June 18th, 2009

mel gibson

gip: it's mel!

Gratuitous icon post! A SOUTH PARK quote from their "Imaginationland" episode. And, um, Mel Gibson being crazy. He's a paranoid, bipolar, Jew-hating loon, but by God is he a brilliant filmmaker. I watched APOCALYPTO again last week; like BRAVEHEART, you do not look to it for anything vaguely approaching historical accuracy, but it's a truly magnificent action flick, with gorgeous cinematography and performances.

(Gibson and his co-screenwriter have a commentary on the movie which isn't great, but has some interesting features; Gibson points out local villagers who were cast in various small roles, and mentions their occupations.)

Looking back, the LETHAL WEAPON movies are a remarkable exercise in scene chemistry. Some actors just work off each other amazingly well for some reason. Gibson and Danny Glover are a case in point. I have no idea what their interaction is like in real life, but you couldn't find guys more opposite if you tried. Gibson's an extremely religious paleoconservative who's in church when he's not falling out of rehab or cheating on his (soon to be ex-)wife with everyone from Russian models to whores of every description, while Danny Glover is pretty much a communist who's never met a leftist dictator he didn't cuddle up to.

I kind of want to see them have an argument a conversation about acting and filmmaking, actually.
plane

the news from Iran

Like most people, I've been keeping as abreast of developments in Iran. Tomorrow will be the day that is make or break. The Ayatollah Khamenei made Mousavi an offer he couldn't refuse: "come to Friday prayers and stand beside me to pray for national unity." Who knew Khamenei was a Bob Marley fan? This is kind of like a One Love Peace Concert where Bob Marley is Michael Manley's biggest backer and if Edward Seaga doesn't shake hands Marley's got a shotgun ready.

I will say this: there have been a lot of amazing things coming out of this, but to me one of the most amazing was this video (warning: blood and trauma is visible at the end). That building is a Basij militia HQ. The people inside it have training and guns. The people outside it have righteous indignation. And they try to take the building. A mob of *unarmed people* tried storming a Basij militia HQ. That is some serious goddamn stones, friends. Even more amazing: they didn't immediately break and run when the Basij sent a guy up onto the roof with a rifle. He fires warning shots, and they hold, daring him to shoot them. Which he does. It's absolutely staggering that the people launched that assault. In the face of determination like that, it's not surprising that Mousavi told Khamenei to stuff his invitation. But that's how determined both sides are. They're all-in now. Everything depends on what the security forces do. If they're all willing to open fire on their own countrymen, it's over. If some of them flip, or a lot of them flip, then we have a whole new ballgame.

I've been disappointed with President Obama's handling of the situation, particularly in the beginning. I can understand wanting to play it low-key, but he played it *so* low-key that he pretty much appeared as if he didn't give a crap, which is the bad tack when you've got soldiers shooting protestors. He's slowly improving, but if this turns into an attempted Tienanmen, which I fully expect it will, he really needs to be ready to issue some strong statement.

The irony is that I don't expect Mousavi to be much of an improvement. Remember, one of the big clerics who's in his corner is Rafsanjani, who once famously remarked that Iran should nuke Israel, because even if Iran were obliterated by the retaliatory strike, it'd be okay, because there'd still be plenty of Muslims, but a hell of a lot fewer Jews. So there is not a lot of room for optimism. But I'm going to try to rustle up some hope.