When you think of Bobcat Goldthwait, usually the first thing that probably comes to mind is him as that strange comedian from the 80s with the weird voice and the crazy appearances in the Police Academy movies, Scrooged and Hot to Trot (among others). Well I was listening to a few podcasts in the last month or so and he showed up on a couple promoting his new movie coming out on DVD. My first thought was how is that guy still relevant? Well apparently he quit acting a while ago and is now focused on writing and directing his own indie-type movies. After hearing a bit about a few of the films, I looked them up and gave two of them a try. What I found was interesting and unique storylines mixed with some very dark comedy.
I’ll start with “God Bless America” as it is his most recent which came out in 2011. This is a movie about down-on-his-luck Frank (Joel Murray, Bill Murray’s youngest brother) who is completely fed up with the way America is today. He can’t stand all of the cynical, shameless, fame-driven, celebrity-obsessed people that inhabit our world that pounds an energy drink while mocking whatever is in front of them. He longs for the good ole days when people were civil and treated each other with respect. So what does he do? He loads up and goes on a cross-country killing spree of these so-called celebrities that our society idolizes. His partner along the way is a teenage girl who witnesses him make his first kill and talks him into letting her tag along.
Just so you know what you’re getting into, a teenage girl kills multiple people and Frank blows away a baby with a shotgun (although not entirely onscreen). They kill teenagers, religious fanatics, political pundits and reality stars. GBA is a fun movie with the comedy being very dark and the violence way over the top. It is however, very heavy on the social commentary of their situation. In some ways, I wish in would have been more fantasy-based with a larger body count and less discussing why they’re doing it, which dragged the movie down somewhat. Overall, it is a solid movie but not amazing. The concept is very great and the satire is right on. Especially if you’re like the protagonists and can’t stand all of that crap that fills up our TV everyday.
The other movie of his that I watched was “World’s Greatest Dad.” Again, very dark comedy. This movie centers around a dad, Lance (Robin Williams) who is a failed writer and a miserable high school English teacher. However, when his son, Kyle, accidentally kills himself David Carradine-style, Lance tries to save his son the posthumous embarrassment and writes a suicide note and covers up what really happened. The problem is that the note is nothing like Kyle truly was to those who knew him best. It’s who his dad imagined him to be. However, this soon spirals out of control as the media gets hold of the story and suicide note. The coverage turns Lance and his deceased son into a national phenomenon. People are moved by the message of the suicide letter and sympathetic to Kyle’s supposed struggles with school, bullying and life in general. The irony is that Lance is enjoying the fact that people are finally embracing his writing.
There are some incredibly funny but awkward moments in this movie. Robin Williams is perfect in this role as the dad who was trying to do an honorable thing but then gets swept up in the notoriety of his son’s supposed work. I could have also seen Steve Carrell play the title role but not many other actors could have pulled it off. It is somewhat a reflection of how we build people up into something they weren’t after they’re gone. No one wants to remember the negatives after a person befalls a tragedy but the memories are sometimes spun out of control into something that the person might not have been at all.
Bobcat also has another film I’ve heard of called “Sleeping Dogs Lie”. I don’t know much about it other than it’s on par with these others and the first scene involved a lady giving a dog a BJ. So yeah, there’s that. But if you have a dark sense of humor and feel like having some awkward laughs, I would recommend either of these movies.
So what do you think? Has anyone seen either one of these movies?