Toronto Film Festival Video Blog #3: Bobcat Goldthwait And God Bless America
Saturday was my third full day here at the Toronto Film Festival, and I have a confession to make-- at the time I filmed this video I had yet to see a single movie. But technically I kicked the day off with a midnight screening of Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America, and that's going to be the subject of today's video, filmed in front of the Gardiner Museum in downtown Toronto, just a few minutes before I went to interview Adam Scott and Megan Fox in a nearby hotel. I had just come from talking to Goldthwait himself at a different hotel, also on video that will be posted at some point (i.e. when I actually get to sit down for more than 10 minutes at a time). Check out the brief video about the interview, the movie and the general Toronto vibe, and we'll talk a little more after.
The programmers of the Midnight Madness section at Toronto tend to know what the crowd wants to see, and God Bless America has pretty much all of it, opening with an insane act of fantasy violence and then skewering virtually every dumb element of modern pop culture with plenty of profanity. With just that it could have played just fine to the crowd, but just like Goldthwait's previous film World's Greatest Dad, God Bless America has more to it, namely a tender paternal relationship between our lead vigilante Frank (Joel Murray) and a teenage girl named Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) who joins him on his cross-country journey to kill off the people who are making society worse. They are a perverse modern day Bonnie and Clyde and they know it-- during a Goodwill shopping trip Roxy picks up pretty close replicas of the movie's iconic costumes-- but they also find a kind of shelter in each other, even though they're just indulging their angry impulses together. The movie runs a little longer than its premise can sustain, and Goldthwait picks a few easy targets to skewer-- American Idol seems like particularly low hanging fruit-- but God Bless America is full of punchy energy and a sense of catharsis about getting away from all the stupid places pop culture can take us. It's looking for a distributor at the festival right now, but given the topical subject matter should definitely be in release sometime within the next six months or so.
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