December 06, 2010

Mel's Id

I have a feeling that this is one of those opinions you're not really supposed to have, or to admit to having, but I like Mel Gibson, warts and all. He makes great movies, even if he is a bit of a kook and probably a Bad Person. I'm not saying I like the warts. The warts are bad. Okay? Anyway, I've been looking forward to The Beaver ever since I heard about it.

That said, this is fair, and funny (and NSFW):

(via Sullivan.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at December 6, 2010 07:35 PM | TrackBack

Yeah, the public outcry about his behavior nothwithstanding, I've never really understood the critical lambasting of his actual films, which before everything happened had been fairly well-received. The go to comparison is Roman Polanski, whose crimes were much worse, but whose films still enjoy high opinion among critics. Hm.

Posted by: Nate Pensky at December 7, 2010 12:08 AM


Who? Whom?

Gibson's sin is being a right-wing criminal. I forget who said anti-catholicism is anti-semitism for the elite.

That said, Braveheart was schlocky and the Patriot was unwatchable. I didn't see the Passion or Apocalypto. Were they much better?

Posted by: josh at December 7, 2010 01:11 PM

Well, he's no Polanski, for sure. I can't deny Braveheart's schlockiness, of course, but that doesn't mean it's not great, and I think it is. I agree with you on the Patriot.

The Passion of the Christ was so "problematic" politically that it's almost impossible to watch on its own terms, and viewing it is in many ways an unpleasant experience, but simply as a piece of visual art it is stunning. It blew me away. Its effect may have been considerably enhanced by the fact that everyone I knew believed that seeing it at all was a major transgression against taste and decency. Transgression adds a lot to any experience, for good or ill. I once reduced a room full of right-thinking people to a stunned, hostile silence by admitting I'd seen it and was planning to see it again. But not twice.

Apocalypto was brilliantly directed and photographed as well.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at December 7, 2010 06:47 PM

Yeah, no question of him having Polanski-level talent. I was more comparing the reaction of their respective audiences to their extra-filmic transgressions, which are both very real and very awful, though MG's much less so than RP's. It seems like people have taken the view that Polanski has "suffered enough" for his crimes, and therefore his films should be considered apart from his transgression. But suffered enough how? How do we decide that? Isn't it better to just view his films totally apart from his crimes? And if that's the case, shouldn't we do the same for other people's much lesser crimes?

At the time Passion came out, MG had not yet ranted, and while some critics thought the film was Anti-Semitic, a fair few notable ones didn't. But it turns out that rants were an important insight, that the assessment that the film was Anti-Semitic were fair. But I'm just wondering if they're fair in another way, one that views the film without employing ad hominem type arguments? Or if such an answer is even possible?

I thought Braveheart was pretty boilerplate, except for its homophobia, and except for the action sequences, which were some of the best I've ever seen. (The action sequences., not the homophobia. Homophobia is bad.) Apocalypto, too. MG didn't direct The Patriot.

Frank, do you think sitting at home watching a DVD is really a "political" statement or action? I don't think it is.

Posted by: Nate Pensky at December 7, 2010 07:29 PM

"do you think sitting at home watching a DVD is really a "political" statement or action? I don't think it is."

I don't either. There can be something political about being judged on the basis of your taste or opinions on this or that item, and this happens quite a lot. But that wasn't what I was talking about. I was wondering about the degree to which the knowledge that you're doing something that is disapproved of by your peers influences the aesthetic experience.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at December 7, 2010 08:00 PM

I am a fan of Mel Gibson’s movies but obviously think he deserved the initial barrage of admonishments he received a few months back. I also think that a lot of Hollywood and press people pretended to be more offended than they actually were by his conduct. Zach Galifianakis refusing to work with him was absurd.

I feel sorry for anyone on the receiving end of one of his tirades or violent behavior, but let me ask if it’s obvious to anyone else that his current predicament is due to the fact that he played directly into the hands of his evidence-gathering girlfriend. I think so.

What we have in Mel Gibson (the man), is a serious alcoholic who simply grasps for the most god-awful language he has at his disposal when he is raging. Whether or not he “means” what he says is debatable, in my opinion. The DUI/anti-Semitic rant and the recent telephone harassment are probably the guy’s darkest hours. Who would ever want the tape recorder rolling during his/her darkest hours? Not me. Ever said anything dumb or hateful when you’re mad just to inflict as much pain and astonishment in the other person as possible?

Posted by: William Wallace at December 7, 2010 10:57 PM

"do you think sitting at home watching a DVD is really a "political" statement or action? I don't think it is."

You've never heard of thoughtcrime?

I don't know why I thought he directed the Patriot. I literally have to reevaluate my whole position now. I thought he just got lucky with pretty scenery and cool fights. Plus I like just about any not-that-in-your-face period piece (ever see HBO's Rome. My favorite piece of period schlock.)

Posted by: josh at December 9, 2010 01:27 AM

This is hilarious, but I don't necessarily, 100-percent agree with it being fair. I'm pretty sure that phone calls b/w spouses, etc., are understood to be private.

Posted by: Cpt. at December 9, 2010 08:05 PM
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