Poll: Would You Watch a New Mel Gibson Movie?

By now, I’m sure that absolutely everyone has listened to those infamous recordings of Mel Gibson’s hate-filled, racist tirades against ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. You’d have to be in a coma to miss them. Gibson’s agency has dropped him as a client, and speculation has it that his career as an actor may be over forever. That’s certainly bad news for the producers of his two upcoming movies, ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’ and ‘The Beaver’. Jodie Foster directed him in the latter, which may not even get released now. So, what say you? Would you watch a new Mel Gibson movie after this incident?

When Christian Bale blew up at his cinematographer on the set of ‘Terminator Salvation‘, he directed his rage at the man and his (alleged) incompetence. He was pissed. It’s unprofessional, but understandable. Likewise, when Alec Baldwin left those nasty voicemails for his daughter, he said some awful things that a parent should never say to a child. He definitely lost his cool there, and shouldn’t have. In both cases, these were PR disasters, but not insurmountable career obstacles. Audiences have (largely) already forgiven both.

Even at their worst, neither Bale nor Baldwin ever went off on a vile, racist screed. Some of the things that Gibson said are simply unforgivable, no matter the context – whether Gibson knew he was being recorded or not, and no matter what Grigorieva may have said to push his buttons. If you need a reminder of just what Gibson said, take a look at this Buzzfeed page where someone has had the genius idea of combining Gibson’s words with the cutest kitten photos you will ever see. It’s hilarious.

Personally, I find the entire situation tragic. I look back at movies like ‘The Road Warrior‘, ‘Lethal Weapon‘, or even ‘Payback‘, and am reminded what a genuinely great leading man he was. When he wanted to, he was even capable of setting his ego aside to deliver a really creative, eccentric supporting performance in a quirky independent production like ‘The Singing Detective’. (The movie itself is kind of awful, but Gibson’s a lot of fun in it.) Regardless of what you may think of the content of the movies he’s made as a director, there’s little denying that he has real talent in that field as well.

I would just hate to let my enjoyment of those older films be sullied by the actor’s personal troubles. On the other hand, I really can’t imagine ever going to see a new movie he acts in. That would seem to apply to others as well. Even before this latest meltdown, the box office take for his last comeback attempt, ‘Edge of Darkness‘, fell far short of expectations. If audiences had trouble forgiving him for his last drunken escapade, will they ever forgive him for this?

I believe that Mel Gibson is mentally ill. People who knew him in the past (like Whoopi Golberg) have said that they never considered him a racist. I don’t know whether he has any control over his behavior anymore. Does that excuse him? Probably not. It just makes me sad.

I have a feeling that, in a few years, after sufficient therapy and medication, Gibson may be able to return to filmmaking as a director. But I’m pretty sure that his career as an actor is dead forever. Do you agree or disagree? Vote in our poll below.

[Buzzfeed link via A.V. Club.]

Would You Watch a New Mel Gibson Movie?

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  1. Truthfully, I try to ignore the tabloids. I like my movies, I love Mel as both an actor and a director. I try to ignore bad press, actor’s political views and charity works, I just don’t care. The purpose of movies is to give us a break from the real world for a couple of hours, and if an actor, such as Mel, is good, I can forget about their personal tirads as well. If I did not go see a movie every time an actor did something stupid or wrong, I would never see a single movie. I doubt even all the actors in Left Behind or Fireproof are squeeky clean. So unless Mel pulls an OJ Simpson and actually kills someone, I don’t think there is anything that is totally unforgivable that would make me not want to watch him, unless he took that into the movie with him.

  2. Gotta separate the art and the artist. I’ll continue to read Orson Scott Card and see flicks with Tom Cruise. Do I disagree with their personal beliefs and actions? Of course. But I’m not paying them for that. I’m paying them for their art, which is great.

    On another note, I don’t actually know Mel Gibson. Obviously this outburst was bad, but I’ve said some crazy things while pissed off too. It’s a small slice of his life and I don’t see why it’s supposed to be representative of the whole man.

    It’s probably Mel Gibson at his worst. Mel Gibson at his best probably makes French toast in the morning with powdered sugar. But that’s not as fun to talk about.

    • I’ve always been in the camp of separating the art and the artist. However, I hate to say that it is a little easier to separate Tom Cruise from his personal beliefs than Mel Gibson from his. There is a big difference between being a Scientologist that is crazily in love with Katie Holmes, and an anti-Semite that screams at women. In this latest tirade Mel said some seriously disturbing stuff. Tom Cruise is allowed to believe in whatever form of religion he pleases. Especially when he doesn’t go around bashing other religious parties. Mel Gibson on the other hand is apparently an inherently angry man that has some serious hatred for other human beings. Also, while these rants may show Mel at his worst he obviously carries these beliefs around with him. He didn’t suddenly become Anti-Semitic just because he had a few too many drinks. I have to draw the line somewhere. When it goes from personal beliefs to verbal persecution I won’t tolerate it.

      • For me the Scientology is worse. Gibson is a racist, but it’s not like he’s promoting racism. Not as far as I can tell anyway.

        Cruise is promoting a cult, not a religion. It’s a cult that promotes an anti-scientific agenda that’s just downright dangerous. Scientologists die because they don’t seek out proper treatment for themselves and, worse yet, their kids. No one dies because Mel Gibson hates black people.

        • Hmmm. Gibson certainly seems to be promoting antisemitism at the very least.

          As far as I’m concerned this whole situation just makes ‘The Beaver’ even more fascinating. Foster and Gibson were an odd pairing to begin with, even more so now.

          That said, I would celebrate the permanent death of his career. He’s a great movie star, not a great actor. In my opinion a great actor can earn the “separate the art and the artist” clause. A mere movie star is expendable.

  3. lordbowler

    Actors are all crazy wackos who have split personalities. Which is why they are so good at inhabiting other characters…

    Its sad when an actor lets his addictions control them, be it alcohol or drugs or something else. If their friends and family don’t step in, they’ll end up dead before their time like so many of their peers.

    I still think Mel is a good actor, Edge of Darkness was a decent movie. As is usually the case, they lose a step as they age. Some are able to handle the wealth and fame and some are not.

  4. hyperlogia

    I do think that verisimilitude is important in enjoying movies. Part of that is forgetting what you know about the people who made a movie. On the flipside, filtering what you’re watching through what you do know can give a movie a fascinating new context (this is why I’m desperate to see the unreleased Jerry Lewis film, “The Day the Clown Cried”). I think both approaches are valid.

  5. Jane Morgan

    The core audience for Mel Gibson movies are men. I don’t think most men found his drunken sex rage offensive. Most likely they found him hilarious.

    No reason he can’t keep working. I mean, it’s not like he raped a teenager and moved to France…

    • I don’t think that’s fair. I think most men are just as disgusted by Gibson’s behavior as women are. It’s not just that he got drunk and yelled at his girlfriend. Lots of regular people do that all the time. But his racist comments and his threats to beat or kill her cross a line.

      Most of us can identify with a guy who gets too drunk and starts a stupid argument. But we can’t identify with a violent racist, whether he was drunk or not. Being drunk doesn’t excuse that.

      • Jane Morgan

        All men are different, I didn’t mean to lump.

        My husband found the “tapes” hilarious. I read the audio was edited, patched together to go with the photoshoped pictures, so I’m not convinced about any violence. Or the seriousness of the threats of. This “story” might prove as accuate as the Warren Commission.

        As for the racist bits, Mel was less offensive than my grandpa is daily. Mel was less racist than my father-in-law, who’s the same age. The speaker of the house has said worse about the president in private.

        Are you sincerely disgusted, Josh? How did you vote in the poll? I voted Yes.

        • Josh Zyber

          As I said in the post, I will still watch his older movies, but I’ll have a hard time watching anything new that he makes. I think he’s mentally ill, and I think there’s been a progression to this point over the years. I don’t think that the Mel Gibson of the ’80s and ’90s is the same person that we see today. I won’t rule it out, but I’d certainly have a hard time sympathizing with any character he plays now.

          The fact that there are worse racists out there doesn’t excuse his behavior.

          As for the tapes, they definitely sound like they’ve been altered as far as the girl’s side of the conversation goes. Her voice sounds like it was recorded and dubbed in later. So I have no doubt that the context of that argument has been falsified. However, that’s clearly his voice yelling his side of the argument, and the things he says are inexcusable regardless of context.

          • I completely understand, and that’s your paragative. As I stated earlier, I don’t really follow it. I don’t agree with Tom Cruise’s way of life, or Ellen DeGeneris, but, at least with Ellen, she is one of my favorite personalities. Why should Mel be any different? And, as someone else said, we have seen him twice at his worst, over several years. I am sure I have been my worst a lot more than twice in the same amount of time. Thank God my friend’s don’t film me and put me on YouTube. I am pretty sure Mel, 99% of the time, is a great guy. He might need some anger management therapy or something, I don’t know, I don’t follow it, but it doesn’t make me like him any less.

            I think that, as long as he admits he may have said a few things racist (whether he believes it or not), keeps his nose clean (he seems to do a FAIRLY good job at that, although he is not perfect), keeps his outbursts to one every few years, and continues to be an outstanding actor and director, people will forgive him. I am sure, in a year, the majority of people will forget it. In fact, I had forgotten about his Anti-Sementic stuff until someone brought it up a few days ago.

          • Josh Zyber

            I don’t think the general public will forgive him that easily. Edge of Darkness tanked, despite several years of silence from Gibson since his previous drunken escapade.

            Tom Cruise still can’t open a movie anywhere near the degree that he used to be able to. And he didn’t do anything nearly as bad as Gibson. Nonetheless, people decided that they just plain don’t like him anymore and don’t want to see him in movies. Fox totally freaked out when they saw the results of audience awareness polls prior to the release of Knight and Day. Those polls came back showing that a majority of people had very little interest in seeing the movie, and cited Cruise as the reason why.

            Incidents like these do have a very real, quantifiable impact on many people’s enjoyment of the movies that these actors star in.

  6. halfdogjury

    If a movie where this guy does all his talking through a beaver puppet never gets released BECAUSE he told his girlfriend he’d punch her in the crotch, that will be a tragedy. If I were Jodi Foster, and I am so regrettably not, I would hit the editing room, WITH the audio clips of him on the phone, and make a tremendously unforgettable new work of art with that footage, BECAUSE he told his girlfriend he’d punch her in the crotch. In fact, if I ever get my hands on The Beaver, I’m going to do just that, illegally. That’s how strongly I feel about it. Did he say anything racist to his girl this time, or is that just from before? I’m too busy living my own life to drop everything and dig into those tapes (yet). For the record; I’m someone who has a tattoo of Stanley Spadowski from UHF on my arm, and the actor who played him, has also become a “N***** Guy”. (I just love UHF, and the tattoo has no racial significance whatsoever, although tattoo’s do show up better… oh never mind).If every word you said while you were pissed, were recorded and posted to youtube, you would be one embarrassed sot. Most of you would have some serious backpedaling to do, and you all know it. Politically Correct = two-faced retarded asshole. That said, you should never threaten your girlfriend with violence; even if she just kicked a hole in my wall, and cursed about my mother worse than Mel would have, threw my Playstation out of the second story window, broke the bed by jumping on it, and tore up a ticket to Primus. (I have no idea where that woman is now, but I’d like to think she listened to Mel’s rant, and thought about “the times we had”, even if I haven’t yet).

    • “If every word you said while you were pissed, were recorded and posted to youtube, you would be one embarrassed sot.”

      Ain’t it the truth!

      • Josh Zyber

        I’m sure I’ve said embarrassing things while drunk, but I can guarantee you that I’ve never said anything like what Gibson said. Getting drunk doesn’t make you racist if you don’t already have those thoughts. It just loosens the tongue to say things you’d normally be smart enough to keep to yourself.

        Besides which, we all know that Mel was drunk when the “Sugar Tits” incident happened. But he doesn’t sound drunk in these recent recordings. He just sounds crazy.

        • Drunk, high, crazy, whatever. I’ve never been one for following the lives of celebrities. They’re just folks after all.

          A good chunk of the population of the United States is racist, another chunk is homophobic, another chunk is into violence, another chunk commits crimes on a regular basis. These are all parts of the makeup of our country, even if I’d prefer that everyone was peaceful and smart. Why should we be surprised that a movie star could be one or more of these things?

          I wouldn’t elect a racist politician, because their opinions could affect their policy. A racist movie star? I’m a little less concerned.

      • EShy

        No it’s not. It doesn’t matter how drunk he was, it doesn’t justify the comments he made.
        I haven’t seen anything he was involved with since that incident, this new recordings now won’t change that.

  7. BDE

    I really wasn’t that big a fan of his to begin with and the movies he’s directed have been self indulgent garbage, especially POTC.

  8. Mike Christy

    Honestly I think it’s a little naive to think that this would be the end of Mel’s acting career. The movie going public is notoriously fickle and short of memory. Just the fact that only one commenter even referenced Roman Polanski’s situation is telling I think. Although Polanski is behind the camera almost entirely, and I wouldn’t belittle the ugliness of what Mel Gibson did, I think most people can agree that what Polanski pleaded guilty to was much worse. Yet somehow time and admiration for his artistry has kept him free and even seen him feted, awarded, and honored by his peers. For now I think things will be dark for Mel, but for better or worse if he can keep his nose clean, a comeback wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  9. J.J.

    It’s bull that he was “fired” for something outside of work. I think what he did is awful and he’s in need of some help, but that’s his personal life.

    Apparently getting sexually involved with little kids will not affect your success in film, but going on a crazy rant on the phone will. I’m not saying either is okay, but come on, Polanski has actors standing behind him!

    It’s kind of ridiculous to sit on a moral high horse yet go to the films of other celebrities whose personal life you just don’t know about. It just happens that this celebrity’s craziness made it into the public eye. So yes, Mel Gibson is an idiot, but that doesn’t make his movies or his acting any less great.

    As for most men finding the tapes hilarious, that bothers me. That’s as ignorant a statement as Mel Gibson saying anything racist.

    • Josh Zyber

      The thing is that the actor’s “job” is to get people to see the movies he stars in. If people don’t go to see those movies because they don’t like him as a person, he is no longer effective at that job, no matter how good his acting may be. Studios simply aren’t going to hire someone who’s box office poison to headline their multi-million dollar investments.

      The Polanski thing, yeah I happen to agree with you that what he did is much worse than what Gibson did. However, whether fair or not, there’s a double-standard at play there. Audiences generally don’t pay any attention to anyone behind-the-scenes. They’re at a remove from that. But for the movie to work, the audience has to identify with and sympathize with the actor on screen. If their personal feelings for that actor interfere with that, they won’t go to see the movie.

      • Jane Morgan

        I was looking at Mel Gibson’s box office, the entire history of his career, and the numbers are surprising.


        Personally, I don’t want any more ‘Lethal Weapon’s or ‘What Women Want’s or ‘Signs’s.

        But more movies in the ‘Braveheart’ or ‘Apocalypto’ genre, he could make for a medium budget, produce/direct only, I would love to see.

        If I wanted to see him “act” again, I almost think Jodie Foster’s ‘Beaver’ might be the perfect film to release at exactly this time.

  10. yosra

    i’m happy that most Voters are mature ones having sense…
    i mean how you can judge Mel by those tapes…the man was hurt,,angry and realized he was used by this bitch oskana..
    Mel is a wonderful person,,but he is human ,,not perfect like any human,,he is not a saint..
    Wake up people and think fairly …i Love,,Support Mel gibson till the end..and wish him all the best..

  11. SamBeckett

    I have not heard all the rants or tapes, but no matter, what I did hear was disturbing, he obviously has a problem and if were to own up to it and take responsibility for his actions, would I see a mel gibson film again. Yes. I have heard things about everyone from Jack nicholson, to roman polanski, to mel gibson, to harrison ford, some of it true – some of it as far as I know not true. The some have said, I do try and separate the actor from his behavior. Of them all the roman polanski situation is for me the worst and and most disgusting. I haven’t seem a polanski film for years and never will.
    As for Mel – he does need help and if he gets it, but for now I can almost guarantee that he doesn’t realize he has a problem – If he does realize it and get help, yes I’ll see one of his films again.