If you want to get a peek inside my mind, check out “God Bless America,” the latest from the mind of Bobcat Goldthwait. Be warned, though: The link above is a red band trailer (meaning NSFW) and the movie is a bit on the violent side, so it may shock your sensibilities. Hell, it even shocked my sensibilities in the first fifteen minutes, and that’s damn near impossible. All the shock aside, though, I felt like this was the first movie to really nail down the rage we should be feeling toward the decline of our civilization over the last decade or more.
I’ve expressed my distaste for the TMZ culture we live in before but there’s no way to accurately put into words the disgusting nature of a country where it has become acceptable to be “against” women’s rights, gay rights, or anyone’s rights for that matter, and run for office. There’s no such thing as civil discourse on politics. If I don’t like your candidate, I’m a leftist socialist that wants to steal all your tax money and spend it on drugs. (The irony is that I am a leftist socialist and I make more than the average person that thinks I’m trying to steal their income for my cocaine addiction and food stamps, but I digress.) There’s no middle ground, no civility, no diplomacy, no respect and no class in discussing politics anymore, so while we all engage in flame wars, the powerful people do the Mr. Burns with no oversight.
The movie addresses the political discourse but also tackles the scourge of trash TV. For every Kardashian, Snooki, or Situation that exists in the GBA world, there’s at least one bullet with their name on it, and it’s all for good reasons. We’ve turned into a society of exploitation, of just being really, really mean, and it’s destroying us. Some of you might not understand why “American Superstarz,” an obvious take on “American Idol” with its own William Hung-style “so bad he’s entertaining” singer, is a primary target of Frank and Roxy’s rage, but of those of us who get it, the message is one that’s all too clear: We can do better. We can treat each other better. We can have a little more self-respect and respect for others.
Religion? Yeah, recently Germans were quoted as being completely puzzled by American Christians’ dislike of universal healthcare. We’ve turned religion into a weapon, something used to hate, and the sad thing is that this isn’t some new trend started by the United States… it’s been used that way since its inception, but we’ve really “militarized” religion, so to speak, more than any other nation in modern history. Gays? God says no. Atheists? God says no. Birth control? God says no. The truth is, even if this were a “Christian nation” like so many claim, that’s just like, your opinion, man. Free country and all that, remember? Bobcat cuts right to the chase here, going directly after the Westboro Baptist idiots with semi-automatic weapons.
Joel Murray (yes, he’s brothers with Bill and the other Murrays) and Tara Lynne Barr (quite possibly my new favorite actress with how she brought Roxy to life) are the perfect pairing in this assault on the dumbing-down of society and the feeling coming out of the movie, for me, even with a melancholy ending, was one of satisfaction, of relief. I worry all the time just how far down the rabbit hole we can go before we really do become the world of Idiocracy (or Wall-E or even the Hunger Games… clearly we know there’s a problem). What can we do to turn it around?
My guess is it’s a lost cause yet I still try every day to move beyond the petty and crass world we live in and inspire some peace and goodwill and, especially, a little independent thought. After all, what’s really missing at the end of the day is intellectualism, and that’s what could turn our culture around.
We just need to ask Frank and Roxy to clean house a bit first.