I remember the first time that I watched Falling Down with Michael Douglas. I was sitting in my friends living room, young, impressionable and angry at everything. You see I was nearing that age when you start to realize that life is unfair. Recess no longer exists. You have to work that damn part time job to get money to do anything and no matter how hard you work you’re never going to save enough to buy even a poor condition copy of the original EC Comics Tales from the Crypt. The girl you wanna make out with doesn’t want anything to do with you or she did last week and has moved on to that kid with ridiculous flop hair cut. Yeah, it happens pretty fast. Falling Down was the perfect film for a young angsty, pre-teen. Get a gun, hold a fast food restaurant hostage after the world decides to give you a little of the old in-out in-out. Anger management? Who needs it. For years I wondered why that movie didn’t inspire more folks to act aggressively. Do you know how many times I’ve been asked if I would like “fries with that” only to have them forget the fries? But we’re not here to discuss Falling Down. We are here to rave about God Bless America, Bobcat Goldthwait’s masterpiece, painted in blood red anger and embossed with black humor so charming, you may have to ask yourself if someone tapped your inner-monologue again.
Frank (Joel Murray) has had enough of the downward spiral of American culture, which he sees as overrun with cruelty, stupidity and intolerance. Divorced, recently fired, and possibly terminally ill, Frank truly has nothing left to live for. But instead of taking his own life, he buys a gun and decides to take out his frustration on the cruelest, stupidest, most intolerant people he can imagine—starting with some particularly odious reality television stars. Frank finds an unusual accomplice in a high-school student named Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), who shares his sense of rage and disenfranchisement, and together they embark on a nation-wide assault on our country’s dumbest, most irritating celebrities.
Raise your hand if you have acted out this premise, in your mind only of course, on a weekly or possibly even daily basis. Hold them up there. Is that just about everyone? I’m not saint. We’re all flawed and I think that God Bless America is the film that can make that abundantly clear, but I identify best with its honest. I think on some core level whether it be the asshole that cuts your off or the mega-flake painting her nails with polish made from the skin of endangered pandas, we have a vendetta against our own pet peeve stereotype. I’m not judging. Wanna know mine? Well I write for the Liberal Dead and if Bill O’Reilly over at Fox News cuts off one more intelligent, well spoken guest… well, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll do nothing. I’ll most likely bitch about it on my social networking site of preference, but that urge to do SOMETHING is what God Bless America knows you have too. The film is intuitive. It knows what you are capable of on your very worst days, and it also knows that despite our most vicious mental acts of rage we have big hearts full of a few rational teachings and maybe even a hymn or two. It’s an honest approach to rational individuals have irrational reactions to situations that conflict with their moral compass.
I suppose that’s it more than a commentary on the inner workings of humanity at its most deviant. It’s an examination of how we make decisions. What’s right. What’s wrong. How do we punish wrong and from what or who is authority derived from…. or maybe it’s just about feeling good about taking charge of your own life. Through the entire movie I had this image in the back of my head of Vince Vaughn giving a speech that probably sounds something like one of his numerous empowerment rants from the Wedding Crashers. Of course, Vaughn isn’t even in God Bless America, but it’s got his zaniness. His edge.
Beyond the deep, underlying psychoanalysis the film is destined to offer every viewer (you can almost replace the Rorschach with it), the film is well acted and is directed by a veteran comedian. Both Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr offer outstanding performances that are touching and funny. It’s nice to be able to identify with characters who commit acts of lighthearted murder. Goldthwait in the director’s seat is priceless and while I would definitely not claim to be any kind of authority on his work, I can assure you that he is more competent than any character you may have seen him play especially in uniform. I think quite a few of us are familiar with Shakes the Clown which to this day makes me giggle (giggle… that’s right… giggle). Bobcat can certainly crack out a vicious black comedy.
It’s not a horror movie, and for those of you who know me it’s amazing that I actually watched anything outside of my beloved genre. This will appeal to those how like a dark comedy. The American Psycho crew should get a kick out of it. I think it shares similar humorous commentary about humanity and how to best deal with its inadequacies. The kills are impressive and it might even get the blood fiends going although the gore hounds may want to take a pass. It’s absurd, but it’s not Bad Taste or Dead Alive. I like to throw that in there because so much of what you expect is horror from TLD.
It’s a must see movie. It really is. I haven’t met a person yet who has seen it and not at least enjoyed it much less wouldn’t recommend it. It’s extreme though. It may not be for people who lack the irony gene. Personally I hope that Bill O’Reilly watches it, realizes that he should check his mouth and bad manner shtick at the door before Frank comes to find him. At least that’s how the sequel in my head might go. A guy can dream. Until that day we can let Frank and Roxy handle the reigns, right the wrongs and make the world just a bit more wholesome by any means necessary.
Stop by Magnet Releasing to check out what else they have on the docket.