Written by: Carroll Jenkins on May 15th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2011
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Writer: Bobcat Goldthwait
Cast: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Melinda Page Hamilton, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, Rich McDonald, Maddie Hasson
DVD Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
Approximate Running Time: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
DVD Release: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.49
Synopsis: Frank is getting dumped on by life and becomes overwhelmed by the crudeness of pop culture, the vacuousness of personal relationships, and the self-centered rudeness and casual disregard for others so pervasive in American society today. After he murders his first spoiled reality show brat he is joined by 16 year old Roxy as they teach people to mind their manners the hard way.
God Bless America is a satire of American culture that was deprecated by both sides of the isle, liberals and conservatives. Writer / director Bobcat Goldthwait maintains that it’s not a political movie, and I fully agree. Conservatives perceive it as targeting them, liberals complain that too many trivial invasions are dealt with instead of focusing on those bad conservatives who really should be shot. As Frank is in a standoff with a nasty conservative talk radio host, he says that he agrees with 90% of what he says, he just cannot abide the way he says it. Roxy wants to expand the charter to include very minor infractions, but Frank says no, “I only want to kill people who deserve to die. . . . Anyone who makes a living spreading fear to the masses or is just plain mean.” That is apolitical in concept and should be perceived as such. It’s a shame that it often isn’t, so you know what we should do, Roxy?
The script by Bobcat is very rich, lots of funny lines, obnoxious characters, humorous kill segments, many references to pop culture including radio and movies but mostly television. The acting by leads Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr is truly riveting and helps carry the entire project and overcome the low budget nature of the proceedings.
God Bless America played a few film festivals and then hit VOD and home video. The individual widescreen DVD and Blu releases from Magnolia Home Entertainment augment the feature with English and Spanish subtitles and numerous special features including deleted scenes and interviews. The original price points were a bit excessive but have dropped substantially.
Anyone familiar with Bobcat’s 80’s standup comedy routines and movie roles (Police Academy, One Crazy Summer) should remember that he acted almost retarded, and I realized he was a funny guy but intensely disliked what I perceived to be an affected and distasteful delivery. A major plot thread here is a talent show singer that achieves stardom by virtue of being absolutely terrible, and possibly mentally challenged as well. Perhaps this is an autobiographical allusion to Bobcat’s prior incarnation.