Arts & Culture
Movies For Bros, And Jews Who Will Watch Mel Gibson’s Movie About Judah Maccabee
I’m totally going to see Gibson’s film about Judah Maccabee, because I’m curious to see how a man who seems to go out of his way to prove he hates Jews, handles a Jewish hero on film (and I love gratuitous violence. So sue me…). Read More
A friend of mine and I were talking about movies that have lots of explosions, guns being fired, heads being decapitated from their bodies, and/or inaccurate portrayals of historical events and lives. Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stalone, and nearly every other actor in last year’s film The Expendables, came up in the conversation, and any other actor that spent most of the late 1980s and early 90s making what we equivalently dubbed “Movies for bros.” That’s not to say that a woman wouldn’t enjoy watching Out For Justice as much as a guy would, it’s just that there is a certain level of testosterone that seems to go into films that have a formula of:
1. Guy who just wants to be left alone gets pushed to the limit. This is usually done through the murder of a loved one.
2. Guy seeks justice by killing lots of people.
3. Guy never actually finds peace. He might end up saving his kidnapped child, or avenging his murdered wife, but he’s still damaged enough to make it back for a sequel.
The conversation hit up all movies from Die Hard to Under Siege, and the entire Rambo franchise. Nearly everything from the Action genre came up, and as we discussed that one scene in Kickboxer where Tong Po breaks Jean-Claude Van Damme’s brother’s back (and how cool it was to watch when we were eight), my friend (who isn’t Jewish) started to talk about a scene in Mel Gibson’s film, The Patriot, where Gibson’s character slices another characters leg off. Then he trailed off.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Oh, well, I know about Gibson and the Jews. I figured you didn’t see the movie…”
This took me aback a little. Sure, I think Mel Gibson is a piece of scum, and an abusive alcoholic who thinks Jews are responsible for every war ever, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, Braveheart. Had I enjoyed The Patriot? I saw it on my 20th birthday at a brew-and-view using my fake ID for crying out loud.
All of his shortcomings aside, I think of Mel Gibson as the Movies For Bros version of Burt Reyonlds’ character in Boogie Nights, Jack Horner: He’s a director who wants to elevate the art form (I am using that term very loosely) he deals in, no matter how absurd that might seem. Jack Horner wanted his porn films to be a story that sucked them in (even after they, ya know…), Mel Gibson wants the people who watch his films to see a story wrapped up inside of all the violence– and people love him for that. No matter how much of a despicable person he is, millions of people will flock to his films, and will stay silent about the man’s views– because he’s an artist, and when people really try hard enough, they can look past certain things for the sake of art as long as they’re happy with the end result.
I’m one of those people, and I’m totally going to see Gibson’s film about Judah Maccabee, because I’m curious to see how a man who seems to go out of his way to prove he hates Jews, handles a Jewish hero on film. But you know what I’m not going to do? I won’t pay to see his film. I’ll do something immature like theater hop, or buy a pirate copy from some bootlegger on Canal Street in Chinatown. I 100% want to be entertained by another Mel Gibson film, but in the interest of not contributing to a cause that I don’t believe in, like a Union worker, I’m electing to withhold my dues.