From the Vaults: Bully x 2
"Bully," the 2001 film by Larry Clark, has been overshadowed
By Marjorie Baumgarten, 12:40PM, Mon. Apr. 16, 2012
Bullies may fade away but they never die. Back before Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully started making news after its distributor, the Weinstein Company, launched a public campaign to get its rating lowered to PG-13, there was another Bully on our screens, courtesy of photographer/filmmaker/provocateur Larry Clark.
Clark, whose body of work has always shown a keen sensitivity to the lives of young adults (although some argue that the correct word should be "exploitation" rather than "sensitivity"), released his narrative film Bully in 2001. The film is based on a true-crime story about a Florida teenager who was murdered in 1993 by a group of friends and his best buddy. The script is adapted (by Zachary Long and Roger Pullis) from Jim Schutze's book about the case. Brad Renfro plays the best friend of the teen who was murdered. Nick Stahl portrays the victim, and they are supported by a remarkably good young cast that also features Leo Fitzpatrick, Michael Pitt, Bijou Phillips, and Rachel Miner. In my review, I described the film as having "an ultra-realistic feel … conversations and events occur as the result of believable teen-think."
Sidney Moody conducted an interview with Larry Clark, which also ran in the same issue as the review. In it, Clark describes the relationship the boys had as "almost like an abusive spousal relationship where one member was getting abused but couldn't walk away." Clark's Bully also had a ratings fight on it hands. The filmmakers fought unsuccessfully to get an R rating, but the film finally went out unrated. What is it about bullies that courts controversy and limits conversation?
Bully, the 2012 doc, is currently playing locally.