Review - "God Bless America" -- Another Perspective...
Following his 2009 film “World’s Greatest Dad,” writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait has given us his newest critique of our societal desensitization with “God Bless America.” Being a big fan of “World’s Greatest Dad,” I went into this really wanting to like it… and I am not sure that I don’t. It has some decent qualities, but also has a lot of other qualities too. (click article title for rest of review)
“God Bless America” tells the story of Frank (Joel Murray,) a man who has a very bad day. His ex-wife is getting remarried, his bratty daughter doesn’t want anything to do with him, he gets fired from his job for being a good guy, and his prickish doctor has just informed him that he has a terminal brain tumor - a bad day indeed. While preparing to commit suicide, he takes one more look at the lack of empathy in our society and our willingness to be entertained by the denigration of others. Specifically, he ends up watching a parody of the show “My Super Sweet 16” and decides that if he - a decent, kind man - is going out, he is at least taking someone else out with him. He steals a car, drives cross-country and kills the snobby teen socialite from the show. It almost ends there. Witness to his crime, and interrupter of his second suicide attempt, is 16 year old Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) who wants in on his carnage. From here the two set off to wipe the world of all the people who are “not nice,” which also includes people who overuse the word “literally” and those who "high five." The mass bloodshed starts off with a group of rude, cell phone talking teenagers in a movie theater and ends at a live taping of a “American Idol” parody “American Superstars.” The brutality only seems to be interrupted by moments of monologuing about what is wrong with our society and examples of how respectable he is by not seeing Roxy in any type of sexual light. I must share that I agree with most of what they said. Their reasons for killing are correct observations about our societies eagerness to celebrate mediocrity and ridicule anyone less fortunate than you. They are the comments that Director Goldthwait wanted to share. They just are not good enough reasons to go about shooting people. “God Bless America” wants to be “Falling Down” meets “Natural Born Killers,” but it has neither the emotional and mental decomposition of William Foster (“Falling Down”) or the sociopathy of Mickey and Mallory (“Natural Born Killers.”) What you are left with is a scathing social commentary (that is stitched together via dialogue that is more like two simultaneous monologues) and a lot of body bags.
Was this movie bad? No. What it great? No. Did it make a point? Yes, repeatedly. If you are not easily offended by violence and blood, and have a critical eye about the society in which we are a part, go see this film. If you are looking for a great dark comedy, and blood makes you squeamish, go rent “World’s Greatest Dad.”