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Hollywood Icon? Or Anti-Semitic, Misogynist Jerk?
Actor/Director Mel Gibson's life path can be described as a roller-coaster ride on steroids. Beginning with his first Mad Max movie in 1979, where he played a loner surviving in a post-nuclear world, to his controversial 2004 blockbuster, "The Passion of the Christ," Gibson's talents remained unparalleled.
He won multiple Academy Awards for Braveheart, the 1995 film in which he played William Wallace, a thirteenth-century Scot who fought to overthrow British rule. He was named best director by the Academy, and his portrayal of Wallace garnered him the Oscar for best performance by an actor in a leading role.
He starred in the successful Lethal Weapon franchise opposite Danny Glover. He even played Shakespeare's Hamlet to perfection. Fans flocked to his movies -- Gallipoli, What Women Want and Mutiny on the Bounty, to name a few.
In addition to his obvious talents as actor and director, in 1985 he was named People Magazine's first ever Sexiest Man Alive. Female fans were taken with the actor's raven hair, piercing blue eyes and rugged good looks.
So what happened?
(photo courtesy of Alan Light, wikimedia commons)
From Mad Max to Mad Mel
Gibson's Downward Spiral
Mel Gibson never denied he had a life-long problem with alcoholism. But his personal demons turned public when, in July 2006, he was arrested for drunk driving. Once word leaked out that he had hurled anti-semitic barbs at one of the arresting officers, all Mel broke loose.
The incident strained his decades-long marriage to wife Robyn, mother of his seven children. (Mel professed to being a strictly conservative Catholic, thus shunning artificial birth control.) The fact that he had been "socializing" in a bar with women prior to the drunk-driving arrest probably did not sit well with the long-suffering Robyn.
The 2006 incident was mild when compared to what was to occur a few years down the road. Following the 2006 incident, Mel and Robyn separated and eventually divorced. Mel now had a new girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, and the two had a daughter together.
In July 2010, Mel lost it again. In a telephone call to Oksana -- with whom he was estranged -- Mel launched a verbal tirade against the mother of his daughter. Violent and misogynistic were two words the press used to describe this latest Mel(t)-down. Oksana recorded Mel's ferocious outbursts and the video went viral. Mel was dropped by his long-time agents. The actor was now seen as a liability.
The Mel Gibson Controversy
Should Mel get a second chance in Hollywood?
Yes. Mel is an amazing talent. Who doesn't have issues?
Mel Gibson Movies
When an advertising exec, Mel Gibson, magically starts to hear the thoughts insides the minds of women, a delightful tale begins to unfold. Co-starring Helen Hunt.
Shakespeare's classic tale of a son's revenge starring Mel Gibson.
Filmed on location in Mexico, this roller-coaster action flick captures the conflict between warring native tribes prior to the arrival of the first Spanish Conquistadores.
The late Heath Ledger co-stars as Mel Gibson's son in this Revolutionary War epic.
The true-life story of sailor Christian Fletcher and the famous mutiny against the captain of the British ship, The Bounty.
A future for Mel?
Jodie Foster to the Rescue
Actor/Director Jodie Foster co-starred with Gibson in the movie Maverick. She believes in Mel and chose him to star in the 2011 movie the Beaver." Mel plays a man who can only communicate with his family with the help of a hand-puppet, a beaver.
His performance has Oscar written all over it; however, Mel's performance was long forgotten by Hollywood insiders at the February 2012 announcements of the upcoming 2012 Academy Awards.
Only time -- and Mel's future behavior -- will tell if Mel Gibson has a future as Hollywood actor and reasonable human being.
The Passion of the Christ - Mel's controversial masterpiece
As an actor and director both, Mel Gibson is a risk taker. His 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ, is a premiere example of how far Mel is willing to go to produce a movie that is close to his heart. Mel financed the movie with his own money. He chose to have his actors speak in Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ and his followers 2,100 years ago, and Latin, the language of the Romans. Movie-goers would have to be content with reading subtitles.
When released, some within the Jewish community felt the movie was anti-semitic in nature. Mel downplayed the controversy at the time, but his later anti-semitic rantings with law enforcement made people think twice about where Mel's true feelings lay. Regardless of the controversy, The Passion of the Christ is, in my opinion, a stunning masterpiece. Be forewarned, the movie is extremely violent in its portrayal of Christ (stunningly played by actor Jim Caviezel) as he carries his cross to Calvary.
Braveheart - Mel as Leading Man and Director
The true story of William Wallace, the 13th century Scot who fought to the death to save his people from British rule. A multi-Oscar winning picture. Mel won Oscars for both his directing and his acting. A classic movie.