Monday, March 26, 2007

Swing Away Merrill

Time for a rant.

In case anyone was unsure, here are a few epiphanies:

Not all German soldiers were evil Nazis.
Not all cowboys were gunslingers.
Not all Muslims are terrorists.
Not all Southerners are dumb.
Not all Asians know martial arts.

While it's true that any number of movies would tend to indicate otherwise we, as the movie going public, are smart enough to know that a movie is simply that: a movie. If we want absolute truth, we'll go see a documentary, and even that truth can be questionable, unreliable or one-sided. The people who actually believe what they see in a movie are of little concern because everyone who knows them thinks they're 'a little off' already. So, basically, even the dumbest person (Southerners included) knows that a movie is just a movie and most of the content is fabricated for our enjoyment (even when the movie starts out with: Based on a true story).

So, if I go see a movie (which I did), that deals with a group of guys that get captured and are faced with being sacrificed and all of them are Mayan and the time period is near the end of the Mayan civilization, later, when the movie's over and I walk out of the theater I'm not thinking, "Wow, those Mayans were some bloodthirsty sacrificing lunatics with a serious penchant for violence - no wonder their civilization collapsed and all of their descendants are in gangs," instead I'm thinking, "Wow - what a cool MOVIE" (which I did). I didn't seriously consider the accurate historical representation anymore than I seriously considered applying to Hogwarts after seeing the first Harry Potter film, or joining the rebel alliance after seeing Star Wars. Accurate isn't as much fun as fabricated.

The only reason I bring this up is because of this article I read where Alicia Estrada, an assistant professor of Central American studies, accused Mel Gibson of misrepresenting the Mayan culture in his movie, Apocalypto. Apparently Gibson was answering questions from the crowd at California State University, Northridge, when the professor decided to start questioning his historical research for his movie. According to the article, Gibson directed an expletive at the woman, who was removed from the crowd. Now, of course, she wants an apology. My favorite part comes from another article that says as she was being escorted out of the room, Gibson shouted, "Make your own movie!" That is too funny.

I'm sorry - I just think it's time to leave Mel alone. He's already been told he can't say whatever he wants when he's drunk and now somebody's trying to tell him he's wrong for making a movie (with his own money) the way he wants to make it. It might be different if the entire scientific community agreed on the Mayan culture, but it doesn't, and while one group might want to say that the Mayan people were not as violent as they were depicted in the film, another group might say that they were but only during a different time period. (I can't say one way or the other but I'm sure I'm not the only person who recalls that Mesoamerican Ballgame where the losing captain would have his head cut off.) The reality is, it doesn't really matter who's right or wrong, we're still only talking about a movie. Fiction. Fantasy. Pretend.

I think I'm simply growing tired of all the bitching, whining and 'political correctness.' I think Mel should be able to take his own money and make whatever kind of freakin' movie he wants to make and if people don't like it, don't go see it. Simple. I also think that Mel should be allowed to say whatever he wants (drunk or sober) without having all of the 'super righteous' people swoop down on him from their ivory towers and while I may not agree with the things that he says, I firmly believe that, in this country, he still has, for now, the right to say them and that fact was reaffirmed with the defeat of all those evil Nazis.


Chris said...

I couldn't agree more.

John Taylor said...

hi chris-
Thanks. It's good to know there are other practical people out there.