Friday, December 08, 2006
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #40
directed by Mel Gibson
Oh, it's been a while, hasn't it? What all of you have been doing with your disposable income without me to direct the cinema-related spending thereof I have no idea. I was worried about leaving you to your own devices, I'll be honest, but somewhere in there you found your way to ignore The Santa Clause 3 and make hundreds of millions of dollars for Borat. Some people might take that as a sign that the service they thought they were providing was really just a waste of everyone's time that nobody even wanted to slog through, let alone needed. I prefer to think that it was my subtle guidance that led you, the movie-going audience, to develop the level of sophistication that finally defeated Tim Allen once and for all. Sure, Galaxy Quest was OK, but that's no excuse for those of you who saw Jungle 2 Jungle. You know who you are.
I thought it was appropriate to take on Apocalypto, Mel Gibson's first film since a couple of notable incidents: a) the surprise success of The Passion of the Christ and b) that thing with the cops and the booze and the Jews. You remember. I think I blogged about it for like a month straight. Biggest news in bloggerdom right up until Britney's vagina.
The main reason I wanted to talk about it is as preparation. If we see what Mel Gibson does, then we can have a relatively good idea what to expect from Michael Richards in the long term. I think the recipe is becoming more and more clear as we observe: expect, within the next twelve months, to see Michael Richards direct a film in a dead language about an extinct peoples. I'm thinking something to do with Vandals. Some high Kramerian slapstick, maybe some romantic comedy elements (I'm seeing Cameron Diaz, unshaved armpits... I know you can see it too) and in the end, they leave Spain for Africa where they ravage and decimate the native population in a series of massive, coordinated inverted fork-to-ass attacks. Ooh, and with a kick-ass punk rock soundtrack. Wicked.
If Richards does choose to go that way, he's going to have a tough row to hoe since I think with Apocalypto, Mel Gibson has pretty much got the lucrative dead-language-and-extinct-people niche market all sewn up. There's this, Passion and before that Braveheart.
The best news for Mel is that he can use this film to put some distance between himself and the anti-Semitism thing that's been haunting him for years. First he had to deal with being the son of a loveable old rapscallion holocaust denier, then the sneaky evilness of the Jewish enemy in Passion and then the horrible things the Demon Rum made him say totally against his will in LA.
In showing conflict between peoples in a pre-Columbian Central America, perhaps he is making a concerted effort to show that he does not believe that the Jews are, in fact, the cause of "all the world's wars". This is the simple story of a clash of cultures, a man (named, and this is true, Jaguar Paw) trying to protect his family as his society collapses around him, a slow degradation, a culture-wide rotting from within caused by his rival and nemesis, the dastardly hooknosed Mayan banker named Refuses Pork.
Anything has to be better than the public image problems he's having now. The only thing keeping his Fuckin' Nutjob rating below Tom Cruise is that he's been keeping a low profile and he's not a Scientologist.
But he is, alas, a throw-back ultra-conservative Catholic. So we know where he gets his dead language fetish from. And his taste for old-style Body-of-Christ viscera and gore. From what I've read, this movie is extraordinarily violent. But you know, Mel's got some shit to work out. If it has to be in the form of people tearing out the still-beating hearts of others on screen, that's fine. At least when he's busy, we know he's not out there giving the hard-working sucrose-teated public servants of Los Angeles city and/or county a hard time.
That don't mean I wanna see his flick, though. Three hours of Mayan? If I want to be bored by stories of rape and violence and bloody history in a language I don't understand, I'll spend another afternoon with my Polish grandmother. At least with her there's no subtext of racism. Except maybe against Cossacks, who aren't really a race. Oh, and Germans of course. And Mexicans. And all Asians excepting Bangladeshis, Laotians and some Mongolians. And Jews (naturally).
It is only because of the possibility of some hot National Geographic-esque cultural nudity that I can give this film:
Two (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.
I would see it, but that's not the same as saying I want to. Mostly it's in active opposition to the film I would probably have to see if the wife and I were to go out in the next week or so, The Holiday. The primary benefit of this film is that it ain't that film.