Movie commercials offer us a great service; they not only show us which upcoming movies look good, but also which upcoming movies look like Hitler Turds (turds that waste no energy being anywhere except directly beneath your nose). In honor of this profound art, which I partake in from time to time, I give you TRAILER TRACKS, a weekly examination of upcoming movie commercials: what they say, what they don’t say, and what they say accidentally about the product being sold to you, the excited chump.

This week’s entry:
The Beaver
(Summit; Dir. Jodie Foster)

After the monumental success of I’m Still Here, I guess they decided to try the same thing with Mel Gibson in hopes that they, too, could later call his whole life a hoax.

The Setup
We all heard the tapes where Mel Gibson called Jodie Foster lots of mean names and said lots of mean things about his best friend, Murtaugh. We all pretty much decided forever that he was a bad man. This documentary illustrates his interesting strategy to nuzzle his way back into our hearts. I suppose it speaks highly of him that his own wife, the object of his public scorn, helmed the project. But, honestly, I just don’t know about that Jodie Foster…I just don’t know.

Anyway, Mel Gibson’s idea is to speak to the world exclusively through a puppet. People like puppets. They’re cute. If he keeps it on his hand at all times, perhaps some of that cuteness will rub off on him, or at least rub on to everyone’s perception of him.

But because Mel Gibson is Mel Gibson, it’s a real uphill battle. First off, Gibson doesn’t actually go shopping for the best puppet. According to the trailer, he just picks one out of the trash. But everybody knows the only trash-puppet that amounted to anything was Oscar the Grouch, and he’s not even all that nice. Furthermore, he doesn’t give his trash-puppet a cutesy voice, but rather an alarmingly Australian cigarette voice. The Beaver’s words sound like air occasionally spackled with moist moon dirt. He wants to use the puppet as a filter for all his negativity, but I don’t think it works because the puppet scares the shit out of me. That doesn’t even get into the small fact that every time I hear “The Beaver” I automatically think of June Cleaver’s vagina.

On the other hand, it could work simply because there’s nothing more humbling and pathetic than silently handing people a card that explains your crazy bullshit and having to sit there patiently while they slowly read it out loud, incredulous anger rising with every word. Sure, when they say, “This is some stupid shit right here,” they have to address it to the trash-puppet. But there’s no way Mel Gibson’s little heart doesn’t hear it.

The Problem
If people in the trailer are constantly pushing the trash-puppet aside because they see it as nothing but a gimmicky way for Mel Gibson to distance himself from responsibly answering straightforward questions, then the general public will probably have an equal reaction. We get no moments where the people important to him actually speak to the trash-puppet like they would in a semi-sad Steve Martin Short movie, so I guess we’re not going the softy-cutesy route. Then again, the trash-puppet somehow becomes a merchandising success, which sidesteps everything we want to discuss in favor of a self-written subplot no one gives a shit about.

But the real problem is, what happens if The Beaver works? Will the kids tell The Beaver their problems, only to make Mel Gibson shut up when he tries to offer his own advice? Will Jodi Foster let The Beaver take her out on a date and make Mel Gibson close his eyes and listen to AC/DC while she has sex with The Beaver? How much of that can Mel Gibson take before embarking on another verbal rampage?

The Solution
People who’ve seen this documentary say it has a surprisingly dark ending. I guess that means The Beaver works and everyone forgives poor Mel Gibson. I prefer the rumored family-friendly happy ending where Mel Gibson cuts off his own hand only to realize he put the knife in the Beaver hand on accident, thus making his entire life a reality-show remake of Titus Andronicus.

Whatever happens to Mel Gibson, I doubt it will have any affect on my ability to watch Lethal Weapon 1-5 whenever I feel like it. Or Conspiracy Theory. I think that one’s pretty good, too. Oh, and The Road Warrior.  Mel Gibson’s fucking awesome, and I wish him the best.