God Bless America is the film that assassinates every stupid reality television show, annoying viral video and all of the awful people in the world for the rest of us.
Bobcat Goldthwait’s darkly funny film centers on Frank (Joel Murray), a down on his luck average guy who can’t stand the shit thrown at him from his television screen or spewed at him from the mouth’s of the ignorant coworkers, neighbors and friends.
Told he has terminal cancer, Frank plans on killing himself. At the last minute, he changes his mind. Instead, he decides to take vengeance on the corner of society and popular culture that’s caused him more pain than anything (well, aside from his recent divorce and his migraines).
Goldthwait’s snarky little film achieves what a lot of us would love to do. Should we live in a world where our actions have no punishment, we might want to set out and put a gun to the head of the snotty girl celebrating her sweet sixteen by complaining about the car her parents bought her. Of course, we don’t live in that world, and you’d have to be criminally or mentally insane to actually even seriously think about operating in that fashion.
Yet there is something so pleasurable about watching Frank make himself a hit list of America’s Most Stupid. Even more deplorable is the Frank’s sidekick Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), a young girl who’s run off from her parents to join Frank in his mission of murder. Together they track down everything that some of us consider wrong about society.
But even though God Bless America presents its actions in a funny way, there still is some sort of emotional and moral borderline that a viewer needs to comfortably cross to truly enjoy this film. It’s crass, violent and a swift punch to the face in more ways than one. Goldthwait does not hold back and that should be particularly noted. His statement on society and popular culture is not a daring one – it’s one a lot of us who can’t stand American Idol, MTV’s lack of music and exploitation of the weak – but the way he goes about presenting it is indeed ballsy.
I’ve so often wandered into my living room to find my sister watching shows like Jersey Shore or one of the countless other Jersey-something shows that have leeched onto the success of its darkly-tanned brethren and was not able to grasp the enjoyment of these shows. Some have told me that they watch these shows because the people are dumb and it’s funny to laugh at them. I can sort of understand that at first thought, but thinking more about it I’d have to raise the question about whether your time is better spent with something that will increase your own life, rather than laughing at another person’s life. It’s like how the first few weeks of American Idol bank on the judges knowingly mocking people with dreams of singing for the sake of singing. Even worse, some of those being mocked don’t mind because they’ll receive their 15 minutes of television fame for having it happen.
So when I see these shows on television I can’t help but wonder where America went wrong in that department. I’m not trying to preach and exclaim my greatness (I have none) but I at least like to think I spend my time with more valuable content than a show about a family of tanned idiots that are famous for having big asses.
And that’s why Goldthwait’s no-holds-barred assassination of those morons and that part of society is like beautiful music to my hears. I needed to see this, I needed to witness it. I wish all that could evaporate into thin air…but that sadly isn’t how it works. Until then, I’ll always have Frank and Roxy’s sensational, ridiculous and absurd Bonnie and Clyde-esque rampage through American stupidity to enjoy.