The rise, fall, and burial of Mel Gibson’s career
There is nothing funny about threatening your estranged girlfriend and mother of your child with violence, okay? I just want to make that clear. Nor are drunken anti-Semitic rages, rampant, unapologetic homophobia, and serial racism usually worthy of any more than sneering disdain and public shunning – both of which Mel Gibson will have by now found are to be his lot for the foreseeable future (at least until he starts his jail-time, at any rate). But context is important, and if we cannot laugh at the utterly cataclysmic fall from grace of a tinseltown big shot with an actual, real-life, “cut me and I bleed wine (and about a fifth of vodka, plus some brewskies)” god complex, then I, for one, no longer wish to live in a world that cruel. And the fact that he was for so long seen as one of the ‘good’ guys makes it all the better. Because we get to go: “You idiots, this is what he was like all along.”
Mad Max: that’s how you start a film career, Mel. Dystopian, Australian Outback-set westerns have never, before or since, reached such dizzy heights. Great action film. Doesn’t seem at all prescient that his character is referred to as “mad”. The kid’s off to a flyer.
Charm… or just Offensive? Charm… despite the bit where Mel – as the disgruntled, newly-widowed Max Rockatansky – forces his wife’s murderer to hack his own arm off.
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? Zero. The boy’s gonna be huge, I tells ya!
A few years later and Mel and Hollywood have still yet to gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over a glass or two of chilled moonlight. What’s needed is some serious drama, based on a book maybe, with international actors and a director who’s going places and lines he can use to act audiences in the face with… what’s needed is the Peter Weir-directed one-two punch of Gallipoli and The Year of Living Dangerously.
Charm… or just Offensive? Hollywood has now officially got the horn.
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? You fool. Look at his face while he acts at you – is that the face of an acting bigot?
Booyah! Mel and Hollywood finally consummate their love as he hits the jackpot with Lethal Weapon, Richard Donner’s raucous assault on the senses (and LAPD procedure book). When this film came out it was in no way hilarious watching Mel as a police officer arresting people. Nor did it seem at all prescient that again his character is often referred to as “mad”.
Charm… or just Offensive? “The amount of money this picture made, he could be pulling limbs of newborn babies while vomiting up their mother’s nostrils and we’d still find him charming!” – Hollywood
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? Look at the picture above. Does that look like any kind of race-hate you ever saw? Well does it?
Mel plays Hamlet. Truly the role that all actors aspire to, but precious few inhabit. Again, doesn’t seem prescient the character’s insane etc. Surely it can’t get better than this?
Charm… or just Offensive? Helena Bonham-Carter found him “lavatorial and not very sophisticated”. Probably a rug-muncher, eh Mel?
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? Only towards the restless dead.
Okay, now. Woops. Mel gives an interview to Spanish newspaper El Pais in which he’s asked what he thinks about gay people. He responds thus: “They take it up the ass. [Points at ass] This is only for taking a shit.” This was not well reported as it took place before the internet invented the real world, but it didn’t really matter anyway because 1) he was “tickling a bit of vodka in that interview”, and 2) yeah he used his ass to shit, to SHIT MONEY MOTHERFUCKER.
Charm… or just Offensive? Neither. Clearly this was all his PR people’s fault.
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? Maybe a smidgen.
That sound you hear is the elevator hitting the top floor. Mel stars as William Wallace in Braveheart, which, like Mel’s ass, literally shat money. He also directed it, and when the Academy Awards rolled round he picked up the Best Film and Best Director gongs. Seriously, it can’t get better than this, right?
Charm… or just Offensive? Ask Oscar’s underpants.
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? Um… well, yeah – but only towards the English. And “facts”.
The Passion of the Christ hits cinemas, a remake of Life of Brian for the torture porn crowd. Mel grows a sinister beard that he insists on tugging at like he’s caressing a dying raccoon. In Hollywood restaurants, awkward lunch conversations begin starting with the words: “So, uh, this Mel Gibson situation…”
Charm… or just Offensive? Beginning to look a bit… off.
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? Only if you’re Jewish! But we’re sure he won’t do it again…
Does it again. Although this time it’s in the name of fun: gets arrested for drunk driving and, yeah, goes off on an anti-Semitic rant about how the jews started all the wars and now he can’t even get shitfaced and drive home. Also, calls a female officer “Sugar Tits”. Gets call from 50’s asking for vernacular back.
Charm… or just Offensive? Offensive, mainly to Jews (again) and fans of hard-boiled detective fiction.
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? Yeah, it’s… it’s pretty much just starting to seep out of him.
Okay, so. Yeah. He just kind of loses it here. Phones girlfriend [allegedly], threatens her [allegedly], mentions “niggers” and “wetbacks” [allegedly], gets caught on tape doing it [supposedly]. Gets dropped by William Morris agency next day [definitely]. Loses part in Hangover 2, may well go to jail. The end.
Charm… or just Offensive? Offensive. Yes.
Any sign of, y’know, race-hate and stuff? Like you wouldn’t believe.