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The Triangle Indie Film Meetup Group Message Board › Good or Evil?: Mel Gibson (week of Dec. 11)

Good or Evil?: Mel Gibson (week of Dec. 11)

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A former member
Post #: 67
Based on the hilarious Ultimate Judgment web site, I've decided to launch a weekly message board thread for us to debate the relative Good or Evil of some film-related subjects. The aim here is to have a few laughs and open up the group to some pithy, topical group discussion. Enjoy, and please do join the fray by posting a reply. Try to keep your comments succinct (we are passing judgment here), include any relevant links or photos, and state definitively whether you are voting "Good" or "Evil." I will tally the votes and post our group judgment next Monday!

This week's subject of summary judgment: Mel Gibson

His new film Apocalypto just opened at the top of the box office this weekend, with some decent, even glowing, reviews, yet his recent drunken and disorderly conduct is still fresh in the minds of the public. Fresher perhaps to film lovers is the stench of past projects like The Patriot, Lethal Weapon 4, Maverick, and The Passion of the Christ. Is forgiveness possible, or shall Mel be forever damned to filmmakers' purgatory?

Mel Gibson:

Good or Evil?

A former member
Post #: 3
This flies in the face of my personal non-belief in the existence of either good or evil; however, i will vote GOOD for Mel Gibson this week.

This is based solely on his recent statement regarding the U.S. presence in Iraq. He compares our civilization to the Mayan because we also sacrifice human beings: He said, "What's human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"

Also, he did try a somewhat different approach to playing Hamlet in the Zeffirelli version. While I did not like it that much, at least he is willing to experiment.

A former member
Post #: 68
Good points, John. I too appreciated Gibson's Hamlet:

However, is this performance -- along with maybe Apocalypto, Braveheart, and Mad Max -- enough to offset this?:

Tough to judge. We need more opinions from the group...
kevin w
user 2861481
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 3
everybody makes mistakes
Durham, NC
Post #: 24
Hey, I liked Maverick. :) Anything with Jodie Foster. And I'd pay full price to see a movie of Jim Garner just tossing a salad.

As for Le Mel. He's a talented thespian, and apparently an intelligent man, but liking his work is not the same as liking the guy. I didn't like Million Dollar Hotel either, but did he have to go out in public and slander it? He is (or was) a chain smoker, his personal behavior leaves room for improvement, and he's aging more gracefully than I am, dammit. I also find his repeated martyr-motif vanity flicks ... well, ho-hum in the grand scheme of things. Until.... I completely crossed the street to avoid The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre (as Kenneth Turan called it on NPR).

Still, his faith belief system is his own, so I consulted mine, and was reminded by several of The Eight Condiments not to let Mel spoil my fun.

Abstain. tongue
A former member
Post #: 70
Hmmmmm maybe I should have known better than to try to stir things up on the message board... We need some definitive pronouncements here, people. Like, nostrils flaring as you type... This man is GOOD! or This man is EVIL! "And here's why..." So far we've got two tepid/qualified endorsements and one abstention. Am I going to have to be the one to cast the first EVIL vote, just for the hell of it?

This is the man who will be bringing you Passion II next summer!!!­

Durham, NC
Post #: 25
Haha. Please do, stir up some more. Though I've come to dislike the guy, and don't think he comes near deserving "name above the title" prestige, I can't forget that he's been in 2-3 of my all-time favorite movies (YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, GALLIPOLI, TEQUILA SUNRISE, CHICKEN RUN), not to mention some really good also-rans (SIGNS, AIR AMERICA, LETHAL WEAPON).

I mean, who can vote EVIL after seeing him with Sigourney Weaver.
user 2823655
Cary, NC
Post #: 7
Hi Brian, David and other:

Hate to break it to ya... no nostrils flaring with a GOOD or EVIL response. Reality is that I try to avoid this dichotomous thinking if possible. (It's the same kind of thinking that Bush and the Republican party seemed to have operated under in terms of the lead up to the war in Iraq... Terrorists, evil... USA, good.... Answer... fight them).

I think you may be getting a luke warm response here because most individuals realize there are both good and bad in each of us. Plus, I'm not entirely clear if we are judging Mel's professional products (the actual films he is in or directs), or himself as a person with his personal actions, or both???

I'll start simple... we don't know a whole lot about the heart and thoughts of celebrities, only what comes out in the media (which usually is when they are doing something wrong). As for what I do know about Mel's person, I am disgusted by his anti-semitic comments to the police officer. I HATE any form of racism, prejudice, and discrimination. As for his drinking, many individuals in our society struggle with alcohol and substance addiction. I would like to see more people get professional help for them. I've only heard a few tidbits of interviews by Mel, and really can't comment. One posting on the message board seemed to portray Mel as someone that isn't afraid to speak out against the appalling nature of the war in Iraq and the gravity of loss of human lives (both US and Iraqi).

As for his filmography, I'm not a big Mel Gibson fan. Saw Mad Max movies years ago and enjoyed them (adventure, etc). Tend to find his movies to be a little too gory (Lethal Weapon I, Braveheart and the Passion of the Christ), and he tends to repeat the messiah/savior theme in most of his films (either figuratively or literally). So.... gee, again, no nostril-flaring EVIL or GOOD. I would say that as a Christian (and NO, NOT one of the "shut your brains off and vote as I say" kind, I was deeply moved by the movie the Passion of the Christ. It made Jesus seem much more human than any film I've seen to date. And, it gave a wonderful window into how Mary must have felt... really felt... in seeing her son suffer such shame. And, whether I like it or not, I did come to understand much more clearly what the pre-cross stuff (scrouging, etc) was that the Christ went through. I'll be honest, I've always thought there were less gruesome ways to deal with evil then the sacrifice and atonement via the cross, yet Mel's film helped me to appreciate the real human emotions the Christ experienced along the way. And, sure he did market to "Christian audiences" but his film again was not the typical lovely, soft-spoken Jesus deal... it was real... and it least many viewers profoundly moved. So, I guess on the filmography front... some films purely entertaining (action, futuristic) and other films with common motifs, etc, most too gory. YET, I think perhaps Mel's realism is effective and, dare I say, outstanding in some films. I'm not sure I want to see the Apocalypto though, as it still is hard to stomach so much blood.

Good or Evil? Professional versus Personal life? Both to both questions.
A former member
Post #: 18
I love Mel Gibson's work, I just saw Apocalypto, it's an excellent movie!

His personal life may give us laughs, but his work stands on its own!
A former member
Post #: 73
You make a compelling case, David. I'm intuiting an unstated GOOD coming from your replies (you said that you could not vote "EVIL", so that equals a "GOOD" vote in Ultimate Judgement).

So I total 4 GOOD votes to 1 EVIL vote and arrive at our group consensus...

Mel Gibson: Extraordinarily GOOD

Based on:

80% GOOD
Summary of our supporting evidence:

  • Recent statements comparing US presence in Iraq to Mayan sacrificial rituals
  • Hamlet, Riggs, and other challenging roles
  • String of great '80s movies and some good ones in '90s too
  • Foster, Weaver, and other "hot" co-stars
  • Everyone deserves forgiveness (even the Jews)
  • Judge artists on their work, not personal lives/failings/misrepresentations of the Holocaust
  • Movies helped some viewers find a firmer faith-based understanding of the flying spaghetti monster

20% EVIL
Summary of our counter evidence:

  • Chain smoker
  • Bigot/anti-semite
  • Aging gracefully
  • Million Dollar Hotel
  • Repeated martyr-motif vanity flicks

Thanks to all who participated in this edition of Ultimate Judgment!
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