I think it’s safe to say that very few movie stars have seen their careers decline like that of Mel Gibson. I also think it’s safe to say that some of his past actions, framed or not, have been terrible. Personally I think Mel Gibson became a target and he doused fuel to the fire with some horrible behavior brought on by his alcoholism. But personal past conduct aside, I still think Gibson is a great actor and I really miss seeing him on the big screen. Today’s Phenomenal 5 is looking at some of Gibson’s best movies. If you think about it Gibson put out a lot of good films so I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there is no denying that these five Mel Gibson movies are absolutely phenomenal.
#5 – “Lethal Weapon”
I have heard 1987’s “Lethal Weapon” called the quintessential action buddy movie. I think a good argument could be made for that. “Lethal Weapon” encapsulated almost everything that was great about the 80s action movie genre. But while the action was great, the movie excelled thanks to the great chemistry between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The two played polar opposite characters but the actors played off of each other in perfect and sometimes chaotic harmony. “Lethal Weapon” had laughs, charisma, and some great action. Lots of fun.
#4 – “Braveheart”
Mel Gibson made a lot great impressions both as an actor and director with his 1995 epic “Braveheart”. Huge in scope and ambition, “Braveheart” was a movie that was incredibly immersive. It was filled with beautiful landscapes and tremendous battle scenes. But it was also anchored by a fantastic personal story of William Wallace. Gibson would win the Oscar for Best Director but he also gave a tremendous lead performance. It’s definitely one of the actor’s best films.
#3 – “The Beaver”
After his personal troubles many felt that Mel Gibson may never work again. But his close and dear friend Jodie Foster pushed for him to play the role of a mentally troubled husband and father in “The Beaver”. Gibson was absolutely amazing. He gives a genuine performance and it feels as if he’s pulling from real places in his life. “The Beaver” is a smaller movie but Gibson’s performance and great chemistry with his friend Foster is a joy to watch. Many people may have skipped or missed out on “The Beaver”. It’s a movie that deserves to be seen.
#2 – “The Road Warrior”
It was Mel Gibson’s second stint as the post-apocalyptic rebel Mad Max that introduced me to the actor. Even with the host of great movies he has made since then, “The Road Warrior” continues to be one of my very favorites of his. He’s definitely not required to be the most emotionally layered character you’ll find. But there is such an undeniable toughness and charisma in his performance. Gibson has the snarl, the look, and the grit to sell the role. And then there is the great vehicular action sequences that are still awesome today.
#1 – “The Patriot”
When you take “The Patriot” as a whole it may not be the most convincing movie. But in terms of cinematic storytelling I love it. Director Roland Emmerich has a very sketchy filmography, but this is far and away his best picture mainly because of Mel Gibson. Gibson is committed and charismatic and he gives us one of his most layered and emotionally complex characters. He also works so well with the assortment of great supporting characters. None are better than his spirited father/son relationship with Heath Ledger. Tons of drama, some great action, and a rich and sometimes heart-wrenching family story. I’m a big fan of this film.
So there are my Mel Gibson films. What say you? I would love to hear what you think I missed or what I got right. Just let me know in the comments section below.