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|Index||176 reviews in total|
I saw this movie's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. I loved it. Bobcat Goldthwait has given us a hilarious comedy that perfectly satirizes our self-centred, celebrity-obsessed, uncritical age. Throughout the dark comedy Joel Murray delivers a perfect performance as one of the last thinking men, who has grown weary of life and society. In between the action and the comedy, Joel Murray's character delivers scathing indictments of society that had the Toronto audience break out into spontaneous applause. Besides being hilarious, this movie is really an interesting exploration of the insensitivity and thoughtlessness of modern popular culture. This movie is the antidote our "reality show," celebrity-obsessed, know-nothing-and-proud-of-it culture. The film's outlandish violence perfectly captures Horace Walpole's epigram, "This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." Unfortunately, as the movie points out, few people are now capable of either thinking or feeling.
Bobcat Goldthwait's scathing critique on modern pop culture is vicious,
unapologetically ugly and truly hilarious. Whereas Mike Judge's
"Idiocracy" was a clever yet far fetched tale of humanity gone stupid,
"God Bless America" uses, with absolute precision, a scalpel to peel
back layer after disturbing layer of American shallowness and cruelty.
Incorporating elements of mindless pop culture, media propaganda, and
reality TV cruelty and bravado, this movie perfectly illustrates the
all too real (and sudden) cultural cancer that people nowadays consider
entertainment. It is simultaneously hilarious and morbid.
I read someone refer to this as Idiocracy meets Natural Born Killers and for a very generic descriptor that may suffice, but it is a far more intelligent movie than Idiocracy was (or even set out to be). Make no mistake about it, this is a very dark movie and there is more murder and blood than you could shake a swizzle stick at, yet the brutality is tempered with hilarity and witty observation that seamlessly keeps this movie always headed in the right direction - there is no confusion here, it knows exactly what it's saying.
I worry this movie may fly under the radar since the typical mainstream audience is pretty much the targeted subject material here, but I think this movie is an instant classic. It so eloquently dissects all the absurdities of modern American culture, the desire for fame and to be known, the need for attention, etc. The trailer doesn't do this movie justice -- it's really good!
I loved this movie. This is "The One" Feel-Good movie I've been missing
since long time.
Each day and night after work or watching world and local TV news if you start feeling frustration because of stupidity of people, politicians, dictators, and pointless empty TV shows like the ones in this movie, you need something to calm yourself down.
This is a movie that takes all those rage and poison out of your mind and make you sleep well at night.
It is as satisfying as playing Doom in God Mode, just to shoot those Evils with that Shotgun or your shiny BFG9000, after those long, long meetings with stupid PowerPoint slide readers!
It is as satisfying as a long run in Castle Wolfenstein, bringing down those Nazis shouting Achtung, one by one, after a long night working after hours ... again!
It is as satisfying as scratching and slowly removing that crust off your healing wound. It hurts, tingles and your mind says stop, but you continue playing with it because feels so good!
This movie is like Daily Show on steroids! Take this movie as a medication to your frustrations and calm down.
What a great movie. It's rather as if Goldthwait has made an answer to
Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers by way of Mike Judge's Office
Space. Through the eyes of Joel Murray's Frank, we see a variety of
society's ills and thankfully, Goldthwait doesn't dwell on them. To do
so would be like gawking at the stupidity when you walk into a Walmart;
it's just going to make you dwell longer at the stupidity on display,
and you are still in a Walmart.
Instead, we get one of those movies that you either are along with or you aren't, you get or you don't. If you get it, you wish that Frank had a few more monologues, if you don't, you'd think it was advocating random shooting sprees.
Thankfully the script and Murray's brilliant portrayal of Frank has him as a principled, moral character who has his suicide interrupted by one terrible reality TV show too many. Along the way he teams up with a psychotic schoolgirl. He's rebelling violently about what society has become, she's rebelling against what society is.
It isn't a huge film, without a large budget, but well made. I felt that it worked best compared to Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, which showed spree killers as celebrities. In God Bless America the characters lament that they haven't even made the news. But in the end, Stone's film glories this shallow quest for fame while Goldthwait's film answers it, showing what happens to America when everyone is unkindly reaching for it.
The moment I read the synopsis for God Bless America, I had to see it.
It was one of the first films I signed up for at this year's Toronto
International Film Festival, and one I had to wait most of the week to
get the opportunity to see. I wanted to adore it, despite hearing mixed
things about it. But as I found out, this experience might never have
been intended to be adored.
Frank (Joel Murray) is sick of everything in his life. His neighbours are inconsiderate, his daughter hates him, and he cannot connect with anyone at work because all they want to do is sit around and talk about reality television. After he finds out he has an inoperable brain tumour, Frank sets out to rid the United States of the filth that corrupts it. He finds an early fan and confidant in precocious teenager Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), and decides to bring her along for the ride with him.
God Bless America is not so much of a film as it is a treatise on what is wrong with pop culture in the modern United States. Writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait packs the film full of allusions and satires of reality television primarily, but trickles down to political news shows, celebrity gossip, social networking, texting, and more. Despite how cheap it looks, he manages to depict just the right imagery, the right dialogue and the right attitudes to truly sell the ideas the film brings up. And as the film starts to edge closer and closer to real life, Goldthwait starts getting his characters to start dishing out justice in the most ridiculous ways possible. He does and says what a lot of people are scared to, and bravely attempts to dissect and take down an institution that has been thriving for well over a decade. Nothing is sacred or off limits. While the film was clearly intended to shock and disgust with how darkly hilarious it is, it also sets out to teach and not so secretly try to right the wrongs we continue to allow invade our lives.
But this element of teaching veers into the realm of preaching, and is what holds Goldthwait's film back from being truly enjoyable. While I was initially amused at watching Murray's Frank spout musings about the human condition and what is wrong with society, that amusement quickly faded. By around the halfway mark, it becomes increasingly clear that the film has no real set direction or even a real point of existing. It is an extended rant that would have worked out better as a piece of stand-up. You can easily tell where Goldthwait has veered off track and lost any idea of what points he wanted to make, and he struggles to find his way back more often than he should. The film clocks in at just about 100-minutes, but twenty of those minutes could be chopped out if he stopped circling around and just make his points.
And what's worse is that outside of an absolutely stunning realization, the thesis if you will, during the bloodsoaked finale, he does not cover any real new ground in what he is getting Frank to talk about. These tropes he is taking down one by one are things people have been complaining almost as long as they have existed. Michael Moore is consistently churning out documentaries about them every few years. Yes, the majority of the population around the United States (and hell, worldwide) are embracing these ideals and not thinking any differently. But God Bless America is too subversive a film to ever conceivably be watched by these kinds of people. Does Goldthwait really think he can shock these people into submission with his vivid speeches and grotesque and borderline terrorist tactics? Does he think he can get them to rethink everything they follow and do in their everyday lives? If not, then why bother making the film?
Goldthwait claims that God Bless America is not meant to be a political film. But unless he really wants people to just laugh and forget about it moments later, then there is really no other way one can possibly read it.
While I felt for how agonizing some of the dialogue must have been to deliver, I really enjoyed Murray's performance as Frank. He is a bit player in dozens of TV shows and movies, and it is nice to see him finally get a leading role. He plays Frank as an upstanding and concerned citizen, one who truly believes in the war he is fighting. He has a quiet intensity about him, and seeing him jump between a tongue- in-cheek innocence and a full blown sociopath is truly remarkable. I am glad that Goldthwait took a chance on him, and I can only hope more directors will follow suit in the future. Barr, much like Chloë Moretz in Kick-Ass, is a revelation. She is ridiculously hilarious and downright terrifying all at the same time. From the moment she walks on-screen, she has an aura about her that never dissipates, allowing her to truly make something of her character even with some rather awful dialogue.
I think in the end, I appreciated God Bless America more than I actually enjoyed it. There are some really funny scenes sprinkled throughout, and just as many deeply thought-provoking moments. But it is a film that gets too full of itself much too often, and loses track of what it wants to be even more so. Goldthwait is a talented filmmaker (even if he shamelessly cribs his action beats and styles from some rather obvious influences), but I think he could have easily improved on the flaws that plague the film. I hope that the distribution deal he received affords him some time to make the necessary cuts. There is a truly great film somewhere in there, just waiting to appear.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
From the very start of this movie, there is a sense of direction
towards you, the viewer. The cast isn't portraying a story in front of
you. It seems more like a warning. They're talking to you. They're
saying "There's more to life than idle chit chat at the water cooler
about the same thing every other person on this planet is talking
Throughout the story, you begin to make connections to the world around you. At first, things seem exaggerated, but as it goes on, you realize that this is actually what America is becoming.
The ending is a bit of a fantasy, which is why I'm choosing to give this a 9 out of 10 instead of a 10, but it still sends a message home. Also, the relationship between Roxy and Frank seems to build up to a climax, but nothing really comes out of it, which is a bit of a downer. It seems like the movie could have been 30 minutes longer to really explain what happens when Roxy returns home, but maybe that's just me. I would also have liked to have seen more of the relationship between Frank and his family.
As far as the story goes, I feel like the fact that they were never recognized as criminals was unrealistic, but other than that, the story was rather flawless.
All in all, however, I think that this is a great movie, and that I'm just picking out a few flaws here. It really was a fantastic film.
I love this movie, Don't get me wrong its a little under budget but I think the message gets across and is true!!! I wish everyone I know would watch this movie. I think this movie knows its place and is written and directed as so. I can't wait to recommend this to all my friends. I like the actors they feel real for the story line and do the things we all wish we could do. I can only hope a film like this can shake up people and not just shrug it off as a small film. This film does tackle a lot of social problems that exist in society today. This is not a JUNO film!! This has a touch of reality that America wants to deny and a extreme that seems to escape every one as it is rubbed in your face over and over again and the easier the lie the easier we swallow
God Bless America! this movie, this is one wake up call! This movie is
about how messed up our current generation is. I myself am 21 years old
but i have enough maturity to know whats right and wrong, whats
acceptable and whats shameful. But kids younger than me (Even in India)
are so fcked up right now, i cant imagine the horrible future we have
ahead of it.
All in all, God not only bless America but this entire moron world filling up fast with nothing but kids and teenagers idoling Jersey Shore so called stars, iPod Blackberry fanatics and other such low level idiots.
Though i don't see how even God can help us now. Frustration aside, WATCH THIS MOVIE!! but try not to kill someone after watching it, as am i trying desperately now..!!
The problem with many reviews is that we seek to 'analyse' and not just accept. We look for hidden agendas instead of just taking something at face value. This film is a gem...the main character and his life were easily acceptable and plausible and his outlook on modern American life whilst predictable, knowing the movie's theme...was perfectly understandable. There is a wonderful dark humour running throughout the story and whilst it does stretch the imagination boundaries at times you think to yourself 'so what ..I'm enjoying it'. I could not think of one victim in this film that I also wouldn't have minded bumping off and Tara Lynne Barr is perfect as Frank's young accomplice. One of my favourite scenes involved Frank's visit to his doctor but then I always did have a twisted sense of humour. I recommend you watch this if only as a release valve for your pent up frustrations with modern society and TV talent shows.
Bobcat Goldthwait's latest feature as writer & director is a hilarious & articulately written black comedy commentary on contemporary American culture, or lack thereof. Yes, mass media's influence on the devolution of society has been tackled before (Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers & Euros Lyn's Fifteen Million Merits, for example) and the script has it's issues (which are plausibility/suspension of disbelief related IMO) but the dialogue does have monologues & diatribes that I think really do shine. The acting is FTW, and the whole small budget meets meaningful repartee feel of the piece threw me back to Mark Osbourne's 2000 film "Dropping Out". Most definitely catch it if you can! 8D
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