SXSW Review: ‘God Bless America’

  • Pin It

I went to hell on earth to watch this film. Ok, not exactly hell on earth, but it was own personal hell on earth.

I had just finished up a film here at SXSW, the newest Bobcat Goldthwait film, God Bless America, was screening on the other side of town and I really wanted to see it. It was raining and finding a cab was almost impossible. I say almost, because I eventually found one. I told the cabbie where to go and when we were almost there, I pulled out my beloved and well used credit card. He told me that his machine wasn’t working and I needed cash.

So, we then proceeded to go to 5 different gas stations, liquor stores and 7-11’s to find a working ATM. Finally, after a half hour later, I got the money and was dropped off at the theater where thankfully, the screening was running a bit late.

I was mad and rain-soaked but at least I as there.

And little did I know that this whole mess would put me in the total frame of mind for this film.

God Bless America is Writer/director Goldthwait at his potential best. The film is about a divorced and disillusioned middle-aged man named Frank (the great Joel Murray), who has just lost his job and received potentially the worst news anyone could be told: “You have inoperable cancer.”

He comes home, picks up a gun and just as he’s about to pull the trigger, he spots on TV everything he hates about the world today: Reality Television and the downward spiral of America. With nothing left to lose, Frank sets out on a violent crime spree to rid the world of the rude, the obnoxious and the crude of America and it’s so called “stars.” Along the way, he teams up with a teenage girl (Tara Lynne Barr) who shares the same attitude  and the two leave a bloody trail of bodies as they make there way to their one last big bang.

The film gives the proverbial finger to everything that is celebrated in Reality TV. From the badly misbehaving stars, to the judges to how people worship these talentless people. It’s like Goldthwait has seen the future and our future is Idiocracy.

One reason I like Goldthwait’s movies is that he always has a voice and vision. He doesn’t do film by committee like so many other films, even indies. And this is no exception. God Bless America is at it’s best when

Joel Murray is great in his first starring role. Frank is an everyman who is fed up with the world, his life and his situation. He can’t do anything to dig out of the whole and when he get the news that he is going to die, it is almost like a relief to him. The weight of the world lifts from his shoulders and he’s almost like a new man. Yeah, he’s killing people left and right, but it’s the new Frank doing it. Murray has always been fun to watch I think and here, that’s no exception. He’s got some major dialogue and monologues (one was 3 pages he told me in an interview I’ll post soon) and you just feel his pain and frustration as he’s talking. Hopefully, this will lead to more roles for him.

Barr is a relative newcomer and while her Roxy is at times a little too eager to kill, she plays the wide-eyed youth/sometime instigator part very well.  

The film is definitely entertaining and if you hate Reality TV as much as I do – and Goldthwait – you’ll definitely enjoy the film.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/dianne-wiest-the-humbling.jpg
Two-Time Oscar Winner Dianne Wiest on the Lack of Work for Older Actresses: “I have to move out of my apartment soon”
Whether it’s because of the lack of acting roles for older actresses or if it’s because the shine eventually wears off on many Oscar winners, there are many once-acclaimed actresses who struggle to find meaningful work when they are middle aged and older. According to two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest, her lack of work in […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/jk-simmons-whiplash.jpg
A Conversation with J.K. Simmons: ‘Whiplash’, His Career and More
Simmons talks about his career in detail, including how taken he was with the Whiplash screenplay by writer/director Damien Chazelle and how much he believed in the project
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/bradley-cooper-american-sniper.jpg
Bradley Cooper’s Physical Transformation in ‘American Sniper': “It changes the way you walk, the way people relate to you”
American Sniper continues to heat up the box office as well as Bradley Cooper‘s already hot career. To play the role of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the actor had to bulk up quite a bit to make his portrayal believable. “I had to get to the point where I believed I was him,” Cooper says. […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/watch-al-pacino-talks-the-humbli.jpg
Watch: Al Pacino Talks ‘The Humbling’ and His Extraordinary Career
In this conversation with Al Pacino talks about his role in The Humbling -- including working with Greta Gerwig -- and his historic acting career
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/watch-oscar-nominee-steve-carell.jpg
Watch: Oscar Nominee Steve Carell Talks Improv, Auditioning for ‘The Office’ and ‘Foxcatcher’
Carell talks about his entire career as an actor, including his background in improv, how he landed the Michael Scott role on The Office, and Foxcatcher