It wasn’t such a Good Friday for ol’ “Father Stu.”
The panned Mark Wahlberg-Mel Gibson “faith” film scored just $1.6 million at the box office. The weekend total should be around $8 million, which doesn’t indicate much faith from filmgoers.
But what many people have not gleaned is that “Father Stu,” written by Gibson’s girlfriend and baby mama, Rosalind Ross, allows Gibson to mock his critics.
You may recall Gibson’s famous 2006 arrest in Malibu for drunk driving. That’s when he told the arresting officer, who was Jewish, that “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!”
We subsequently learned about Gibson’s beliefs — and his father’s — that the Holocaust never happened, or as he put it to Peggy Noonan in a later interview: “I mean when the war was over they said it was 12 million. Then it was six. Now it’s four. I mean it’s that kind of numbers game …”
Gibson’s father also wrote for neo-Nazi publications until his death recently at age 100. To Diane Sawyer on ABC, Gibson refused to criticize his father for his anti-Semitic writings. There’s also the matter of Gibson’s privately owned church in Malibu that doesn’t accede to the Pope or the diocese and persists in the belief that “the Jews killed Christ.”
So what have Gibson and Ross done now? In “Father Stu,” Gibson gets to put the words “Hitler” and the Anti-Defamation League into one joke. According to reviews, his character observes that the main character, Stu, a boxer played by Wahlberg, wanting to join the priesthood, is “like Hitler asking to join the ADL.”
So nothing has changed, you see. Gibson thinks the whole idea of his anti-Semitism remains a big joke. For the former Oscar winner to think a line like that is appropriate with his history means in mind he’s gotten away with the whole thing.
“Father Stu” is supposed to go to Netflix after its failure here. I hope they change their minds.