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Mel Gibson's Christmas Times Three

Wednesday, 15 December 2004 12:00 AM

THE LEFT COAST REPORT
A Political Look at Hollywood

Mel Gibson's Christmas Times Three

This is the time of year where generosity abounds. One gift from a Hollywood star has forever changed the lives of three little boys from Ecuador.

Eight-year-old Daniel tired quickly and couldn't play soccer with his friends. Nine-year-old Luis was half the size of the other children his age, and his heart was enlarged to such an extent he was thought to have only one month to live.  And 11-year-old William was on the brink of heart failure.

Things are different now thanks to actor-director Mel Gibson's $10 million gift to two Southern California hospitals.

Earlier this year Gibson donated $5 million to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and its "Healing the Children" program. Along with this gift he gave another $5 million to The Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA.

Gibson's generosity is what made it possible for the three ailing boys to be brought over from Ecuador for cardiothoracic surgery at Cedars-Sinai.

All three boys are expected to be able to return home to be with their families and friends, their newly repaired hearts no doubt beating joyfully as they celebrate a hopeful future. 

The Left Coast Report relays that folks see Mel Gibson as an actor, director, producer and writer, but now in Ecuador he's also known as Senor Santa.

Mike, Michael & Mickey

Showtime is developing a two-hour flick tentatively titled "Two Blind Mikes."

The film is about the strange relationship between Michael Eisner and Mike Ovitz and will tell the story of how two Hollywood powerbrokers went from friends to foes.

Writer Frederic Raphael is scripting the Showtime movie. He's the same guy who co-wrote "Eyes Wide Shut" with Stanley Kubrick.

Interestingly, a trial concerning the firing of Ovitz is just about to conclude.  The legal wrangling began when shareholders of Disney filed a lawsuit against the directors for circumstances surrounding the decision in 1997 to sack Ovitz.

The shareholders were upset because the Disney board gave Ovitz a "no fault" termination along with severance worth $140 million ... after 14 months of employment.  They were seeking to get the money back, claiming that since Ovitz did such a rotten job running the company he should have been canned "for cause."

The Left Coast Report hears that Ovitz's settlement allows him to keep his Mickey Mouse ears.

Mr. Bean Talks Speech Suppression

A law in the works that claims to eliminate religious hatred has an unusual and boisterous opponent. 

It's comedic actor Rowan Atkinson, a.k.a. Mr. Bean.
 
Atkinson is standing shoulder to shoulder with Christian groups in a campaign against the bill.

Although his alter ego is typically soft spoken, Atkinson is bold and articulate in his belief that the measure passing through the U.K.'s Parliament will suppress free expression.

"Freedom of expression must be protected for artists and entertainers," Atkinson said, and "we must not accept a bar on the lampooning of religion and religious leaders."

British law already has provisions that prohibit speech assaulting race or ethnic origin. Atkinson and other critics of the new measure say that extending this prohibition to religion isn't necessary and could be dangerous.

"There is an obvious difference between the behavior of racist agitators who can be prosecuted under existing laws and the activities of satirists and writers who may choose to make comedy or criticism of religious belief, practices or leaders," Atkinson declared, noting that "it is one of the reasons why we have free speech."

The Left Coast Report says who knew that all that heady stuff was contained inside Mr. Bean's bean.

Mischa Barton Rebuffs Fad Faiths

With the success of sleaze-lite "Desperate Housewives and "edgy" HBO fare," "The O.C." is pondering ways to draw more viewers.

Rumors are rampant that the writers are cooking up lesbian scenes for Mischa Barton's character. It seems as if some in Hollywood are moving toward make such scenes mandatory.

Meanwhile, Barton has indicated that she's not a follower of Hollywood's fad faiths. The sought-after actress can't stand what she calls "show-business religions."

She won't be striking a yoga pose with Barbra Streisand any time soon. Nor is it likely that she'll be tagging along to Kabbalah Center with Madonna or Gwyneth.

"I'm not one of these people really into the latest fetishes like yoga or the Kabbalah. I can't imagine anything worse than wearing a trendy red bracelet around my arm and running around saying, 'I'm at peace with myself,'" Barton explained.

The Left Coast Report finds it interesting that the people who don't need to proclaim that they're at peace with themselves usually are the ones who really are.

Blasphemy Play

A play called "Corpus Christi" is raising the ire of Christians. Foes say it presents Jesus Christ in a blasphemous manner.

The work, by Terence McNally, is being staged at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Stephen Green of a group called Christian Voice told BBC Radio that Christ is portrayed in the play as "a foulmouthed, drunken, promiscuous homosexual." He characterized it as "an insult to my faith."

Green's group protested outside the theater and asked police to close the play.

"If there is a blasphemy like this, Christians have to stand up," Green said.

The play's director, Zsuzsi Lyndsay, denied part of the accusation, saying that Christ "is not portrayed as a drunken foulmouth. He doesn't say one bad word throughout the play."

The Left Coast Report is tired of seeing blasphemy against non-Christian faith being condemned as intolerant while blasphemy against Christian faith is hailed as high art.

 

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Wednesday, 15 December 2004 12:00 AM
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