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"God Bless America": Welcome to Bobcat Goldthwait's Rage 

Wednesday, May 9 2012
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In one week, Frank (Joel Murray), a divorced, fiftyish, glumly alcoholic white-collar worker, loses his job, becomes completely estranged from his young daughter, and is diagnosed with cancer. Facing the end, Frank decides to take his service revolver to those responsible for the degradation of pop culture — starting with an ungrateful brat he sees on a program that's clearly based on MTV's My Super Sweet 16. Frank quickly gains an admiring groupie in Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), a high school classmate of his first victim, who tags along to spur him into a program of cleansing cross-country killing, targeting members of a Westboro Baptist Church — type group, a bullying right-wing TV host, Tea Partiers, and even some nonpartisan assholes. From the film's blinkered POV, there is no such thing as an "innocent bystander," and no perspective is available outside of the all-enveloping disgust of Frank, Roxy, and their doting creator, who absolves their crimes while serving up paper targets and irreverent soundtrack cues. Writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait must understand the irony of a protagonist condemning a society "where the weak are torn apart every week for our entertainment" and "nobody cares that they damage other people" in a movie that revels in the slaughter of the unarmed. And he must, understandably, have thought that any flinch might crack his film's deadpan. But what's less obvious is what this turkey shoot is meant to do, aside from providing a like-minded audience the vicarious cathartic thrill of watching a douchebag apocalypse.

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Nick Pinkerton

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