Bob Goldthwait's latest film, God Bless America, is really divisive among critics, and it's easy to see why. Goldthwait's story is a liberal revolutionary's wet dream; a violent rampage across the country shooting down the rudest and trashiest that modern America has to offer. I get the distinct feeling that this film was intended to make people like me sit up and cheer with the campaign of bloody retribution against the sleaziest of the sleazy. The problem for me is that the film is just too fucking on the nose.
Frank (Joel Murray) is just your ordinary average guy who hates all of the nauseating shit that you hate. The culture of rudeness, both in word and in deed, makes him feel sad for the country he calls home. But everyday he goes home after his tedious job and drowns his sorrows in the boob tube, which only really serves to reinforce his already poor opinion of the world around him.
When he gets fired from his job for essentially being a nice guy, and only hours later is told by his doctor that he has an inoperable brain tumor, something snaps, and Frank turns to the gun. After shooting down a particularly obnoxious reality TV star, he gains a fan and acolyte in Roxy, a teenaged girl with similar feelings about American society today. Together they go on a targeted rampage, taking out the worst offenders of decency all across the country. Assholes, beware, Frank & Roxy are out to get you!
I like Bob Goldthwait and I like Joel Murray, however, this movie is just so obvious that it's hard to squeeze any kind of emotion out of it. This just seems like the kind of film that Mike Judge makes so well. Films like Office Space and Idiocracy are by no means subtle, but they also don't rely on overly preachy expository monologue to get their points across. The action in God Bless America is perfectly fine, but whenever the guns aren't blazing, it turns into something that just doesn't work for me.
As I mentioned above, the idea of ridding the world of assholes one at a time is not altogether unappealing. I just wish that God Bless America had given me the chance to care about Frank as a person, rather than as a concept. He is given the occasional character moment, but even in those, he seems like a completely broken person, there seems to be no hope for redeeming him, even though he's the hero of the film. I love watching jerks getting their comeuppance as much as the next guy, but God Bless America is not the last word in this genre, and I hope someone else figures out a way to illustrate my rage, because there is certainly a movie in it, it just isn't God Bless America.
Magnet Releasing's God Bless America on Blu-ray looks pretty damned good. This is another modern independent film that appears to have been shot digitally. This bodes well for its inevitable home video release, and the film's image quality is very solid. I haven't got a whole lot to say, I didn't notice any defects in the print or the image, so let's just say that it looks like it should. The DTS-HD MA audio track is similarly efficient. Most of the film is dialogue that is handled quite well, but during the crazy climax, the surrounds are used to good effect. Again, no damage, hiss, or pops on this audio track.
Magnet have really stepped up in the extras department in recent months, and God Bless America keeps the streak alive. We get an audio commentary from the director and stars, a half hour behind the scenes featurette on the making of the film, we get a ten minute interview with Bob and the lead actors, and some funny little outtakes as well. No too shabby, over all the extras run around an hour and fifteen minutes, not counting the commentary.
I like God Bless America at times, but the preachiness just got to me. I don't like being preached at, even if I agree with you, and this went over my personal threshold. I'd definitely rent it first if you're interested.
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