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File:God bless america ver2 5485.jpg

 Wounded Bill O'Reilly Expy: Are you really willing to DIE, just because you don't think I'm NICE? [...]

Roxy: He just wishes everyone would act nice. I, on the other hand, think your politics are SHIT! (BAM!)

Expy, dying words: You bitch..."

Roxy: Yep! (BAM! BAM-BAM-BAM!)

Roxy[1]: Frank, exactly what part of his politics do you agree with?

Frank[2]: Less gun control, of course.

Roxy: But Frank, then every nut would have a gun.

Have you ever watched a particularly annoying Reality Show and thought to yourself, "man, someone should give those little twits what they have coming to them"? Well, Bobcat Goldthwait, maker of World's Greatest Dad, feels your pain.

God Bless America is a 2012 Black Comedy written and directed by Goldthwait and starring Joel Murray (brother of Bill Murray) and Tara Lynne Barr. The plot is basically Falling Down, played for very dark laughs. It follows Frank Murdoch, a middle-aged schlub who has lost his wife and his job, and worse, has just found out that he has terminal brain cancer. Contemplating suicide, Frank's life is changed when he watches a My Super Sweet Sixteen-esque show in which a Spoiled Brat named Chloe throws a tantrum over getting the wrong fancy luxury car for her birthday. While most people would probably find extra motivation to go through with it after watching such a scene, Frank instead sets out to make something of the time he has left, killing Chloe and declaring war on all the annoying jerkasses and vapid pop culture figures of America. Along the way, he meets Roxanne "Roxy" Harmon, a teenage classmate of Chloe's who shares Frank's misanthropy, and joins him on his crusade.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, and was released on demand on April 6, 2012. Here's the red-band trailer, and here's the green-band version.


Tropes:

  • Abuse Mistake: In several scenes, the audience is led to believe that someone is about to accuse Frank of mistreating Roxy. Disturbingly, nobody ever get this wrong idea, not even when this little girl is covered in blood and alone in a car at night with an old man who shares no family resemblance with her. When someone finally gets the idea that the girl might be abused, it's a creep who asks because he wants to join in.
  • Abusive Parents: Roxy's mom was a trailer park crack whore, and her dad raped her. Except she's lying through her teeth -- she actually came from a normal, loving family.
  • Activist Fundamentalist Antics: Not only Westboro Baptist Church and the others featured, but also Frank himself.
  • Asshole Victim: The Movie.
  • Black and White Insanity: With his strict morality of right versus wrong, Frank's reality crumbles. He comes across as being less capable of comprehending the world than Roxy, who easily exploit his insecurity to get him to embark on his misguided crusade. While he's a Windmill Crusader, she seem to simply be in it For the Evulz.
    • The television ranter, tea party members and Westboro Baptist Church picketers Frank kills are also portrayed as suffering from this - either genuinely or simply pretending to get attention.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Roxy
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Take more than one space when parking your car? Talk loudly with your friends in the theater? Make an ass of yourself on national television? Frank and Roxy will come after you.
  • Driven to Suicide: This almost happens to Frank and Steven Clark. However, the latter's reason is a bit more selfish and petty.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Frank and Roxy.
  • Godwin's Law: One of the people Frank sees on TV is a Glenn Beck clone who loves to invoke this, complete with an image of Barack Obama's face photoshopped onto a Nazi.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Tons of it from Roxy.
    • After shooting Michael Fuller, Roxy asks Frank what part of Fuller's politics he agreed with. After Frank replies "less gun control", Roxy replies that this would mean every psychopath would get to own a gun. Coming from the girl who just shot a cable news talk show host due to his politics.
    • Arguably, Roxy's slamming of Juno and Diablo Cody.
    • Roxy's breakdown, her rant about how she's smarter than everybody else, and the revelation that she lied about her parents abusing her show that she's ultimately Not So Different from Chloe. May double as a case of This Loser Is You for anybody who cheered on Roxy for killing all the assholes.
  • Jerkass: Many of the people Frank and Roxy run into, but particularly this lovely gentleman.

 Frank: "You really gotta take both those spots?"

Asshole: "Yeah. Fuck you."

Frank: *draws gun* "Fuck you."

    • Frank and Roxy as well for some people.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: This is what Roxy think of her life. However, there's no indication that she's actually more intelligent than the average self-absorbed thinks-too-highly-of-herself teen.
  • Like You Were Dying: The doctor confused Frank Murdoch's CAT scan showing his brain tumor with that of another of his patients, Frank Burdoch, who did have a brain tumor.
  • Little Miss Badass: Roxy.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Roxy. To a lesser extent, Frank too, but even he thinks that Roxy goes a little too far at times.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Roxy mistakes Frank for a pedophile when she first sees him spying on Chloe.

 Roxy: "Hey creepy. Isn't the whole schoolgirl thing a little played out?"

  • Mouthy Kid: Roxy again.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. See Like You Were Dying.
  • Outlaw Couple: Frank and Roxy are a non-romantic, father/daughter version of this. Roxy even lampshades this by dressing as Bonnie Parker in one scene.
  • The Presents Were Never From Santa: Used in one of Roxy's rants: "Just because some court-appointed hillbilly president started taking orders from Jesus, or the Easter Bunny, or some other make-believe play-friend of his".
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: This film takes the trope to new heights, yet supply it with a rather bitter aftertaste: See the example for Not So Different.
  • Refuge in Audacity
  • Reality TV: Several non-flattering examples of the medium are seen, including a reality competition show called Tuff Gurlz and expies of My Super Sweet Sixteen, Jackass and American Idol.
  • Shout-Out: Frank's dream is at first just like Dexter Morgan's fantasy about how everyone is cheering at him for "taking out the trash" by murdering undesirable people. (It then moves on to portray Frank as being JFK about to get shot, a reminder that it's actually not all that cool when people kill people they don't like.)
  • Show Within the Show: Lots of them, and all of them despicable. Blends together with the main movie, since most of it is reality TV. Chloe is a Jerk Sue in her own show, but merely a huge Jerkass in the real life of the setting.
  • Strawman Political: The parodies of Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and the Westboro Baptist Church.
    • Though with the O'Reilly one, Frank does admit to agreeing with some of his politics, strawman or not. Roxy doesn't like this.
  • Sugary Malice: The big difference between Chloe and Roxy is that Chloe is open about being a jerk, while Roxy is sweet and polite about her utterly depraved psychopathy.
  • Suicide by Cop
  • Take That: OH YEAH.
  • This Loser Is You: Frank is a classic case, Roxy a variation. The audience is given every chance to identify with them. The red flags are everywhere, but portrayed in a way that allow viewers to ignore the at their leisure. However, just in case some people didn't understand from square one that the protagonists are both deeply mentally deranged and that Roxy is just as petty and self-centered as the people she -- and, by extension, the audience -- hates, it gets rubbed in for good measure towards the end of the movie.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Subverted. The trailer appears to give a summary of the entire movie, but the movie quickly deviates from the trailer. Small changes as first, but enough for the viewer to be unsure about what will happen next.
  • Villain Protagonist: Frank
  • Windmill Crusader: Frank, who seems to believe that he's actually doing something worthwhile. Unlike Roxy, he seems rather naive - not unlike the retarded television kid he keeps identifying with and feeling sorry for for all the wrong reasons.
  • Writer on Board

Notes

  1. standing over the fresh corpse, with the smoking gun in her hand
  2. still holding the gun with which he just shot (and wounded) a guy simply because he didn't like that guy's attitude in a television show
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