By Scott Brown
September 25, 2006 at 07:33 PM EDT

Clear the thoroughfares, hide the liquor and the Hebrews. The Mel Gibson Roadshow may be coming to your town — if your town plays host to either a) a slightly off-grid film festival or b) a Native American casino. True to form, the actor-turned-
culture-warrior is taking a working print of his latest opus, the Mayan eschatology seminar Apocalypto, straight to the people — and throwing in a little controversy to spice things up. Because God knows, Mel’s publicity ain’t spicy enough already.

But hold on, it’s not the controversy you’re thinking of. Mel didn’t do a dramatic reading of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion with a spooky flashlight under his chin. He’s got a brand new bag: Opposing the Iraq War. Addressing the audience at Fantastic Fest, in Austin, Texas, regarding the human sacrifice angle of Apocalypto, he said, ”What’s human sacrifice, if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?” There’s a powerful message here: Mel Gibson hates war at least as much as he hates Jews.

addCredit(“Apocalypto: Andrew Cooper”)

Even though Mel is clearly peddling Apocalypto to Native Americans by screening it in their casinos, don’t think he’s forgotten about his evangelical base. The thrust of his Fantastic Fest address was that Apocalypto was about End Times and a degenerate society in decline — just like ours, he suggested. The brimstone’s still there, don’t you worry.

Oh, and I almost forgot: The movie got a partial standing ovation. Wouldn’t it be easier if it just sucked outright? Too bad we live in a complicated world, where crazy, even despicable people often make really interesting art. But for the hardened anti-Melites out there, how good would the buzz have to be to make you see this thing?