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God Bless America

A 2012 film written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

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Bobcat Goldthwait puts our darkest fantasies onto the screen.

  • Jul 14, 2012
*** out of ****

Have you ever stared into the glowing box that is your television and realized that the other box that serves as its central drive - the cable box - is filled with so much utter shit? Have you ever wanted to just shoot that one asshole dead who takes up two parking spots in the lot with a single car? Have you ever felt as if the world just doesn't give a shit anymore? All of these things seem to apply to Bobcat Goldthwait, whose "God Bless America" is a delightfully demented ode to the disturbing fantasies that are born from our hatred for our own nation's simple-minded culture. Goldthwait takes on reality television (or just mindless television in general), ignorant celebrities, the wealthy, the Westborough Baptist Church (although the people in the film holding the "God Hates Fags" signs are never directly named), and just about anyone or anything else you can think of that would possibly piss someone off. Truth is, every culture has its pros and cons; although this is a deeply cynical film that disregards the pros all-together and only seeks to focus on the cons.

Sad sack Frank Murdoch (Joel Murray) has had enough. Divorced, lonely, and depressed; he sits in his apartment every night staring into his flat-screen, trying to block out the cries of the baby next door. He wakes up after a rather bleak night of TV-watching to a Bad Day. If you don't know what makes a Bad Day oh-so-bad, take Frank's situation for example: he is fired from his job for sending flowers to the woman at the front desk, and then goes to the doctor's office to check up on problems he's been having with migraines, only to be informed by the profanity-spewing doctor that he is terminally ill. Frank returns home and intends to put a bullet in his head to end it all. But then, he sees something on television that is something of a revelation for him; a spoiled rich high school girl who - with her stupid parents - is the star of a reality television program. Frank steals his neighbor's car and drives to the girl's high school, where he locks her in the car that her parents got her but she doesn't even want and shoots her right in the face.

Another high school girl named Roxy (Tara Lynn Barr) witnessed the murder. Instead of disgust, she expresses awe. She follows Frank to the motel where he's staying, manages to persuade him to not kill himself and instead kill the parents of the girl he murdered earlier, and then works her way into the role of his accomplice. From then on, the two go on a killing spree in which the victims are just about anyone around them who comes off as stupid or ignorant. They've certainly got range; everyone from cruel television political commentator to the judges on a program that very closely resembles a meaner version of "American Idol". Frank just wants to spread a message across America; that our culture - our country - is deteriorating, and not enough people recognize it.

Indeed, this is going to anger a lot of the people who watch it. Goldthwait clearly didn't make this film for everyone to enjoy. He made it (1.) for himself and (2.) for those who are at least somewhat like him and share his skewered sense of humor and critical views of our society. Nobody can argue with the points that the film is making; although whether you and its morals are on the same page, well, that's up to just how much you loath popular culture. Goldthwait is a perfectly sane human being and I imagine he would never do any of what his characters do in the film, but sometimes the movies are exactly the place to voice the things we would like to do but are amoral. So there you have it. I know that I've definitely fantasized about the things these characters do, but would I ever actually do them? No, because it's amoral; and this film is amoral, but at least it has the self-respect and pride to know it. If it attempted to provide its story with a moral core, it wouldn't have worked as well as it does.

The film probably sets out to make the audience uncomfortable. The relationship between Roxy and Frank is strange; she doesn't see anything wrong with having sex with an older man, although he explains to her that he can kill a high school girl but not fuck one. Seems logical enough to me; this in itself is yet another criticism of our morals. In entertainment, we see that a lot; sex treated as if it's worse than violence, especially in cinema. I suppose the two get along in a strictly platonic relationship because they are both a couple of freaks; and to understand a freak, you kind of have to be one. The film is laden with entertaining dialogue that skillfully illustrates Goldthwait's opinions. You don't have to agree with them, and he does a lot of preaching; but at the same time, I agree with everything he says. Unless, of course, that counts going on a killing spree because you hate society. This film probably won't inspire anyone. But if it does, it's because these things did not originate from the movie itself. Maybe it's time for America to wake the hell up, for only then can I say God Bless.

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More God Bless America reviews
review by . July 06, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I have said it before that I really do not enjoy writing up a synopsis of movies that I review but the beautiful thing about "God Bless America" is that I will definitely enjoy telling you exactly what its about as I have come to relate to the film's protagonist on so many levels. Now I really love dark comedies because for some odd reason they share and divulge into the blunt truth and shows how people truly feel. I honestly feel like they even open eyes to the weirdos of the film industry and …
review by . July 14, 2012
I understand that the Liberal intelligentsia claim that Bobcat Goldthwait's become a bit of an auteur. Good for him, since setting chairs on fire really had a limited shelf life as a career. However, if GOD BLESS AMERICA is any indication, li'l Bobby's got a lot of issues. Not so much "issues" as "hates," really. For example, it's clear he hates managers. And doctors. And guns. And commercials. And work. And people who don't turn off their cell phones during …
review by . May 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Frank (Joel Murray) sees nothing around him apart from the collapse of American society. Television is saturated with reality shows that exploit stupidity and glorify shallowness. The nightly news reports little apart from stories of murder and mayhem. Conservative political talk shows have devolved into cruel, bigoted gusts of hot air. People in general, namely his coworkers and neighbors, have become apathetic and stupid; genuine conversation …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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"Goldthwait's Final Solution"
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