someone figured out that it was worth it to spend a little extra money making a video because of the exposure it got would help sell the artist's latest release. Better than just radio play. It was true for everyone. Since MTV was originally designed to break new wave acts, they were successful in introducing a lot of artists that wouldn't have otherwise been played in the US. So it was all good for the music industry at the time. If Michael wanted to act, he would have but he just wasn't an actor. However, Prince did it with "Purple Rain" in 1984. It was a huge box office success. It helped sell his "Purple Rain" album as did the videos that came from the film. Prince made tons of money that helped him get more hits for himself and other artists that covered a few of his songs. It was a brilliant move for Prince.
Octopus

Albany, NY

#17 Jan 14, 2014
Opps...

In reality.

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#18 Jan 15, 2014
Len is Disgusted wrote:
<quoted text>
Somebody called him the next James Dean?*laughs* However, given the script, he did a pretty good job. Maybe he should have stuck to acting roles in which somebody else called the shots. His videos were silly.
And Michael didn't know who James Dean was? I swear those people live inside a wall that cuts off the rest of the world.
Michael's favorite movies were musicals and apparently after "The Wiz", the music industry wasn't looking to make anymore musicals. I know around the same time Motown bought rights to Frankie Lymon's biographer's book and he was supposedly going to play him but never got around to it. But MJ 's type of role that he fit in was not available and they weren't gonna get him to do his "dream role" so he never really had a chance anyway. His videos were indeed silly. Michael lived inside a bubble from the time he was nine so obviously he was never told of these guys and was kept intelligently stunted during his childhood and teen years.

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#19 Jan 15, 2014
Octopus wrote:
<quoted text>
Michael definitely wasn't an actor like his sister, Janet that was actually in the seventies sitcom, "Good Times" As for "The Wiz" being Michael's first film, he did play the scarecrow rather well because he got the movement down right plus he added his dances to the character. However, the movie was miscast and had other problems as well. It was the late seventies and I think the movie reflects that. Everybody was horrible in the film. Comparing a late seventies musical to James Dean is laughable because his films were completely different in the way that they were made. And James Dean only made three films before his death in 1955. "Rebel Without A Cause" "East Of Eden" and "Giant" He was someone that Elvis admired as an actor and you could tell, especially in his early films like "Loving You" "Jailhouse Rock" "King Creole" "Flaming Star" and "Wild In The Country" Of course, Elvis was very hard on himself and claimed that he wasn't a good actor but he was. He was just type cast in Hollywood musicals for most of his film career because his fans wanted a lot of songs. Something like "Blue Hawaii" was a musical but it was still well done because Elvis was asked to sing Hawaiian ballads that actually worked. The acting wasn't bad at all. No other 50's rocker was doing that. Elvis also sung in Latin, which is still impressive. Michael Jackson was not offered roles so basically early MTV videos were the answer. I think it was Prince's "Purple Rain" that was the eighties version of an Elvis movie except that Prince only made a few films.
What I find interesting about Elvis' film work is that his films had different themes. He did the period films (Love Me Tender), the bad boy films (Jailhouse Rock, King Creole), the semi-autobiographical film (Loving You), the serious non-musical (Flaming Star and Wild in the Country), the glitzy musicals (Viva Las Vegas), the Hawaiian flick (Blue Hawaii), the Army flick (GI Blues), etc. Michael's videos were almost always the same regardless of the themes.

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#20 Jan 15, 2014
Octopus wrote:
<quoted text>
Floons think that Michael invented the music video and like to call them "short films" but they were still videos played on MTV for free. In really, I remember Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf" that was shot like a movie. Someone figured out that it was worth it to spend a little extra money making a video because of the exposure it got would help sell the artist's latest release. Better than just radio play. It was true for everyone. Since MTV was originally designed to break new wave acts, they were successful in introducing a lot of artists that wouldn't have otherwise been played in the US. So it was all good for the music industry at the time. If Michael wanted to act, he would have but he just wasn't an actor. However, Prince did it with "Purple Rain" in 1984. It was a huge box office success. It helped sell his "Purple Rain" album as did the videos that came from the film. Prince made tons of money that helped him get more hits for himself and other artists that covered a few of his songs. It was a brilliant move for Prince.
Prince had been planning the film since 1982, I think. So it all paid off in the end. MJ just didn't have the same ambition. Obviously MJ was jealous of Prince. I guess he tried to make Captain EO and Moonwalker as box office films but Captain EO was only good enough for Disney at the time and Moonwalker was too bizarre to be one.
Octopus

Albany, NY

#21 Jan 15, 2014
BadMan84 wrote:
<quoted text>
Michael's favorite movies were musicals and apparently after "The Wiz", the music industry wasn't looking to make anymore musicals. I know around the same time Motown bought rights to Frankie Lymon's biographer's book and he was supposedly going to play him but never got around to it. But MJ 's type of role that he fit in was not available and they weren't gonna get him to do his "dream role" so he never really had a chance anyway. His videos were indeed silly. Michael lived inside a bubble from the time he was nine so obviously he was never told of these guys and was kept intelligently stunted during his childhood and teen years.
1978 was a ripe time for musicals with "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease"

It may be true that musicals fell out of flavor as Disco died very quickly by 1980. But The Village People were still allowed to make the turkey, "Can't Stop The Music"

I just do not think Michael proved himself much as an actor plus "The Wiz" was a huge failure.

I just think that when MTV came around, Michael took advantage of the music video format by spending a little bit more on making them because he could. But he wasn't getting offers to star in full motion pictures. It was because he couldn't act. He did want very much to play Peter Pan in "Hook" but was rejected for the role.

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