Notable Cast: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Melinda Page Hamilton
Review: If there’s one word that describes Bobcat Goldthwait and his films, censored would be somewhere dwelling in the basement along with other descriptions like politically correct, safe, polite, and dull. I’ve been waiting for God Bless America some time now, and Goldthwait’s blatantly honest depiction of the decaying social value system in America emerges as somewhat of a spectacle. Why? A) God Bless America is straight up ballsy filmmaking. Goldthwait calls out every sector of mainstream America, unveiling the appalling motivations and hidden agendas behind such witless mindsets; not to mention the flat-out brainlessness found in the highest echelons of what we Americans consider “popularity.” B) God Bless America is honest filmmaking, heavy with Goldthwait’s growing distaste in cultural influences. Generations now find entertainment in cruelty while being polluted by the toxins spewed from talentless parasites idolized for degrading woman, marketing sex, promoting ignorance, and denouncing hard work. Goldthwait assaults the masses with middle finger after middle finger, but I’ll be damned if there isn’t some truth pushing Bobcat to extremes. God Bless America isn’t an anti-patriotic attack, but more an instigator for necessary change. In a world where Snooki can be a millionaire, reality shows lack any serious realism, fear is peddled to the masses, and douchefaces create the latest trends…enough is enough. While morbid and extreme, God Bless America is satirical genius and oddly charming. Bravo Bobcat. Disclaimer: In NO WAY condone a mass murder. Please let that be known.
Frank (Murray) watches day in and day out as civilization nose dives into nothingness. Corrosive television, un-educated hate mongers, and morons surround him. He’s divorced, has inconsiderate neighbors, and just got fired from work. And to top it all off, his doctor informs him a possibly lethal massive tumor has grown in his brain, causing painful migraines. With no hope and nothing to live for, Frank snaps. Why should a hard-working everyman like himself stand by idly as whiney teenagers degrade their parents on national TV for buying them the wrong car? Frank dusts off his old pistol and decides to go on one last tour, eradicating those who lost all sense of morality and contribute to the growing pool of utter zombies. But along the way he meets a fiery little pipsqueak named Roxy (Lynne Barr) who shares his same sense of distaste, joining him on his quest for peace on earth. Together, the two discuss everything that makes their skin crawl, the parties responsible, and punish those who deserve it most. Look out America, your harshest critics are about to hit the road…
Taking a “Case of the Mondays” to a whole new extreme…
I’ll dance with the moral dilemma later, but first let’s address Frank and Roxy’s relationship. Held together by common hatred, their adult/child chemistry together was rather sweet and sincere. Frank is portrayed by Joel Murray (Bill’s brother) who mostly made his mark with bit parts and one character appearances in past jobs, but embodies the schlub in every mannerism. Lesser known Tara Lynne Barr was a knockout every scene, playing off Murray’s more calm temperaments and laid back style. Roxy entertained as the energetic outcast and aspiring exterminator, approaching her violent new hobby with innocent childlike enthusiasm. The funniest moments to come out of God Bless America consisted of Frank and Roxy’s banter on what offenses are punishable by death, be it high-five enthusiasts or “Twi-hards,” giving us insight into both generation’s gripes. But with Frank as mentor and Roxy as comic relief, the duo make an enjoyable unlikely on-screen team. Roxy likens them to Bonnie and Clyde, but all I could think about was Mickey and Mallory Knox (Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers) with an actual agenda and minus the love relationship. Or picture if Big Daddy and Hit Girl (Kick-Ass) started using deadly vigilante justice on whomever they considered evil. Some would label them heroes, others anti-heroes, and yet others villains; but no matter which side you take, Murray and Lynne Barr lit up the screen with raw, fed up emotions hard to ignore.
Gob Bless Bobcat for his writing as well, not shying away from obvious characterizations of “famous” individuals. No blackened soul was spared, as Bobcat embraced his vision completely. A vision that pushes boundaries and is offensive to some as teenagers and the “innocent” are gunned down for the viewer’s enjoyment, sure to send conservatives into an over-reactive rage. The point to remember is simple: Gob Bless America remains a harmless movie and a venting mechanism for those sharing in Bobcat’s disdain. Does the spoiled rotten, bratty teen drama queen deserve to die before she morphs into another Paris Hilton type personality? Well… But Bobcat utilizes exploitation filmmaking rather eloquently to deliver a cold hard point, much like A Serbian Film did (in direction, not message obviously). Sure, Goldthwait could have envisioned some goofy comedy about fed up people just b*tching about the problems Frank and Roxy address, but c’mon, would that have been as fun and unique as God Bless America? Bobcat gets an A+ for sticking to his guns and penning a script that pulls every punch imaginable, setting the demented tone quickly in the opening scene. Like a mad scientist, Bobcat Goldthwait conjured a brutal reaction to the average lifestyle despite what mainstream viewers will ultimately judge, and damn right it works because the writer/director nurtured a dream from square one without sacrificing anything that sets God Bless America aside from bland social commentary.
Movies are supposed to be a release; a fabrication from imagination; a break from normality. Gob Bless America is all that and a bag of F&ck You brand potato chips. If you can’t see eye to eye with Goldthwait’s analysis of American’s tasteless, muddied culture, don’t expect any fun or epiphany type moments. If you happen to be one of the people targeted by Frank and Roxy, you’ll probably be quite vocal about Goldthwait’s “atrocity.” Make your own determinations if Goldthwait is insane or a leader. I’m reviewing a film, not preaching. God Bless America is intelligent beyond recognition given the vessel in which Bobcat deploys his rationale, unmasking the ugly beast in the heart of America. An ethical eye opener if you will. It’s a shame for every movie like God Bless America, there are a billion other media entries like those mocked in the film itself. Takes gusto to fight back, let’s just hope audiences are on Bobcat’s side…for his sake.
Final Rating: 8 dead scenesters out of 10
God Bless America…..