“We’ve become a nation of slogan-saying, bile-spewing hatemongers! We’ve lost our kindness! We’ve lost our soul!”
GOD BLESS AMERICA (2010) – I’ve always been told by my parents that television can be dangerous for you. Not sure at the time what that meant, but I wondered how The Wild Thornberrys and Hey Arnold! were bad for me? Those were the most intelligent shows on TV in my opinion at the time. Compared to what passes for entertaining television today, I understand where she may be coming from. TV nowadays–especially reality tv–may be just enough fodder to fuel any profanity laced rant–but enough to make someone want to kill because of it?
Frank (Joel Murray) has been on a downward spiral as of late; divorce, noisy neighbors, getting fired from his job for “harassment,” and having just been told by his doctor that he is terminally ill. Figure on a night of an American Idol’ish talent show, where one of the Hollywood hopefuls on the show became fodder for satire for television audiences; and the MTV‘ish Super Sweet Sixteen show, where the daughter of a wealthy businessman threw a fit because her parents didn’t buy the Escalade she wanted for her birthday.
This was enough to drive an already depressed man to attempt suicide. With nothing else to lose, Frank decides he wanted to he decided to rescue American culture from the mediocrity and take a stance against talentless wannabes, spoiled and demanding reality television-rich kids–he grabs his gun, steals his annoying neighbor’s car, and sets out to remedy all of the ‘attacks’ on American pop culture.
Frank isn’t alone in his war against the parodied media; Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) the foul-mouth teen with the same misgivings about the same mindless television shows and embarked on a quest to remedy the quality of video of the deluge of the talentless. They take on the spoiled Super Sixteen brat Chloe (Maddie Hasson) in what would have been an epic explosion scene. Frank attempted to blow up Chloe’s under an appreciated car with her handcuffed to the steering wheel–except the lighter fluid soaked handkerchief was blown out of the gas tank by the wind. He instead opted to shoot her. The duo went on a revenge-laden “Bonny and Clyde” or “Micky and Mallory Knox” killing spree, somehow miraculously avoiding being chased down by the authorities.
God Bless America is truly a satire within its own title. Fitting that a comedian like Goldthwait wrote a screenplay that serves as a creative extension of his stand-up comedic routines. The film isn’t perfect, but it lucky in picking apart the ridiculous norms found in American television: spoiled rich kids, talentless media hacks, and over compensating parenting styles.
What writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait created was a comedic fantasy film for anyone who hates reality television. While it may be true that American pop culture has been rendered sedated by the exploitation of the talentless, Goldthwait brings up a valid point; how long will the culture that is American television be intent on feeding audiences mindless television stories that feature the overly glamorous and the overly indulged?
With a film like God Bless America, Goldthwait has established for himself a voice against the “standard fictionalization” of the American pop culture television genre into a pretty decent film, where a couple of characters hilariously demonstrates perhaps what many of us may have already been thinking.
Taking out the trash, one jerk at a time.
God Bless America, presented for review as a courtesy from Magnolia Home Entertainment hosts a fantastic accompaniment of DVD extras including behind-the-scenes Killing with Kindness–a look at director Goldthwait behind the camera and he discusses how he came up with the idea for the film and it’s intention for it to be a comedy of entitlement. Tremendously funny Commentary with Bobcat Goldthwait, Joel Murray, and Tara Lynne Barr – you have the option to “watch” the film along with the director and stars of the movie. Roxy and Frank music video and Interviews with Bobcat Goldthwait, Joel Murray, and Tara Lynne Barr–a host of outtakes, trailers, and much more!