Written by guest writer Marcus Kaye
You didn’t read that wrong. It’s not supposed to say a problem with “bullies.” Bullies are already a problem. A huge problem. Over 10% of children are bullied every day. A number of those children go on to kill themselves. And while there has been a movement to bring awareness to the issue, nothing has been made a bigger deal than the Lee Hirsch directed documentary entitled Bully. The Weinstein Company distributed documentary made waves when the MPAA slammed it with an R rating. The Weinstein Company made waves trying to defend the documentary. Celebrities from Justin Bieber to Rosie O’Donnell to Channing Tatum took to twitter to support the film. Children need to see this, they argued. THIS is the movie that brings light to the bullying issue that so many of them face, they argued. This movie disturbed me- this issue disturbs me, they argued. And because of them people turned out to see the documentary. A PG-13 version of the documentary (that keeps the “vital scene” in which one kid tells another that he will kill him) is circulating schools. People everyone are taking to social media (and social interaction) to proclaim how great and moving the documentary is.
So what’s the problem with Bully?
It isn’t very good. I support what they tried to do. I support the conversations it’s sparked, but why – when given one movie to go through the school system- are we not sending out our very best material? Kudos to the distribution monster that is The Weinstein Company. You’ve got the world eating out of the palm of your hand. You took a mediocre film, made a buzz and got it everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
But it’s not good.
Of all the children in the world being bullied, these are the stories you chose to tell? I left the movie thinking… this is it? There had to be more. A proposition to a solution! A suggestion of cause! An in depth look at the psychological effects of bullying on children as they grow! Something. Anything to make me remember it. But it’s forgettable. Every single story in that movie is forgettable. The stories are weak, and the issues children are facing ARE worse than being depicted in this documentary. The one gay child in this film is completely well adjusted and not having an issue. The main child in this film isn’t even aware he’s being bullied. We see the bullying, but we don’t see the effect. And without the effect, it’s hard to care.
And what’s worse is that people are going about touting how great the documentary is. How much it moved them and made them think- because heaven forbid they tell the truth: it’s not good.
After all that – all the audiences and children and school watching the film, all the publicity and outcry, all the accolades and support- I just wish Bully was…. better.
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Written by Marcus
Marcus is a vegetarian-adjacent™ story editor at RKO Pictures and skinny jean enthusiast. He writes and lives with snark (and coffee) in sunny Los Angeles, CA and loves every second of it. You can find more of his ramblings by following him on twitter @MarcusBKaye. To read more finger-wagging opinion & gay news, check out Stay On Fountain’s e-book: “A Look at the Great Gay Tipping Point”.