Monday, May 9, 2011

Moviegoers Uncomfortable Paying to See Mel Gibson’s “Beaver”

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Based on the box office receipts reported from this weekend, moviegoers are more than a little reluctant to see beleaguered actor Mel Gibson stick his hand in an old beaver for 90 minutes. Gibson’s latest film, a dark comedy-drama directed by Jodie Foster, earned a meager $104,000 during its first three days of limited release. Having fallen from the pedestal he built for himself with blockbusters such as “Braveheart” and “Passion of the Christ,” Gibson had placed high hopes of recapturing his past cinematic glory on a tatty beaver.

Critics at Gibson’s press junket alleged that at several points in the conference, the actor blamed his current predicament on “messing around with the wrong beavers,” though they could offer no explanation on the meaning of the comment.

Mel Gibson’s Messy “Beaver” Too Close to Messy Life
“I think the real problem lies in the eerie parallels between Mel Gibson’s real life and the troubles his character struggles with in this film,” said Wendell Maas, The Bennington Vale Evening Transcript’s arts critic.

In 2006, Gibson famously unleashed an anti-Semitic tirade while being arrested for drunk driving. Three years later, his wife of 30 years filed for divorce. Shortly after that, Gibson fathered a daughter with his new girlfriend, a Russian pianist. That relationship erupted in a media spectacle as voicemails of the couple’s vicious custody battle -- in which Gibson threatened to beat his girlfriend to death and bury her in the rose garden -- were leaked to the press.

“Gibson played the part too close to home,” Maas explained. “Here’s an exquisitely depressed alcoholic dealing with a failed marriage, who then hooks up with a shabby beaver he finds in the trash. That’s Gibson’s real life, for the most part. His character’s also losing the lucrative business he inherited from his father. Well that’s Gibson’s life too. Mel’s father made a fine living denying the Holocaust and blaming Jews for every ill visited upon the world. Mel inherited a lot of that, and it paid off great for a while in most of his films. ‘Mad Max,’ ‘Braveheart,’ ‘Passion of the Christ,’ these are all Gibson allegories about small groups of ‘morally correct’ victims who know the truth of the universe but are subjugated by corrupt leaders and their shadowy alliances with unwholesome menaces bent on new world order -- exactly how the Gibson family sees ‘Christ-killing Jews’ conspiring with the Pope to make everyone gay. And neo-conservative fundamentalists eat that stuff up -- as long as it’s allegorical. I also believe that even the most loyal Mel Gibson fans will find the experience of watching their idol drooling over a furry, weird looking beaver for two hours discomforting.”

Mel Gibson’s Beaver Uncomfortable to Watch
Despite the specter of Gibson’s real-life personality intruding on his character in the story, Maas said the biggest flaw with the film was trying to find a way to make Mel Gibson’s beaver appealing.

“Right after his wife kicks him out of the house, Gibson stumbles into the streets drunk and ends up in a dumpster. He wakes up in a hotel room with his hand in a dirty beaver. That’s an immediate mistake, I think. It’s hard to sympathize with a man who ruins his marriage, only to seek solace hours later in some grungy old beaver he finds in alley. Then he spends the rest of the film talking through the beaver, in a sort of series of beaver monologues. Perhaps he thought this imagery might make him appear more sensitive. It doesn’t. Even when it seems that Gibson’s beaver could actually help reassemble the pieces of his shattered life, he loses his temper and explodes. More than a poignant examination of a man’s damaged psyche, the film becomes a sideshow distraction. I question the filmmakers’ choice in using this particular symbol as the vehicle to drive the plot, but Mel Gibson and director Jodie Foster have ardently defended it, saying that they both really love beavers.”

(c) 2011. All stories are works of satire and parody.

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