Thursday, October 18, 2012

God Bless America (2012)

Frank Murdoch (Joel Murray) wants to make a change. Divorced, jobless, and suffering from a potentially fatal brain tumor, Frank decides to go on a nationwide killing spree. And with the help of his teenage accomplice Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), Frank plans to cleanse the filth in America’s society.

Director Bobcat Goldthwait delivers endless amounts of bloody brutality, and Goldthwait’s provides the essential lighthearted approach for the comical violence in this film.

Joel Murray is a solid leading man, and Tara Lynne Barr provides an enjoyable performance. The relationship between Roxy and Frank provides some laughs, but their Bonnie & Clyde partnership feels inappropriate at times. Roxy is obviously attracted to Frank. But storyline wise, she’s a young teenage girl, so Roxy and Frank‘s bonding experience causes some genuine awkward moments.

All in all, God Bless America features a nice set of comedic performances, and the entire cast provides some good laughs.

I don’t have any complaints about Goldthwait’s directing, but his screenplay sends out too many mixed messages. Frank is obviously disgusted by the current state of America’s society. Reality shows are just a poor excuse to poke fun at inept contestants, no-name reality show personalities become celebrities, religious protestors, who persecute homosexuals are raging assholes, and mean talk show hosts receive praise as antiheros.

You’ll see some parodies for popular American shows throughout this film. American Superstarz is an obvious parody of American Idol. And Steven Clark, a horrible singer/contestant, who continues to receive a spot on the show, because people enjoy mocking his awfulness, is an American version of William Hung. Also, the Michael Fuller character clearly spoofs Bill O’ Reilly and The O’Reilly factor, and the similarities are very obvious.

Plus, you can’t forget about the pesky and inconsiderate American citizens, who take up more than one parking space, and noisy jackasses, who feel the need to talk out-loud during a movie at the theater.

Frank and Roxy are tired of cruelty and the outbreak of min-numbing stupidity in America, so they decide to kill all of the “bad people.” The Frank character (and occasionally Roxy) provide a lot of valid points throughout this film, but still, you can’t just wake up and decide to kill random “mean people.”
If I follow God Bless America’s  rationale, then after some random driver cuts me off, it’s okay for me to pull over, grab a shotgun from my trunk, and blow their fucking head off. If someone cuts in line at the grocery store, then it’s okay for me to pull out a knife, and slit their throat. It’s okay if I decide to blow-up the Fox News studio. And in an attempt to stamp out stupidity, I should exterminate the Kardashians.

If you literally take God Bless America’s message to heart, then the solution for America’s social problems are simple: just kill the troublemakers. Mass murder won’t solve anything, it’ll just create more outrage and controversy.

It’s a tough call, but I decided to go with a reluctant positive rating here. The social commentary is suffocated by an asinine message (kill the bad people!), but the laughs are consistent, and love it or hate it, you have to give God Bless America credit for being an ambitious dark comedy. The clich├ęd and predictable shoot-out ending is kind of corny, but God Bless America earned a spot on my list of unforgettable 2012 films, for good and bad reasons.

Final Rating: 6/10

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