Going into Bobcat Goldthwait’s murder-spree social satire “God Bless America,” which is opening in theaters this week, I was highly skeptical. We’ve been down the road of murderous social commentaries before (see “Natural Born Killers”; actually, don’t). But never taking itself too seriously, this slighty outrageous, breezy exercise in renegade violence is an angry liberal’s wet-dream-come-true — a tale of vengeance for NPR listeners everywhere.
Here are excerpts from my Screen Daily review from last year’s Toronto International Film Festival:
“The film follows a disgruntled 45-year-old man (Joel Murray), separated from his family, fired from his job, diagnosed with a terminal illness, and mad-as-hell with America¹s culture of stupidity, hatefulnesss and selfishness and doesn¹t want to take it anymore. ‘Why do we have a civilization,’ he says, concluding an angry tirade against hate radio and reality TV, “if we don¹t care about being civil anymore?”
“At the end of his rope, Frank is finally propelled to take out his old army gun and seek retribution for what he sees as wrong with the U.S.A. His first target: a spoiled reality TV rich girl who screams at her parents for buying her the wrong car. After Frank¹s initial success ridding the planet of people ‘who deserve to die,’ he finds a more-than-willing companion in Roxy (Tara Lynn Barr), a spirited alternative teenage girl who¹s thrilled with the prospect of killing off jocks, people who give high fives, women who call their breasts ‘the girls,’ along with a whole litany of others.”