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A movie directed by Larry Clark

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Frightening and Real

  • Apr 22, 2007

Frightening and Real

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

While not a horror film, "Bully" is one of the scariest movies I have seen and the reason that it evokes such fear is that it is a true story. Larry Clark directed this movie that is about teenagers that have absolutely nothing going for them. They have sex all of the time, they drink to excess, they smoke pot and drop acid and their lives are reckless and meaningless.
I am sure that many who see this movie are outraged and that seems to me to be warranted. To see kids behave like this is certainly not the norm. Marty (Brad Renfro) is the central character and he is involved in a sado-masochistic relationship with his "best friend", Bobby (Nick Stahl). Then there is Lisa (Rachel Miner), Marty's pregnant girlfriend. Marty is an average surfer bum and high school drop-out and Bobby constantly picks on him and rides him all the time. Lisa soon tires of Bobby's abuse to Marty and she tells Marty that he should kill Bobby. They go and see a hit man (Leo Fitzpatrick) and ask him to help put an end to Bobby and from that point on the kids start out upon a new path--one of lies, deceit, boasts, and guilt-ridden feelings about the deed they are about to perform. In the end, the teenagers get their just rewards but the cinematic buildup is highly intense.
The movie is accurate and true to life. Based on an incident that took place in Florida in 1993, it is an authentic retelling of what went on. The cast is sheer perfection. When the kids agree that Bobby has to die, the movie reaches its heights. Bobby was a bully and a rapist and an all around loathsome character. He seems to be somewhat of a closet homosexual as reflected by his obsession with gay porn. He drags Marty to a gay bar and forces him to dance onstage. His violent way of dealing with his own gayness is probably how he chose to deal with his repressed desires. He is a psychotic sociopath who has extended the limits of being tough. But his homosexuality is not the reason he is to be killed. There is no clear reason to why he must die. The actions against him are not motivated by revenge but by jealousy. He is due to go to college and to take over his father's business.
The movie utilizes a great deal of potent imagery as the film explores the youth of today during dark and troubling times. It hurts to watch kids behaving the way they do here and we hope they get what they deserve.
The movie will weigh on your mind mainly because it really happened. It is bleak and dark and extremely depressing. It is meant to shock and shock it does.

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More Bully (2001 movie) reviews
review by . November 11, 2008
These are all great kids. They are your neighbor's kids, they are your kids. They go to the same high school that your kids go to. They don't mean any harm, they just want to have a good time.     This is exactly how you would see them if you were wearing rose-colored glasses. The reality is that these kids were spoiled dropouts, druggies, and didn't work most of the time.     Bobby Kent (Nick Stahl) is cruising through life, waiting for daddy to set him up …
review by . April 03, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Performances in particular, but otherwise everything is a pro.      Cons: Nothing      The Bottom Line: Unfettered look at a slacker community and what their annomie can cause.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie''s plot.      Bully is the most disturbing film I have seen in a very long time—not since I watched the almost completely ignored Godmoney in 1998 I have felt …
review by . July 28, 2002
Bully is a story that envolves the frailties of man, and revenge. Some could just look at the outer surface of Bully, and see a violent flick plastered with teen drug use and rampant sex. But, looking underneath you will see a story about teens, that on their own, even coming from good homes, stray and commit the ultimite act of violence. On their own, these character's don't stand a chance, but when they bind together, they forge a chilling bond of rage. "Want to kill a guy?" They agree it can …
About the reviewer
Amos Lassen ()
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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About this movie


Starring Brad Renfro, Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt, Nick Stahl
Directed by Larry Clark
Writer:  David McKenna (screenplay)
Based on the true crime novel "Bully: A True Story Of High School Revenge" by Jim Schutze

Product Description
Acclaimed director Larry Clark delivers his most powerful film since KIDS. Marty (Brad Renfro) is a tormented surfer who relies on his longtime pal Bobby (Nick Stahl) for rides to the beach and South Florida bars despite vicious abuse. But when Bobby turns his unwanted attention to Marty's new girlfriend Lisa (Rachel Miner) and her best friend Ally (Bijou Phillips), Lisa decides Bobby's reign of terror must end. Assembling a crew of alienated suburban teens, she forms a deadly plan to get Bobby out of the way once and for all, turning friends into enemies and casual acquaintances into co-defendants in a murder that rocked America to its core.
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Director: Larry Clark
Release Date: 28 September 2001
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: January 22, 2002
Runtime: 113 Minutes
Studio: Blacklist Films, Lionsgate Films
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