Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review Six Godbless America

When I watched this film, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I had written it. Like maybe I went on one of those 2-3 day blackouts I’m famous for and somehow managed to write a script in between fucking whiskey bottles, raping dead hookers, and snorting crack out of farm animal carcasses. Maybe the carcasses are alive, I don’t know I’m blackout. There are some clues that lead me to believe I might have written this movie. Actual clues though, not like those asinine clues left behind on Scooby-Do. In real life Freddy beats up Daphne and forces her to have sex with him pretty much all the time. She’s too afraid of him to say anything to the others. Velma eventually takes her own life, because she’s so in love with Freddy, and the only times he could bring himself to have sex with her was when he was wasted, and even then he made her wear a bag over her head. This, of course was after, her failed attempt to murder Daphne with a kitchen knife. Freddy stopped her by beating the ever living shit out of her. He had a raging boner the entire time. Every time Freddy gets a boner he thinks of his father.  We all know where that leads us, now don’t we? Velma’s suicide note simply read, “Jinkies!”.  Her glasses were never found. Daphne might have killed herself too, if she hadn’t of been pregnant with Freddy’s baby. She finally forced a miscarriage by throwing herself down the stairs three times. She fled the city shortly after. I think she does porn now. Shaggy died weeks before this from a heroin overdose in his apartment. The only reason anyone ever found him is because the neighbors complained about the smell. When the landlord finally opened the door they found Shaggy’s rancid body lying on the ground. His face had already been eaten off by an emaciated Scooby-Do. Shaggy traded Scrappy-Do for the junk that killed him. The police never found him, but rest assured the underground sex trade is alive and well. Left all alone Freddy tried to rob a gas station. He was shot to death by police while trying to escape. Fortunately, Scooby was placed in a loving home. He was hit by a truck not long after. Solve that mystery you pesky faggots!

Man, my Scooby-Do is way better. Oh yeah clues! So the clues that led me to think I wrote this movie are as followed:

Clue #1 Poorly written.  Story of my life.
Clue #2 This film does nothing  but complain about why everything sucks while never offering a solution or an alternative. I mean come on…
Clue#3 The one solution that the movie does offer is one man’s mission/vendetta to murder all the shitty people worthless people that don’t deserve to live. Readers, need I say more.

Ok fine, I did not write this movie, but I maintain that this movie might have been written for me. Though that doesn’t change the fact that I thought it sucked. Still, it was a movie I was very curious about so I thought It was time I finally watched it, and even though I thought it sucked I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. So what writer/director can entertain me so? Well, it was Bobcat Goldthwait.

Wait what? You mean that guy from all the Police Academy movies? Oh yeah friends, that’s exactly who I mean. To be more specifically he appeared in, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985). Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986), and Police Academy 4: Citizens Patrol (1987). That of course does not include Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988) or Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994). So many sequels! The original Police Academy (1984) was actually pretty funny. It’s a standard story about misfits coming together. If anything, all this police academy talk just makes me all nostalgic for Steve Guttenberg., one of my top under rated actors from the 1980’s. If you haven’t seen such films as, Diner (1982), Cocoon (1985), or Short Circuit (1986), then you’re missing out on some classic shit. So stop fucking dudes’ butts and go to the video store. Do they even still have video stores? Jesus!

Anyhow, besides the police academy movies, Bobcat was also in stuff like Hot to Trot (1988) with Richard Dreyfuss, and Scrooged (1988) with Bill Murray. They’re both pretty good flicks. If you look at Bobcat’s filmography he has actually been in infinite stuff, even as a voice actor in cartoons a lot of us grew up watching like Eek! The Cat, Capitol Critters, Beavis and Butt-head, Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man, and The Tick. Then he made appearances on famous TV shows like Married With Children, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Herman’s Head (ok that one flopped real fast but I thought it was funny), and Tales from the Crypt. That’s only a taste of the cameos. He was even on ER for fuck’s sake. And he had his own game show at some point, called Bobcat’s Big Ass Show. I watched it? Did you? He got his start like most comedians doing stand-up comedy. He used to perform at the same venue as Robin Williams once upon a time. Here’s a clip from some of his stand-up just so you get a good idea of what we are dealing with here. Watch it and don’t be a baby, this is how we analyze movies!

Scott Baio is the anti Christ! If you liked my real life version of Scooby-Do then you’ll love what really happens on Charles in Charge! Here’s a hint…none of it is good.

So if you’re thinking to yourself, how is this weird screaming guy making movies worth paying attention to? Well friends, talent comes in many forms I suppose. What I can tell you is that God Bless America is (2011) not his first movie. Before that he made World’s Greatest Dad (2009) starring Robin Williams, which makes sense because they are probably buddies since they used to perform at the same place. I watched World’s Greatest Dad a few years ago, and my response is probably similar to what you’re thinking right now. Bobcat made a fucking movie? WTF!? But it was actually really good, and if you haven’t seen it, I’d say it’s worth a rental. It’s about a father, who is a failed writer. His son kills himself on accident (one of the best deaths ever really), so he invents a different reason and writes a suicide note, then hilarity ensues.

Now I grew up watching a very wide variety of weird shit. This, of course, included Bobcat stuff on TV with my old man. Now from what I know, the one thing I can tell you about him, stand-up or not, all of his work involves dark themes and humor. Which if done well, can be pretty god damn amazing. Now I’m not saying that World’s Greatest Dad is goddamn amazing, but I thought it was a really good movie. So when God Bless America came around I was ready for something cool. Alas, we almost get there.

So real fast, who’s in this fucking movie? The main character, Frank, is played by Joel Murray. Who the fuck is that!? Oh you mean the guy that played Greg’s fat perverted friend Pete on Dharma &Greg (1997-2002). Oh Jenna Elfman! Splooge! Wait what!? That guy? Really? Oh yeah it’s him. His career hasn’t exactly been sparkling, but he has done a lot of television, which leads me to think that he’s also friends with Bobcat since Bobcat has done butt loads of TV shit. See friends, following clues is important. Franks plucky sidekick, Roxy, is played by Tara Lynne Barr, who has been in nothing you’d recognize. Even I had never seen her before. She was born in 1993, however, so give her time. She’ll be exploiting her body for roles in stuff before you can say blowjobs for crack.

This film is a little Bonny and Clyde (1967), (Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. If you haven’t seen it watch it dumb dumbs) mixed in with Natural Born Killers (1994) and My First Mister (2001). Yes friends, I’m talking about the ULTRA gay movie where the young goth girl forms and unlikely friendship with the middle aged store owner guy that’s a tight ass. Staring Leelee Sobieski. She was the amazing young actress in such illustrious films as Joan of Arc (1999), don’t confuse that with The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc starring Milla Jovovich which also came out in 1999. Good one guys. Leelee was also in The Glass House and Joy Ride both in 2001. So feel free to skip those. On with the show.

Despite thinking God Bless America sucks, I still enjoyed watching it so I’ll keep this part brief, since you should probably go watch it. Here is the briefest possible plot summary I can manage.

This is a movie about being contrived. Ok, so that’s not actually what the movie is about, but that’s what the movie is. Now if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry friends. I fully expect you all to be stupid, so let me explain. If something is contrived that means it has been excessively planned.  So when you watch a film that is contrived, everything that happens seems forced. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing, but in general good writing just kind of flows on its own. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying about how things, “write themselves”.  The writing in this movie is 100% forced.

“Ummm, hey Mandrew…”
Yes readers.
“You realize that’s how everything you write sounds right?”
Yes I suppose so.
“It’s like you look for any excuse to talk about gross offensive things just for the sake of it.”
That’s one way to look at it. I’m just venting my frustrations in a colorful way.
“Are you frustrated because all your writing lacks substance?”
There’s a lot of things that frustrate me. My own shortcomings included
 “And why are you so obsessed with semen? Are you gay?”
Good Talk readers, good talk.

So that’s just it, this movie was very obviously written for something very specific, and the flow is dictated by an obvious, spunk on your face, agenda. So we have Frank. He is a middle aged fat guy. Frank’s life sucks. He’s divorced, and his kid is a huge spoiled bitch who hates him. Despite having very little in his life to live for, Frank is still a very nice man. He’s a very respectful, polite, and thoughtful person. He did his time in the military, and afterward he had a traditional life in mind, but it just didn’t work out. To make things worse, Frank is pissed about everything he sees. This is where the agenda comes in. The entire movie Frank is bombarded by the worst things about America. Now, I’m going to dance around this as much as I can or we’ll be here all day. Just remember this movie is a dark humorous satire. Satire is that thing that actual stupid people will never understand. I won’t explain, just be better at stuff friends. I’m rooting for you here.

This is the best way I can explain the agenda of this movie. At the beginning of the movie Frank is watching TV and he is bombarded with all the shit that we might see on TV now, except exaggerated…or is it!? DUM DUM DUMB!

He sees a lot of awful things, like EXTREME energy drink commercials! He sees a Jersey Shore type show. I think we can all agree those people should be euthanized. And yet their show is so popular…hmm weird…do you see where this is going. He also sees a horrible reality show where a girl throws a used tampon at another girl. Then there’s the films fictional version of American Idol called, American Super Starz. Bobcat must be really pissed at this show because the American Super Starz follows Frank around the entire film. Now don’t get me wrong, the show American idol makes me want to gouge out my own eyes like Oedipus Rex. And he had sex with his mom, so you know I’m serious! If you don’t know what that means then I suggest you go watch something on Tivo. And by that I meant ram your face into the TV as fast and as hard as you can. I’ll rape your corpse when I have time, so don’t worry. I’d also like to remind you all that someone already made a satire type film about American idol, and it was called American Deams (2006). This movie is actually pretty funny, and the ending makes the whole thing worth it, so I’d say it’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. This also reminds us as an audience that Bobcat isn’t doing anything new here.

The American Super Starz show features a team of Judges, one specifically supposed to mirror that Simon guy, as they make horrid fun of this retarded kid that gets up to sing. There’s more stuff in this scene, so like I said go see for yourselves. Truth be told, I thought they were all pretty clever, but as I said, very contrived.

Now on top of this, every single person Frank interacts with is the most shallow, vacuous, atrocious douchbag piece of shit you’ve ever met in your entire life, with nothing more intelligent to talk about then what other awful celebrities are doing. I’m not joking here. The characters in this movie are intentionally terrible, and I mean the worst, to help keep the point of the film on task. This is something I like and dislike at the same time. I like this as a plot device because, in my opinion, the majority of people I interact with are absolutely terrible as I have described. However I know not everyone is this way…at least I think so. That’s not important though. What is important is that these, “not awful” humans are not represented in this movie, really at all, except through the main character Frank, and he goes around murdering people. Oops spoilers! Only representing the film’s idea of “good” with the main character is pretty convenient, and probably just lazy writing, but it works as far as the story is concerned. Now the “awful” characters, which is everyone but Frank, are represented as I have described, and while this also works for the story I think Bobcat could have done better. Even shitty characters deserve a chance to be well developed. Instead all the non Frank characters are really flat and uninteresting, since they serve no purpose but to make the audience like Frank. Yes this plot device works just fine, but I’d argue that even shitty characters deserve some dignity. Even the worst character you can think of can be well rounded and interesting. The more interesting characters a story has, the better the story is. It doesn’t seem like Bobcat is interested in telling a great story because he’s obviously got a lot on his mind, and it shows through the writing. So instead of having a lot of interesting characters, the audience is forced to throw all their eggs into Franks basket, since he’s the only character with any depth at all. While it is fine, I still would like to see more. As a result, the audience get’s an idea very quickly that Frank is all alone. He even has a large argument with one of his co-workers about why American Super Starz is a horrible show. Here’s the actual dialogue to give you an idea.

Frank: 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 coliseum 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.

This is the whole fucking movie. Just Frank rambling on with these huge long diatribes. Now I actually like dialogue like this in a lot of cases. One of my favorite movies with very contrived dialogue is Brick (2005). I recommend it to everyone. Also Chasing Amy (1997). It’s Kevin Smith’s only actual GOOD movie. The rest in pretty entertaining I’ll admit, but it just stands out above the rest. But do you see what I mean about the movie having an agenda? Then, all in one day, Frank, loses his job and finds out he has a terminal brain tumor. So let’s review. Frank is actually a really nice guy, but he thinks everyone is terrible and the world has gone to hell in a hand basket, and after am lifetime of being shit on, he’s going to die and all the shitty worthlessness of America will thrive on without him, so what’s a man to do? Well go on a killing spree obviously. It makes sense. This is one of those things that “normal” people might not want to admit, but given the option I think a fair amount of people who work hard for very little might do the same if they were in Frank’s shoes. So I like this, because it makes the audience stop and actually consider for a second what they would do. And even if they wouldn’t go on a killing spree, they don’t blame Frank for his actions, and later you find yourself rooting for the guy that kills everyone. When this happens it’s usually because of really good writing. In the case of this movie though, it’s almost good writing. Instead I’d argue that we root for Frank because he’s all we get. It’s just a byproduct of having awful characters, except for one.

After Frank get’s the news about his brain tumor, he sits at home watching TV and drinks excessively. He watches a show that’s supposed to resemble that fucking show on MTV My Super Sweet 16. This show features outrageously rich bitches being showered with stuff they don’t deserve just because they made it to sixteen without dying. The girl on the show is probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen, so when Frank decides to go murder this girl, the audience is right on board. I’ll admit I was stoked about it. 

Shortly after this Frank teams up with young Roxy, who attends school with the girl Frank murdered. Roxy is very much like Frank and shares his view of the world. So then the movie goes on and the duo murders a lot of shitty people. They kill the shitty girl’s parents, because they’re just as bad if not worse. They kill the horrible group of douchbags and jocks at the movies. The kill the shit out of the religious prick who protests funerals with his God hates fags signs, and a super mean super conservative political commentator that spreads fear for his own agenda. The whole time this is happening they’re driving around in a bright yellow Camaro, and somehow never get caught.

Bobcat reconciles the murdering and the fact that the audience has to root for these people in a couple different ways. First and foremost, as I’ve already described, they only kill “shitty” people. So it’s like when Dexter murders other murderers on the show DEXTER. The people being killed are bad, so we don’t care. Then we get the father/daughter relationship that develops between Frank and Roxy. They practice shooting together. They go to the fair together. They talk about their feelings, and they kill douchbags together. Just like my family. Just replace everything I just wrote with excessive bickering, tears, and copious amounts of booze. I stopped going to holidays years ago after I disowned everyone I was related to except for my parents. Every other time I drank till I passed out, or pretended to sleep till it was time to leave. My pretend sleep record is nine hours. Now that’s an American family! Lastly, Frank is just always really polite. He even refuses Roxy’s advances, because he doesn’t want to take advantage of a child. Frank is a good dude, despite the killing spree. So then the movie just goes on like this, then some more stuff happens, and it’s over. Just watch it. Here’s my main beef, and we’ll wrap this shit up.

The writing is lazy. Not once during this whole movie does Frank stop to wonder if he’s doing the right thing. We know he’s dying and has nothing to lose, but still, not a single time does Frank stop and think about what he’s doing. And since he’s the only character that matters, I’d say that’s a pretty important  thing for character development. I think Frank should have at least stopped to consider his actions, but instead everything is pretty cut and dry. This movie was very entertaining, but it could have been really GOOD if Bobcat would have put more time into the characters. Like maybe Frank could have murdered someone that turned out to not be terrible, and he had to do some real deep thinking to find his way. That’s a little cliché I’ll admit, but I’m just spitballing here. Insert anything into the plot that would make Frank have a change of heart, or anything would inspire thought in any of the characters. It could be a million different things, and that’s fine and acceptable because people can be very complicated. Then as the audience we follow Frank along his path and experience his thoughts as he changes as a person, then decide to be on his side or not at the exact same moment he picks his path. But Frank can’t do this because all the other characters are so fucking FLAT. Even Roxy is just an extension of Frank. They’re practically the same character, and this is just aggravated by the unlikely friendship thing that’s been done to death. I’ve mentioned this in other blogs, you know what it’s all about. It’s a shame to me that Bobcat wasn’t interested in telling a great story. World’s Greatest Dad is similar, but I think it’s a better movie, for the reason I have listed. My other main beef has to do with Bobcat’s disinterest is story telling. The whole movie is about why Bobcat is personally mad at America. At some point Frank says this:

Frank: [On the air] 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 is 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. What have we become? We take the weakest in our society, we hold them up to be ridiculed, laughed at for our sport and entertainment. Laughed at to the point, where they would literally rather kill themselves than live with us anymore.

Ok here we go. To begin with I agree with everything that quote just said 100%. This is a blog, and in it is my opinion, and I can honestly say that sums up how I feel about America in this day and age. There’s a big BUT here though friends. Even though that’s how I feel about the country I was born in, and live in I still recognize that this is fucking America and we’re all pretty fucking lucky to live here. I won’t say America is the best country in the world, but we all have it pretty god damn good. Even at our worst we still have it better than the majority of people all over the world. I’m a white male in America between the ages of 18 and 40. No one has it easier than me. I get to wake up and choose what I want to eat. Pretty much anything I want, and as much as I’d like. I have a job that pays me way more than I deserve, and I get to look at beautiful women all the time. I’m in good health and free of disease. If you chuckled there, I don’t blame you. I have spent the last decade doing everything in my power to catch every sexually transmitted disease there is. I JUST CAN’T GET AIDS DAMNIT! But yes, there’s no plague, no Aids epidemic, no one comes to my town and kills me for no reason. Things here are pretty relaxed. It’s America. Things aren’t great, but they’re sure as shit not bad. And my rights to spew my bile on the internet are protected. For now anyway. And just as I can be the piece of shit that I am freely, so can all other shitty people.

So Bobcat, instead of making a movie that serves no purpose but to vent your own personal frustration why don’t you do something more productive with your time. Like make better fucking movies! Make better shit and raise the standards and force the rest to make better stuff too. What a wonder it would be if we actually cared about art and telling amazing stories again. Our oral history is pretty fucking important I’d say. Movies have become ingrained in it. Or God fucking forbid, instead of bitching like an asshole (yes I’m aware of the irony readers just chill out) you propose solutions. God Bless America complains and offers nothing as an alternative. If only I had a fraction of the resources these Hollywood fuckheads have. Instead all they do is waste their time and efforts to jerk off on themselves. That’s all this movie is. Masturbation. That and any dialogue Tarantino has ever written. ZING! Then I remember this movie is supposed to be a satire and inspire thoughts and stuff. So maybe this was Bobcat’s plan the whole time. I just can’t say for sure. If you want to watch a movie that’s actually good and deals with a lot of these same themes I’d highly recommend you go watch Falling Down (1993). It’s got Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall. It’s got everything in it that would have made God Bless America a truly great movie.

The problems in this country won’t just fix themselves, especially if the only people leading the way are crybaby rich assholes that make movies like this. We have to band together as a people and agree to stop being short sighted. Teach our children not to be obsessed with wealth and beauty. Not to be selfish, and decadent. To not fear and hate things they don’t understand, and certainly not the rest of the world. We have to teach our children to care about our greater good as species before we all go extinct. Because in the end, all we have is each other. That’s how it was before we had TV and cell phones, and it’s very plausible that’s how it will be again. If the world does come to an end and everyone still acts the way they do now, you can count on people like me hunting the rest of you for food. I say this with complete sincerity. I will hunt you for food. That’s what God Bless America should have been about. It would probably have made for a much more interesting plot.

But honestly I’ll probably just drink myself to death instead, because I’m just a lazy American douchbag. Good One.

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