It’s been several days since a friend’s Facebook status first announced that she was “really disappointed in Mel Gibson right now.” My feelings for Mel Gibson go beyond disappointment. It’s one thing to get wasted and go cruising down the streets of a sleepy California beach community, putting countless celebrity lives at risk. Any old alcoholic could do that. But it takes a special kind of alcoholic to go the extra mile and allow his vino to veritas his views on Jews, wars, and the perfect combination of candies and female body parts. With Mel going on anti-Semitic and misogynistic tirades and Tom Cruise jumping on couches to proclaim his allegiance to the most blatantly fake Hollywood relationship of all time (I mean seriously, has anyone really confirmed that Suri is alive and well and has ten fingers?), whither movie-star hunks of the nineties? What’s next, Denzel Washington joining NAMBLA and wearing studded leather in public?
Some have suggested that the best way to express disapproval is to boycott Gibson movies, and with Apocalypto looking as bad as it does that seems like a fairly easy option. But the problem is, I liked Braveheart. And I liked the Lethal Weapon movies—some of them, anyway. I liked Chicken Run, too, and some people will think I’m a drooling moron but I also enjoyed Signs. I would additionally boycott the carelessly anti-antidepressant Cruise if he hadn’t made Rain Man and Minority Report and that final scene in Interview with the Vampire where he adjusts his sleeves and grabs the steering wheel to the opening bars of “Sympathy for the Devil.” [Incidentally, that’s the best pairing of final movie scene with rock song since Fallen used the same tune. Except Fallen was actually a few years after Interview. But I digress.] I won’t have any trouble avoiding spending money on The Passion of the Christ, but only because I didn’t think it was very good in the first place. I suppose that film is a true-blue Mel Gibson movie, top-to-bottom, with Mel personally raking in most of the profits. But the earlier movies, even when he was directing—those were pretty good movies that happened to have Mel Gibson attached to them. Hundreds of other people made those films what they are. Am I supposed to boycott Danny Glover too?
The problem is that Hollywood fantasy has been spilling over into reality. People go to see movies because they like movie stars, and, believe it or not, people like movie stars because they read about them and hear about their every move. Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie? I better go see Mr. & Mrs. Smith. This is insanity—go see Ocean’s Thirteen because you liked the first two and think you are going to have a good time, not because you thought Shiloh Nouvel was the prettiest baby ever. But the line between the Hollywood screen and Hollywood Boulevard has always been a blurry one, at least since Clark Gable affected t-shirt sales and Marilyn Monroe went mad. It probably can’t be avoided, but it would be nice to sit through Payback without thinking “That Mel Gibson is one hardass mofo, but man does he ever hate the Jews.”
Indexed by tags movies, Mel Gibson, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, Tom Cruise, insane.
Image credits: (1) "Mel Gibson: The Mug Shot," via Smoking Gun, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes; (2) "Couch," via Lermanet, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.