Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Bully" (UPDATED)

There's a powerful movie coming out in March called "Bully".  Since this blog pertains to that subject, and its tragic results, I'm sure many people who read this blog are already aware of its impending release.  Judging by the trailer, alone, it's a must-see movie.  What I'm not sure everyone is aware of is that the MPAA, that autonomous group of people who decides what is appropriate for us to watch, has deemed "Bully" inappropriate for teens to watch without parental supervision.
UPDATE:  Incredibly,  someone left a comment to this blog post chastising me for calling a film that I haven't seen yet a "must-see" movie.  Well, let's see:  of the five youngsters who were featured in the movie, two have already committed suicide.  That, to me, makes it a "must-see".  This issue is real; the people in the movie aren't actors.
On the surface, this isn't a bad thing:  this is one of those movies that parents should watch with their kids so that they can have an open dialogue afterwards.  The problem with the rating is that it assures that the movie will not be screened where it needs to be seen the most:  in the classroom, where the worlds of the bullies and the bullied collide.  The precise audience that really needs to see this won't be able to unless their mommy or daddy takes the to see it.  Why?  Because, according to MPAA, "Bully" contains strong language.  See, in their world, they still pretend that teens don't hear, or USE, that kind of language.  I haven't seen the movie, yet, so I don't know just how strong the "strong language" is.  However, I would bet that it's no stronger than anything they're not already hearing in school.  Or, in some cases, even at home, for that matter.  Does that make it right?  No.  Does it make it reality?  Yes.

Here's the issue, as I see it:  this is a movie that desperately needs to be viewed in every school across this country and around the world.  The classroom is the perfect "theatre" for this film, for reasons stated earlier.  That's bringing both sides together on the battlefield in an effort to end the war.  That's showing the aggressor, the bully, the consequences of his/her deeds.  The impact would be potentially enormous.  Forget the language!  Lives are being lost.

To be sure, two of the five teens featured in this movie have committed suicide already.  That, alone, speaks volumes to the need for this to be viewed, universally, in the classroom.  Perhaps the members of the MPAA aren't attuned to the severity of the situation.   The Weinstein Group, producers of the movie, has already met with the MPAA in an effort to convince them to reverse their decision.  No dice.  What will it take?  More teen suicides?  The suicide of a teen close to them because of bullying?  I don't know that answer.  What I do know is that this problem is real.  This is a problem that needs to be addressed.  And, make no mistake:  there are efforts worldwide to address it.  Now, we need people like MPAA to stop putting up roadblocks to slow down the movement.
UPDATE:  Since posting this article, there has been a petition set in motion to attempt to get the MPAA to reverse their rating.  This is, without a doubt, a movie that HAS to be shown in classrooms across the country and around the world.   With enough signatures, we can show the MPAA that a little "strong language" pales in comparison to having another family lose their child to bullying.  So, it is my hope that everyone who reads this will SIGN THE PETITION.
There are a lot of wonderful things going on across the country and around the world as people, young and old, are speaking out and making a strong effort to do what our leaders have so far failed to do:  rid this world of bullying once and for all.  "Kids will be kids"?  Save it.  Too many lives are being lost from "kids being kids".  "Bullying will never end?"  I agree, as long as there are people willing to accept that backwards philosophy.  I'm a believer that anything is possible if your willing to work hard for it.