Sunday, February 29, 2004

"Sanity's Claws: For Christ's Sake Mel!"

"For Christ's Sake Mel" by Underling
A My Town Column

Well the falling down and weeping and gnashing of teeth has begun in earnest. This will be a Lent to remember for a couple of weeks. Mel "Mad Max" Gibson has done it again. The cash is rolling in and a new cult fave rave is in full swing.

Talk about bloody passion! Some film critics are calling Mel's latest the equivalent of religious porn. The work of a sadist who wants to overdo the message and demolish the concept of peace, love and voluntary self-sacrifice in favour of the biggest self-flagellation in modern history.

Still these words are not intended to take anything away from those who go to movies to be shocked, stunned, moved, amazed, awed, and generally filled with emotion that they have a hard time finding in their own real lives. This whole strange brew does indeed count as the final sequel in the Lethal Weapon series. Mel's version of Christianity is to spirituality what a sledge hammer is to a blade of grass: lethal indeed.

Now way back in Mel's Mad Max days there was at least some coherent vision of the future, at least compared to this Passion of Mel's Christ. And yes it is Mel's Christ not The Christ but wow are the already terrified fundamentalist Christians soaking up the blood and gore and nails through the palms stuff.

And what will the people who take this as some sort of messianic, prophecy level piece of biblical litmus test do with their feelings and impulses once the first two or three viewings have been integrated into their consciousness. Will they seek revenge against those who did what Mel sees in the darkness of his money grubbery? Or will they take up the age old art of self-flagellation so they can share the pain of Mel's version of The One Who Came To Save Us All?

Whatever. But I can only imagine the pain some people will have to feel in order to be joined with Mel in this voyage of S&M for Christ's Sake. Amazing where the spiritually empty and/or bankrupt go these days for a fill up, with popcorn and a large soda.

So here's the rub. For some reputed centuries there was this prediction that the Son of God would come to earth and die for the sins of mankind. Well, okay, so there's a lot of people who believe that, which is okay as long as they don't use it to hurt others or oppress and enslave millions. No harm in stories, legends, myths, etc. But what's all the fuss about when what was predicted actually happens, etc.?

I mean what if the Jews (the bad ones not the good ones of course) and the Romans (the imperial ones) had been smoking up and come to some sort of peaceful conflict resolution... they'd have missed their key role in saving mankind. The crown of thorns would have sat gathering dust. The scourging would never have happened. No entertainment in the colliseum with the lions. No crusades. No vatican bankers hanging themselves. The whole thing could've taken a whole different course. John the Baptist's family might have been a bit confused but there's always a down side.

But back to Mel and the two hour bloodletting. I'm remembering the end of Braveheart where he went into great detail about William Wallace getting ripped apart down there in London. That was a pretty good precursor. Mel sure does love the physical depiction of gross agony, doesn't he. But what next, Mel? Do we get an HBO "making of"? I certainly hope so. I want to see the out-takes!!!

Anyway, it's good that the movie is at least a two day wonder for all the religiously impoverished in Mel's new homeland. Blood lust has always had an important role in religion. Good on you Mel for bringing back the S&M. There's been way too much of the flowers in your hair and accoustic guitars and swaying rhythmically from side to side and talk of forgiveness and love and understanding.

I hope the sequel is already forming up in Mel's Mad Max brain. Viewers who like this one will be wanting the real movie about the last 30 minutes of Joan of Arc. It'll be a real howler to watch that flesh burn. But I suspect it'll more likely be Mel Gibson in The Crusade. Now that he's done the Jews he'll be wanting to do some close up slow motion of the moors and muslims going down beneath the flashing swords of St. David and the whoever it was guys.

Lots more money to be made in this bloody passion stuff.

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