After God Bless America – Bobcat Goldthwait Pitches Some Amazing New Movie Ideas

I think Bobcat Goldthwait is one of the most consistently interesting filmmakers at work today. We’re talking fingers-of-one-hand rank here.

His current picture, God Bless America is not necessarily his best, but it is still provocative, funny, wall-to-wall engaging and, above all else, smart. While the UK have to wait until July 4th for it to roll out in cinemas – perfect timing by Studio Canal there – it is already available on VOD in the US, is playing in some cinemas and will soon be out on DVD and Blu-ray.

To promote the film’s theatrical run, Goldthwait took part in Jeff Goldsmith’s Q&A podcast. There’s over an hour of chat between the two, starting with a hilarious and extended stand-off in which Goldthwait takes umbrage at Goldsmith’s line of questioning and decides to grasp full control of the conversation.

And to not relinquish that control. For a very long time.

There’s a lot of insight into God Bless America too, not least when Goldthwait shares some low-budget filmmaking tips, and then, at the end, there’s some talk of what Goldthwait might do next.

Here’s a transcript of his comments on these potential films.

Rio Malo

I said to my wife, “I’m tired of being broke, man, I’m going to write a genre picture. I’m going to make some money.”

I love Billy Jack. I’m going to write a Billy Jack movie [about the hapkido fighting Nam vet].

[My wife asked] “How’s it going” and I said “He’s gay now” and she said “We’re just going to keep renting aren’t we?”

I wanted to have this really ass-kicking marine who gets kicked out during Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and he goes into this homophobic town and they call him fag at the bar when he’s just trying to get a drink and he says “I’m gonna need you to stop saying that word.”

And he says “What, fag, what are you going to do?”

“Well, I’m gonna dislocate his shoulder, I’m gonna gouge his eyeballs out and I’m gonna kick you in the larynx and you wanna know something? There’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.”

And in the script it just says “And he does.”

Hhe goes back to the bartender and he takes the shot of whisky and he throws it down and “Is there any place for a man to stay in this town?” and it cuts and he’s in bed with the bartender.

I want to make a movie that if you were a gay thirteen year old boy it’s going to be the best movie you’re ever gonna see except 300.


There was a minister in Wisconsin who got arrested because he’d been stealing aborted foetuses and having Christian burials for them. I thought this just writes itself. Zombie foetuses, you know?

Plant Bill

When I was a kid I had an imagination and if you have an imagination and you’re a kid, you’re ostracised… you’re a teachers worst nightmare if you’re a kid going “We don’t really know when Jesus was born they just picked that day.”

It’s based on my childhood… the little boy is seven and [he’s looking out the window in class] and an octopus shoots out from the manhole cover and grabs a sewer worker and the teacher starts yelling at the kid and he looks again and there is no tentacle.

He looks out the window again and there’s a cowboy on an ostrich and another ostrich with a saddle and he’s like “C’mon, c’mon” but then he looks and there’s no ostrich.

And then he looks out the window and there’s this weird hobo in ’69 spacesuit with a black umbrella waving at him. The teacher yells at him, but he looks back and [the hobo] is still there. I wanted to do a Miracle on 34th Street kind of movie.

Every time I write a screenplay I always have someone elses style in mind and I don’t know if it comes through. That was I wanted to do my take on a Michel Gondry movie.

Goldthwait has also been working on a musical, adapting the Kinks album Schoolboys in Disgrace. Here’s his comment on that:

I’ve been working with Ray Davies on that trying to get a cast together.

Will it be next? Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me which if these comes along now. As long as Goldthwait keeps making movies, I’ll be happy.

If you’re still playing catch up, I’d particularly recommend Bobcat’s romcom Sleeping Dogs Lie aka Stay but it’s fair to say that he’s not made a single clunker yet.