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"In other words, Judah Maccabee, his father, and his brothers, are like the heroes of every Mel Gibson movie."
September 9, 2011 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas have announced their latest, Warner Bros.-backed epic: a film about 'legendary Jewish warrior' Judah Maccabee. American Jewish leaders are plotzing. Rumors about a Maccabee movie were raised in 2004, but nothing ever came of them. Back then, at Christopher Hitchens' direction, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic met with Gibson to (sorta, but not really) talk him out of it.

Wikipedia has an extensive page on Judah Maccabee.
posted by zarq (134 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
seriously?

SERIOUSLY?
posted by empath at 9:05 AM on September 9, 2011


oy vey.
posted by elizardbits at 9:05 AM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


What could go wrong?
posted by kmz at 9:06 AM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


I look forward to that famous historical scene where Antiochus slowly crosses and uncrosses his legs in the interrogation room.
posted by elizardbits at 9:07 AM on September 9, 2011 [35 favorites]


Dare we hope for some giant enemy (i.e. non-kosher) crabs?
posted by Behemoth at 9:10 AM on September 9, 2011


You tend to look a bit cock-eyed, though!

No matter how hard I try, I can't hate Mel Gibson.
posted by Xoebe at 9:10 AM on September 9, 2011


Sugar Tits
posted by pracowity at 9:13 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I realize he's a flawed man on many, many levels, but has Mel said he's going to deviate from the script in some way that's unacceptable to Jews? Otherwise what's the problem? "No, we hate you personally, so please don't make a blockbuster epic about a great story about one of our greatest leaders that will likely do nothing but fuel Jewish pride!"
posted by resurrexit at 9:13 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Splashy pool orgasms will lend historical authenticity.

Really, though. I think Gibson is a film away from just releasing two hours of context-free stabbings, impalings, beheadings, and primal war cries. I think he of all directors could pull it off.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:14 AM on September 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


I was really excited because I initially read Mel Gibson as Mel Brooks.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:14 AM on September 9, 2011 [60 favorites]


I would love to be a historical accuracy advisor on that shoot:

"Uh, excuse me, Mister Gibson? I ran those scenes you gave me by the history department at Tel Aviv University. I know you didn't ask me to, but I thought something was off and it turns out I'm right. Now, they told me that it's all mostly fine and accurate -- they commended the accuracy, even -- but it turns out the Jews at the time did not actually eat live babies. I know, I know, I was as surprised as your are, but I definitely think we need to reshoot those scenes. We can't just let something this ... historically inaccurate... go to the theaters. Yes, probably all the scenes. Yes, Mister Gibson, I know we spent half the budget on live babies, but it just wouldn't be ... correct. No, I don't think your father knows better than the historians but we can wait until you check. Yes, Mister Gibson, I'll have the prop department get the Predator heads out for the temple scene, but I think I might want to check that as well..."
posted by griphus at 9:14 AM on September 9, 2011 [26 favorites]


Well, Joe Eszterhas doesn't make a bad movie.
posted by Mister_A at 9:15 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


On the straight tip: You would plotz too if it happened to you.
posted by Mister_A at 9:16 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you're really concerned about an an artist's personal history (and I'm not saying you're wrong), if you're really bothered by this, I have just two words for you: Roman Polanski.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:17 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Now, they told me that it's all mostly fine and accurate -- they commended the accuracy, even -- but it turns out the Jews at the time did not actually eat live babies."

It also appears that you are trying to put in a scene where you are painted blue screaming about the Seleucid forces "Never taking away your freedom"...

We're pretty sure that only ever happened in your imagination...
posted by quin at 9:17 AM on September 9, 2011


I realize he's a flawed man on many, many levels, but has Mel said he's going to deviate from the script in some way that's unacceptable to Jews? Otherwise what's the problem?

Should we trust Orson Scott Card to write a biography of Harvey Milk?
posted by kmz at 9:20 AM on September 9, 2011 [53 favorites]


That's one meshugener goy.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:21 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is the kind of thing that has to be real, because the Onion wouldn't print something so absurd.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:21 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


resurrexit: "I realize he's a flawed man on many, many levels, but has Mel said he's going to deviate from the script in some way that's unacceptable to Jews? Otherwise what's the problem? "No, we hate you personally, so please don't make a blockbuster epic about a great story about one of our greatest leaders that will likely do nothing but fuel Jewish pride!""

He's AntiSemiteSplaining.

As a Jew, I'd rather the person depicting part of our religious mythology not be on record for this:

"The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?""
posted by zarq at 9:21 AM on September 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


I look forward to comparing this movie's accuracy unfavorably to every previous major Hollywood biblical epic.
posted by ardgedee at 9:23 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Drink up, Judah Ben Hur."
posted by griphus at 9:24 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


zarq, I understand Mel's a kook. Say whatever you like about him as a man, and I'll almost certainly agree. But what evidence is there that he's kookin' up this movie? Can we not wait until then to pass judgment on this film, which might just be fantastic?
posted by resurrexit at 9:24 AM on September 9, 2011


If you're really concerned about an an artist's personal history (and I'm not saying you're wrong), if you're really bothered by this, I have just two words for you:

Nah, Gibson's movies already have enough Antisemitism, sado-masochistic cruelty, and casual WTF-ness to condemn this latest outing without bringing his history of alcoholic, misogynistic cruelty into the mix.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:24 AM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you're really concerned about an an artist's personal history (and I'm not saying you're wrong), if you're really bothered by this, I have just two words for you: Roman Polanski.

Well, I have actually consciously boycotted Polanski movies for a long time. Moreover, this would be like if Polanski made a movie focused on a young girl who's a rape survivor.
posted by kmz at 9:25 AM on September 9, 2011 [29 favorites]


If you're really concerned about an an artist's personal history (and I'm not saying you're wrong), if you're really bothered by this, I have just two words for you: Roman Polanski.
I'm pretty damn bothered by Roman Polanski, but I can't figure out what that has to do with anything.

I guess I have issues with a Maccabee movie in general. That's a pretty highly politicized narrative: it's been seized on by modern Jews in part because it depicts manly, militant Jewish men engaging in heroic violence. It's really bound up, I think, with a whole project to assert Jewish masculinity, and that project is really bound up with Zionism. As a Jewish feminist and anti-Zionist, I would want the story to be handled carefully, and Mel Gibson seems about the worst person to approach it sensitively, for any number of reasons.
posted by craichead at 9:26 AM on September 9, 2011 [25 favorites]


You know, I think a big budget Hollywood movie about the Maccabees would be pretty sweet. That might be because I studied Medieval history in college and the medieval loved them some fucking Maccabees. They also loved pogroms, so Mel's not exactly in uncharted territory here.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:28 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought this guy was never going to work in that town again.
posted by goethean at 9:31 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's really bound up, I think, with a whole project to assert Jewish masculinity, and that project is really bound up with Zionism. As a Jewish feminist and anti-Zionist, I would want the story to be handled carefully, and Mel Gibson seems about the worst person to approach it sensitively, for any number of reasons.

I would argue that you should be happy with this, then. Mel Gibson's about as far from a Zionist as you can get. So is it not possible that this movie will either be unrelated to that issue (at least non-supportive of it) or even oppose modern Zionism or illustrate the flaws in it?
posted by resurrexit at 9:35 AM on September 9, 2011


"Joey, do you like to watch movies about gladiators Maccabees?"
posted by octobersurprise at 9:35 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


> I thought this guy was never going to work in that town again.

Nah, he still has lots of friends in the right places to get things done. Most of which have also had embarrassing run-ins with the media.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:36 AM on September 9, 2011


I understand Mel's a kook.

No, he's an anti-semite, by all accounts. Corollary to add to the Polanski and Orson Scott Card equivalencies above: would you be nervous if you were African-American and found out a famous, unapologetic racist was going to be making a movie about Malcolm X? Even if he managed to make a film that would stand up were it made by someone else, would you as an African-American be able to watch it comfortably and enjoy/appreciate it knowing that the star was really a racist in blackface?
posted by davejay at 9:36 AM on September 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Forgiveness: A Jewish Value
posted by Vibrissae at 9:37 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


a famous, unapologetic racist was going to be making a movie about Malcolm X

Yes, that would be terrible.
posted by resurrexit at 9:38 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forgiveness: A Jewish Value

I'd like to think by vocally protesting the concept of this movie, I am giving Mel Gibson a chance to prevent having to be forgiven. Again.
posted by griphus at 9:41 AM on September 9, 2011


resurrexit: "zarq, I understand Mel's a kook. Say whatever you like about him as a man, and I'll almost certainly agree. But what evidence is there that he's kookin' up this movie? Can we not wait until then to pass judgment on this film, which might just be fantastic?"

No. I saw Passion of the Christ. It was filled with clear, classic antismitic depictions of us, despite protestations to the contrary.

After watching antisemitism depicted onscreen in one self-financed Mel Gibson movie, he no longer gets the benefit of the doubt as far as I'm concerned.
posted by zarq at 9:46 AM on September 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


Gibson's exposed racism aside, this seems like a bald attempt at recapturing past glory by making Braveheart II: Men in Sandals. Will probably end up slotted next to Phantom Menace, Crystal Skull. If it gets made.
posted by bendybendy at 9:47 AM on September 9, 2011


Aside from his antisemitism (and it's not just offscreen, see his version of the Passion) and his violence-porn fetish, I can just imagine what message his fellow fundamentalist zealots will take from a movie about an armed rebellion sparked by a large government coming in and preventing a religious minority from worshiping as they see fit. I'm seeing lots of bloody, painful martyrdom, followed by lots of bloody, painful money shots where the pagans get theirs.

The original text is an inspiring tale. It's the interpretation (onscreen and off) that I'm worried about.
posted by PlusDistance at 9:49 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


resurrexit, you appear to be a Gibson apologist. Your resolute failure to understand why his personal hatreds might make people nervous when he's making a movie about the people he hates makes me wonder if this is something you're capable of understanding (or care to). It gives me the creeps a bit.
posted by OmieWise at 9:49 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Will probably end up slotted next to Phantom Menace, Crystal Skull.

I just pictured Qui-Gon Jinn explaining the concept of midichlorians to Indy, and Indy pulling out a gun and shooting him. Now this thread made me happy.
posted by griphus at 9:49 AM on September 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


I thought this guy was never going to work in that town again.

He'll stop working in that town at the same time everyone else does... when his films stop making money. And I'll be doing my part by not seeing this movie.
posted by Zed at 9:51 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


According to my sources the working title of this movie is "The Maccabee" . Mel plays a Hassidic Jew who , along with Judah Maccabee and a giant beaver who claims to be the Messiah, fight crime in one of the worst crack-infested neighborhoods of ultra-orthodox New York.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:52 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you're really concerned about an an artist's personal history (and I'm not saying you're wrong), if you're really bothered by this, I have just two words for you: Roman Polanski.

You know, when Roman makes a film about child rapists who escape punishment I'll be concerned about his art - until then, yea, I can separate the man and the man's artist output.

When Mel, a balls-out anti-Semite makes a move about Semitic history I'm not fucking amused.
posted by victors at 9:52 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Says Melly G... "You one of the good ones, Maccabee..."
posted by symbioid at 9:52 AM on September 9, 2011


I could kinda sorta see Mel playing Judah Maccabee in the right context. Vootie!
posted by Shepherd at 9:55 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suppose I should be filled with rage, but mostly I just really enjoyed the Goldberg/Gibson interview. Thanks.
posted by michaelh at 9:57 AM on September 9, 2011


I'm not an apologist. Mel's comments and behavior sadden me deeply. I'm just saying that (1) the guy's apologized for a drunken rant and (2) now wants to make a movie about an awesome Jew (possibly to make up for (1)?). How inconsistent!

Call me an apologist (wtf) though for not hopping on the judge-wagon with my torch and pitchfork at the mention of the man's name.
posted by resurrexit at 10:01 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every single Mel Gibson movie follows the same format.

Mel plays the strong, moral and enterprising guy who just wants to mind his own business. Above all he doesn't want to be a hero. Got that? Not. A. Hero. Just live his life in peace with his family and pony tail.

So Mel doesn't want to be a hero but he's obviously a very moral man as illustrated by obvious acts of morality. Right? right.

But oh no what's this?! Something terrible happens and surprisingly often it involves the brutal murder of Mel's family. Wives get their throats slit, fathers get betrayed, children are clubbed down, goats are burned, etc. So now poor moral Mel is torn between not getting involved and doing what's right, i.e. killing pretty much any other person who can steal screen time from him.

But being a moral man Mel isn't quite sure that his senseless mass murder rampage is the right thing to do. But fear not! Loyal and Rowdy Best Friend convinces Mel that mass murder is indeed the solution to Mel's problem.

What...?

Best Friend got his goat torched and throat slit?! Dear God no. Now Mel has no choice but to do the ultimate act of morality and kill. every. single. person. Enemies, allies, women and babies - by the time Mel's finished he's killed his own soldiers too (he assembled his own army and became a legendary commander in like a couple of weeks, do keep up) and pretty much everyone else too. Like in the end there's just Mel, his pony tail and the key grip.

Despite all his strength, cunning and character, Mel ends up being captured by his enemies, probably lured by the tunes of bag pipes or something like that. Turns out that for some odd reason his enemies don't quite like the idea of being mass murdered and decide to execute Mel. So there's our reluctant hero, about to get executed when the crowd - where the fuckity did they come from? - starts chanting his name, demanding the release of their champion. Anyways, after a long tirade against jews and the illuminati, Mel shouts something that's supposed to be inspiring to future generations when The Big Bad Guy decides he's had enough and commands the executioner to do his thing.

So finally after like three hours of pure torture we're thinking to ourselves that it's finally over, we might be scared for life but by God it's over. Right? Riii - BUT WAIT. As the credits role we see a beautiful landscape during daybreak and as the camera zooms in we see Mel's pony tail and the key grip walking across the plains and we fucking know: they are the killing legacy that Mel has left behind.

And that my friends is every single Mel Gibson movie, give or take some details.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:02 AM on September 9, 2011 [28 favorites]


Foci for Analysis: " And that my friends is every single Mel Gibson movie, give or take some details."

What Women Want makes so much more sense now....
posted by zarq at 10:06 AM on September 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


I bet at some point someone will be tortured in the film.
posted by zzazazz at 10:13 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I first saw this FPP, I thought maybe Gibson would be framing it as a project that was itself an apology for his previous words. Instead, we got the odd, rambling interview with Jeffrey Goldberg.

I also note that older, religious anti-Semitism, the kind which prevailed in Christian Europe before the rise of racial/biological anti-Semitism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, often had little to no problem with Old Testament Jews and Judaism, as they had not "rejected" Christ (as the latter had not come yet) and thus were not seen as infidels. As such, I don't see any contradiction between Gibson's previous anti-Semitic statements and his involvement in this film. However, in his mind, it is almost certainly the kind of macho, gung-ho action film others here are describing (and parodying), and not a veiled call for manly Zionism...
posted by dhens at 10:16 AM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


From the writer of Flashdance and Showgirls comes: Maccabeat - the story of the power of dance to save a people. Starring Danny Glover as Mattathias, and Savion Glover as Judah Maccabee. Gelt never felt so good.
posted by ericbop at 10:22 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Rick Perry + lots of booze = terrifying antichrist Mel Gibson POTUS
posted by angrycat at 10:23 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really liked Crystal Skull.
posted by jb at 10:28 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I ♥ Maccabees
posted by steef at 10:33 AM on September 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


but has Mel said he's going to deviate from the script in some way that's unacceptable to Jews? Otherwise what's the problem?

Given Mel's last foray into religious history...Hours of torture porn by an apocalyptic conservative Catholic...I'd say they have some reason to worry about how this might turn out.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:34 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Obligatory: Apocalypto Recut (sorry, US-only Hulu link).
posted by dhens at 10:38 AM on September 9, 2011


This is the second most ridiculous thing I've heard about Mel Gibson in the last few weeks.

A buddy of mine in LA works at a company which turns regular films into 3D movies. He gave Mel a demo presentation to win a bid for the possible re-release of a 3D version of "The Passion of the Christ".
posted by cazoo at 10:42 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


resurrexit: "I'm not an apologist. Mel's comments and behavior sadden me deeply. I'm just saying that (1) the guy's apologized for a drunken rant and (2) now wants to make a movie about an awesome Jew (possibly to make up for (1)?). How inconsistent! "

Gibson's apologized. I'm very glad for that.

But yeah, I'd personally rather this movie be done by someone without his history. It gives me the same mental "this is not a good idea" shudder I would get if say, David Duke announced he was going to do a biopic about Martin Luther King.

I won't pay money to see it. But it's not like I'll be protesting outside a theater or anything. Have better things to do.
posted by zarq at 10:55 AM on September 9, 2011


And they'll also have Gallagher impersonators smashing watermelons in front during the blood-spray scenes!
posted by Zed at 10:56 AM on September 9, 2011


A buddy of mine in LA works at a company which turns regular films into 3D movies. He gave Mel a demo presentation to win a bid for the possible re-release of a 3D version of "The Passion of the Christ".

Uh. Wow.
posted by odinsdream at 10:59 AM on September 9, 2011


cazoo: "for the possible re-release of a 3D version of "The Passion of the Christ"."

Wait, the film wasn't shot natively in 3D. To avoid the terrible moviegoing experience reported by audiences who went to the (converted) Clash of the Titans (RealD) 3D, wouldn't they have to reshoot the whole movie?
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on September 9, 2011


From the Wikipedia article on Judah: "Mindful of the superiority of Seleucid forces during the first two years of the revolt, Judah's strategy was to avoid any engagement with their regular army, and to resort to guerrilla warfare, in order to give them a feeling of insecurity."
Doesn't that seem similar to what Al Qaeda has done to the United States? Certainly the distraction of fear is omnipresent, even in every airport. And the redirection of resources to foreign lands has left the US with a crumbling infrastructure.
posted by Cranberry at 11:11 AM on September 9, 2011


the guy's apologized for a drunken rant

He hasn't apologized for how he represented Jews in The Passion of the Christ, has he? Just asking.
posted by davejay at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but Apocalypto is an A1 chase film.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2011


I guess the "drunken" part of things always chaps my ass a bit, because I've known lots of people who binge drink and more full-blown alcoholics than I care to admit, and their drunken rants tend to conform along the boundaries of their own behavior, only unfiltered for social acceptability. So when I hear his drunken rant, and then read his apology, I appreciate the apology...but I also suspect he's apologizing for letting his guard down in public, not for how he truly feels.
posted by davejay at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


er, their own expressed beliefs, rather.
posted by davejay at 11:16 AM on September 9, 2011


Really, though. I think Gibson is a film away from just releasing two hours of context-free stabbings, impalings, beheadings, and primal war cries. I think he of all directors could pull it off.

Pasolini made a stab at it, but the context kept working its way back in.

Link more or less safe for work, for some values of work.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:17 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, the film wasn't shot natively in 3D. To avoid the terrible moviegoing experience reported by audiences who went to the (converted) Clash of the Titans (RealD) 3D, wouldn't they have to reshoot the whole movie?

Or they could do a cheapo conversion, release it and rake in seven or eight figures in profit anyway. What do you think they'd rather do?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:19 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which one of the Maccabees what it who stood on a wall, disemboweled himself and hurled his guts at his enemies as a sort of protest? It's like the only thing I remember from the Apocrypha. Was it Judah? I'd pay to see Mel do that.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:20 AM on September 9, 2011


And that my friends is every single Mel Gibson movie, give or take some details.

Mel Gibson made Ender's Game?
posted by Mchelly at 11:21 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dunno. Gibson is, admittedly, a bit out there, but does anyone think that he's going to make a movie where Maccabees winds up looking anything less than a complete badass? And if that's the result, would it be a problem?
posted by valkyryn at 11:23 AM on September 9, 2011


I bet at some point someone will be tortured in the film.

Are you kidding? I'd guess that's the main thing that drew Gibson to this story. 2 Maccabees chapter 7 has a grisly account of seven brothers all being tortured to death one at a time in front of their mother rather than eat pork.

The chapter ends with an almost apologetic, "Let this be enough, then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures." But the unauthorized remake, 4 Maccabees, adds lots more grisly details at greater length which I'm sure Gibson will want to use as source material.
posted by straight at 11:23 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suppose I am less concerned that Gibson is an antisemite (apology notwithstanding; there's a lot more to antisemitism than just hurling drunken obscenities at a cop) that the fact that Joe Esterhaus is the screenwriter of Basic Instinct and Showgirls and that Mel Gibson is responsible for The Patriot.

Hm. Now that I think about it, I sort of want this film to get made, if only for the camp value.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:26 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but Apocalypto is an A1 chase film.

Apocalypto was the best movie of 2006, based on the "whenever it's on cable, Cool Papa Bell has to stop and watch it meter."

I'll hear arguments for The Prestige and Children of Men.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:31 AM on September 9, 2011


Maybe this is supposed to be his "Intolerance" to make up for his "Birth of a Nation." But I doubt it.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:36 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apocalypto was the best movie of 2006

pardon me but I believe you have overlooked Nacho Libre

posted by elizardbits at 11:42 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm guessing that almost no one commenting here actually works in show biz/entertainment. Mel and Joe both have proven track records in box office success. That's the bottom line. If the private lives and personal codes of producers. directors, actors and everyone else had to mesh with the story line of movies, no films would get made.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:43 AM on September 9, 2011


If I make a movie about saving Judaism, it will be almost as if I have saved the Jews!

Oh, you are all so welcome! My pleasure, Jews!
posted by TheRedArmy at 11:45 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


t's really bound up, I think, with a whole project to assert Jewish masculinity, and that project is really bound up with Zionism. As a Jewish feminist and anti-Zionist, I would want the story to be handled carefully, and Mel Gibson seems about the worst person to approach it sensitively, for any number of reasons.

I would argue that you should be happy with this, then. Mel Gibson's about as far from a Zionist as you can get.


Actually, there are quite a few crazypants religious fundamentalists who are VERY pro-Israel, mostly because they believe God can't come back and rapture them and kill all the sinners (including all but a few Jews!) until the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem. So they are pro-encouraging-Jews in the same way that someone needing leather for their shoes is pro-feeding-cows.
posted by emjaybee at 11:47 AM on September 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't think Gibson is in that camp. He's from the "return to Church to Latin and intolerence" school of extremist Catholocism, and they're not overly frothy about the end of times.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:50 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mel and Joe both have proven track records in box office success.

Is that why "The Beaver" and "Basic Instinct 2" did so well at the box office? And when was the last time Eszterhas had a record of "proven" box office success? 1995? 1992?
posted by blucevalo at 11:53 AM on September 9, 2011


Actually, there are quite a few crazypants religious fundamentalists who are VERY pro-Israel, mostly because they believe God can't come back and rapture them and kill all the sinners

Yeah, Gibson's not there. You're talking about dispensational fundamentalists, an almost exclusively Protestant tradition. I did a post about eschatology a while back.

In short, Catholics, of almost all stripes, just aren't all that interested in eschatology most of the time, and to the extent that they are, they tend to take the sort of covenantal, long-view interpretation of Revelation that doesn't lend itself to this kind of contemporary political excitability.
posted by valkyryn at 11:55 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Apocalypto was the best movie of 2006

I'm sorry, but your wiiocCPBtswi meter really needs some recalibrating; because 2006 also included Grandma's Boy, Slither, Over the Hedge, and motherfucking Crank. Any one of which are more worthy of the must-stop-and-watch-it metric. (at least using the quin unit of quality measurement).
posted by quin at 11:57 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread...
Should we trust Orson Scott Card to write a biography of Harvey Milk?
As a Jew, I'd rather the person depicting part of our religious mythology not be on record for this...
would you be nervous if you were African-American and found out a famous, unapologetic racist was going to be making a movie about Malcolm X?
I'd personally rather this movie be done by someone without his history.
...is pretty much echoing the sentiments of Abraham Foxman in the third link: "Judah Maccabee deserves better."

There's a disconnect here. Do these people realize that any group of Jews—Foxman, the ADL, the AJC, whomever—is perfectly free to produce their own Maccabee biopic absolutely any time they please? If you're convinced that Maccabee "deserves better" than he'll get from Gibson, well, then grab a camera and get to work.
posted by red clover at 11:59 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, but your wiiocCPBtswi meter really needs some recalibrating; because 2006 also included Grandma's Boy, Slither, Over the Hedge, and motherfucking Crank. Any one of which are more worthy of the must-stop-and-watch-it metric. (at least using the quin unit of quality measurement).

You know what movie I always stop on watch on TV? That mini-series of The Stand, I don't even really like it that much, but it's eaten like six whole Sundays of my life, and all I've gotten back in a bizarre fondness for "Don't Dream It's Over."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:04 PM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Will do! Let me just get my $80 million budget together!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:05 PM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is that why "The Beaver" and "Basic Instinct 2" did so well at the box office?

You might want to look at his directing and producing credits.

And when was the last time Eszterhas had a record of "proven" box office success? 1995? 1992?

If the movies someone is involved in makes money, then it is a success. For example: M. Night Shyamalan is a consistent box office money machine, whether or not you like his movies.

For some reason this reminds me of The Deal, which also has the most atrocious photo-shopped poster art I've ever seen. I mean, how big does William H Macey's smile need to be?
posted by P.o.B. at 12:17 PM on September 9, 2011


You know what movie I always stop on watch on TV? That mini-series of The Stand,

Good , it's not just me then. I loved that opening montage played to the tune of "Don't Fear The Reaper". Thought it was one of the best scenes in the movie.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:18 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Deal

Is that an illustration? Why is Meg Ryan a mannequin at Ricky's? Why is Macy's head erupting from his body?
posted by The Whelk at 12:19 PM on September 9, 2011


any group of Jews—Foxman, the ADL, the AJC, whomever—is perfectly free to produce their own Maccabee biopic absolutely any time they please

I'd have to look deep inside to see if I give a shit about how the Maccabee story is told. I'm bothered than he, personally, is doing it. It's offensive* on a grand scale.


*I don't throw that around, ever -- in fact, let me tellya -- just the fact that I'm on the same side of this issue as the ADL is not a small thing. I wouldn't mind hearing a decent argument why I should let it go, just to right the ship....
posted by victors at 12:20 PM on September 9, 2011


Why is Ryan's arm halfway into Macy's back? Why is Ryan tiling like it's Cancun and it's 3 AM on a Saturday night?

So many questions!
posted by P.o.B. at 12:22 PM on September 9, 2011


tilting
posted by P.o.B. at 12:23 PM on September 9, 2011


red clover: " There's a disconnect here. Do these people realize that any group of Jews—Foxman, the ADL, the AJC, whomever—is perfectly free to produce their own Maccabee biopic absolutely any time they please? If you're convinced that Maccabee "deserves better" than he'll get from Gibson, well, then grab a camera and get to work."

And will Warner Bros., also bankroll them, distribute their movie and market the hell out of it nationally and internationally?

No.

Which is what Foxman's statement was about. Regret that WB did not choose to back the project with their finances and resources using someone more appropriate as director. Someone perhaps, who had proven themselves capable of a respectful and sensitive portrayal of religious views that they do not hold. Someone who had not been quoted saying antisemitic or racist things, or whom in a previous directorial stint had not filmed and depicted antisemitic tropes on a sensitive-to-Christians topic. A topic, by the way, that Jews were subject to prejudiced and even slaughtered over by Christians for a couple of millennia. Something the Catholic Church only bothered to put a formal stop to with the Nostra Aetate in 1965.

Foxman's an ass. But I think he's right about this.
posted by zarq at 12:24 PM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


also, I have sugar in my tits.
posted by victors at 12:24 PM on September 9, 2011


He hasn't apologized for how he represented Jews in The Passion of the Christ, has he? Just asking.

No. But in fairness, neither has St. Matthew.
posted by goethean at 12:26 PM on September 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Apocalypto was the best movie of 2006

muuuuHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHAHAAAAHAHAAAAAHAHAAAAAAHAHAAAAAAAHAHAAAAAAAAHA!

hell, HAHAHAHA, even.
posted by item at 12:36 PM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


muuuuHAHAHAHA

Meta, please. There's no way I'm going to stop in my tracks to re-watch Little Miss Sunshine.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:42 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq: "Wait, the film wasn't shot natively in 3D. To avoid the terrible moviegoing experience reported by audiences who went to the (converted) Clash of the Titans (RealD) 3D, wouldn't they have to reshoot the whole movie?"

Psst... this "terrible moviegoing experience" you speak of has nothing to do with the number of D's.
posted by mkultra at 12:44 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maccabees is okay, but they're no TGI Fridays.
posted by xedrik at 12:47 PM on September 9, 2011


On a completely shallow note, I'm looking forward to the Hellenistic costumes!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 12:53 PM on September 9, 2011


mkultra: " Psst... this "terrible moviegoing experience" you speak of has nothing to do with the number of D's."

BUT, BUT, BUT.... JASON MOMOA!
posted by zarq at 1:04 PM on September 9, 2011


Oh wait, he was in Conan, not Clash.

*looks it up*

Sam Worthington? Really?
posted by zarq at 1:06 PM on September 9, 2011


I was actually referring to PotC rather than CotT, though I see how it applies...
posted by mkultra at 1:08 PM on September 9, 2011


Psst... this "terrible moviegoing experience" you speak of has nothing to do with the number of D's.

There's a porno theater joke here. I can just feel it. By myself. In the dark.
posted by griphus at 1:14 PM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


mkultra: "I was actually referring to PotC rather than CotT, though I see how it applies..."

Passion Titans of Christ! See the Christian Messiah battle Zeus in 3D! Coming soon to a theater near you!

I would go, as long as it had Gemma Arterton in it....
posted by zarq at 1:18 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Coming soon: Carlos Mencia's Maccabeaner: the epic saga of Juan Maccabeaner, who led the Jews to victory one chimichanga at a time.
posted by dr_dank at 1:34 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


for the possible re-release of a 3D version of The Passion of the Christ

Ugh, that's going to be exactly like the scene in that episode of WKRP where they're looking for Herb in a seedy theater showing a 3D German porno.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:37 PM on September 9, 2011


I understand Mel's a kook. Say whatever you like about him as a man, and I'll almost certainly agree. But what evidence is there that he's kookin' up this movie? Can we not wait until then to pass judgment on this film, which might just be fantastic?

Well, Apocalypto wouldn't be half as interesting if it weren't for the whole God sent the Spanish genocide to punish the Aztecs/Mayans/Whatever for their immoral ways takeaway at the end.

I think the real question is whether everyone speaks Aramaic or Hebrew in this flick.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:55 PM on September 9, 2011


Mel Gibson can go fuck himself.
posted by caddis at 2:01 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


People who haven't seen potc really can't imagine how bad this could be. Seriously at one point in that movie preteen Jewish boys turn into demons to torment Judas into killing himself. Not to mention the whole blood libel angle.
posted by winna at 2:05 PM on September 9, 2011


People who haven't seen potc really can't imagine how bad this could be. Seriously at one point in that movie preteen Jewish boys turn into demons to torment Judas into killing himself. Not to mention the whole blood libel angle.

Not to down play the legitimate antisemitism in Passion of the Christ, but what was the "blood libel angle?" Was there a scene where the Jews abducted someone and used their blood to make maztos? If so, I missed that scene.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:11 PM on September 9, 2011


Bulgaroktonos: " Not to down play the legitimate antisemitism in Passion of the Christ, but what was the "blood libel angle?"

Here.
posted by zarq at 2:24 PM on September 9, 2011


Zarq, that's not what's typically referred to as the "blood libel" (recent confusion possibly caused by Sarah Palin notwithstanding).
posted by Jahaza at 2:33 PM on September 9, 2011


Well, Apocalypto wouldn't be half as interesting if it weren't for the whole God sent the Spanish genocide to punish the Aztecs/Mayans/Whatever for their immoral ways takeaway at the end.

That's... certainly... one way to read the ending...
posted by P.o.B. at 2:34 PM on September 9, 2011


Jahaza: "Zarq, that's not what's typically referred to as the "blood libel" (recent confusion possibly caused by Sarah Palin notwithstanding)."

Read this, please.
posted by zarq at 2:38 PM on September 9, 2011


And no, there's no confusion. I'm familiar with both origins of the term and the other way it has been used to vilify Jews for hundreds of years.
posted by zarq at 2:38 PM on September 9, 2011


For clarification, Jahaza, see Chapter 27 of James Carroll's book Constantine's Sword: The Church and The Jews, entitled "Blood Libel" which is available at Google Books. Specifically, this sentence from page 272:

"The Blood Libel charges Jews with replaying the crucifixion of Jesus by murdering a Christian child, always a boy, and using his blood in perverse rituals that mock the Eucharist"
posted by zarq at 2:44 PM on September 9, 2011


"The Blood Libel charges Jews with replaying the crucifixion of Jesus by murdering a Christian child, always a boy, and using his blood in perverse rituals that mock the Eucharist"

Yeah, that's a fine definition of blood libel, but it doesn't happen in PotC; does anyone other than the Guardian understand blood libel in the way they define it? Because as far as I know, the term is only ever used to mean a charge that Jews use the blood of Christian (almost always children) in their religious rituals. The idea that Jews are have a collective guilt for the death of Christ is certainly antisemitic, and its related in the sense that they're both forms of Christian antisemitism, but it's not blood libel.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:52 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apocalypto was the best movie of 2006

This is the same 2006 with Volver in it, yes?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:56 PM on September 9, 2011


always a boy

yes, we are sexist as well!


I guess Apocalypto would have felt more incredibly offensively racist if 01) it hadn't been so ott and ridiculous and 02) the very name did not prompt you to immediately imagine an End Times ruled by Harry Belafonte.
posted by elizardbits at 2:56 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was actually referring to PotC rather than CotT, though I see how it applies...

I was so invested in 2006 movies that I couldn't for a second figure out why you were talking about Pirates of the Caribbean.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:03 PM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: "The idea that Jews are have a collective guilt for the death of Christ is certainly antisemitic, and its related in the sense that they're both forms of Christian antisemitism, but it's not blood libel."

I'm fine with agreeing to disagree. Especially since I have provided evidence to the contrary.
posted by zarq at 3:06 PM on September 9, 2011


Sorry. I'm not trying to be a dick. Just having a difficult day. Sorry.
posted by zarq at 3:10 PM on September 9, 2011


This is the same 2006 with Volver in it, yes?

I think we can all agree Apocalypto is not the BEST MOVIE EVAR, but I also don't think it's a stretch to say it was one of the best films that year.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:19 PM on September 9, 2011


Zarq, that Constantine's Sword definition seems like an OK one, but it actually agrees with me, Bulgaroktonos, and the ADL (my previous link).

Just trying to explain the confusion, the Guardian is using the term in a non-standard way.
posted by Jahaza at 3:29 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


*say it wasn't one of

Or, I do think it was one of best films that year.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:30 PM on September 9, 2011


I was so invested in 2006 movies that I couldn't for a second figure out why you were talking about Pirates of the Caribbean.

The obvious takeaway here is that Jack Sparrow is Jesus.
posted by kmz at 3:46 PM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was in an evangelistic Christian woman's shelter when Passion of the Christ came out. Everyone got to go for free , staff, clients, friends, friends of friends (I declined) . As I came to understand it 80+% of the movie audience in any given showing in the city that I was in was composed of free tickets given/financed by anonymous sources to church goers, friends, friends of friends .... whateveahs. The clients in the shelter came back from that movie .... disturbed. The vast majority of the audience going to that movie in the city that I was in at the time was essentially paid to see it.

Why (and how) is Mel Gibson still making movies?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 4:01 PM on September 9, 2011


This movie wouldn't get half the buzz and publicity it's getting (for free) if Mel Gibson and his history wasn't involved.

I don't think that's coincidence.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:33 PM on September 9, 2011


Foci for Analysis: Now Mel has no choice but to do the ultimate act of morality and kill.

OMG, Mel Gibson is Ender Wiggin!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:51 PM on September 9, 2011


>From the Wikipedia article on Judah: "Mindful of the superiority of Seleucid forces during the first two years of the revolt, Judah's strategy was to avoid any engagement with their regular army, and to resort to guerrilla warfare, in order to give them a feeling of insecurity."
Doesn't that seem similar to what Al Qaeda has done to the United States? Certainly the distraction of fear is omnipresent, even in every airport. And the redirection of resources to foreign lands has left the US with a crumbling infrastructure.


To me it sounds more like the situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:57 PM on September 9, 2011


Why (and how) is Mel Gibson still making movies?

Turns out that when you're worth in the mid-nine figures you can make a movie if you damn well want to.
posted by valkyryn at 4:03 AM on September 10, 2011


Mel Gibson and his brand of catholic don't have a problem with Pre-Jesus jews---perhaps he's looking for common ground in order to obsfucate his anti-semitism and bring more attention/legitmacy to his hatred for post-jesus jews.

He's a jerk.
posted by vitabellosi at 6:38 AM on September 10, 2011


Really, though. I think Gibson is a film away from just releasing two hours of context-free stabbings, impalings, beheadings, and primal war cries. I think he of all directors could pull it off.

I'd watch it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:49 PM on September 11, 2011


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