The movie God Bless America (2011) is a biting, blood-stained satire on our modern celebrity obsessed lifestyles. Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, this small budget movie is about the middle aged ‘hero’ Frank (played subtly by Joel Murray) losing it big time and ‘going postal’.
Joining him on his quest is the teenage Roxy (played effortlessly by Tara Lynne Barr). Their aim (pun intended) is to make America a better place by killing people who are deemed to be irrelevant or annoying or both. At one point Frank says to Roxy “I only wanna kill people who deserve to die.”
The movie is in many ways a homage to the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down (1993), as well as being considered a remake of the 1998 British comedy Parting Shots. In that film, Harry Sterndale (played by the singer Chris Rea) learns he is dying of cancer and decides to go vigilante by shooting dead all those who have made his life a misery. He later discovers that he hasn’t got cancer after all.
God Bless America can be considered the opposite to The Bling Ring (2013), which is about people who are obsessed with fame, where as God Bless America is about people who detest fame and try to overcome it through their own infamy.
The body count builds throughout the movie, culminating in a finale on the stage of American Superstarz, a parody of music talent shows like American Idol.
The movie is well worth a watch, not only because it is rather satirical, but also because it has a few monologues that I found interesting.
The following monologue has Frank talking to a colleague at work:
…this is the “Oh no, you didn’t say that!” generation, where a shocking comment has more weight than the truth. No one has any shame anymore, and we’re supposed to celebrate it…I mean, why have a civilization anymore if we no longer are interested in being civilized? – from the movie God Bless America (2011)
This next monologue follows on from the one above, with Frank referring to a mentally slow contestant on last nights American Superstarz, who was awful and subsequently ridiculed by the judges. Due to being so bad, this contestant becomes famous and goes viral:
It’s not nice to laugh at someone who’s not all there. It’s the same type of freak-show distraction that comes along every time a mighty empire starts collapsing. “American Superstarz” is the new colosseum and I won’t participate in watching a show where the weak are torn apart every week for our entertainment. I’m done, really. Everything is so “cool” now. I just want it all to stop. I mean, nobody talks about anything anymore. They just regurgitate everything they see on TV, or hear on the radio, or watch on the web. When was the last time you had a real conversation with someone without somebody texting or looking at a screen or a monitor over your head, you know? A conversation about something that wasn’t celebrities, gossip, sports, or pop politics. You know, something important, something personal. – from the movie God Bless America (2011)
The last monologue is at the end of the movie, with Frank talking to camera whilst standing on the American Superstarz stage, before the final inevitable shoot out:
My name is Frank. That’s not important. The important question is: who are you? America has become a cruel and vicious place. We reward the shallowest, the dumbest, the meanest and the loudest. We no longer have any common sense of decency. No sense of shame. There is no right and wrong. The worst qualities in people are looked up to and celebrated. Lying and spreading fear are fine as long as you make money doing it. We’ve become a nation of slogan-saying, bile-spewing hatemongers. We’ve lost our kindness. We’ve lost our soul. – from the movie God Bless America (2011)
Here are the corresponding Youtube clips: