Take a Stand! And Win a ‘Bully’ DVD Pack

One of the most popular and powerful documentaries of last year, Lee Hirsch’s Bully is a film about the continuing crisis of bullying, which affects kids nationwide. In our own review, we call it “an intense, heartbreaking movie that every parent and school official should see.” Now it’s also a particularly important topic relevant to discussions of school violence. And it finally arrives on home video this Tuesday (February 12) on the heels of winning the Audience Choice award at the 2013 Cinema Eye Honors and finishing out the year as the fourth highest-grossing doc of 2012. You can go ahead and buy a copy right away, or you can try to win a DVD from Film School Rejects, and we’ll throw in a couple promotional anti-bullying rubber wristbands, on which are printed “It’S Time To Take A Stand.” The DVD, from Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Compay, features
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Best Documentaries of 2012 (Part One)

Once considered by many as either high art, propaganda or educational videos, documentary film has developed into a popular and visible form of entertainment, sometimes breaking into the mainstream, and often having a greater effect on society. Every year it seems more and more docs are produced and thus not even our hard working staff can manage to get around to watching them all. But we try our best, and so every year we publish a list of the docs that received high praise from our team. This year, the films appearing range from poetic, semi-expository, strictly observational, participatory, reflexive and even groundbreaking. Here are the 20 best documentaries of 2012, list in alphabetical order, with one special mention. Enjoy!


5 Broken Cameras

Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi

5 Broken Cameras is a cinematic achievement, a homemade movie and an extraordinary work of political activism. Co-directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Bully Blu-ray and DVD Debuts February 12, 2013

Bully Blu-ray and DVD Debuts February 12, 2013
Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company announced today the Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD release of Bully, the critically-acclaimed documentary film that sparked a national movement that rallied people to stand up to bullying, hate, and intolerance. Directed by Lee Hirsch, Bully follows the lives of five students whose stories each represent a different facet of America's bullying crisis, and the families that fight for them. A call to action, the film not only captured the attention of the country, but fostered a national dialogue about bullying, uniting parents, teachers, and students in the fight against the violence that has gone unchecked for too long in our schools. Timely and significant, Bully heads to retail on February 12, 2013 for an Srp of $29.99 for the Blu-ray Combo Pack and $24.98 for the DVD.

Time Magazine film critic Richard Corliss called Bully "A movie your kids must see." Wrote film critic Claudia Puig
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'Bully' Review: Actual Kids Grade the Documentary

Bully" Director: Lee Hirsch Documentary Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language -- all involving kids (initially rated R for some language) “Bully” follows a group of tweens and teens who've dealt with persistent bullying: lonely 12-year-old Alex faces daily physical and verbal abuse (particularly on the bus) in Sioux City, Iowa; out-and-proud 16-year-old Kelby is constantly besieged by the homophobia of her classmates and teachers in Tuttle, Oklahoma; and two sets of grieving parents attempt to honor their sons, who each committed suicide rather than live another day with the merciless taunting of their peers. Since Hirsch's documentary explores the many ways that bullying can affect and damage kids, I took two 13-year-old girls to see the film and discuss what they thought of the heartbreaking stories, and ultimately, the hopeful message. Which of the stories affected you the most? “The girl who came
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Film Review: Advocacy Film ‘Bully’ is a Must See, But for Who?

Chicago – The age-old problem of bullying has reached epidemic proportions. Or is it simply more openly discussed? It seems that for once a light is being pointed at the dark corners of this punishing coercion, and the perpetrators and enablers involved – the bully, his parents, school administrators – are scurrying from that light. The new film “Bully” is an illumination.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Hardly a complete documentary, the film projects a point-of-view by telling stories around the country about school kids in the middle of a bully situation, and families who have been affected by the actions of bullies. At the same time, these stories also showcase the underlying issues surrounding the bully situations – blind mice school systems, frustrated parents, the crueler outside world and a justice-system-by-way-of-no-justice. The stories are fraught with sadness and suffering, and have a emotional gut kick. The question after watching this is, who will be most affected by it?
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Movie Review: Bully – Uncovering The Desperate Cries For Help

In Alex Libby’s school, the principal is just as big a bully as the ones who victimize him on a daily basis, as shown when two of his classmates come back from recess soon after an altercation. One is a nice boy, offering his hand in apology, the other refuses to extend his hand or be sincere in returning the gesture. The principal pats the nice boy on the shoulder and sends him on his way and then proceeds to scold the other–the boy who was originally picked on. When he explains himself, he is denigrated while the guilty boy goes unpunished. That’s the tag team that plagues so many schools–bully and teacher–and is just one of the several real stories exposed in Lee Hirsch’s documentary Bully.

David and Tina Long, hail from Murray Country, Georgia and found their 17-year old son Tyler hanging
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Directed by: Lee Hirsch

Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: April 13, 2012 (Chicago)

Plot: A documentary that tells the stories of American youth who are bullied in their middle schools.

Who’S It For? Bully is made for both kids and their parents, but will provides little answers about dealing with such problems to either of them. The film’s main focus is to share horror stories (which are sadly true) about the damage that bullying does not just to children, but their parents as well.


For a “character-driven drama,” Bully is full of too many weakly developed subjects to squeeze much out of its audience other than relatable sympathy. We watch in anger the episodes of relentless bullying in Alex’s life, but showing a conclusion or a solution to his problems seems out of the question for the filmmakers. In not providing us this satisfaction,
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Bully Review

Bully Directed by: Lee Hirsch Written by: Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen This year over 13 million kids will be subjected to bullying in one form or another. The problem has increased in magnitude with the advent of social media, allowing kids to attack one another from behind a keyboard or phone. Lee Hirsch tackles the hot button issue in his new documentary, Bully. It follows the stories of five families who have been directly impacted by bullying. No doubt Hirsch knows the best way to engage viewers in this type of issue is to put a face on it. Hirsch and producer Cynthia Lowen “embedded” themselves at a middle school in Sioux City, Iowa in order to chronicle the life of Alex, who is relentlessly bullied at school. He suffers physical and mental abuse from schoolmates, and is essentially ostracized by the entire student body. Alex was born prematurely and
See full article at FilmJunk »

Bully Gets PG-13 Rating After Removing Foul Language

The Weinstein Company (TWC), aided by the guidance and consultation from attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, announced today that the MPAA has lowered the R rating, given for some language, for Bully to a PG-13 in time for the film's April 13th expansion to 55 markets. The scene that has been at the forefront of the battle with the MPAA, the intense scene in the film that shows teen Alex Libby being bullied and harassed on a bus, has been left fully intact and unedited. Bully director Lee Hirsch felt editing the scene was not an option, and subsequently refused to do so, since it is too important to the truth and integrity behind the film. Also a victory is the exception the MPAA made by allowing the film to be released with the new rating before 90 days, which is the length of time their policy states a film must
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Your Kids Should See 'Bully,' No Matter What the MPAA Says

Few documentaries have been thrust into the national spotlight quite like "Bully" has -- and for good reason.

In the spring of last year, when director Lee Hirsch's film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, critics and festivalgoers immediately took notice, resulting in the Weinstein Company's swooping in to pick it up for distribution. No small feat. Everything was going smoothly leading up to this Friday's release -- until the film was slapped with an R rating by the MPAA. The surprise move by the ratings board made headlines, and angered Harvey Weinstein to no end.

He has good reason to be mad, and not just because the movie's R rating will hinder the film's box-office potential.

"Bully," a documentary that sheds some much needed light on the bullying epidemic in America, is the sort of film that demands to be seen by the generation it depicts. How can
See full article at NextMovie »

Bully Is a Parent's Worst Nightmare

Alex will break your heart. The Iowa middle schooler so aches to be liked that when an older boy on the school bus threatens to kill him, he doesn't appreciate the danger. As he puts it to his mother, Jackie, "If you say these people aren't my friends, then what friends do I have?" By the time the documentarians shadowing Alex alert his parents the threats on the bus have escalated to physical violence, it's clear just how powerful Bully is - and how flawed. The intensely painful film (being released unrated after initially receiving a controversial, ridiculous R rating) focuses on Alex,
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Debating "Bully"

  • MUBI
Two controversies greet a documentary's opening this weekend. Salon is best on the one you've probably heard about; Slate uncovers another you likely haven't. Let's start with Salon's Andrew O'Hehir: "With its unerring instinct for being on the wrong side of every major social and aesthetic issue, the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board has refused to budge off its R rating for Bully, an earnest and moving documentary made for and about tormented preteens and teenagers." And "what's really perverse, of course — not to mention cruel and repellent — is a ratings decision that ensures that the kids who most need the succor that Bully has to offer are now the least likely to see it." Further in:

Without doubt, the MPAA has handed Bully director Lee Hirsch and Harvey Weinstein, whose company is releasing the film, a formidable marketing weapon and a tremendous amount of free publicity…. Mind you,
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‘Bully’ is a critical wake up call for those who would rather turn a blind eye


Directed by Lee Hirsch

Written by Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen

U.S.A., 2011

*Preface: The following review does not partake in the debate surrounding the film’s controversial ‘R’ rating in the United States.

The elementary and high school levels of a child’s academic journey make up some of their most formative years. This is true of course because of a young one’s performance in class but also for the types of interactions he or she engages in with others their age. Be a part of a supportive, inclusive group of trustworthy friends and chances are the developing child will turn out reasonably well. The flip side of the coin is the sad reality that some youngsters are never ‘part of a group’. These are the unfortunate children and teenagers whom the majority chooses to scorn, to shun, to frown upon, to intimidate, sometimes physically, to
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Review: 'Bully' Shifts Blame & Pities The Victims Without Offering Real Solutions To The Problem Of Bullying

At one point in "Bully," a new documentary about the complex problem of bullying in American high schools, a mother of a bullied high schooler confesses that she feels like both she and her husband have failed their son Alex. He is constantly picked on when he rides the bus to school every morning. His mother briefly blames herself, saying that she doesn't feel like a good parent, before shifting the blame to her husband, an alpha male that we've previously seen encouraging Alex to confront his problem so that his younger sister won't have to suffer for his silence.

That tactic of shifting blame rather than openly discussing the root causes of bullying is typical of co-directors Lee Hirsch and Alicia Dwyer's crassly manipulative approach. "Bully" encourages viewers to wallow in the helplessness of the film's teenage victims and their parents.

To be clear: I don’t think
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Director Lee Hirsch Bully Interview

It is estimated that over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The new documentary Bully puts a human face on that frightening statistic, with an unflinching look at just how deeply bullying effects kids and their families. By telling the stories of 12-year-old Alex from Iowa, 16-year-old Kelby from Oklahoma, 14-year-old Ja’Meya from Mississippi, and the families of 17-year-old Tyler Long and 11-year-old Ty Smalley, who both lost their sons to suicide after relentless bullying, the film captures a growing movement to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole. During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, filmmaker Lee Hirsch talked about how the idea for this documentary developed out of having been bullied as a kid, wanting to give a voice to kids who are suffering,
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Bully Gets Unrated Theatrical Release

Bully Gets Unrated Theatrical Release
After a recent plea to the MPAA by Bully teen Alex Libby and The Weinstein Company (TWC) Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein failed - by one vote - to get the film its deserved PG-13 rating, TWC is choosing to move forward with releasing the film unrated by the MPAA on March 30.

Furthering proof that the R rating for some language is inappropriate for a film that's meant to educate and help parents, teachers, school officials and children with what's become an epidemic in schools around the country, the fight against the rating continues on. The outpour of support by politicians, schools, parents, celebrities and activists for the film's mission to be seen by those it was made for - children - has been overwhelming. Nearly half a million people have signed Michigan high school student and former bullying victim Katy Butler's petition on to urge the MPAA to lower the rating.
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Interview: Bully Director Lee Hirsch

Political hot topics have often been the perfect fodder for documentary filmmakers, which is why we've seen so many films about war, our environment, the economic collapse and the government. Lee Hirsch's Bully , which premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival as "The Bully Project," takes a look at a topic that's been around for ages but only recently has become a huge national issue. If you can't figure it out from the title, it deals with the subject of bullying in schools and what it can lead to, including teen suicide. Over the course of a single year, Hirsch followed a couple of teens who were being bullied at their school in Sioux City, Iowa, 12-year-old Alex and 16-year-old lesbian Kelby, as well as spending time with the families whose kids committed suicide...
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Movie Review: Bully May Not Be Art, But It’s a Wildly Effective Documentary

  • Vulture
Movie Review: Bully May Not Be Art, But It’s a Wildly Effective Documentary
Harvey Weinstein (ironically, a bullyboy himself) is having a field day with the fact that The Hunger Games, with its kid-on-kid carnage, is rated PG-13, while the MPAA has branded the do-gooder documentary Bully with an R for a few four-letter words hurled at a juvenile object of derision. Weinstein is so right it hurts. Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen’s* painfully earnest plea on behalf of persecuted children should be seen by kids above all. The directors accompany a Sioux City boy, Alex, dubbed “Fish Face,” on an agonizing bus ride; interview an Oklahoma girl, Kelby, who’s ostracized after coming out as gay; and tell the frightening story of Ja’Meya, an accomplished student driven to wave a gun at her persecutors on a school bus and facing 45 felony charges. We hear about children who killed themselves in despair and families who want to call teachers who looked
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Bully News: Powerhouses David Boies and Ted Olson spoke out against the MPAA’s R rating of the documentary film Bully Last night at The Paley Center for Media legal powerhouses David Boies and Ted Olson spoke out against the MPAA’s R rating of the documentary film Bully, at a special screening. In front of a high-profile audience including cohost Meryl Streep and legendary activist Billie Jean King, Boies stated, “How ridiculous and unfair and damaging it is to have a film of this power and importance that is being censored by a rating system that has got simply no rational basis. You can kill kids, you can maim them, you can torture them and still get a PG13 rating, but if they say a couple of bad words you blame them. I hope, for heaven’s sake, that they find some rational basis before we have to sue them to revise the rating system.”

Olson, who served as President George W. Bush’s Solicitor General, followed Boies in agreement and stated,
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