In the recent big-screen reboot of The Three Stooges, one of the biggest, most sustained audience laughs came when Moe unleashed classic Stooges mayhem on the cast from Jersey Shore.
As weirdly popular as the Shore stars are, moviegoers as a group relished their getting a slapstick comeuppance. (The Stooges movie comes to DVD and Blu-ray on July 17.) As with many other "reality" performers, Shore fame is accompanied by a strong current of animosity, a sense that somewhere inside all that drinking and clubbing and fist-pumping lurks something that has gone terribly wrong in our culture. Moe poking eyes is just the beginning of appropriate punishment.
This came to mind while watching a much darker revenge fantasy, God Bless America, the latest writing and directing effort by Bobcat Goldthwait.
You might remember Goldthwait as a stand-up comic, manic guest on talk shows, and one of the actors in the Police Academy movies. But now and then he puts out unforgettable little movies.
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God Bless America stars Joel Murray as Frank, a divorced guy who despairs over all the horrors he sees on reality TV. He tries to explain to others how he thinks such shows encourage selfishness and cruelty, but no one cares — including his daughter, whose behavior is inspired by reality divas.
As his own life falls into a deeper pit, Frank decides his best course is to kill the star of a reality show.
He gains a broader focus when joined by a youngster, Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), who shares his hatred of society's failings and is even more remorseless about violent remedies. But there's a basic contradiction at work here: Frank and Roxy abhor cruelty and think they can solve it with a lot of killing.
The movie is often entertaining, and its renditions of reality TV are dead-on.
God Bless America retails for $26.98 or $29.98 Blu-ray.