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Week In Review

God Bless America: Perfectly Obscene

The 168 Turnaround

I’d like to think I have a good sense of humour.  Other people, however, might say that I’m just a bad person.  After all, I laugh at things that are usually quite … well, impolite.  For example, consider the following joke:

Q:  How many babies does it take to paint a wall?

A:  It depends on how hard you throw.

To say I guffawed the first time I heard that joke would be exaggerating.  But I did laugh, and pretty hard, too.

And so you can be sure that I laughed pretty hard while watching the just released red band trailer for director Bobcat Goldthwait’s most recent film, God Bless America.  Yes, it is a restricted trailer, so there is coarse language, violence, and disturbing imagery.

If restricted trailers aren’t your cup of tea, here’s the film’s plot, as described on the official website:  “Loveless, jobless and possibly terminally ill, Frank has had enough of the downward spiral of America. With nothing left to lose, Frank takes his gun and decides to off the stupidest, cruelest and most repellent members of society with an unusual accomplice: 16-year-old Roxy, who shares his sense of rage and disenfranchisement.”

The poster for GOD BLESS AMERICA

Having seen and loved Goldthwait’s last directorial effort, World’s Greatest Dad (a film about a dad who exploits his son’s death after the son accidentally strangles himself while performing autoerotic asphyxiation), I’m pretty excited for the Spring 2012 release of this film.

Strangely enough, I only sought out World’s Greatest Dad because someone I work with described it as a “horrible and perverse” film.  That piqued my curiosity.  But that person was wrong—World’s Greatest Dad is actually a refreshingly smart film that engages with dark subject matter in compelling, original, and comical ways.

And so I expect God Bless America to be very much the same kind of film.

Still, I anticipate that many in the moviegoing public will be offended by the film’s subject matter, and will likely bemoan the twisted and perverse interests of the film’s fanbase.  “Dark humour is one thing,” they’ll say, “but this goes too far.”

Does it, though?  Personally, I really don’t think it does go too far.  The film’s saving grace is its genre.  As a comedy, God Bless America is free to explore and untangle some of our darker urges and desires without ever having to worry about its audience viewing it as a literal expression of those urges.  In other words, the film’s subject matter isn’t to be taken too seriously.  It’s a joke.  Hell, it’s even a pretty intelligent and insightful joke.

So laugh it up.  It’s okay.  You’re not a bad person because of it.  But even if you are, know that you’re in good company.

The 168 Turnaround is a week-in-review column, a place for me to reflect on the week’s most interesting pop culture news items.  If it mattered to me or I think it might matter to you, then it will be here.  If you have a comment or question, please leave a response below.  Thank you for reading.

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