I used to work at a camera shop and one day a man came in looking for a former employee, who was escorted from his job in handcuffs the previous day (another story) about how the coworker promised to film his audition tape for Survivor. I told him the kid was no longer employed with us, so he asked me if I wanted to go in the woods with him and shoot his video. I had no interest in going into the forest with a stranger and told him that wouldn’t be possible, which made him go on a rant about how he was destined for a show like Survivor and how he’d be the best at survival tactics and living off the land. He had fame in his eyes as he launched into a long monologue of how he was going to be better than anyone the show’s ever seen.
I told him I needed to get back to work, but he didn’t like that answer and continued about how skilled he was at staying alive in any condition, and how he would win the coveted prize of a million dollars for showing off his badassness. He sensed my annoyance as I made little attempt to hide it, and finally asked me what I thought. I told him his plan was foolish, as I saw one episode of the first season, and it was obvious to me and should be to anyone else that the producers didn’t care about casting Eagle Scouts, they wanted people with personalities that create drama. It’s not about starting a fire without matches, it’s about popularity and being a jerk, and some, if not all, of it is quite possible staged. He just stared at me for a few seconds, didn’t say a word, grabbed his jacket off the counter, and left the store. I never saw him again.
Modern cinema has devoted a lot of energy into teaching us how decadent and depraved our entertainment is, which of course is dripping with dramatic irony. Still, as pretentious as it may be the lesson that reality television, and pop-culture as a whole, is catering to the lowest common denominator of intelligence and is really amoral seems lost on most, considering how popular American Idol, Jersey Shore, and various other cruel shows still exist. Now films have existed for years about this very topic while they browbeat us with tales of how moronic we are for exercising our voyeuristic tendencies, but sadly we as a country have learned little and we continue to consume such nonsense like a starving man at a Chinese buffet.
Reality shows have become a staple of our collective television diets, and to miss information on who got voted off the island, house, attention whoring dating show, or whatever would mean you miss out on the party. So as good little television consumers you’ll continue to fill your belly on shows reward a lack of talent, morality, or even possess anything remotely interesting. We’ve turned into a vicious, cruel, and entitled culture that lacks any original thought or merit.
God Bless America takes what The Truman Show, and many others, already told us, and twist such lessons into one of the darkest, least subtle comedies I’ve ever seen. First set in Virginia, it’s the story of Frank, a middle age average loser who just lost his job and is diagnosed a terminal illness. Frank like to talk about how he hates our modern culture, but for whatever reason can’t seem to turn off the television to pick up a book. Finally having enough of the world he decides the only reasonable course of action is to kill everyone he finds repugnant.
Early along the way he meets a teenager, Roxy, who shares his disdain for people that have no business consuming precious oxygen, and joins in the killing spree, shooting tea partiers, Westboro Baptist Church members, an obvious rip off of Bill O’Reilly, and eventually the set of American Superstar (American Idol).
While again, everyone they kill seems like an easy target, which they are, and the film says nothing you don’t already know or feel…well if you don’t you’re obviously not reading this and have TMZ as your homepage and have hour long discussions on the marriage dissolving of Tom and Katie. Still the death of people who waste their motor skills on being a moron is a concept I adore, but really the true jackasses are us, the ones who keep Kate Goesslin (or however the fuck you spell that) and the Palins employed. Needless to say I enjoyed the film immensely as it was as hilarious as it is wickedly dark. Social satire is hard to keep engaging, and few have done it so successfully. At times the film gets a little muddled with long, and sometimes sanctimonious rants about how we as a nation suck balls, but I can’t really blame director/writer Bobcat Goldthwaite (seriously he really made this) as we still haven’t learned our lesson as Survivor is entering its 25th season.
So yeah, I’d recommend it. Thanks to Leif for submitting this for review. Drop me an email or comment and you'll see it soon on Erik's Ramblings. Rules are posted here
"It does take a sledgehammer to crack a walnut and eventually falls victim to the law of diminishing returns but it doesn't pull its punches and is often outrageously funny." - Allan Hunter