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One of the most disinteresting moments of being a film critic is when you watch a movie that bears way too much similarity to something you’ve seen before. This was certainly the case with Bobcat Goldthwait’s 2012 release “God Bless America,” which he wrote and directed. It kicked off at the IFF Boston on the 25th of April, caused a ruckus at South By Southwest and has been on Comcast OnDemand for some time now.
Having written a one-year anniversary review for James Gunn’s “Super” just over a month ago, “God Bless America” bears so much similarity to it that I wouldn’t be surprised if Goldthwait somehow tapped into Gunn’s brain in his sleep and stole his thoughts. Either that, or he read Gunn’s script prior to the release of “Super” and straight up tried to paraphrase the storyline like a college student trying to paraphrase an article from Google Scholar.
Frank (the main character even has the same first name as the main character in “Super”) learns that he has a brain tumor and finds it in his best interest to go on a cross-country homicidal holiday, killing every person in his path that he feels threatens to bring about ingenuity to America. These people include hipsters, spoiled brat children, Jersey Shore Bros, and anyone that wields a smartphone and refuses to put that shit down and stop text messaging their co-dependents.
The opening scene of the film truly says it all in terms of how offensive it is, as a baby gets its head blown off - this film is not for everyone. Frank eventually gets a young sidekick named Roxy (just as Frank from “Super” finds Libby) and the two together share the same intention of killing spoiled 16 year-old reality star Chloe. The low-point of the movie may be the Spike-Lee-like monologue where Frank and Roxy verbally take shots at every race, religion and general stereotype you can think of, either in an attempt by Goldthwait's writing to exasperate his viewers or simply bring a chuckle out of them.
That type of monologue would normally be considered a well-received ode to good ol’ Spikey, but not when it’s carried on for as long as former stand-up comedian Goldthwait did in that situation. Much of “God Bless America,” minus its incessant violence, feels like a stand-up routine itself. Furthermore, the odes within the film and the simple FUCK POP-CULTURE-AFFILIATED AMERICA message behind it are so blatant that I don’t doubt that a young child would be able to understand it to a certain extent.
I can’t help but show a little bit of respect for the fact that this is a genre movie through and through, though. It’s like a bloody revenge comedy without any actual reason for Frank and Chloe to pursue their unreasonable revenge. That being said, because there is no purpose to their vengeance, “Super” is a much deeper film than “God Bless America” – but maybe that’s the way Goldthwait wanted his movie to be: a simple, stupid, 90 minute long, academically inept stand up comedic rant.
“God Bless America” is set to play at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square in Cambridge for its area premiere several nights in the middle of May. It is starting its limited U.S. release on this Friday, May 11th. God bless ANYONE who goes into this film blindly without knowing what it is.
Friday, May 18th at 9:45PM and Midnight
Saturday, May 19th at 9:45PM and Midnight
Sunday, May 20th at 9:45PM
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