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Michael Jackson Snubs His Family

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Sept. 4, 2008: Jacksons receive lifetime achievement award at the BMI Urban Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. (BMI)

Michael Jackson Snubs His Family | Toronto: A 'Juno' Re-run?

Michael Jackson Snubs His Family

As expected, Michael Jackson snubbed his entire family Thursday night and skipped a dinner honoring him and all of them in Los Angeles.

The dinner was hosted by BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) honoring the Jackson 5 and Janet Jackson. The organizers hoped the dinner would draw out reclusive, absentee Michael, who turned 50 last week.

Photo Essay: Jacksons Reunite

But getting older hasn't made Jacko nicer or more loyal. He let Janet, Tito, Randy, Marlon and Jackie as well as his sisters LaToya and Rebbie and his parents Katherine and Joe show up and make fake excuses for him while Michael presumably watched cartoons at home in his pajamas surrounded by children.

To be fair, older brother Jermaine was also a no-show, but no one asked where he was.

Marlon Jackson quipped that Michael was "riding a camel in Egypt."

Most of the family has not seen or heard from Michael since his June 2005 acquittal on charges of child molestation and conspiracy. Since then he's lived in Bahrain, Ireland, Northern Virginia and Las Vegas. He's narrowly escaped personal bankruptcy, lost or settled various lawsuits and nearly had his Neverland Ranch taken away from him.

At least Thursday night's BMI dinner once and for all quelled the rumors that Jacko will reunite or tour with his brothers, especially Randy, with whom Michael has financial "issues." That ship has sailed now.

In some ways, it's a fitting ending for papa Joe Jackson, who didn't do himself any favors when he acted as Michael's taskmaster and over-dominating manager during the former pop star's formative years. Locking him in closets when he failed to perform properly, as my sources have said, and possibly worse according to reports, have left the 50-year-old mentally scarred and uninterested in any future relationships.

But Jackson is notoriously disloyal, something his crazed fans have never understood. As this reporter can verify, Michael Jackson left his surrogate dad and protector, Bill Bray, to die an agonizing death in relative poverty with little other than a volunteer caretaker and a hospital bed. Even when told that Bray was dying and needed help, Jackson ignored him.

Toronto: A 'Juno' Re-run?

Audiences at the Toronto Film Festival are crossing their fingers for a rerun of "Juno," the hit movie that got its start here last year.

One of that film's co-stars, Michael Cera, is in "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," a big studio film masquerading as an indie. It opens early next month.

I saw "Nick and Norah" on Thursday, and while it may strike a cult note with young people, there's little chance it will reach as wide an audience as "Juno" or even "Superbad," Cera's other aberrational hit.

All I could think while watching this nice 20-year-old monotonously make his way through another teen comedy is that he would make a great Dobie Gillis. Someone at 20th Century Fox should sign him up for that before he gets any older.

"Nick and Norah" does feature a lot of indie rock, which is fun, and was shot in New York, which is good for the city. (Some of it doesn't make much sense geographically, and no one drives around Manhattan the way these kids do, but we'll suspend that disbelief.) The characters' names are supposed to come from the fast-talking romantic leads of "The Thin Man" series of classic films.

Thursday night, we also got a look at the very trippy '70s-like road movie "The Brothers Bloom" with Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, Mark Ruffalo and Rinko Kikuchi from "Babel." The Blooms are con men, Weisz is their rich "mark" and Rinko doesn't speak through the whole film.

The actors are terrific and few movies or cities (Prague shines) have ever looked this good. The script is strange, though, and not exactly, uh, specific or precise. But everyone gets high marks for ambitious filmmaking.

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