I don't have to tell you that Mel Gibson has been in the news lately. I have noticed that he photos people are using in the news stories are terribly unflattering. Everyone seems to like using the photos of Gibson with the scary long beard. So I thought I would take a moment to bring us back to an earlier time -- say, the late 1970s -- when Gibson was this good-looking Australian actor who starred in some gritty, cool post-apocalyptic movies: Mad Max (shown above) and its sequel The Road Warrior. (Please, spare me your attempts at humor linking the titles of these movies with Gibson's recent unpleasantness.)
Mad Max, directed by George Miller, is set in Australia in a grim future. Gibson plays a cop out for revenge on a nasty motorcycle gang. I haven't seen the original film, but I saw The Road Warrior in college in 1988 and enjoyed it. At that time, Gibson was still a pretty-boy action/adventure star who'd just hit it big in the first Lethal Weapon movie. If you'd told people then that the actor would someday direct a movie about Christ's life, everyone would have laughed and gone back to arguing about The Last Temptation of Christ. The Road Warrior is one of the only movies Gibson has been involved with that I've liked, along with Chicken Run and (guiltily) Maverick, and the stills from the first two Mad Max movies evoke in me a warm sense of nostalgia for Gibson's early days.