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Monday, October 16, 2006

Public "Mel"content...

Okay, people! We're really switching gears today! There ain't any Iron Man talk today. Instead, I'm focussing on a common occurrence that really gets on my nerves. I'm talking about the public's need to judge an artist's work on the basis of their personal life and beliefs. The photo above is, by now, known to everyone and the reason for it much buzzed about. There is great concern about how this photo will affect Mel Gibson's next directorial project, Apocalypto, and the spin doctors are working themselves into a frenzy...

Today's kind of a slow news day. I wandered around my assorted entertainment news sites looking for something that would inspire another momentous blog entry. I had pretty much given up, but then I stumbled across a story over at www.ew.com. The article was in regard to the panic and apprehension surrounding Apocalypto, and Gibson's recent attempts to make amends for his late summer drunk-driving arrest and the anti-Semitic comments it inspired.

The story is another example of how a celebrity's dysfunction can be used as advertising. I have heard more about Mel's arrest and recent chat with Diane Sawyer than anything regarding Apocalpto. I 've read about all I can take of these arranged quick fixes that are supposed to convince me that "It's okay! He's cured now! You can see his movies again!" I'm sorry; Mel Gibson has had a long history of substance abuse. He also had an upbringing that pretty much guaranteed some racist leanings (Gibson's father is a known Holocaust-denier). He's going to be facing these problems for likely the rest of his life. Long-rooted dysfunctions take long periods of therapy and rehabilitation to overcome, even for movie stars. This is why I find it insulting to my intelligence that we're being bombarded with his quick-cures in an attempt to market something. I would have been interested in Apocalypto no matter what.

Now, I should make it clear that I don't condone Gibson's actions and can understand why people would be hurt by his words. But why is it only a concern when it's thrown in our face? Gibson's radical right leanings haven't been a secret to anyone for decades! Yet, as soon as it makes the national news it causes people to rise up in shock and boycott the star's films. People don't realize that stars are susceptible to the same flaws that everyone else is. They are just as likely to be screwed up, politically incorrect or troubled as the rest of us. Probably even more so, since they operate in cocoons, out of touch with the majority of society. Why do we judge the artist before the art?

Take a look at Vincent van Gogh. Most agree that he was pretty much a loon. He also created some of the most beloved (and valuable) art in the world. Now, in that case we can say that he wasn't appreciated until long after he expired. Okay, how about Michael Jackson? Now, he's always been crazy. His childhood pretty much ensured that. But does that mean we shouldn't buy copies of Thriller? Does that mean that anything he creates should be disregarded as the works of a disturbed individual? Hate to break it to ya; the majority of art is created by people who aren't quite all there. There is a strong correlation between artistic ability and irregular brain activity. We should remember that actors are included in this lot, no matter how perfect they seem on screen.

This summer I watched Mission: Impossible III fail to live up to expectations, despite the fact that it was one of the best popcorn flicks of the summer. Apparently the public JUST realized that Tom Cruise was "crazy"! Well, my sister and I had that realization around 1996. That didn't stop me from watching his films with an open mind, however. The man makes a lot of good movies. I don't really care if he has an unusual view of the world or a seemingly bizzare relationship if he makes movies that entertain me. Mel Gibson has created good movies for almost three decades. Are his future films suddenly not worth our time due to his political beliefs and behavior? Why is it that that Gibson is vilified, while Brad Pitt receives cheers of support for allegedly cheating on his wife? Why do Jack Nicholson or Colin Farrell get free passes for their famously promiscuous lifestyles? Yes, I realize the seriousness behind Gibson's statements, but why is it preferable from a moral standpoint to cheat on one's wife than drunkenly utter racist statements?

The biggest problem in all this is the media. Yeah, it's become a cliche to blame them, but let's face it: they love to create drama by poisoning the image of a particularly loved individual. Sadly, we love to listen. It makes me wonder if many of our greatest stars, notoriously flawed or troubled people like Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins or Anthony Quinn, would make the same impact today under the ever-present media eye and the public's eager willingness to judge others. I have my doubts. It's not enough to have talent; you also have to be willing to bury your flaws.

It has to be said that I greatly look forward to Apocalypto. I really admired Gibson's Passion Of The Christ and am eagerly awaiting his detailed account of Mayan life. I will also continue to see Gibson's future films. I hope those of you who read this are willing to watch Apocalypto, or Tom Cruise's next project, with an open mind. Do your best to ignore the stars' talk-show confessionals and concentrate on the reason they are famous in the first place. Just because you don't agree with them personally does not make their art dismissible. Remember that 50 years from now, it's the films that will be re-visited and remembered, not the personal drama.
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Well, I wasn't going to put a B-story on today's entry, but there is a bit of info circulating about a project that is guaranteed to be a huge hit... Hugh Jackman, currently doing press for the nifty looking Prestige, has let it leak that the X-Men spin-off Wolverine is gonna be underway pretty darn soon. Jackman indicated that the Daniel Benioff (25th Hour, Troy) written script is "fantastic". No director announcement yet, but the film will be a prequel to the X-films and cover Wolverine's role in the Weapon-X program, as well as his relationship with the evil mutant Sabretooth. Rumors are circulating that Juggernaut, Lady Deathstrike and Silver Samurai may appear. I was a little disappointed with The Last Stand (Though it played much better on second viewing on DVD), but am excited by the prospect of this film. It's cool that Jackman wants to continue making films about the character and I hope we get some serious berserker moments.

Well, that's it on this end.... Oh, I forgot!...

...By the way, after realizing how lousy the title of my blog is, I've refined it! That's right! Gone are the days of the 20+ word title of which I can barely remember (I think "crazy" and "world" were in there...)! Now, it's plain 'ol Cam's Pop-Culture Episodes. Simple. To the point. Easy to relate to your friends *hint hint*. So yeah, not very exciting, but there ya go.

Exelsior! ...And whatnot...

1 comment:

Janine said...

Hey Cam!

I just learned about this great site, it's called "Cam's..." oh wait, nevermind...