Mel Gibson is a polarizing figure in Hollywood. On one hand, you’ve got Braveheart Mel, world-renown actor and Scotland’s favorite son, and on the other, piss drunk “Jews are responsible for all the wars in this world” Mel.
Every rose has its thorns, and 61-year old Mel Gibson is no different.
Effectively blackballed from Hollywood for a decade after a tape of him talking reckless during a DUI arrest went viral, the fatwa on Gibson was lifted during 2016, in lock-step with the release and critical acclaim of Hacksaw Ridge, the Oscar-winning WWII epic he directed about Spiderman (Andrew Garfield, not Tobey Maguire) fighting bad guys using only Band-Aids.
Jokes aside, the film is based on the real-life exploits of Desmond T Doss, the only contentious objector to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II. Epic stuff, and the perfect vehicle for Mel Gibson’s re-introduction to Hollywood.
In recognition of Mel Gibson’s return from exile, let’s look at his top 5 grossing films of all-time.
5. Ransom (1996) – $309 Million
Gibson plays a self-made millionaire whose son is kidnapped and held for ransom. The kidnappers demand $2 million, which, spoiler alert: they don’t get. Don’t steal from Mel Gibson.
4. Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) – $322 Million
Mel is back as Martin Riggs in the third installment of Lethal Weapon. This action comedy isn’t a paradigm shifter, but it is better than Lethal Weapon 4.
3. What Women Want (2000) – $374 Million
Gibson plays an ad exec who can read women’s minds in this fantasy romance comedy, arguably a less ridiculous plot than Mel’s real-life story arc as a flawed genius Jew-hating drunk entertainment tycoon with nine children and his own private island.
2. Signs (2002) – $408 Million
Mel plays a preacher who starts seeing spooky things in his cornfield. It’s a good thing Gibson delivered a memorable performance, because Signs was the last good movie M Night Shymalan ever directed.
1. The Passion of the Christ (2004) – $612 Million
Mel Gibson’s piece de resistance; a two-hour snuff film about the series of unfortunate events that was the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life. Gibson doubled down on the Bible on this one, personally financing the film’s production and distribution while netting himself somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million.
The fact that Hacksaw Ridge, a Mel Gibson-directed movie, won two Oscars in 2016 (albeit for film editing and sound mixing) is proof positive that second chances do exist in Hollywood.
We’re in an era where a new scandal seems to break daily; uncharted waters, it would seem. But we’ve been here before. People have been misbehaving forever; society’s tether to the internet and insatiable appetite for celebrity have just resulted in sensory overload, disorienting us. But we’ve seen how the scandal cycle plays out. Sometimes you don’t bounce back. Jared from Subway’s endorsing days are over. But, pending the severity of your crime and the magnitude of your talent, you can get a do-over. Just look at Mel Gibson.