But there's a bigger issue: Do we want to give our money to Mel? Remember how his "Passion" stirred our passions? How this past summer, he ranted about us "f---- -- Jews," that we "started all the wars in the world"? Sure, he apologized - belatedly, but the reaction of Barbara Walters, that icon of Jewish morality and daytime talk show host, was typical: "I don't think I want to see any more Mel Gibson movies."
Mel then begged, "There will be many in that [Jewish] community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed." Relax, Mel and Babs. The door is never closed -- except maybe on a hit movie's opening weekend. This revelation came to me a couple of years ago, when I watched "The Passion" -- after buying a ticket to a different movie.
At the time, I wished I could say my strategy was heaven-sent to me in a dream -- just like the dreams of those 17th- and 18th-century nuns Mel relied on for his "facts" about Jesus' life, e.g., dark demons always hover around Jewish children. But my "skipping-in" (teen slang for the practice) to see "The Passion" was just the result of a last minute impulse to avoid funding anti-Semitism. The moral issues gnawed at me, though. I had paid to see "Miracle," an inspiring movie about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, but I watched "The Passion," a religious splatter film. It seemed wrong. And I couldn't look to history for answers, because this issue was possible only with the invention of the Cineplex.
But this past summer, I saw Mel's drunken tirade as a definite sign that my skipping impulse was indeed a godsend -- although Mel would probably think the devil made me do it.
In addition to the cosmic justice evaluation, being a lawyer I also felt compelled to analyze it from a legal perspective. Although I haven't read any fine print on the back of the movie ticket, I think I might have breached my theater ticket contract. But whom did I damage? Mel got stiffed, but my ticket contract was only with the theater, so he has no claim against me. The film crew and actors still received payment, and that's good. Further, because the theater received the full ticket price, it has no damages, so it can't sue me either. Conclusion: If Mel has a complaint, he needs to take it up with the theater chain. So God and the law are on my side. Is that cool -- or what?
Of course I realize this type of astute legal analysis is what gives lawyers and Jews a bad name. And that's the last thing I want to do. So, if Mel sues me, I will waive these defenses, confess judgment and pay him his cut of my $11 ticket. I may even tip the process server.
But with "Apocalypto" opening Friday, only a few months after his anti-Semitic tirade, what's a Jew to do? Should Mel's apologies get him a free pass? Maybe I'm just stiff-necked, but I don't think he's really sorry; I think he just wanted us to see "Apocalypto." So we can see the movie, but we should send him the message that we're still feeling hurt by using my proven Mel Movie Strategy.
If the Mel Movie Strategy succeeds for me, he will be out another $5 or so. If 1,000 people do it, he'll be out a few grand. If hundreds of thousands succeed with it, he'll be out about half-a-mil. But if 6 million Jews skip-in to see "Apocalypto," Mel's father will deny it ever happened, and Mel probably won't believe it either.
On the other hand, if cineplex personnel catch you in the act, just explode in a fit of profanity. Slur and drool and scream at the usher, "You a Goy? F---in' Goyim, they launched the Crusades and Inquisition, and hey, Santa Claus never brings me presents, that fat anti-Semitic slob...."
A few days later, apologize -- in a press release.
Of course, if Mel wants to avoid this entire skipping problem, he should send Babs, me and every Member of the Tribe he can find complimentary tickets to see "Apocalypto." 'Tis the season, and it would be a real sign of goodwill. But if he wants nothing to do with us, that would be understandable.
We will find consolation in the fact that that door is almost never closed. ______________________________
'Apocalypto' trailer as remixed by SNL.
Click on the big arrow in the middle to view.