March 19, 2006

"Attention! We are all dying here! We are all dying!"

Mel Gibson shouts through a bullhorn. He's directing "Apocalypto":
Hundreds of local extras—many of whom have never seen a movie, let alone acted in one—are pounding fake limestone to build a temple used for human sacrifices....

[I]f there are complaints about Apocalypto's portrayal of human sacrifice by the Maya, whose mostly impoverished descendants today are a cause célèbre for liberals, Gibson says he won't care. "After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying f___ about much of what those critics think."...

"The parallels between the environmental imbalance and corruption of values that doomed the Maya and what's happening to our own civilization are eerie," says Safinia. Gibson, who insists ideology matters less to him than stories of "penitential hardship" like his Oscar-winning Braveheart, puts it more bluntly: "The fearmongering we depict in this film reminds me a little of President Bush and his guys."
He's a man with his own vision, and he doesn't give a flying f___ what you think. And the vision, apparently, isn't right-wing politics, it's penitential hardship. Always a great subject for art.

22 comments:

Robert said...

One wishes for more artists like him. Not his politics or religious values; the genuine iconoclasm. In theory, most of Hollywood should be acting like that - Matt Damon should be saying "I have my millions, and now I'm going to make art, and if you don't like it I could give two s***s."

But instead they grub for more popularity and cash.

Chris O'Brien said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris O'Brien said...

Whatever.

I still want a Lethal Weapon 5.

Ricardo said...

I've seen some previews of Apocalypto, and the scenery is artistically breathtaking. Regardless of what message you want to take away, the packaging is very attractive.

tiggeril said...

Could we please have some movie that aren't reminiscent of President Bush and his guys?

tiggeril said...

Some movies, that is.

J said...

"We are all dying here!"

That's what they get for being left alone with Alton Benes.

"The fearmongering we depict in this film reminds me a little of President Bush and his guys."

I'd love to see the context of this remark.

""The parallels between ..."

Amen to tiggeril's remark - we all thought that Santayana/Marx nonsense was profound in high school, but it's time to retire this tiresome device. I did some work on the house this weekend, and when finished I threw the clothes I wore in the wash. First the soap came for the dirt, then it came for the sweat, then it came for the sheetrock dust. The parallels between the last load of laundry I did and the rise of the Nazis are eerie...if I stretch my analogies far enough.

knoxgirl said...

J said: "The parallels between the last load of laundry I did and the rise of the Nazis are eerie...if I stretch my analogies far enough."

LOL. I love it.

I suspect that word is out in Hollywood that if you suggest there are anti-Bush undercurrents in your film, you're a shoo-in for an oscar nod...

e-closure.com said...

Sure he's a little crazy. But at least he's still got his sense of humour as we saw during the Oscar clip. And apparently he doesn't give a flying f.

s1c said...

The flying f*** comment is worth watching the movie. Knowing Gibson it will be another blockbuster film and Hollywood will ignore it again because he doesn't bend to the prevailing wind of the movie jet set.

Dave said...

Here's what I don't understand.

Gibson has proven that there is a market for religious movies that attract conservatives. And of course Hollywood doesn't seem interested in these types of movies. So why don't the conservatives who are interested in these movies put their money where their mouths are and finance more of these movies?

Clearly, there are a number of very wealthy people sympathetic to conservative views (Philip Anschutz comes to mind, but I know there are others).

Seems it's time for the conservatives to quit complaining about Hollywood, step up to the plate, and lay their own money on the line. Or is risking one's own money too conservative a notion?

dick said...

I think part of the reason there is a market for religious themed movies is that there is not a glut of them on the market. I am just glad that people are willing to make movies that are not cookie cutter copies of the other ones. All too often I could go to a movie, tune out the words and supply the dialogue and action with my eyes closed.

Let the visionary directors and actors do what they want and f*ck the rest of them. I think that is partly why Braveheart and The Passion were such blockbusters and the inane movies up for the Oscars this year were not.

David Blue said...

Robert said... "One wishes for more artists like him. Not his politics or religious values; the genuine iconoclasm. In theory, most of Hollywood should be acting like that..."

George Clooney. Seriously. I know he's supposed to be a right-wing hate figure but I disagree. He's making movies that reflect what he really thinks, because he's got the money to do so, and he wants to do good work. That's the perfect attitude, and he's right to be proud of himself.

It happened after that atrocity Batman & Robin (1997). George realised that:
1. The movie sucked.
2. He was bad in it.
3. He was rich, and didn't need to do garbage or be garbage to pay the rent. He could be good, if he was willing to go for it.

Next stop, Three Kings (1999), and it's all been good from there. George was brilliant as handsome, irredeemably stupid Ulysses Everett McGill, in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), and he's kept going.

Most people who don't like his movies also don't like his politics, which means for the people he means to be judged by, he's getting it right. There's no failure of competence.

And if what George believes is the same as what other people around him believe, so what? You shouldn't change what you really believe just for the sake of being eccentric. If it's right, it's still right even if millions of people agree.

People slam George Clooney for being proud to be "out of touch" - but that's just a polite rephrasing of Mel Gibson, who I also admire. I prefer the no-profanity version.

I think Mel is the greater talent, with much more interesting and appealing things to say, but that doesn't bear on who's showing integrity and determination.

Both these handsome, talented, rich, famous Hollywood actors have notice that they have all the basis anyone could ask for to do what they really believe in, and they are going for it. Hurrah for them!

Dave said...

"People slam George Clooney for being proud to be "out of touch" - but that's just a polite rephrasing of Mel Gibson, who I also admire. I prefer the no-profanity version."

Anyone who earns $10 million for every movie he makes is out of touch by definition. It matters little what his politics are.

Expecting movie stars to be "in touch" is like expecting Bill Gates to understand the concerns of the common man. Nice thought but rather naive.

Al Maviva said...

You fools all make merry, but you don't realize what will happen when this movie comes out. It will spur *those* Christians on to go out and Maya bash. Soon we'll have Maya pogroms, Maya lynchings, and Maya Angelou. The horror... the horror.

I'm calling on the religious and secular humanist community to engage in an ecumenical outreach effort to comfort our Mayan brothers in sisters in this time of need, when they may feel under assault by the reactionary elements in our society. Besides, it's the American way. I may not agree with your sacrificing of tens of thousands of virgins on blood-soaked altars by ripping their hearts out with dull stone knives, but I'll defend to the death your right to do it...

Now if I could just find some sympathetic Mayans to provide me with a good pull quote about how scared they are with this conservative ultraconservative Mel Gibson's conservative film...

Freeman Hunt said...

So why don't the conservatives who are interested in these movies put their money where their mouths are and finance more of these movies?

They are. That's how Narnia was made.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Robert: Iconoclasm from Gibson?

His production company is called "Icon."

James d. said...

I'm also a Clooney fan, even if I think he was too eager to self-congratulate himself and the other directors this year. Part of that, I think, is that he personally likes the other directors, not just their films.
The other thing is that Clooney, for what it's worth, seems to enjoy talking about stuff, whether's it's politics or anything else -- a guy who enjoys hashing things out. I'm OK with that. Gibson seems somewhat the same way in that general view.

Going back to the first comment, I want Matt Damon to make a couple more "Bourne" movies before he decides to make art. Especially if his art is going to resemble "Bagger Vance."

Jeremy said...

So why don't the conservatives who are interested in these movies put their money where their mouths are and finance more of these movies?

End of the Spear.

Conservative religous types have been churning out movies for themselves for years. They just typically end up of the "crappy" variety, see "The ButterCream Gang", The Left Behind series, etc. But either the money hasn't been enough or the machine has rejected their cash. I suspect that you'll see more and better films from these folks in the future.

PatCA said...

Guess my comment didn't make it before...
but I look forward to his films, like I look forward to Malick's films. They take chances. They are interesting, which is the threshold issue of the What-is-Art question for me. Both of them deal with the spiritual realm by actually attempting to portray the world within rather than by talking about it (the Imaginary rather than the Symbolic to theory mavens). Both seek the Garden and lament its loss.

Craig Ranapia said...

"Penitential hardship"? Is that code for 'the same sadistic crap I've been making my whole career, just way more pretentious'? Seriously, The Passion was the first (and last) film that literally had me puking in a trash can in the theatre lobby. At least the medieval hobgoblins who make dreck like Saw and Hostel (which I sat through because I was being paid for my humiliation) treat their audiences with naked - and unapologetic - contempt.

PatCA said...

It takes an old time Catholic to get "penitential hardship" I guess. :)