Grae's Rating:


Bread and circuses and laughter.

You and I both know the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I remember hearing my parents say that (usually after I turned on a Metallica album), but this time, it's really true. Being judgmental isn't just for the elderly anymore--it's for everyone who can look at someone talking on the phone during a movie, treating you to an overshare on Facebook, or acting up on reality TV, and see how they all signal Armageddon. Frank (Joel Murray) can see it. Over the years his technicolor world has gone gray, and he just learned he's dying of cancer. He snaps, no longer tolerating being the only person on the planet to have common sense--so he steals a car and loads his gun.

Bobcat Goldthwait, directing yet another hilariously inappropriate film rooted in appropriate points, does it again with a Falling Down-esque tale of two people's revenge on stupidity. With our everyday world getting more ridiculous by the moment, it's awfully hard to pull off satire, but since Goldthwait's ideas ring so true, it also makes it more like a horror movie. There's nothing cute about Frank and his decision to start killing all of the people that symbolize the downfall of today's world. In fact, the movie gets darker and darker the more you think about it. It's a good thing that Goldthwait is showing us his twisted sensibilities on the silver screen instead of on the evening news.

It would be bad enough if Frank worked alone, but he picks up an enthusiastic killing apprentice in the form of teen girl Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr). They find common ground in their hatred of people that use the words "rock star" as an adjective and give high fives, so they travel the country wiping people out. Roxy is the kind of little girl that drops the C-bomb and looks really good in a beret, making it challenging for Frank to be his ideal self and not cross the line. Somehow they have determined that they're the jury, judge, and executioner of high school kids, people in truck stops and whoever else they decide is a blight on society.

There's a certain hilarity ensuing as you cheer on the death of simpering, enabling parents and irresponsible TV pundits, but look closer and you'll see there's more going on here. In Frank and Roxy's Mickey and Mallory Knox killing spree, they complain about the world repeating the mistakes of the Roman Empire. The only problem is that watching this movie and rejoicing in the death of the idiots makes the audience exactly who they're complaining about. I fell deep into the rabbit hole after this one, and eventually ended up convinced that Roxy and Frank are no heroes or martyrs--they're just part of the problem. Nobody's right. Diablo Cody doesn't deserve to die (like they discuss in the film) because she makes it seem like girls all own phones shaped like food. Frank and Roxy aren't any better than her because they talk on normal-shaped phones. They're killers, after all. Who's right? No one. We're all screwed.

Leave it to the guy whose first film was about an alcoholic, womanizing clown to make you question the morality of our world. The only thing we know for sure is that no one will make it out of here alive, and that's an equally upbeat thought as the film, really.


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