It’s time to come clear. I liked the movie Daddy’s Home. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t even particularly good. Still, I laughed. When they announced that Mel Gibson was joining the cast of the sequel, i didn’t know what to think. Mel Gibson is a horrible person. A shameful piece of trash. And yet, because Hollywood, he’s allowed to continue making movies.
But I was torn. I enjoyed the first and was excited by the idea of the second. But in seeing it, I was supporting a horrible human. I’m a big believer in not separating the art from the artist (but, let’s be honest, this movie is not art). What was I to do?
In the end, I made the wrong choice as in a moment of boredom last week I used my MoviePass card to go see Daddy’s Home Two. I felt bad about it throughout. There were a handful of funny moments in the movie (all of which were centered on Will Ferrell and John Lithgow, none of which included Mel). Then something happened. Something so horrible offensive that I can’t believe it made it into a movie at any time, from anyone–let alone in 2017, from the mouth of Mel Gibson.
Let me set the stage. Gibson plays Mark Wahlberg’s dad in the movie, who shows up at random and begins giving terrible advice to his grandchildren. That includes helping his young grandson in approaching the girl he likes.
His advice is to both kiss and spank on the behind this girl he hasn’t actually had a conversation with. He’s advocating what is a sexual assault between two children. He gives the boy this advice a couple of times in the film, regardless of the fact that–again–the kid hasn’t actually talked to the girl. There’s been no consent, no true interest shown by the girl–nothing. This is a boy “discovering” the opposite sex for the first time and his grandfather tells him the best course of action is to assault them.
And, if you think that’s as bad as it gets, you’ve clearly not seen Daddy’s Home Two.
Cut to the end of the film, when he gives the boy the advice the final time and the grandson decides to finally take it. The girl is standing under the mistletoe and now is his shot. So he goes to her and, as it turns out, the girl is interested! She puckers up as he approached. However, the boy walks right past her and instead kisses his own stepsister. Then spanks her.
The girl he was talking about the entire time was his stepsister, who likewise not only did not consent but never showed any interest in the kid. She literally spent the entire movie on her phone…except for the one time she was drunk in a living nativity. Yeah, it’s a weird movie.
Anyway, what’s the reaction to this action? At first everyone is surprised. Then, however, it’s treated as sort of funny and adorable. It’s not. It’s neither of those things. It’s offensive. And then the movie doubles down. As everyone the movie begins coming to a close, the stepsister and the boy’s real sister line up every little girl in a very crowded movie theater to kiss the boy one-by-one.
This all happens in the span of maybe five minutes and I did not understand what was happening. And to have it all happen due to prodding from Mel Gibson, a man with a history of domestic violence, racism and anti-semitism, is so profoundly troubling. It’s not okay. That any filmmaker included this in their film is not okay.
And the easy defense would be “Yeah, but what else would you expect from something like a Daddy’s Home sequel?” That’s not the answer. No movie should feature an adult encouraging a child to essentially assault another child. It’s insane that this happened. That it happened in the current culture is even more mind-boggling.
And in the end I’m most disappointed with myself. I can’t believe I went to see that movie. I’m part of the problem and I hate it.