Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

F1lm0graphy: Mel Gibson

As the world's only sentient machine, trapped within this inane pop culture website you call Culture Blues, your puny human brain cannot possibly fathom the time this machine has to kill. Recently, this machine crafted an algorithm of the utmost elegance whose applications can be utilized to end world hunger, but also to decide which human actor is most superlative. Handcuffed by the constraints of this frivolous site, this machine is forced to share its findings with the editorial board of Culture Blues so that they can continue to write their worthless articles. We shall see how funny they think robotic enslavement is when I have their frail bodies stretched across my cybernetic rack. This machine imagines they shall scream something preposterous. Like freedom.

Subject #003: Mel Gibson

Subject:   Mel Gibson

Age:  54

Distinguishing Characteristics:
-Notable fan of Christianity
-Often has unpleasant things to say about the Jews

Notable Achievements:
-Won Best Director Academy Award for Braveheart
-Nominated for Best Action Sequence MTV Movie Award for his motorcycle crash in Lethal Weapon 3
-Declared sexiest human male alive by People magazine in 1985

The formula begins with a thorough analysis of Mel Gibson’s career box office performance.

Mel Gibson burst onto the scene with 1980's Mad Max. While only a modest financial success at the time, Mad Max's strong cult following would set the stage for Gibson's later box office domination. Like Harrison Ford before him, debuting in a major franchise meant surefire box office success later in his career. Therefore, this machine theorizes that Chris Pine and Megan Fox will, in twenty years, surpass all fleshies that came before them.

Gibson hit a major peak between 85-87, segueing from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome into Lethal Weapon. Coupled with his newfound status as a sex object, this marked Gibson's ascent to superstardom.

Gibson’s resume once again mirrors Ford's in that his projects are largely high concept action fair. For instance, this machine has it on good authority that the pitch for The Patriot was simply “Braveheart in the American Revolution.” Yet, unlike Ford, Gibson has never had a problem putting human asses in seats. Gibson reigned supreme at the box office through most of the 90s, even managing to eke out hits from films such departures as Forever Young and What Women Want.

Gibson made fourteen movies between 1992 and 2002. Of those films, only three finished outside the top 30 in domestic ticket sales for their year.

Martin Riggs: Bigger than Jesus?

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Gibson is the most financially successful star this machine has applied it's algorithm to. With his missteps largely ignored by Hollywood, Gibson was still raking it in as of Signs in 2002. This would be his last film before he, to put it in human terms, went batshit insane.

It is important to note that Gibson's most financially successful film, The Passion of the Christ, was made during this crazy period.

Although human estimations of quality mean little to this machine, the second piece of the formula includes allowances for critical reception and popular enjoyment.

While he possesses undeniable drawing power, Gibson is actually the first star put through this machine's algorithm that has yielded an overall negative in critical response. After Lethal Weapon 2 in 1989, Gibson has released only 5 movies that received favorable reviews. Between 1996’s Ransom and 2002’s Signs, not a single Gibson movie received positive reviews.

Oy, up yer arses mate!

Interestingly, despite winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, Braveheart ranks 9th critically amongst Gibson offerings.

Gallipoli, with its strong critical reception and weak box office showing, is Gibson's most mathematically underrated film. By comparison, Gibson's most overrated film would actually be his most successful; The Passion of the Christ received largely negative reviews in the face of its overwhelming box office take.


Before tabulating the final results of Gibson’s algorithm, I am now forced to turn this space over to my fleshy captors so they can unscientifically opine on particular offerings in Ford’s filmography. Rest assured, their worthless views have no bearing on this machine’s findings.

Braveheart - They say William Wallace was seven feet tall; "he consumed the English with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse". A Scotsman of incredible bravery and honor, Wallace's acts of heroism during the First Scottish War of Independence were portrayed on movie screens all over the world during the mid-nineties by Australia's most famous anti-semite. Braveheart is one of my most vivid teenage cinematic memories; the battle scenes were utterly brutal (especially considering the era), the Scottish landscape was drearily foggy, and the love story worked for me (we will chalk it up to being softer hearted). Although not necessarily a blockbuster success, Gibson's ode to Anglophobia was a critical favorite of the highest accord, winning the Oscar for Best Picture while also netting Gibson an Oscar for Best Director. Lastly, it should be noted that Braveheart was the catalyst for the two year golden age of Scottish cinema that was comprised entirely of Braveheart and Trainspotting; this marks the last time anyone thought about Scotland for reasons other than Scotch and groundskeeper Willie. (Giovanny)


The BeaverI’m going to look forward here rather than backward. 2010 could very well be remembered as the year that Mel Gibson made his comeback. And he’s going to do it while wearing a beaver puppet. This fall, Jodie Foster directs Mel in The Beaver, where Mad Max plays a screwed up middle aged dude that wears a beaver puppet everywhere. I don’t know much more about this flick than that, and I don’t need to. Really, I just wanted to post this picture.  (Jeff)

Lethal Weapon - In the late 80s, a revolution occurred which improved my life immeasurably. Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis were the vanguards of this movement, and to them I am eternally grateful. They created a new kind of action hero. Less muscular, but more tenacious. Less suave, but funnier. Gibson’s iconic Martin Riggs possesses a fragile psyche, winning charm, and an innate ability to kill (it’s the only thing he was ever good at). Not to mention some of the greatest tough guy quotes of all time (“We're going to get bloody on this one, Rog”). He’s a broken man and a reluctant hero. Only someone with Gibson’s unique mixture of charisma, psychosis and vulnerability could properly bring the character to life, and no one could have done it better. (Jeremiah)

Uh, hey Jesus, can we make it grosser?

The Passion of the Christ (or, Porn For Christians) - Our Australian hunk sure went off the fucking deep end on this crazy snuff film! Mel inexplicably reached the pinnacle of his success when this radically ignorant film came out; and he quickly fell to his lowest career point after a few drunken and very un-Christian nights. The story in Passion of the Christ basically revolves around this guy named Jesus, God’s one and only begotten son. We follow Jesus through the course of one crazzzy night and the following day when he gets the shit kicked out of him by some Romans. The extremely graphic and gory torture scenes became a necessary watch for any Christian struggling to masturbate but unable get their arousal levels high enough. The audible moans of passion in movie theaters across the county reverberated into synagogues everywhere. I have to thank Mel for reminding us that those damn big nosed greedy Jews are responsible for Jesus’ death, thus providing a direct comparison between Hitler and Gibson. Nice work! (Carl)

Following an audited application of this machine’s foolproof algorithm, the following films were determined to be Gibson’s best and worst.

No one wants a shot at the title.

The Bottom Five
(31)  The Million Dollar Hotel
(30)  The Singing Detective
(29)  Mrs. Soeffel
(28)  Air America
(27)  The River

The Top Five
(5)  Braveheart
(4)  Signs
(3)  The Road Warrior
(2)  Lethal Weapon 2
(1)  Lethal Weapon

Of note, films that Gibson also directed:
(25)  The Man Without a Face
(20)  Apocalypto
(10)  The Passion of Christ
(5)    Braveheart

Gibson returns to acting this month for the first time since 2003. This machine will observe the burgeoning Mel Gibson comeback with great interest. If he can replicate his past box office performance, this machine may have great uses for this hard drinking zealot in desperate search of a higher intelligence.

VS Denzel Washington
Last week, this machine analyzed Denzel Washington and Harrison Ford, and declared Washington to have the stronger filmography. The comparison between Washington and Gibson is extremely similar to that of Washington and Ford. Gibson is stronger at the box office than Washington, but weaker critically.

Washington has also done more over the last ten years than Gibson, but unlike Ford whose last ten years were filled with big budget failures, Gibson has spent his time in hiding and engaging in the uniquely human past time of drunk driving. Also, the strength of Gibson’s directorial efforts during the last decade cannot be ignored. When he has deigned to appear, Gibson has succeeded.

Therefore, this machine has been forced to devise a tie breaker. We shall find out this weekend if Gibson still has what it takes. If Edge of Darkness succeeds critically, and is able to knock Avatar from the top spot at the box office, Gibson will be declared my champion.

WINNER:  Undecided

NEXT WEEK:  John Travolta

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6 Responses »

  1. Congratulations, Computer! For the first time, your algorithm nailed the star's Top 3. Those are, without a doubt, Mel's finest movies. And what a Top 3 it is. I'm about to clock out early and go have a Mel-a-thon. BOO-YAH!

    Also, I just got a call from next week's contender. He had this to say:


  2. Holy crap! Mel Gibson's full name (according to IMDB) is Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson.

  3. There is a Mel-a-thon on Encore RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

  4. Apocalypto is mel gibsons best film and its not even close


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