Birds of America review by Matt Fuerst


As noted previously, I have a nice little pattern I've set up for myself when writing a review here on Jackass Critics. I give myself an introductory paragraph, then a bit of movie summary, then my critique. I throwing this safe, happy pattern out the window for Birds of America since this bile piece of trash doesn't even deserve my energy. I've threatened many times to usurp Mumford as the worst movie of all time, and now, it's really, truly official. Birds of America is not only easily the worst film of all time, it's the worst piece of fiction of all time. In spite of my having sampled about 0.001% of fiction out there, I am confident in my proclamation.

I hated Birds of America so much I internally debated for hours about how to even start this review. Should I just blast it from the get go? Should I tell you how uncomfortable it made me to even sit and watch it? I honestly am still undecided about how to even properly approach reviewing this movie.

As far as the plot goes, our protagonist, if you can call this truly awful character that, is Morrie (Matthew Perry). Morrie and his wife Bettie live in suburbia while Morrie teaches Physics at a local college or university. (Before we even continue I can't help but point out that Morrie spends the semester teaching less physics than I learned of my first day in my 8th grade "general studies" science class. Really irritating.) Morrie is a total pushover, mushy character that is easy to despise. He has absolutely no backbone and overcooked potatoes are both firmer, and have a more pleasing personality. Morrie continually shits on his poor wife Bettie in his inability to be a man, who we initially feel sorry for, but after so much abuse we come to despise for becoming a walking floor mat that simply accumulates the equivalent of personality feces for 90 minutes. Morrie is shit upon by his students, his coworker/best friend, his neighbors and, most critically, his family members. You see, Morrie, the worst character in the history of cinema, is soon eclipsed not once, by his sister Ida (Ginnifer Goodwin), but then yet again by his brother, Jay (Ben Foster).

After the introductory period with Morrie and Bettie, Brother Jay comes for a visit. At first, we're led to believe that Jay has some mental problems. He wears the same clothing daily, was recently released from a hospital, is quiet, does quirky things and apparently sleeps on the floor in the attic. But, do not be fooled, dear reader. Jay doesn't have mental problems, Jay is only an asshole. Yes, an asshole. Jay purposefully screws over his own family members as often and painfully as possible. While a sympathetic viewer initially views this as a "cry for help", we quickly learn that Jay is merely a contrarian piece of crap. He empties the family bank account, giving money away, drives the wife to tears by questioning her domestic nature and provokes every adult relationship his brother has.

The film is already absolutely brutal to watch at this point. We have a petty, bitter character picking apart the life of a spineless man and helpless wife. But, just to keep things lively, director Craig Lucas and writer Elyse Friedman introduce another little bit of poison into the film, sister Ida. Ida apparently tore up the small town as a younger kid, leading to the paralyzation of Morrie's best friend's brother, before she decided to drive around the country on blindingly faithful Morrie's dime being a dirty whorish hippie. Ida proceeds to make Morrie's sad little existence even harder by teaming up with Jay to further drive Morrie to the brink of insanity. Relationships are broken, Morrie's work suffers, his wife leaves him. Yippie.

A story about a man dealing with his troubled siblings is not an unreasonable story, if told in the proper light. But with the Morrie protagonist character, who instead of a beacon of strength, ends up being as useless as the rest of his family in his own special way, this movie isn't it. Birds of America is a lot like what I imagine a jellyfish fight being like. Lots of angry organisms peskily stinging at each other, but no one has any actual shape, so lashing out each other accomplishes nothing. At the end of the day, everyone is a petty little character, out completely for themselves in spite of this family tag being applied to the group of them.

At the end of Birds of America (and oh yes, I suffered all the way through this garbage, you best believe) we're supposed to come away feeling invigorated. Morrie got through some truly life altering events, and is better off because of it. But at the end of the day, the Morrie, Jay, Ida and Bettie characters are all the same pieces of garbage with the same flesh wrappers around them. Merely surviving through an assplosion doesn't make you a better person.

1 out of 10 Jackasses
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