“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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
Let’s move back to USA first.
Back in the home country:
Mrs. Soffel (1984) :
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…
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.
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.