A few months ago Bobcat Goldthwait was the guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. He came across as a likeable, amiable fellow who hated the mass media. Reality shows, American Idol, stupid adverts for fart ringtones, My Sweet Sixteen, The Kardashians. He was talking up his new film 'God Bless America'. I didn't even know he was a director or a stand-up for that matter. To me he's always been that crazy guy with the mad voice in Police Academy.
Redban was coming over all fanboy over Shakes the Clown which was Goldthwait's directorial debut. Then I heard Don Barris on JRE talking up Windy City Heat, and of course many people raving about World's Greatest Dad. So I decided it was time to see one of his films, which handily had it's European debut at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
'God Bless America' follows Frank (Joel Murray), a 50 something guy who has insomnia, migraines and has just lost his job. He hates his idiot neighbours and their crying baby and the only entertainment he has to divert his mind from his pitiful life is his TV showing a constant barrage of dumb reality shows and even dumber adverts. He daydreams about taking a shotgun to all of these idiots and then he does just that, taking a young disillusioned school girl named Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) along for the ride.
Whilst the humour flows easily, thoughout most of the film, the message is muddled. Violent and quotable throughout, the film feels like an entry in pop culture, whilst proclaiming to hate everything about it. Bobcat's stand-up routine shines through, giving the film's dialogue an unreal quality, more akin to a comedian's off-kilter ranting than a real-life conversation.
Tara Lynne Barr is a future star, getting all the best lines and most of the best kills, relishing each one with youthful glee. She's got real presence, and I felt guilty for fancying her after the film discounts her sexuality when Frank tells her she's just a child, and a creepy trucker who has eyes for her meets a sticky end. She's 19, but plays a very convincing 16 year old.
The highlight of the evening for me was Goldthwait and Murray giving a lengthy QnA session afterwards which was funnier than the film itself. Especially the story about shooting a baby with a pump-action without telling it's mother, especially that one.