Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bully

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Or you can now feel guilty about making fun of Shia LaBeouf like I now do that's to this documentary.




Bully – 4 out of 5

This is going to be a tough review to write because there’s almost no way I can make a joke in this review of Bully that won’t make me look heartless or just a complete asshole. So, here it goes…


The bus...you'll never see a more wretched hive of scum and bullying.


Bully is a 2011 documentary from director Lee Hirsch and it tackles…well…bullying. The doc follows the events of certain bullied kids in public schools in Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. It shows off kids who've reached their breaking point and battled back against the bullies only to be punished more severely than those who put the trauma on them in the first place as well as talking about how bullying became such a problem it drove some students to suicide like two young men named Tyler Long and Ty Smalley (who has too cool of a name to ever be bullied).


The interviews with this father always seemed to coincide with someone mysteriously
cutting onions in my place.



Wouldn't it be awesome if Bigfoot was walking passed in the
background? (Lay off me, I'm having a hard time making
innocent caption jokes here.)
 There’s no denying the power that this film holds in its emotional appeal. The film is done from a “fly-on-the-wall” perspective as you actually see some kids bullied along with interviews of parents and kids who have been affected by these occurrences. There’s no denying as well that aspects of this film will piss you off as you see how some of the teachers clearly don’t give a single flying fuck about what the students are going through. There’s a scene in the film where we see a principal actually going against the one bullied because he refused to shake the hand of the kid who constantly torments him.  He's then berated by the principal for this and she tells him that the kid who was doing the bullying (and was clearly just putting on a front for the principal so he can return to his bully activities once she was gone) was the bigger man. This blaming the victim mentality is seen more than it should be in this doc.


"How dare you have hurt feelings for being picked on by another student.
He placated me by pretending to apologize and I'm upset that you didn't do the same."


However, that’s how our country works. We blame those who are the tormented and then say we are powerless to stop the tormentors. Teachers, administrators and such in this doc constant make the argument that “kids will be kids” and you “can’t stop bullying.” Sadly, they are partly correct because kids are little shits to begin with but to say they are powerless to stop the little twats from being decent people is just laziness and something seen too frequently in the documentary.


This kid shouldn't let bullying get him down.  In ten years, the guys who bullied
him will be too busy dodging child support payments to even notice him anymore.
(Dammit, that comment is me bullying the bullies.)


Bullying is a huge problem (but not a new one) in our world. It’s taken on new forms thanks to our growing digital age (cyber-bullying) but it’s not a new thing—despite the fact we think it is and that it’s somehow grown (it hasn’t). The media has a love affair with bullying stories so we see it all the time and we now think it’s a brand new epidemic and then we get documentaries like this. Granted, this doc can really bring this issue to light and we can maybe start empowering teachers to finally put those little crap monsters in line and start showing some respect to their fellow students (or if you’re the NRA, put guns in the hands of teachers. I have no proof but they probably believe that.)


"Group hug?  Give 'em each a gun, that'll solve everything." - NRA Spokesman
[citation needed]


The only thing I really didn’t enjoy about the documentary was the fact they never speak to the bullies themselves.  They talk to the former bullies but never the current one. It would have been nice of them to sit down and ask them, “Why are you such an intolerant and inconsiderate little shit?” (Of course to ask such a question would be bullying but you understand the point I’m making.) It would have made a more balanced film and one that appears to be less of a propaganda machine as well as make the film deeper and more thought-provoking—but that’s just my opinion.


However, I do agree with the decision of those people who brought lightsabers
to the Anti-Bullying gathering.


My minor complaint aside, Bully is an emotionally powerful documentary about one of the oldest hazards of going to school (but if there are any kids reading this take comfort, it really does get better. School sucks and once you get through high school that asshole who bullied you ends up working at a gas station or cleaning toilets while you’ve become a stronger person by dealing with their shit, the hard part is just getting through it all.). 

The film had some difficulties getting a rating that would allow more kids to see this (possibly in school) despite the fact the distributors were making the argument that “everyone should see this movie.” And that’s a great idea…if they weren't driven by profits. As Matt Stone and Trey Parker so wonderfully parodied on their never-ending social commentary of a show; South Park, if everyone is suppose to see this film then why not release it for free on the internet? What a great idea that would be…except for the fact the studio executives want their money more than they believe in the message of the film. Hey, Lee Hirsch…I think I found the subject of your next documentary.

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