I overcame my addiction to TMZ a while back, but even I cannot look away from the train wreck that is Mel Gibson. It's so extreme it hardly seems possible. His behavior is not just terrible but wantonly and creatively bizarre, beyond anything my imagination could produce on my shakiest woman-on-the-verge day.
Can he save himself? I think so. He's a talented guy who used to have a lot of friends. Anyone who was a close friend of Jodie Foster's (as he was, I've heard) must have something going for him. I once went to the Tridentine Rite Mass at his private chapel in Malibu, and he seemed like an ordinary dad at the head of a big, normal family. He shook hands with people outside the church after Mass, the way you do, and I was impressed at how much it all felt like a regular Sunday outside the church I'd grown up in.
So yeah, I think he can save his career and salvage his life, if he wants to. If you've got ideas, leave them in the comments section.
1. Rehab and public repentance. The tried-and-true approach is the obvious one. It needs to be a real rehab, one of those places run by monks in the Irish countryside or the Arizona desert, and he needs to be gone for at least 90 days. When he gets out, he needs to spend another 90 days doing some kind of below-the-radar volunteer work, preferably with his older children, before saying anything in public. Then he can found a school or a hospital somewhere in Africa, and start the round of talk shows.
2. Be diagnosed with a brain tumor or other serious neurological illness. If it turns out that all of this bizarre behavior is because of a temporal lobe tumor, a previously undiagnosed brain injury, or early-onset Alzheimer's (which can lead to sudden, irrational rages), no apology will be necessary, and we'll forgive him and feel bad for him. Saving his career will be less important than saving his life, but at least we'll all be able to watch Chicken Run again with a clear conscience.
3. Announce that this has all been an elaborate social experiment, filmed as a documentary to be released at Sundance next year. Now, it's possible that Oksana Grigorievna didn't know that she was part of this experiment, which would make it all the longest-ever episode of "Punk'd." But Mel Gibson already had a reputation for taking practical jokes too far, so maybe that's what happened here. No? Too much of a stretch?
4. Have Oksana Grigorievna exposed as a Russian spy. Come on, during all these news reports about spies among us, didn't you take a minute to wonder about Mel Gibson's baby mama? Well, I did. Not that physical and verbal abuse would have been acceptable even if she were a spy, but desperate men can do desperate things, as we know from Mel Gibson's movies.
5. A staged death, followed by facial reconstruction surgery, a name change, and a new life as an independent film producer in Eastern Europe. He could just reinvent himself. He's a good actor, he can learn new languages and change his appearance. Sure, he's put a lot of time and effort into "Mel Gibson," but what is life if not the promise of constant self-reinvention? If he suddenly disappears, and we start hearing about a strangely compelling Polish actor-director making small movies about the Crusades, I'll know what happened.