Archive for the ‘Apocalypto’ Category

7 Reasons To LIKE Mel Gibson

January 27, 2010

Lately, as I’ve been reading other movie blogs and even the comments on my recent posts, one of the trends I’ve noticed is that people really love to hate Mel Gibson.  The cool thing to do right now is to feel disgusted by the accomplished actor/director, and if you write about movies on the web, it seems as if you are almost obligated to approach Mel Gibson and his new movie, Edge Of Darkness, with a sense of dread.  Indeed, people just can’t understand why anyone would like Mel Gibson.  Well, I have a confession: I do.  He’s not my favorite star in the world, but the man has taken a lot of grief for his unfortunate DUI incident in 2006, in which allegations of anti-semitism, sexism, and homophobia were made.  Instead of forgiving Gibson for his unfortunate drunk actions the way America loves to forgive other celebrities, people have instead decided to hold a grudge.  Still, I believe there are things about Mel Gibson that, believe it or not, aren’t totally bad.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, here are seven reasons to like Mel Gibson.

1. Because he’s actually a very good actor

Sure, he’s known for mainstream blockbusters like Lethal Weapon and Signs, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a talented actor! If being a serious actor means you have to be in serious movies, then take a look at films like We Were Soldiers, Galipoli, or Hamlet for proof that Gibson has got some serious chops.

2. The Passion Of The Christ

Say what you will about Gibson’s film: it’s anti-semitic, it’s too violent, it’s blah blah blah ad nauseum.  At the end of the day, The Passion was a compelling piece of work about Jesus Christ’s last hours.  It’s no surprise that critics didn’t like it!  Anything remotely conservative is considered pure evil in the eyes of Hollywood. Fortunately for Gibson, who invested $25 million of his own money into this movie, the rest of America is much more moderate, and for $370 million worth of ticket buyers, this was a very moving film.

3. Because he’s funny!

Mel has that old-school Hollywood charisma that so many movie stars lack these days.  Not only is he an effective dramatic actor, but in movies like Lethal Weapon and What Women Want, interviews, and acceptance speeches, Gibson proves he’s got a great sense of humor comic timing.

4. Braveheart

This movie is awesome.  If you’re a girl, and you just don’t get it- don’t worry about it.

5. Because he’s bold!

I think it’s admirable that Gibson takes chances.  He directed a movie about Jesus and funded it himself.  He shot a Mayan adventure entirely in another language.  He frequently commits to producing television episodes and films, despite the fact that TV is a highly hit-or-miss format.  Now, though conventional wisdom would tell Gibson to star in a friendly comedy to rebuild him image, he’s decided to make his comeback performance in a dark revenge thriller called Edge Of Darkness.  He’s not entirely predictable, and he knows his super-violent movies will ruffle some feathers, but he just keeps blazing his own career trek.  I think that’s pretty cool.

6. Apocalypto

This is one of my very favorite movies.  A non-stop thrill ride from start to finish, Apocalypto, which is really just an extended chase scene, benefited tremendously from Gibson’s vision.  The Mayan adventure features gorgeous sets, incredible stunts, a heckuva lot of violence, and a cast of very good unknown actors.  Gibson set out to make an exciting film that didn’t rely on CGI, and he succeeded on every level.  It’s a shame that Gibson’s infamous DUI took place just before Apocalypto‘s debut, because it deserved a much bigger audience.

7. Because everyone has overreacted!
Look, I don’t stand by the words that Mel Gibson said, and I certainly don’t condone drinking and driving, but come on, people, Mel Gibson is not an evil man.  You can’t work in Hollywood for as long as Gibson has and hate gay people and Jewish people- they run that town!  Ever since Gibson aligned himself with conservatives (and don’t misunderstand: Gibson is neither a model conservative or Christian) with The Passion Of The Christ, the liberal media has wanted to dislike him so badly.  Unfavorable reviews of Apocalypto had very little to do with the movie itself, and much more to do with the critic’s pre-conceived notion that he disliked the director.  Any slight incorrect speech Gibson makes or potentially rude action he takes is scrutinized to no end!  To the media, there’s nothing Mel Gibson can do right.  Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen tries to stab his wife, and he gets off with nothing more than a few tabloid articles.  A little consistency please?

All right, I’ll get down off my soap box now and turn things over to you.  What do you think of Mel Gibson?  Am I crazy for writing this post?  Are you a fan?  A hater?  An indifferent party?  Are you excited for Edge Of Darkness?  Let me know in the comments.


3 Movies Where The Main Character Is Broken Down And Built Back Up

December 2, 2009

Last night, as I was watching a television show about a struggling teenage mother doing her best to raise her child, I realized something about my taste in entertainment.  I am a complete sucker for characters that endure through extremely harsh circumstances.  When a character is knocked down over and over again, and his situation seems ever more hopeless, I can’t help but sympathize and root for him!  Oftentimes, I believe, a movie will spend the whole first section dragging down its main character, thereby persuading the audience to care deeply for the battered individual.  That way, when the main character succeeds/survives/saves the day, the accomplishment is that much more meaningful.  After thinking about this for a while, I quickly realized that three of my very favorite movies use this exact formula.  Therefore, since it’s List Wednesday, let’s look at 3 movies that break down their main characters first, just so they can build them back up later…


Perhaps one day I will make a list that doesn’t include Wall-E, but I wouldn’t count on it happening any time soon. I just love it too much!  Pixar almost most always follows this post’s stated strategy.  Their films spend a while building up their charms, but the emotional payoff is always much greater for it.  In Wall-E, before he can get the girl and save all of humanity, we first see that our beloved little robot must live a humble, lonely life for 700 years!  Indeed, Wall-E has no companions (aside from his cockroach), no real purpose, and an unfulfilled need to love and be loved.  By the time EVE’s spaceship landed, I felt so bad for the little guy that I was deeply effected by the rest of the film.

Spider-Man 2

First, Peter Parker loses Mary Jane.  Then, he gets fired from his pizza delivery job.  After that, he runs out of rent money.  To make matters worse, Mary Jane gets engaged to some other guy. Next, the Daily Bugle starts running a hateful campaign against Spider-Man.  Following this, he misses MJ’s show and ruins his final suit.  All the while, he’s consumed with immense guilt about his uncle’s death.  And on top of all of that stuff, he has to fight crime every day in New York City.  Let me tell you, having never seen the original film, I felt so sincerely bad for Peter Parker when I first saw Spider-Man 2, that I was immediately absorbed within the picture.  I couldn’t tell you one other thing that happened in the theater that August night.  I was connected to that character, and when he defeated Doc-Ock and finally revealed himself to Mary Jane, I was literally joyful.  I smiled for about two days after seeing Spider-Man 2, and that may be the highest compliment I can offer any movie.


The “breaking down” of the main character in this underrated Mel Gibson epic is not simply emotional, but brutally physical as well.  In the first half of the films, Jaguar Paw is kidnapped from his village, separated from his pregnant wife and child, forced to watch many of his fellow villagers die,  painfully made to walk through the jungle, nearly sacrificed by heartless Mayans, shot in the side with an arrow, and chased through a pit of dead bodies.  His circumstances are so dire, that Jaguar Paw’s exhilarating sprint away from the enemy and inevitable success over them are so much more valuable.  Apocalypto is so incredible, and considering all the dialogue is in the traditional dialect, it says a lot about Gibson’s direction that he effectively makes you feel for his characters.