on 21 June 2012
Leaf through any mainstream newspaper or magazine and you'll be bombarded by `stories' on so called celebrities who were created by the self same media in the first place for the titillation of the masses. The same goes for any number of pointless "reality" tv shows that invite you to gawp mindlessly at morons who are willing to sacrifice what little diginity they have for 10 minutes of fame and a wad of cash. the fact that these shows are so popular is a depressing indictment of a society that seems to value shallow celebrity above all else. And its as bad here in the UK as it is in the US where this film is set.
Against this backdrop we meet our hero Frank, who is becoming increasingly depressed by all this, and fantasizes about killing his stupid, noisy neighbours (haven't we all..) who epitomize the very people who fuel the bottom of the barrel media circus that pervades today's society.
As his life goes downhill (losing his job, estranged family etc) he finally snaps and decides to do something about it. With guns. Thus begins and extremely funny and entertaining series of episodes where Frank and his sidekick (a disaffected teenage girl who he meets on his first `outing') seek to solve societies ills, by killing the people who propagate these reality shows (and a few others).
Great acting by the two leads, excellent and accurate social commentary, and best of all, very very funny, this film deserves to become a classic. Unfortunately I have a feeling it wont, because most people would rather watch Big Brother and waste their phone bill voting for some talentless fame hungry freak. Sigh.
on 5 July 2012
Putting a 5-star review is a very bold move. Typically it denotes a lack of shrewdness towards the product, but in this case I cannot emphasise enough how much I have been waiting for a movie like this. God Bless America is the story of Frank, a middle aged man who suffers from chronic migraines, and the idiocies of modern society. When his doctor tells him he has a massive tumour in his brain, he all but gives up on life entirely. But he then hits upon an idea, inspired by awful reality television: some people deserve to die more.
Cue what is easily the funniest spree killing you are ever likely to see (not that there's much competition, I'll grant you). Simply put, this film is perfect for everyone who despairs modern society. The constant drone of the entitled, ignorant masses who chew up advertising and senseless television or the sound of those with the least educated opinions stating their beliefs the loudest. This film is the counter argument.
I won't pretend this will be everyone's favourite film, but for me it was so frightfully clear it would be from the first 5 minutes. Some have criticised it for being preachy, but ultimately whilst there are a fair few diatribes and speeches, they are so damned compelling it moves from "preachy" to "absolutely factual" in one fail swoop. God Bless America is funny, witty, extremely violent and above all else, incredibly entertaining. I recommend this movie to basically everyone... unless you are:
* A republican,
* A fundamentalist religious zealot,
* A big fan of the Kardashians,
* Scared of violence
on 18 March 2013
I struggle to watch television nowadays; it's as if none of the shows are made for me, too much shouting or D-List celebrities. You think we have it bad, think of the poor Americans; they have hundreds more channels, packed to the gills with dross. Frank is a man who cannot take it anymore; a deadly combination of inoperable brain tumour, awful work life and a `Sweet 16' style TV show is too much for him. He decides to rid the world of obnoxious people before dying. Along for the ride is mentally unhinged teenager Roxy who acts as his partner and spurs him on.
`God Bless America' is the darkest of comedies and rather than skirting the concept of bad taste, it just decides to ignore it. What do you expect from Bobcat Goldthwait? He made a comedy film about a man profiting from his son's death. What makes `Bless America' work, is that it is so well observed, the problem is not that the film is violent, but that it tells so many home truths. The West is obsessed with youth and possessions and Frank is just a man who has had enough of it all. The parodies of TV shows in the film are very convincing and if anything will be too mundane in a few years time.
Goldthwait is successful at making us understand an otherwise evil spree killer. In a society where real people are entering public buildings and killing people, the ability to do this is impressive. `Bless America' will shock and it is meant to. It is perhaps too leery, but that is the point of the film. The sympathy we feel towards the characters is helped further by the actors, Joel Murray in particular as Frank is excellent giving a nuanced performance that balances the film and prevents it from being mere exploitation. `God Bless America' is a fun, thrilling and slightly sick comedy that is brainless, whilst remaining intelligent. An interesting film, just make sure you watch it with people you know.
Although shot on a relatively low budget, `Bless America' is best seen in HD as the road movie aspects of the film allow you to see some pleasant parts of America (and some unpleasant parts of Americana).
on 28 May 2016
A middle aged man irritated by modern America goes on a killing spree with a foul mouthed 16yr old girl he randomly meets, after he loses his job and is diagnosed as having a brain tumour.
Mostly his violence and vitriol is aimed at reality TV, hate mongers, selfish people, irritating people found in cinemas and people who hi-five in public..
Generally satirical, GBA is mostly a comedy with occasional bursts of bloody violence. If you take it for what it is then it's plenty of fun, sure it gets a bit ranty and runs out of steam on the way to it's inevitably nihilistic finale, but if you just go along for the ride it's enjoyable enough.
I thought it was a bit like Super crossed with... oh I dunno, Badlands?!
Perfect for people who think a lot of modern culture and media type stuff (Reality TV, celebrity etc) is the spawn of the devil.
I was very disappointed that they didn't kill people for making 'Hand Hearts'.. This particularly annoys me, and when I buy my AK47 from Easy Andy those people will be the first against the wall come the revolution.
The UK dvd print is as one would expect for a modern picture. Bare bones disc though.
on 9 August 2016
What a weird and wonderful movie. It's low budget yet convincingly acted, the story is simple but really only a vehicle for the message, and there's more truth buried in this little gem than in a thousand a-list movies. It's like Falling Down, where the budget has been replaced by good writers.
If you observe well, the detail is actually really good - with stickers, adverts and such-like dotted quietly around various scenes making funny observations or political jibes - easily missed but worth being vigilant for.
No, it won't blow you away with philosophical insight, and there's nothing terribly deep or moving here - but it makes its central point very clearly, and it's a point worth making.
I was entertained for over an hour with no CGI, no nudity, tame 'gore' and no 'stick thin beautiful' women or 6-pack guys. That in itself deserves the 5 stars.
This brilliant film is in the `Falling Down' genre, but is all about modern America or more correctly society and how it has gone south in the being nice and decent department. Frank has landed in middle age, he is divorced, has a daughter who would have been great in `The Exorcist', without coaching, neighbours that have taken `red neck' and made it their own, a job he gets fired from and his doctor has just told him he is going to die.
As he contemplates not wanting to live he gets pushed over the edge by a reality TV show where a spoilt rich girl gets to be on prime time just because she is rich, pretty and a total biatch. So he drives down to where she is for some not so random justice. That is where he meets Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) and she wants to join him in killing as many people as they can who, quite simply, deserve to die. When you start to think of the categories of people that fit into that, not so exclusive `death list, it actually become a big job. Frank is just tired of reality television, selfish, rude people, the right wing single issue politics and pure toxicity of the moronic pop culture that is ruling and ruining the world, and God bless him for that. She hates high fives, racists, homophobes and religious bigots, plus a few more that she can enunciate with the language of a street walker - brilliant.
This is funny, intelligent, well acted and just a great ride. Joel Murray (`The Artist') is outstanding as Frank, the reluctant gun wielding guy, just asking people to be nice to each other. The soundtrack is great too with a lot of original material for the film, and it all hangs together brilliantly. Check out the end credits too where we have a credit to `Boy who gets shot in movie theatre # 2' and `Pancake eating pedophile' (sic), if that don't prove what a messed up work of genius this is, then I think nothing will.
There is gore, there is swearing, there are serious issues and there is wanton murder, so if any of that floats your boat, then you should get yourself a copy of this superb film. Highly recommended.
on 11 September 2015
I was surprised to find most of the reviews of the film were positive. With all the debate about American Gun Culture I expected it to be widely condemned for showing what happens when "All the nuts have guns".
The fact it has been so well received is probably a reflection on the fact that the chances of your life being made a misery by the targets of the spree are higher than your chances of getting shot by a nut. Who among us wouldn't like to be the one who shot the selfish and ignorant lout who took up the last 2 spaces in the car park?
The film builds up sympathy for our "hero" who would rather leave the world than put up with nasty and moronic modern culture any longer and might have done so after his first killing if he hadn't gained a sidekick. Hard to know whether to laugh at Tara-Lynn Barr's character or be terrified of her. A nicely deranged performance from an actress I'd never seen before but will look out for in future. I don't think she was much older than the character when it was filmed but the character shows the right mix of youthful appearance with an attitude almost as mature and jaded as her new partner in crime. It's important to show our hero is moral and strong-willed enough not to be tempted by a teenager and to know it's wrong when others remind him that lesser men might take advantage.
So he's the man we'd all like to be and he's joyfully taking out the sort of people we hate. Once he gets started on his crusade we can just sit back and enjoy the ride and since it's currently free on Amazon Prime video I've dipped back into it a few times since I watched it to revisit my favourite scenes.
on 9 September 2015
I have given this five stars due to the reality fans who have done this down, otherwise it would be 4, love this film but the US media in all its forms requires anti hero's to fail in the end.
Its one man's fight, he picks up a misanthrope school girl as partner, killing the rude, mean and ignorant. Frank does not revel in the deaths but like recycling he does what's necessary to make the environment better. Roxy a product of her exposure p l says like a wild card but masterfully acted and directed. If you don't like this or can't understand why any person gets killed for their actions then I pity your taste but not your death.
on 25 July 2012
This movie slipped under the radar a bit in the U.K and is released straight to DVD, for a low budget film its very, very entertaining and one of the most fun and razor-sharp films of 2012!! The story centres around Frank who is sick and tired of our culture and the way it worships spoilt celebrities and TV and the way the weak are mocked and looked down on for entertainment etc, so he decides one day to grab a gun and go on a killing spree one jerk at a time!! He ends up meeting a beautiful 16 year old girl named Roxy who becomes his accomplice on his murder sprees as she has similar views on culture as Frank, together they cause much mayhem and bloodshed, this is certainly one of the funniest and darkest and twisted movies this year, the cast is brilliant and its a great direction from Bobcat Goldthwait. This is defiantly one to watch!! There are no special features which is a shame!! But still worth every penny.
on 17 August 2013
I actually feel it sadly does represent the way modern culture is evolving.
Quick people, we must change this!
Funny & makes you think aswell.
WARNING DUE TO RECENT SHOOTINGS IN AMERICA CERTAIN PEOPLE MAY FIND THIS HIGHLY OFFENSIVE.