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God Bless America

2011 | R | 2.39:1

God Bless America


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User reviews

1 user review

Movie appeal

Dark humor100%



Theatrical release date

 04 May, 2012
 04 July, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




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Screenshots from God Bless America Blu-ray

God Bless America Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, April 13, 2012

With “God Bless America,” writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait has manufactured an exhilarating sensation of disgust, funneling a reservoir of frustration into an acidic script that somehow manages to be hilarious while remaining enormously unnerving. It’s a sniper-sure shot of rage striking the heart of American culture, having a blast wiping away the scum of the Earth. It’s a chaotic tear through reality shows, social irritants, and amateur singing contests that’s finessed superbly by the helmer, who commits in full to a lunatic idea. Even for a filmmaker who’s made pictures about bestiality, autoerotic asphyxiation, and alcoholic clowns, “God Bless America” still manages to astonish with its audacious content and ballsy execution. It’s a couch potato battle cry capturing the zeitgeist in a bold, bloody fashion.

Fired from his job, disowned by his young daughter, and diagnosed with a brain tumor, Frank (Joel Murray) has reached bottom, unable to make sense of his life anymore. Surrounded by a toxic culture that rewards idiocy, humiliates the weak, and remains sickeningly celeb-obsessed, Frank has had enough, targeting a snotty, overprivileged teen reality star as his first victim. When his murderous efforts manage to catch the attention of schoolgirl Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), the spunky teen joins the dying man, commencing a killing spree of ugly Americans who reject common decency, profit from fear, and contribute to disgraceful television and movies. Tearing across the country, Frank and Roxy rack up an impressive body count before their deeds catch attention, threatening to end their reign of justice before it has a chance to greet their archenemy, the singing competition series “American Superstars.”

“God Bless America” carries the feeling of personal release. We’re dealing with fictional characters facing disturbing life developments, yet the core of the effort plays much like a hair-pulling rant from Goldthwait himself, using the guise of a violent satire to purge his feelings on the state of the union. And goodness gracious, what a state we’re in. Drowning his sorrows in channel surfing, Frank is inundated with images from cable news outlets and their incendiary hosts, fundamental religious organizations preaching hate, and reality television goons debasing themselves for a flake of fame. The “American Superstars” show alone is a cesspool of moral corruption, joyfully belittling an audition attempt from a mentally challenged man. A former soldier facing the end of his miserable existence, Frank is eager to take some of the riff-raff with him, out to kill those who’ve lost all touch with humanity, starting with a spoiled teenage girl who celebrated her sweet sixteen by throwing a tantrum in front of cameras, disgusted with the choice of luxury car she received as a birthday gift.

The miracle of “God Bless America” is how well it straddles the line between wish-fulfillment and black comedy, with Goldthwait executing the feature in a broad enough manner to prevent full sympathies with the assassins, yet it’s all sharp enough to leave a few lasting marks. The film takes on obvious targets, but it carries an original tone, concentrating on the fantasy of it all as Frank goes from wishing he could kill the dregs of society to actually arming himself, stealing his inconsiderate neighbor’s car, and driving to meet his victims. “God Bless America” doesn’t shy away from the premise, instead jumping into the adrenaline rush of murder, observing Frank and Roxy brainstorm their kill list, sharing their repulsion with a world that celebrates high-fives, strippers-turned-screenwriters, and amateur singers. It’s one thing to observe gusty monologues from characters swimming laps in their own bile, but Goldthwait goes the extra mile, establishing Frank and Roxy as an actual threat capable of blasting away predatory cretins, clearing a new path to common sense one bullet at a time.

Of course, this is not a measured discussion of the world’s woes, but a demonic tilt-a-whirl ride of gags and gaping wounds, holding up a cracked mirror to the face of noxious national taste. It’s amazing to find the picture frequently relevant, aided in great part by Goldthwait’s precise aim and nerve, while Murray and Barr contribute exceptional work as jailbait Bonnie and cancer-stricken Clyde, who becomes something of a father figure to his young, spunky partner. The screenplay addresses the unsavory appearance of the coupling, but it’s never a genuine issue, failing to gum up the works with a tired rehash of “Lolita” obsession. In fact, Nabokov finds himself on the pair’s list of disgust. It’s not lust that binds the killers, but a shared appreciation for just deserts. The purity of that dream carries the film all the way to the end credits, never cheating or fouling the view with hesitation. Goldthwait is committed to his mad plan with a magnificent directorial bravery, rarely viewed in today’s cinematic landscape.

“God Bless America” is provocative, created to unnerve and stimulate thought while it presents substantial laughs. One sequence, where Frank and Roxy dispatch talkers/cell phone abusers inside a movie theater, will likely encourage standing ovations from seasoned filmgoers. It’s a daring fearing, a genuine venture into the unknown, asking viewers to witness a killing spree that’s deplorable yet oddly sensible, with Bobcat Goldthwait pulling the trigger for each and every one of us. It’s an exhilarating, uproarious barnstormer of a picture, masterful with its satiric objective.

Starring: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Melinda Page Hamilton
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait

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