By Patrick Goldstein native the LA times:My dad loves to brag come his friends that while his son is a big-shot Hollywood reporter, it was his father who actually met Michael Jackson. Until he retirement a few years ago, my dad had a store referred to as the 24 repertoire on the Lincoln road Mall in Miami beach that devoted in fashion, jewelry, art and one-of-a-kind oddities (I still have a clock collection into a Cuban cigar box through a portrait of Fidel Castro ~ above the clock face). At some point Brett Ratner, who thrived up in Miami and also whose mother was a consistent customer at the store, dubbed my dad and asked if the could bring his pal Michael Jackson by to look around. As he often did together a courtesy because that celebrities who could be annoyed or hounded, my dad closed the keep that afternoon and also put the employee at Jackson"s disposal."Michael walked about every inch of the store, emotion things, odor things," my father remembers. "He"d asking questions around what this to be or the was, whereby it to be from, just how we found it. I made certain the employee didn"t intrude top top him, return one human did ask for an autograph, which make them one ex-employee right away. Yet Michael was simply off in his own world, curious about everything the saw."I think my dad acquired his hopes up when he experienced that Jackson was additionally accompanied by one aide who had a zippered envelope full of cash. Yet the King that Pop never ever bought anything. After ~ spending one hour in the store, he just thanked anyone for letting that look around and also left.I dubbed Ratner this morning to ask him just how he became such fast friends v Jackson. It transforms out the they met in 1998 when Ratner was finishing his first "Rush Hour" picture. One day, chris Tucker to be doing a scene and broke into a wild, Michael Jackson-style dance. The sequence to be so funny that as soon as Ratner had test screenings that the film, it got one of the greatest laughs in the picture. But because it was an obvious Jackson impression, Ratner knew he had actually to clear it through the pop star prior to he can put that in the movie.That gift a problem, due to the fact that Jackson to be so reclusive that also Ratner, among the good celebrity schmoozers of our time, couldn"t obtain to him. The even called Jackson"s Neverland ranch but never acquired anywhere. Climate he got lucky. "My editor was talk to the projectionist that ran the final screening and it turned out that he was Michael"s personal projectionist," Ratner called me today. "So I gave him the print and also asked him come play the beginning of the 2nd reel because that Michael, which had actually Chris" run in it."Two days later on Ratner choose up the phone and also heard the soft, feathery voice the Michael Jackson. For this reason what go Michael say? keep reading."Michael stated he"d watched the whole movie and also loved it, particularly the scene kris did through his dance. He said, "You have actually my permission come use everything you want." " that was great, however Ratner needed something in writing. Once he request Jackson to authorize something on a piece of paper, Jackson simply invited him approximately the ranch. "So i drove increase there and walked in, v all his giraffes and also other animals, all the end there to greet me." Ratner recalls. "I ended up continuing to be at the ranch and also we simply became great friends. Us both had actually this huge, practically childlike fascination v movies and also music and all type of entertainment."Over the years, Ratner and also Jackson invested an enormous amount the time together. They would film each other, v Jackson questioning Ratner about how he came to be a film director and also Ratner asking Jackson about how he ended up being an entertainer. "I have actually hours of footage of us, sitting approximately in our pajamas, with me asking him about what sort of music he loved as a kid, what sort of publications he had actually on the wall as a kid. Once you were through him, you yes, really felt favor God to be within him. He to be an amazing, superhuman sort of person, but he always treated you as an equal. He would be your friend and also he never asked because that anything in return."One of your favorite tasks was to have dance-offs in the video game room in ~ Jackson"s house. Jackson would placed on a record, typically a track by his sister, Janet, and unleash part awesome dance moves. Then Ratner or chris Tucker, that would periodically come along, would play Michael"s records and dance along to them. I asked Ratner if the felt a small like a just mortal play one-on-one through LeBron James. "Hey, ns wasn"t self-conscious. I"m a pretty great dancer. It was simply fun to do it together."When lock weren"t dancing, Ratner and also Jackson would certainly watch movies together. He says they must"ve watched the initial version the "Willie Wonka and also the cacao Factory" 50 times over the years. "I recognize that people looked at Michael and also thought he to be strange, however to me, he to be fascinating," Ratner says. "He was the most inspirational person in mine life. His one dream was to cure every the sick kids in the world. And when I"d say, "Isn"t that impossible?" Michael would simply start come cry.

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The was really emotional around things that moved him. Ns guess you"d need to say he to be a pure innocent in a people that wasn"t so chaste anymore."