There will be well over 600 movies released in theaters this year. And of those 600-plus, 10 or less will be nominated by the academy for Best Picture. And of those 10 (or less), only one will be honored with the crown. However, the most important movie to come out this year will not even be considered a contender. God Bless America is cinema at its absolute, bloody best.
Original, thought-provoking and fun, Bobcat Goldthwait's latest effort has something for everyone, except those who are offended by violent killing sprees (but given we are in America, that shouldn't be an issue). The potential affect this movie has on a generally sensitive, caring human being is astounding. Twistedly hilarious throughout, this film endears itself into your heart where it places a time bomb of emotional animosity and social reflection. Personally, this movie excited a hope in me for an entire humanity that I had all but given up on.
Frank lives in a world that is so obnoxiously similar to real life; it is impressive how enjoyable it was to laugh at the torments we endure on a daily basis. As Frank is constantly punched in the face with the horrors of intrusive media and idiotic misinterpretations of modern convention, the audience is able to exercise those demons by laughing at the truth. After being beaten down by life, the anti-protagonist struggles to gain some control of his little slice of the world. Seeing death as the only option, he takes the gun meant to end his own life and turns it on all unnecessary evil in the world. With energetic 16-year-old Roxy as his sidekick, he transforms from a pathetic man into a demigod.
Joel Murray brings the house down in this break out performance. Speaking of break out performance, Tara Lynne Barr! Tara Lynne Barr ignites the film with an electricity that plays a brilliant contrast to Murray's deadpan everyman. This onscreen duo has every right to be mentioned in the same breath as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The onscreen, odd couple has so much fun becoming anti-heroes to the disenfranchised American public, it is impossible not be infected with unparalleled excitement and pure joy.
Sure, it is tempting to list the flaws of the film. It is hard for a critic to not point out the lack of reality in the plot, the somewhat preachy rants that lose focus, the self-indulgent nature of a filmmaker using the movie as a blow horn to yell at America... but who cares? This is a highly entertaining, wonderfully witty, and stunningly honest movie. In this world of corporate thieves and capitalist marketing, Bobcat Goldthwait made the film he wanted to make. And that is nothing short of remarkable.
Beyond all the fun that only a murderous rampage can supply, the movie has something to say. It persuades you to reevaluate how you live your life. It challenges its audience to take a long, hard look at their being and ask, "What the fuck are we doing?" In this modern, multi-media-saturated, imaginatively under-inspired culture, we still have control of ourselves. We can still be kind and courteous to our neighbors. We do not have to be willing participants in the general degradation of society. As Goldthwait said himself, "This is an extremely violent movie about kindness."
Do yourself a favor, seek this movie out! In theatres, through Netflix, through On Demand... find it, watch it and pass it on. Be part of this conversation. This is the most imperative and urgent discussion of our time.
Follow Tony Bartolone on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TonyDoesComedy