Thursday, August 03, 2006

Much Ado About Mel

At this point, you'd have to live on the moon (or Idaho) to not know about Mel Gibson's drunken, anti-semetic tirade. Mel was already on the verge of being declared a lunatic due to his family history, that little movie about Jesus, his new movie "Apocalypto," and his fathering of something like 43 children. Then he got pulled over, and he firmly crossed into "lunatic" territory that until now has only been populated by Anna Nicole Smith, Andy Dick, Naomi Campbell, Janice Dickinson, Ron Artest, and that guy who runs the tailoring shop next to my apartment who works 24 hours and day and looks like he hasn't showered since they invented water.

Now this got me wondering....

"Braveheart" is one of my favorite movies of all time. The "Lethal Weapon" films are some of the best action flicks ever and completely reinvented the buddy movie. Mel the actor/director is without a doubt one of the most iconic film stars of all time.

After the other night, it's easy to say that we'll never look at another movie Mel makes without thinking about those bloodshot eyes and the "heartfelt" press release from Alan Nierob (gotta love when someone offers a heartfelt mea culpa through their publicist).

But what about past Mel movies? Does this mean I can't enjoy Mel cleaving those pesky English in two during the battle of Edinburgh? That I can't hear Danny Glover say, "I'm too old for this" without thinking Mel might add, "And you're too Jewish too"?

Mel isn't the only entertainment figure whose personal views have overshadowed his professional life. Tom Cruise, who since "War of the Worlds" has officially spun off the face of the earth. Linday Lohan, who seems to have drank more alcohol by age 20 than Winston Churchill and Pete Coors combined. So do these public embarrassments take away from their screen presence, or are we able to separate the two? Can we loathe Mel in real life, but love when Martin Riggs busts some heads?

The proof might be in the pudding. "Mission Impossible 3" was by all accounts a failure, taking in far less money than the previous film. But interestingly, the reviews were actually pretty good. Not great, but on par with the first two MI movies. Now I really liked the John Woo-helmed MI:2, bought it on DVD, and thought the final half hour was one of the best action sequences in movie history. But when MI:3 came out, I had no desire to see it. None. Maybe it's because so much time had passed between the films--or maybe because I couldn't help but wonder whether Tom would rather be rather drown Matt Lauer in a tub of Ritalin than than battle bad guys.

I haven't watched a Mel movie since his arrest, and I'm curious to know whether I can watch one and distance my personal feelings from what's on the screen. Will I turn it off because I can't stomach watching such a degenerate slimeball? Or will I watch Martin Riggs kill that scummy South African diplomat with joy?

We'll see...but something tells me I won't feel quite as bad for William Wallace as he's getting filleted at the end of "Braveheart."

P.S. This could make a really great drinking game. When you're watching a movie with friends, find the most inappropriate moments where one character might ask another, "Are you Jewish?" And then you drink a shot of Goldschlager.

P.P.S. As a postscript to yesterday's piece, it turns out that the agent who inspired my mini tirade had submitted the same project to an editor at my current publishing house (remember he thought I was still at my old job). And the editor he submitted to at my current house had...wait for it...left the company six months ago. So right now the book is on submission to at least two editors who no longer work at their respective companies. Sigh.


Blogger Stacia said...

That sounds like one of the best drinking games ever, Jason. Seriously.

As far as Mel, Tom, and the rest...I don't watch Tom, because of what he said about Brooke Shields. And, you know, I think he's a total loon. Plus if John Woo isn't directing the action anymore, what's the point?

I've never seen anything Lindsay, but I admit I have a deep adoration for Janice Dickinson. America's Next Top Model is nowhere near as silly and fun without her and her pneumatic cleavage.

Mel is a tough one. I've always loved Mel. I've even admired his deep religious conviction (though it's a religion I don't share). And I really believed him when he said he was not and could never be anti-Semitic. (Then again, I firmly believed Clinton when he said he didn't have relations with Miss Lewinsky, too, so maybe I'm just gullible.)

I guess I'll have to wait and see. How much interest I have in him in future depends on how well he handles this.

I don't think there's any doubt this will hurt his career, though. Just ask Vanessa Redgrave.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Krecker said...

My feelings about Mel are complicated. Tom Cruise was always a little weird. So what. He got weirder.

But Mel? He seemed like...such a nice guy. As my teenage son would say, "It's just all messed up."

9:43 AM  
Blogger Dave White said...

I'm exactly the opposite. I never don't see a movie or see a movie based on an actor or an actor's personal life. I go based on story and of course explosions.

So, I think Mission Impossilbe III was the best movie of the summer. Tom Cruise's antics--whatever, they weren't present in the movie. I'll probably be the same with Mel Gibson, however, he seems to make movies I don't like as much... (Love the Lethal Weapon movies, like Braveheart, but come on when you break it down, it's really just Robin Hood with a sad ending...)

9:48 AM  
Blogger Dave White said...

By the way... people still drink Goldschlager? I remember that stuff from college and I miss it. My liver misses it.

10:30 AM  
Blogger JD Rhoades said...

Neither Mel nor Tom has ever been on my "must-see" list. If the film looks interesting, I'll go see it, but their name on the poster doesn't make it automatically interesting to me. The recent brouhahae over Tom and Mel haven't changed that. In fact, I watched "Braveheart" the other night. It's still a fine film, but still too long. Lethal Weapon 1 still rules, as do Risky Business and Top Gun.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I think Mel will survive this just fine with his established, but he might have trouble swinging the kind of clout that would let him make anything as audacious as the upcoming "Apolyptico" (s0?) appears to be ... Just look at Woody Allen .. sure, he's a creepy, old perv, but among his loyal fans he's still doing great

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mel Gibson is an alcoholic who said very stupid things. I don't condone what he said, I'm not a fan of his, and I hope he gets help. I worked with addicts for a number of years and it's painful to see the self-destructive qualities come out. He needs help, both for his addiction and his distorted social/religious views. (He referred to a female cop as "sugar tits." Nice.) I have a bigger problem with hezbollah and Iran.


10:37 AM  
Blogger John said...

It's amazing that on my first adventure of bloggin, I encounter such narrow minded people talking about actors who are just people. Yes, actors (people)do stupid things and make mistakes. Show me someone; anyone that has not sinned or done something they regret and maybe they might license to voice an opinion.
All of others, shut up including this asshole, "the man (yea, right) in black.

John G.

2:31 AM  

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