Posts Tagged ‘atlanta

09
Jun
12

God Bless America (2011): Aiming for The Dream

a Primal Root written review

God Bless America (2011):  Aiming for The Dream

I haven’t had cable television in over a decade. I refuse to pay for something that every time I flip it on I feel as if my brain is steadily being churned into chunky apple sauce. This is not to say that I don’t know what’s on there. On occasion, I have sat and witnessed what most of our nation happily plops down and allows to be broadcast into our living rooms every evening.  You know, for the entire family to enjoy. Let’s just say, it’s mildly disturbing. What are the repercussions of such resignation on our society? A world where our entire culture and society is saturated with celebrity gossip, ugly, degrading reality television, and political pundits who would rather preach hate and intolerance than have an intelligent and respectful discussion?

Bobcat Goldthwait’s latest directorial effort, “God Bless America”, takes on this disheartening concept in the form of a deeply dark, satirical comedy. It’s got something for everyone who’s sick of  the “Oh, no, you didn’t!” generation that’s grown up planted on a couch, glued to the screen, all but lobotomized, and no longer concerned with discerning thought, open-mindedness, respect, common courtesy, or even kindness. It’s a generation of people who demand respect, but don’t give it in return, who demand to be heard but refuse to listen,  who know they come first and the rest of the world just doesn’t fucking matter.  Of course, this is a “fictional” world that our protagonist, Frank, inhabits, right? A middle aged, middle class, divorced parent who also happens to be a war veteran.  He must deal with his obnoxious neighbors who don’t seem to mind their 24/7/365 wailing infant, and talk loudly and incessantly (over their screaming offspring) about occurrences on their favorite TV shows and the latest gossip on Bradgelina.
Frank is aware of this drought in the human spirit. That we have sold it for a fast food and soulless culture that worships greed and selfishness over compassion and selflessness.  Frank sits in his living room flipping through the channels as photoshopped pictures of President Obama dressed up as Adolf Hitler are promoted as some kind of warped sense of reality, a random, class-act reality TV star pulls out her bloody tampon and angrily splats it across the face of her costar who, I can only assume, crossed her (the details of their quarrel are lost among beeped-out dialogue). It’s a sick, sad world Frank lives in.  And not even he ever-cool “Daria” kind. To make matters worse, Frank has just lost his job, been informed he has an inoperable, fatal brain tumor growing in his noggin, and his pre-teen daughter refuses to come visit him flipping her shit over receiving a Blackberry instead of an iPhone for her birthday.
Frank can’t take it anymore, but just as he wraps his lips around the barrel of a Glock the blue light of the television screen spills over him.  “My Super Sweet 16” is on and an entitled high schooler is cursing and berating her parents in a self-righteous rage after she is presented with a top o’ the line vehicle that is NOT the one she had envisioned.  Frank comes to the epiphany that the gun he’s holding is pointed in the wrong direction.  Our hero ends up on a road trip to off the outrageous brat he blames for his own daughter’s (and the general world’s) ridiculously selfish behavior.  However, he, also, winds up inspiring and being inspired by a teenage girl, Roxy, who’s just as disillusioned and angry at the egomaniacally brain-dead society they are forced to abide.  Or are they?  They lock, load, and go on a rampage laying waste to those assholes who talk and text during movies, jerks who take up two full parking spaces, and hate mongers who stand at the side of the road holding signs declaring “God Hates Fags”. Frank and Roxy gun them down and mow them over with glee.  I can’t help but chuckle at the carnage as these people are decimated and punished for being a part of a “civilization that is no longer interested in being civilized”.
As is the case with Bobcat’s previous work, God Bless America will have you laughing with dark revelry as those who make everyday life a constant struggle finally mess with with the wrong nice guy.  Also typical of Bobcat, despite the deeply-etched satirical pitch-black edge, the filmmaker manages to imbue this work with genuine, human emotion, poignancy, and thought-provoking pathos.  Joel Murray, the instantly recognizable character, is amazing as Frank.  He infuses the role with so much heart and believability that you cannot help but root for the guy, whether due to or despite his impressive body count.  Roxy,Tara Lynne Barr, as Frank’s young sidekick and voice of the younger generation  is a firecracker, a natural whose sassy, fun performance, keeps the film well-paced and peppy.
God Bless America is a sometimes graphic, often profane and funny for most of its running time. However, by film’s end it starts to register that this is the same violent and malicious motivation that drives those who blow up abortion clinics or lynch people because of the color of their skin. The killers we profess to despise believe they are murdering those “who deserve to die” too, right?  The first 45 minutes of God Bless America starts out blazingly funny as it lampoons pop culture and society at large, but as it winds to a close the viewer may begin to wonder, have both Frank and Roxy steadily descended into the mean-spirited people they were trying to destroy?  God Bless America is hilarious, tragic, sometimes uncomfortable,  frequently challenging, and totally uncompromising.  It’s the kind of film that doesn’t come around very often, anymore.  One that asks some nasty questions, takes an angry stance, and asks the audience to internalize these things. That they sincerely ask themselves just what the fuck they make of it all.
And keep your eyes peeled for TV’s Frank from MST3K in a brief cameo.  Guck-Ga-Yuuuuw!
Stay Trashy!
-Root
08
Jun
10

Monster Bash 2010: Movies, Monsters, and Mayhem

The Primal Root’s Dirty Thoughts

Hey gang, Jess (Moonshine) and I just came back from Atlanta Georgia after attending The Silver Scream Spookshow’s Rock and Roll Monster Bash 2010 over at the Starlight Six Drive-In Theater. As a life long student of Drive-In culture and one of the many carrying a torch for this long standing American tradition I felt it was my duty, my destiny to be in attendance. The Drive-In tradition is one of exploitation, sleaze and mindless fun where everyone drops their hang ups and goes for it. I went for a bash, I went for spectacle, I went for some Trash Cinema Classics. I did not leave disappointed.

Moonshine and I got in a right at noon, the skies were dark and overcast which made us a little nervous about the rain but otherwise thrilled that it would be cooler out there than anticipated on that long stretch of black top in the hellish Georgia summer heat. We drove directly to the same spot we claimed at last year’s Drive-Invasion, popped up our shade, filled up our cooler with the essentials and got ready for the long, nasty, fun filled day ahead of us.

PBR: Official Cheap-O Beer of the Trash Cinema Collective

Once things got swinging we both took a trip up to the vendor area to check out what people were selling. There was an excellent selection of vintage Grindhouse posters and lobby cards, original art work, and all manner of t-shirts emblazoned with every sleazy flick you could imagine. There was some very cool stuff on display, as always, and my lovely lady Moonshine and I had a pleasurable time perusing and chatting it up with our Drive-In brethren.


Another great feature of the Monster Bash were the six ass kicking rockabilly, metal, and rock and roll bands who got this hootenanny hopping. Probably my favorite performance of the whole day happened early on as The Luchagors took the stage in full costume and gave a no holds barred, high energy, performance. Not to sell the other bands short because Grinder Nova, Apocalyptic Visions, Daikaiju, Iron Maiden Tribute, and Frankenstein all got in the spirit of things a gave their all.

The Luchagors


Grinder Nova

Also on hand were the ladies and gents of Atlanta’s own Blast-Off Burlesque who in between bands entertained us Drive-In Mutants with some sultry moves up on the main stage. Those young ladies certainly know how to captivate an audience, let me tell ya.

Who was our Master of ceremonies, you ask? None of than the man behind the Spookshow himself, Proffessor Morte and his gang! This was my first time encountering the Silver Scream Spookshow troupe but they were pretty darn funny. It could be just because I’m a dork but every singles joke they made had me in stitches. Whenever they took the stage I was reminded of the traditional Saturday morning horror movie hosts. they were cheesy, but in the absolutely best possible way. Their tone perfectly fit the show.

Professor Morte overseeing the Brain Eating Contest.

During all this fun there was something called the Model Shoot Out or something…Not exactly sure what that whole deal was but apparently it was the reason there were so many guys and gals running around with heavy duty cameras snapping pictures of all these scantly clad, good looking, women with colored hair and blood spattered across their faces all over the place. I am not complaining one little bit. Hell, as girls would pose I;d snap a few shots myself with my dinky little camera. If anything, it added to the good vibes.

VAMPIRELLA! Thwart my raging boner!


As the sun went down the rain began to come down on the Drive-In crowd for about a half an hour. Thankfully it came to a hault just as our Double Feature of 70’s nature revenge films began. First up…

KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS!

The infamous killer tarantula flick from 1977 starring the ever talented William Shatner. This little beauty of a horror film is about a small country town out in the desert that’s getting ready for some kind of yearly jamboree they always put on to bring in the tourists and help out the local economy. Of course an army of about a billion migrating, flesh eating, uber toxic pissed of tarantulas arrive on the scene mere days before the event killing off livestock and the residents. William Shatner plays the local veterinarian who calls in the help of a sophisticated big city sexy blonde female veterinarian to figure it all out and poke with his cattle prod in the process. Our two scientists come to the conclusion that due to DDT and other chemicals killing off all their typical prey the local spiders have grown aggressive and are now hunting for food in packs and taking on all sorts of bigger game. The question is…how long till they turn on us? Answer: Real quick.

Kingdom of the Spiders may not make a whole lot of sense when looked at critically (Just step on the spiders, man.) but one can’t deny the terror inherent in having a face covered in hairy, bulbous, flesh eating spiders. Another element that sets this flick above many of it’s contemporaries is that it takes it’s time to establish every single character, their relationships and their emotional connections. You really get the feeling that every death is a tragedy and you feel the weight that each of these deaths has on the people closest to the victim. And this is a low budget monster movie! Truly a cut above the typical revenge of nature film.

Our second feature…

GRIZZLY! (1976)

Our second feature of the evening was the intense JAWS rip-off GRIZZLY about a nature reserve and park beset by some kind of prehistoric man eating killer grizzly bear from Hell. This sucker has come down the mountain in hopes of finding some folks eat although he seems to really enjoy just ripping their limbs off and leaving their bodies.

Grizzly was the most successful independently produced film of 1976. Watching it for the first time I couldn’t for the life of me understand why. It’s pretty bad even by Trash Cinema standards. It follows the JAWS outline with no subtlety whatsoever. In fact, I never learned the three main character’s names I just called them by which character from JAWS they were. There’s the frustrated head forest ranger who has just been relocated to this park who is our Sheriff Brody in this picture (played by, to my surprise and enjoyment, Christopher George of Pieces and Gates of Hell fame), there’s our young scientific bear specialist who likes to enter the bears natural environment to study them (Who will be our Hooper) and then there’s our bear hunting, vietnam veteran helicopter pilot to serve as our Quint. Yeah, he even has a Vietnam speech.

It’s all kind of dull outside the highly comical attack sequences where limbs fly through the air covered in red tempera paint and attached to fishing lines. This stuff is classic and I laughed myself silly. I will give kudos to the filmmakers behind Grizzly for having the balls to have their killer bear attack a small child and rip his leg off before killing the little boys broom wielding mother. That scene is the high point of the entire film. Well, next to the part where our Forest Ranger blows the living shit out of the Grizzly with a bazooka.

Moonshine at the 7th Annual Monsterbash

All and all we had sweaty, boozed up, epic time at The Rock and Roll Monster Bash this year and we are both ready for next year’s get down. Now we just gotta recoup for Starlight Six’s Drive-Invasion this September. Thanks for showing us Floridians such a good time, guys! We’ll be seeing you again in a few months. I recommend you guys reading this plan on attending next year’s Monster Bash. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

The Primal Root at the old stomping ground of Trash Cinema.

As my hero Joe Bob Briggs always says, “The Drive-In Will Never Die!”

Stay Trashy,
-The Primal Root




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