Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | July 21, 2009

Mel Gibson: what in the world happened to you?


“Man you’re really losin’ it
And you’ve really done a lot of junk now
But you keep on abusin’ it
What in the world happened to you
It’s bad enough you do it to yourself…”


The song is called What Happened to You and it is a really fun song by The Offspring. It is fun to dance to. And recently, it reminds me of Mel Gibson and the phase he seems to be getting through. You know; what with the whole thing about Christanity,divorce, 8th kid (the last one being from his girlfriend), religious movies,  bigoted comments and DUI…

(he might have gone into some trouble before but it definitely WASN”T this bad.) Yep, I even stumbled upon an online game where you were supposed to drive Mel without getting caught by the traffic police and pick up as many tequilas as possible during the way…

I know nobody is perfect. I know many celebrities are known for their extreme behavior. But come on…This is not what this guy was like. He just seemed happy to be a part of his big family (wife and 7 kids) and act in wonderful movies. Oh, you don’t remember those times? What? You also didn’t know he used to be extremely handsome too? Oh, well… Then it is time to take a look back at the good old days and cross fingers to wish he gets over this phase and shoots great movies again.

Mel, before

Mel, before

I spent a good deal of my teenage years watching his movies, collecting his pictures and being the ultimate fan. He was a marvelous actor/ director (I know a lot of you must have seen Braveheart but please see The Man without a Face). Close to his family and kids and a being a heartthrob (read on; you will see what I mean) and having an interesting life story, he was the perfect celebrity.

Many people think he is an Australian. His first major roles were in Australian movies. Mad Max and Tim are great, low-budget movies that gave Mel his ticket to Hollywood. Mad Max is a cult sci-fi/thriller classic and Tim is a wonderful drama about a simple man finding his place in the world. Both were shot in 1979. Mel had mastered the Aussie accent, for  he had been living in Australia since he was 12. His father moved the family so that the boys wouldn’t be subject to Vietnam War. His sister persuaded the aimless, surf-loving, flirty Mel-who was holding the odd jobs such as working at KFC, to go into film school. And  that was it. So, it has been an interesting ride to find out this American start his career and make alomst a billion dollars on his way…



Young Gibson

Mad Max

Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max (1979)

The country is full of lunatic criminals-motorbike gangs. Being a cop is really difficult. Hell, being anything is extremely frustrating. Young cop Max tries to get on with his life – with his wife and his kid. This is acutally the beginning of the roles where Mel proves that he can play good-guy-turned-mad-after-losing-his-loved-one(s). It is also the first movie of the Mad Max triology.

You have a young,talented American who can successfully fake accents and handle  versatile roles. Hang on- I’m getting to the versatility part…










Tim (1979)


Late 70s, Tim is a very healthy, well-built, nice and a very gorgeous (you will see this is also pointed out in the movie) young man. However he is “simple”. He isn’t very intelligent, hasn’t finished school and is making a living out of manual labor. His family is used to taking care of everything for him and love their son.

Tim’s life changes, however, when he meets an older businesswoman named Mary. He starts to work on her yard and the two develop a strong friendship over time. Mary takes Tim seriously and allows him to reach more potential than anyone has ever did. She believes in him more than his parents do. The stronfriendship is frowned upon by Tim’s older sister,though his father admires and respects Mary. His sister thinks that Mary is taking advantage of her brother. But the truth is, despite themselves, Mary and Tim have fallen for each other…

The story is heart-warming and well-acted. It is modest and true. And seriously, whatever made people think Mel Gibson couldn’t act? Not versatile enough for you, yet? It’s OK. This was in 1979, people.

Gallipoli (1981):

The official tagline from the poster: "From a place you have never heard of, comes a story you will never forget"

The official tagline from the poster: "From a place you have never heard of, comes a story you will never forget"

He has played in a Peter Wier movie called Gallipoli; a story that is not a stranger to Turkish people. Young Australian soldiers have been tempted to fight in a war that is not their own, only to face the dire consequences…It is the perfect anti-war movie, with a great male friendship in the background.

p.s: Gallipoli is in Turkey and it is one of the frontiers in the World War 1.


Mel Gibson, Gallipoli

Mel Gibson, Gallipoli


Let’s move back to USA first.









Back in the home country:

Mrs. Soffel (1984) :

Mel with Diane Keaton

Mel with Diane Keaton

 Here, Mrs Soffel- married withchildren to the warden, falls in love withthe charming prisoner Ed. She helps him and his brother escape and failing to resist him, she goes with them…

It is romantic and thrilling. You understand why they fall for each other. Although you can’t tell for sure whether Ed is innocent until towards the end…

Mel as Ed and Diane as Mrs. Soffel

Mel as Ed and Diane as Mrs. Soffel

Resisting the urge to involve all his filmography, I will continue to write about some milestones of his career and/or personal fav.s.
In 1984 he also starred in the River where he played a struggling farmer to make ends meet for his family and in the Bounty,along with Anthony Hopkins he was in the remake of the classic version. But hey, we can debate which series made Mel Gibson as famous he is and I think it is more Lethal Weapon than Mad Max.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover
 The first one was shot in 1987 and following the incredible success, 3 more followed and frankly left many fans wanting more.
The core of the story has a near retirement cop-Roger (Danny Glover), impatient to spend his future safe days with his wife and 3 kids. All goes to hell when he meets his new partner Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Roger is a square cop and a family man: he wears suits to work, plays by the roles and avoids danger when he can. Martin is a long-haired, smoking ,jean-wearing trouble magnet. He LOVES trouble. Having recently lost his wife, he is practically suicidal. Nothing is conventional about Riggs and he gets on Rog’s nerves from the first moment. But as the two get to know each other, they form a friendship that is very fun to watch. Lethal Weapon is the perfect blend of action and comedy,traditional cop vs. crazy partner. It has many trademark scenes: One example would be when Riggs refuses to wait for psychologists and goes to the roof-top to talk to a suicidal man. Riggs provokes him more than sedates him. And then pretending to give a cigarette, he handcuffs the guy and then asks him-no tells him-to jump. The guy is now afraid for his life. Then Riggs wants to play so he jumps,pulling the guy down with him. Of course they end up safely on the platform set up on the ground but Roger is furious. The man is threatening to sue but Riggs is just enjoying himself to much. When pushed too hard, Riggs proves that he is definitely not afraid of dying.
Riggs proving that he doesn't give a shit if he happened to die

Riggs proving that he doesn't give a shit if he happened to dieLethal Weapon 2 had the addition of Joe Pesci as the crook-turned-witness and the storyline became funnier. L. Weapon had Rene Russo- a pretty agent from FBI, who was as crazy and fun as Riggs.Riggs finally got to be romantically happy again.4 was funnier in a sense that now not only Roger looked old enough to retire but Riggs was well into his 40s and he no longer could afford to be that crazy without risking some pain afterwards...Lethal Weapon 2 poster

In between Lethal Weapon series, Mel had other great,if not better, roles:
Tequila Sunrise (1988)
Mel Gibson starred in Tequila Sunrise, along with Michelle Pfeiffer and Kurt Russell in 1988. In this movie he plays a drug dealer who decides to go legit. It is harder to get out of the business than he thought; since his ex-wife keeps pestering him for money, his cousin wants his help, cops are dying to catch his hands dirty…
Oh, complicated doesn’t even cover it. He is trying to be a normal and loving father to his young son, trying to get the attention of the girl he is in love with (Pfeiffer) and try not to get caught while trying to get out. His ex best friend, Nic(Kurt Russell) is supposed to be watching him and oh,he is also interested in the girl…It is a romantic 90’s thriller at its best. It has friendship, family, wrong choices,love and passion, cops and cops and drug dealers…And lots of grey areas. Not to mention a really hot scene with Mel and Michelle…
Bird on a Wire (1990)
Starring: Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn
I laughed so hard during this movie. I saw it at a time when you had to chase movies down at video stores. But I am glad I did. It is one of those action/comedy flicks where you get one as much as the other.
Mel plays Rick Jarmin-a guy who is on the FBI witness protection program so he has to keep changing identities and jobs whenever things are comprimised. But the men after Rick has acquired a corrupt agent so no longer having ass covered, Rick has to run as fast as he can.
He runs across his high school sweetheart whose still angry at him for having left her behind. Together they have to deal with heights, run away from cars and guns and deal with feelings they probably never could get over in the first place…
In Air America, he played a pilot, flying in Vietnam; and in Hamlet, he played the title role, opposite to Glenn Close’s Gertrude:
Forever Young (1992)
Mel Gibson, Elijah Wood, Jamie Lee Curtis
Then in 1992, we got Forever Young. It was a really romantic concept: Thinking that the love of his life/his childhood friend will die, Daniel asks his scientist friend to freeze him and wake him up when she is totally gone. It is 1939 and the experiment had only been successful on animals. But Daniel was going crazy with anticipation so he went with it. But then, when he was mistakenly woken up by two kids playing around, he realized that he was in 1992. Now he had to deal with the new lifestyle and technology, with the help of his new friend (Elijah Wood) and his mother. But another problem occurs. He starts to age.
And then there is the news that his girl friend might not have died as expected…
The man without a Face (1993)
Starring: Mel Gibson, Nick Stahl
Justin McLeod has been labeled as the town’s freak. It is after all a fav. among any town’s men to gossip,especially when the subject is living on a recluded area, by himself and has half his face horribly burned. Kids love making horror stories about him.
Chuck is no exception. He is stuck at home with his two half-sisters and a mother who keeps changing husbands. They think he is not smart enough to get into the school he wants. Even he has started to believe it.
One day, Chuck gets to meet Justin. Chuck finds out that Justin is a teacher (or at least used to be one) and asks for his help. Reluctant at first Justin puts the boy through some interesting tests. When they start meeting regularly, the two realize they have both been needing such company. As they become teacher and student, they also start to become father and son and two closer friends.
When the townsmen hear about their sessions, they resume their favorite activity: gossiping. Since it seems impossible for them to realize the bond these two have, they make up the perfect story behind Justin’s disfigured face. After all, wouldn’t it be worth talking about if Justin happened to be having an affair with a minor-a male student when they crashed?
The movie beautifully depicts the human prejudice, trust and true friendships that know no limits…
Maverick (1994)
Starring: Mel Gibson, James Garner, Jodie Foster
It is the big screen adaptation of the TV show Maverick in which James Garner played Maverick.
It is the MidWest…
Bret Maverick is a guy who your typical conmans and gamblers would hate. He gambles, he cheats and he tricks. He uses his wits to get out of trouble and most of the time, he succeeds.
He meets Anabelle (Foster) and she might be the one to outwit him (almost) . Both in a quest to get the money to get into a poker game ($25.000) . The journey becomes funnier when Marshal Zane (Garner) gets involved and seems to get along much better with the girl than Maverick.
It is a funny movie with lots of action,plot twists and lovely supporting actors like Alfred Molina and James Coburn. It is a must for any comedy lover.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack

"Every man dies, not every man really lives."

Based on historical hero William Wallace- the man who led Scotland to freedom in the 14 th century…

Mel Gibson plays William Wallace, as well as having directed and produced it. The movie has a total of 5 oscars, and 2 of them has gone to Gibson: Best Director and Best Film. How he did not get nominated for Best Actor is beyond me. It is a difficult role to play and not only do I think he should have gotten nominated but he should have received the award as well.

You see, this is a movie that cost $ 70 million to make and the studio only offered 10. Gibson put the 60 from his own pocket. It has tremendous war scenes, physically and psycologically challenging sequences. But would I rather he got the best actor, and not the director? No, definitely not.

If you haven’t seen Braveheart or it hasn’t touched you, it suggests how opposites movie tastess can be.

But how someone can not be moved by Braveheart is so beyond me.

The story: Wallace’s father and his fellow Scots are trying to live in peace with the English. However their efforts are axed when they are tricked and hanged. Wallace is only about 12 and his father was all he got. But then 2 marvelous things happen. His estranged uncle arrives to take care of him. And little Murron (McCormack) gives Wallace a flower at the funeral.

When Wallace comes back to his village as a grown man, he is very enlightened. His uncle has taught him to use his head before teaching him how to use a sword. So here we have a man capable of making strategies as well as fight. But he is not there to fight. He is in love with Murron. So he wants to start a family and have a simple, happy life. Murron is also very intrigued to a find a well-educated Wallace (he can speak French and Latin) but also a very fun and romantic guy. She is hooked when he gives her the same flower she gave him years ago.

However the English do not feel any inclination to let the Scots live in peace. The King is even happy with the “tradition” of the English noblemen to take away the Scottish bride during their wedding. Horrified at the thought, Wallace marries Murron in secret. But the nobles notice there is something going on between them-their happiness being obvious- and they attack and kill Murron. And out goes Wallace’s plan for a peaceful life in a pacifist attitude.

He thirtsfor English blood and total freedom. And this is where Wallace’s epic journey Scots. He gathers an army and makes progress, eventually scaring off the King enough to send a princess to fake a peace offer. For one thing, the princess doesn’t know the king is trying to king’s intentions. And she is already smitten with Wallace, through his reputation. Her infatuation grows when she meets a guy who exceeds her wildest expectations. So you have a man defying a king in the name of love and freedoand a princess in love with the hero and realizing the true nature of the family she has married into…

The movie has also received an Oscar for cinematography. It lasts for very exciting 3 hours and makes you watch it again and again…It just doesn’t get more beautiful and epic than this.

Ransom (1996)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Rene Russo,  Gary Sinise, Delroy Lindo, Liev Screiber


     Mel Gibson considers ransom to be a light(er) movie; compared to Braveheart. After all, he is not directing.  Moreover it is a less challenging role. Or is it? Ransom is a thriller that comes from a very basic idea. What would you do if your child was kidnapped? OK. So  far, it is easy. You would pay it to the last penny. But Mel’s character Tom Mullen does not. After the first attempt to pay fails and he is 2 millions short and yet with no son, he makes a radical decision and announcement. On TV. Without consulting his wife or the FBI. He declares that he will not pay the 4 mil. Requested. Well, at least not to the kidnappers. It’s the price he names for their heads. The person who can get to them will be paid this amount as a reward. This shakes thinga up at home. Tom is not sure about this decision; but he is sure as hell that if he does pay- his kid will be dead anyway. The balcony scene where Tom goes out and stares down-desperate-I can’t and won’t go into details- is the one that struck me most.

 I think the plot is powerful  and acting/directing make it stronger. Mel’s wife is played by Rene Russo- his on-screen partner from Lethal Weapon 3 and 4. Head of the FBI team is Delroy Linda. The bad guys are wonderfully cast: Gary Sinise, Lili Taylor and Live Schreiber.


You don’t need special effects to feel your blood run cold. Nothing is as scary as a fight with your own conscience and maybe your wife-telling you that it just might be your fault-you might cause your own son to die. Our protagonist might not be a hero-in fact he does have anti-hero elements.He is human. I believe it is shame Mel Gibson’s acting wasn’t nominated for Oscar. He was nominated for a golden globe though.


Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Partick Stewart


     Jerry Fletcher (Gibson) is easily labeled as a lunatic. He is a taxi driver who talks too much and too fast- and mostly about all sorts of government conspiracies. He is mad about Alice (Julia Roberts) who merely dismisses him as a charming and harmless stalker. He is obsessed and worried about safety- he even keeps his coffee locked. But one day events follow one another and it might just turn out Jerry does not act “crazy” for no reason.

It is a thriller with good twists, an original script, enough funny scenes. Mel’s Jerry is likeable and you feel for his character even when you do suspect he might be a little bonkers. And of course Patrick Stewart makes a great villain.

P.S: Richard Donner is the director- he directed all the Lethal Weapon movies.






The Patriot (2000)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs


  Mel is good at epic stuff. Really. He plays glorious characters withheart and soul. He becomes them. He makes you feel their pain, passion and dreams. He also has the ability to look so real while portraying agony. No, seriously. All actors have different methods. Some prefer to be food and/or sleep deprived to look rugged and uncomfortable. Some live isolated for a while. (HeathLedger has done this with his part as The Joker in The Dark Knight and man, he was good.) There’s also the help of the make-up artists. But I have never seen any actor portray pain as striking as Gibson does. In Braveheart, I had completely forgotten I was watching a movie. No, ,it felt like i was there. In Scotland. In the battlefields. Among the crowd watching Wallace’s fate…

I have also previously mentioned that he takes on many parts where his character has to deal with a loved one’s lost. In Mad Max, he loses his wife and kids. Before that he was your average loving young husband and father.

In Lethal Weapon, suffering from the loss of his wife’s loss, he has an amazing suicidal scene where he puts the gun in his mouth, crying, playing withthe trigger. You know he is not going to do it. Hell, it is an action movie, the scene is in the beginning and the movie has lighter elements. But still, it gets to you. It is powerful. In Lethal Weapon 2, he finally meets a girl he really likes. Only to lose her- the bad guys kill her and confess they were the ones who killed his wife too. Imagine the adrenaline. The fury. Forever Young, Hamlet and Ransom gave him more chances for him to let his skills shine. But along with Braveheart, Patriot is the movie where he most gets to the audience.  In this film about the American-British war, Bnejamin(Gibson) has fought in battles before and happy to be a simple man,taking care of his children. He is upset that his eldest son Gabriel ( Heath Ledger) wants to fight. But the British kill one of his children and there are no lengths  Benjamin Martin wouln’t go to avenge his family…

A good, fast-paced epic. Violent and humane.

What Women Want (2000)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Alan Alda, Marisa Tomei


 Advertising hotshot Nick Marshall is a woman’s man (he can get into their pants very well)and a man’s man (he is fun and cool to hang out with). But one day, through a bizarre accident, he possesses the power (not under his control) of hearing what women think and his world turns into hell and then pure heaven.

It is hilarious. It is a wonderful flick about a womanizer and a useless father/ex-husband forced to hear what people think about him, how he uses this power and  how it comes back to bite him in the ass.

It is as romantic as it is funny. And although I watch many romantic comedies, this just might be my all time fav. of the genre.










You know how some people feel about a good band. They make hits, they become the very gods of their musical genre and then whatever they do next is considered to be not good enough for their fans. They wish the band had quit “when they were ahead”. I sort of felt this way about Mel Gibson. I wish he had quit after What Women Want. He was a great movie maker and even though he had his idiosyncrasities (haven’t we all), he was remembered and talked about because of his movies.

I have no clue about what happened afterwards. I didn’t exactly like We Were Soldiers and I definitely wasn’t crazy about Signs. He also seemed to get behind the camera more and in front of it less and less. I miss his acting and the variety of movies he was in. He did romance,sci-fi,action,comedy, thriller,drama,epic and most of the time he played in brilliant combinations of these. He is a terrific actor. And frankly I wouldn’t give a shit about his private life if it didn’t seem to effect his work. Same on his looks. So he isn’t that pretty anymore? Who cares??? He needs to stop bullshitting about religion and/or showing his homophobia. He needs to move his ass and turn back into the actor he once was. I hear there some projects where he will be the leading man again.

Fingers crossed!



  1. Wow, It is sad to see such pictures of Mel Gibson. Even just gaze at the pictures is fun. He has the greatest smile. Also the way telling his filmography is quite amusing. Congrats

    • Mel Gibson is such a contrast to actors like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves. These guys grew up on movie screens as well but they never grew old. Depp still looks like he could be a college body of mine ( I wish!) and Brad Pitt only looks older if he puts on make up (Benjamin Button). Keanu Reeves looked like a kid in his 20s and I think he became sexy starting from the movie Speed. Mel Gibson,on the other hand, never looked a day younger than his actual age. Maybe it was his lifestyle and/or genes but he looked absolutely gorgeous and manly for 20 years.

  2. There is one thing i pretty sure about him. He still handsome for me :D

    Who knows , if we ask him , we’ll get all answers, maybe it was a mid-life crisis.But comon, we are talking about Mad-Max, Maverick, William Wallace…

    I am sitting and reaming those crazy-blue eyes with long hair.He was coming to take revenge about his wife.He wanted to make her soul R.I.P
    Yeah he was William Wallace’s son.

    How about the Leathel Weapon,
    Guys comon!! i can give everything to have a man like him.Someone like Martin Riggs.He gave a soul that charachter .He made it.

    He deserve forgivving right, we can ignore all this things, Because he made my childhood.I grown up actually we grown up with his movies and his crazy-blue eyes.

    Now i just want to forget and lay down on my bed.I am dreaming, he is laying on my couch and showing his scars to me one by one.Man , IT’S HOT ;)

    Thanks for the sharing…

    • I think Mel screw me over. Starting from my early teens. I have never seen a man sexier and more beautiful. I had gladly declared him the most handsome man alive. Hell, looking at his old pictures- I still stand by that decision. And that talent? I guess it is somewhat expected for a genius of a man to be a little crazy :D

  3. I don’t even want to see any more movies with him in it after what he did to his wife and kids. I used to love his movies, but I won’t even watch them anymore.

    • Well have you seen an actor who has not screwed up in his private life ? I mean I am sure there are some who are decent but hey, brad pitt cheated on anniston with jolie, gary oldman is an alcholic, christian slater is an addict, tom cruise loves scientology and divorced kidman for god’s sake!! While I do not agree with Mel on his personal views, I am more pissed at him for not playing in good movies anymore. But classics are classics…

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