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3.8 out of 5 stars
God Bless America
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64 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2012
Format: DVD
"I know it's not normal to want to kill, but I also know that I am no longer normal." Frank (Murray) has almost had it. He is tired of reality TV, he gets fired from his job for looking up a co-workers address and just found out he has terminal cancer. He decides to end it all but right before he does he sees something on the TV that changes his mind. I must start by saying I loved this movie, but it is not for everyone. Bobcat is getting better and better as a director and writer. I have really like "Sleeping Dogs Lie" and "World's Greatest Dad" but I think that this is his best one yet. I can best describe this by calling it an extreme version of "Falling Down". Without sounding too un-PC or getting the FBI after me Frank in this movie does things some of us want to. Especially those who hate reality TV and are sick of the people on it. I am not advocating what is done in this but I did get a sense of relief knowing I'm not the only one. The acting is good but the writing is great. I highly recommend this but you must not be the type that offends easy. If you are and watch this...you were warned. Overall, Bobcat's best movie yet and one of the year's best comedy's. I give it an A.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Yes, it's preachy, but also tremendously intelligent and meaningful. Among a sea of shallowness, G.B.A actually has something to say. "Let's be more civil" is the theme here, and it's presented in the most graphic and blunt way possible. It does have some structural problems, but if it lacks cohesion, I believe it's because it ultimately succeeds in being one-hundred percent honest. Also, Joel and Tara should appear in way more movies. They are great actors (especially Joel) and so unsung...
It's great, but not for everyone, and Bobcat doesn't care. That's commendable in this day and age. He wants to insult Glee and Diablo Cody (I hated "Juno" for the same reason he does)? He does. He can't be bothered to care if someone won't like it or aiming for universal appeal thus stripping the movie out of all pottentialy controversial opinions or moments. And, boy, does this have them...
I loved it from minute one, but, I can't stress this enough, YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THIS PIECE DEPENDS ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU AGREE IDEOLOGICALLY WITH IT'S CREATOR.
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102 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Are you one of those people who feel ill when exposed to reality televison? Did you watch the moive Idiocracy and think, "This isn't just a movie, it's a prophecy." Do you let idiots win arguments because it just isn't worth it to waste the oxygen? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then I highly recommend that you watch God Bless America.

God Bless America has to be one smartest films I've seen in years. This isn't some generic garbage that Hollywood poops out, with the intention of pleasing everyone...it's the exact opposite. This movie has a target audience, and you'll be 100% sure if you're that target audience, if you can make it past the first five minutes of the movie. If you can't make it past the first five minutes of this movie, I would suggest you go and enjoy some Jersey Shore reruns.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
"God Bless America" is good, but for a reason many people will either find strange or disagree with entirely: It's a movie that needs to be there.

As some other reviewers have noted, "God Bless America" is more of a rant than a movie, but the ranting is the reason for the movie to exist. It's a statement embedded in good acting and pretty cinematography.

It features a plotline that is by no means wholly believeable (that never stopped anyone from making an episode of The Mentalist) and it is nothing *like* entirely pleasant (that never stopped anyone from watching an episode of The Mentalist) in which two alienated loners, a divorced middle-aged man and a too-clever teenaged girl, find one another and go on a killing spree that features representations from a rogue's gallery of American incivlity and mental degeneration; one that includes, among others, a Glenn Beck clone, a "God-hates-gays" preacher and a large sampling of the superficial, the cruel, the entitled and the merely rude.

It is a rant wrapped in a thin layer of movie that displays a very linnear, paint-by-the-numbers plot, the point of which makes the movie almost like something Brecht might have written were he alive today. Goldthwaite's story and how he tells it, like Brecht's, pushes the viewer back far enough to see the point: that we are so bombarded by multimillionaire media personalities vomiting nonsense, dwarf-tossers, infinitely entitled celebrities and the people who have given us the worst of YouTube, that our world is riddled by a media-fueled cancer of noise in which each tumor of diseased culture is replaced by the next one so quickly that horrible events driven by horrible people have become our norm and we cease to notice the presence of the disease, that things were ever otherwise, or to imagine that anything else is possible.

"God Bless America" is a black comedy that at times is not entirely funny, but that is nevertheless worth watching for its point.

If it *was* entirely funny, it would be part of the problem.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2012
Format: DVD
Frank (Joel Murray), a lonely middle-aged man, diagnosed as terminally ill, embarks on a mission to get rid of those who he thinks are responsible for the moral decline in our modern society. Then Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), a girl who ran away from her home, joins his journey. Unlike in a certain Nicholas Cage film, they wear no mask or costume. Frank and Roxy are more like Bonnie and Clyde, though Frank looks much older than his counterpart.

The best part of "God Bless America" is not the killing rampage by the incongruous pair, however; it is Joel Murray's subtle performance as Frank before he turns into a killer, as a decent person whose life is slowly falling apart. His ordinary life is made unbearable by the people around him in a plausible way. Dejected Frank turns on TV. All he sees there is stupidity.

So far, the film is good. But once the protagonist starts killing, we feel something is not quite right with the film. I am not talking about moral codes. I know this is a comedy, or a satire. The problem is that the story is not just interesting. Their "mission" soon gets repetitious as "God Bless America" does not know where it is going.

The film also fails to develop the characters of Frank and Roxy. What is their relationship like, for instance? Father and daughter? Partners in crime? Or Humbert Humbert and Lolita? We don't know. True, the movie is generally well-acted, but the direction is heavy-handed at times. We are not sure whether we should laugh or not when the protagonist starts rambling monologue about what he thinks deserves punishment. Are we supposed to laugh with him, or at him?

And when he speaks, he speaks on and on, as if being the mouthpiece of the director Bobcat Goldthwait. Our hero's preachy attack on everything he dislikes (from "American Idol"-type reality shows to Diablo Cody and those who overuse "actually" in their conversation) is not only unfunny, but annoying, making us think: "If you don't like TV shows, why don't you stop watching them and read a book instead?"

Maybe Goldthwait is aware of this. Or maybe not. What we know is "God Bless America" could have been a more insightful and funnier movie than it is, a one-note comedy of which second half drags.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
I am not a violent person, but there are times when I look around and see the state American culture has sunk to, and it makes me angry enough to want to kill people. Bob Goldthwait understands this, and he understands that while we can't, as civilized people, strike out violently (either for fear of repercussions, or simply on principle), we can do the next best thing, which is make fun of the sheer stupidity that has arisen: Reality TV, religious and political extremism (which often overlap), an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, a total lack of regard for others, and the death of common decency and consideration.

-- Ben
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This movie tries to be satirical but is not at all profound. It simply points out that people are shallow, rude, and ignorant and that people in the US use guns to solve their problems. There is nothing beyond that. Nothing deeper than that.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
God Bless America is a great concept for a movie, and one which has a lot of potential, not just as an idea but also as a critical success in today's television and film milieu. The premise is simple. An average Joe - known to us only as Frank - loses patience with what he sees as the entitled and vicious culture of a decadent empire, and goes on a murder spree. What distinguishes it from other stories about serial murderers is that here, the killer is unabashedly billed as the hero. This is bound to make some people very uncomfortable (see vitriolic reviews for details), and in full disclosure, ends up being the main reason the movie becomes increasingly uninteresting after the first half hour.

The first thirty minutes of GBA on the other hand are truly masterful at times, showing with painful detail every aspect of Frank's slow slide into homicidal rage. This is done quite candidly, and with a viciously black sense of humor, such that it is both quite funny and truly abbhorent to watch. It is high satire, plain and simple, and the stick that director Bobcat Goldthwait uses to poke fun at our society is exquisitely sharp. Unfortunately, once he puts that stick away in order to give our hero a gun, the movie quickly loses steam.

Joel Murray turns in an extremely compelling performance as Frank, but as soon as he has to share the frame with Tara Lynne Barr, who plays an ADD high schooler named Roxy, everything takes a turn for the worse. For no discernible reason other than the influence of an emotionally unstable teenager with latent violent tendencies, Frank quickly and dramatically relaxes the reins on his conscience, and we start to see people in his crosshairs who really have no business being there. The cerebral, deeply emotional, even ethical thinker (sans a few noteworthy scenes of extreme violence) we see in the early stages of the film vanishes, as though Roxy has shown up to say "Nope, sorry gang, it's not that kind of movie anymore." She is a likeable character, but she has no business being in this movie, and the dramatic split between the beginning of the movie and its meat and resolution never works itself out.

What this amounts to is that the rest of GBA just isn't very interesting. The action isn't bad but it isn't great by itself, the relationship between Frank and Roxy isn't bad but it isn't great by itself, the narrative isn't bad...you see where I'm going with this? The director plays all his high cards in the first half-hour, and all that's left is an average film that - as funny as it is to say this about a movie about a serial murderer - has lost its moral compass. In fact, it feels very much as though we've crossed into the realm of glorifying violence for violence's sake, and though I disagree with their tone and content, many of the most critical reviews of GBA here on Amazon point to the undeniable fact that the movie crosses - blunders, really - into some very dangerous and insensitive territory later in the film.

Having said that, the movie's build-up period is an intelligent and biting inditement of American values, truly entertaining to watch. My only parting advice to you is the following: Watch the first three minutes. If you are so offended you are already tempted to turn off the movie, please do. It's unlikely you'll like the rest.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2013
Format: DVD
The surprising thing here is not that Goldthwait tries to accomplish so much, but that he accomplishes as much as he does. The real success here, the best of the movie, is the time spent on the relationship between the two leads. Scratch away the dark comedy that works(for the most part) and the social commentary that largely doesn't....and you've got a story as clever and intellectually satisfying an interaction between two characters as anything you'll see in a more serious movie. Growing up as a teen during Goldthwaites successful-but-not-subtle 15 minutes in the 80's-90's, I was shocked to realize I would easily pay money to see him doing straight drama with the same heart and soul.

It's a flawed movie, to be sure: about an hour-ten of great filmmaking stretched into an hour-forty. I'm sure many will find some of the comedy falling flat in light of recent shooting tragedies, and the truth is, some of it was just never funny. But if you can live with a bit of filler, and just a tad of self-indulgent pretentiousness, the overall experience is well worth the effort, and a promise of better things to come.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Thank You Mr.Goldthwait. Very funny and sadly true. I recomnd this movie to anyone who is not a complete idiot and can't think for themselves. Enjoy
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