What Happens When Your Day Job Goes Viral? Ask Dean Richards.

I’m not exactly on his Christmas Card List but I know Dean Richards.  I’ve been interviewed by him a few times on WGN TV and radio where, to my eternal gratitude, he treated me fairly, even kindly.  We’ve talked about Super Bowl commercials and new movies and new forums where advertisers place their messages and each time, he was prepared, on point and informed.  In short, I think he’s a good guy: a fair critic and a straight shooter.

Of course now, the public at large can weigh in–even the public far beyond the massive audience reached by WGN, the “Super Station.”  Because Tuesday, Dean interviewed Mel Gibson and instead of just tossing up meaningless softball questions, he had the temerity to ask Gibson whether his hugely publicized outbursts of anti-Semitism, misogyny and drunkenness might effect the reception of his new movie.  Mel didn’t take that line of questioning very kindly.  Watch the clip here.

I once liked Mel Gibson–in fact, I liked him a lot.  I saw all three Road Warrior movies on the big screen, starting with Mad Max way back in 1979 at the 120 seat Derry Theater in Hershey, PA.  He seemed cool and funny and full of piss and vinegar.  As he mugged his mullet through the seemingly endless Lethal Weapon series, his bug-eyed, masochistic intensity act had started wearing dangerously thin.  By the time he was revelling in the disembowelment of William Wallace, I had moved on.  I missed his whole Jesus act and the subsequent Apocalypto ‘I don’t act in English’ period.

Unfortunately, I did catch the “Sugartits” and “F’ing Jew” comments that went along with one of his Malibu DUI’s.  And that felt unconscionably ugly.  Still, as Mel contends in his comments to Dean, that was over four years ago.  Given the intensity of the trailer for Edge of Darkness, I was almost over my hesitation and ready to plop down my ten bucks.

But not anymore.  The guy’s just a jerk.  And now Dean is caught up in his freakshow, because everyone seems to be watching this clip.  That’s the thing about viral videos-they’re like car wrecks you can summon up any time of the day when the mood hits.  And Dean’s now part of the latest Mel Gibson car wreck.  What a bummer.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


Tim says:

With all due respect, I disagree. Since when did it become appropriate for a movie critic to question the personal development of an actor (” .. do you feel you are a better person..”) by dredging up the sordid history of his personal life. I have to believe that either (1) Mel (or “his people”) specifically asked that these issues not be raised or (2) Dean Richards is smart enough to know that this question might provoke and emotional response. Either way, no matter how innocently he couched it in his questions, Dean was trying to be provocative and he succeeded. Let’s turn the tables – would it be appropriate for Mel Gibson to bring up some ancient personal troubles in Dean’s life and ask him whether people are ready to accept his views as a critic. Of course not, and just because Mel was the interviewee and his troubles well know doesn’t change the answer. It was bad form on Dean’s part and he got an appropriate response.

PS – Mel’s best movie is Conspiracy Theory