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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 30.26%
Just Average: 7.89%
Pretty Crappy: 13.16%
Sucks: 14.47%

2 reviews, 64 user ratings

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Bully (2001)
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Larry the exploiter."
2 stars

And yet another would-be thought-churner — only this time we’re not only rooted on Earth, but somewhat (!) in reality, too. Larry Clark’s third feature, “Bully” is adapted from the novel by Jim Schutze, about a real-life event where several teenagers took it into their own hands to murder a local bully.

What makes this a typical Clark feature is in the words sleazy and exploitative. Two childhood friends, one the bully, the other his stooge (Nick Stahl and Brad Renfro, respectively) cruise for skanks and end up with one each (Bijou Phillips and Rachel Miner). The stooge and the whore blossom a relationship, but the more she hangs around her man, the more abusive she sees the bully is to him. Along with her brother, she assembles several other accessories — the other skank, her boyfriend, her friend, a “hitman” — to murder the unsuspecting bully. Seven against one. We are never given any insight into why Miner’s character loves Renfro so much, or why she goes through so much trouble, even though it seems quite evident that she wasn’t all there in the head. Early on we see the polar-opposites of the bully and the stooge’s families; the former think the stooge is messing their up, and wants to move their son away, while the latter knows their son is abused but refuse to move only due to that. Where the movie would have gained a lot of interest, a lot more depth, would have been in the parents of the involved childrens’ reactions. “Bully” is advertised as claiming that the parents didn’t see any wrong with the action and felt that the bully deserved it. But we really never see that. (When Phillips begins breaking down to her mom, she responds aloofly, “Ali, are you talking about a murder-murder?”) It could have been a far more engaging and edifying result had the movie explored the moral ambiguity from the parents’ POVs, but we hardly get an opinion from them. It could have easily elicited a lot more from the audience as well on whether we agree with the situation portrayed (accurate or not), based on what we are shown. It brings up the interesting issue of the teens’ notion that the bully “deserved” it. Everything takes so long to get to, and when the act is finally committed (the scene is a tense one), the kids trip-up and break-down so fast, and before you know it, the movie is done. We know, especially from the way the murder went down and from the youngsters’ awkward shakiness that they are “fucked” either way, but their actions never would have sustained them from trouble and punishment. There was no getting away from it. Clark is too much of a chickenshit to take a stance against their actions, be it a pro or con position. His act of neutrality is like saying nothing at all; it isn’t a statement, and it doesn’t qualify as an observation. His smarmy degeneration of troubled teenagers is a disturbing one; he approaches it like a pornographer and seriously takes advantage of the willing actresses. In an interview in “The Calgary Sun” with Natalie Portman a few years back, she said “Young actors often don’t think of the consequences of doing nudity or sex scenes. They want the role so badly that they agree to be exploited, and then end up embarrassing family, friends, and even strangers.” He did it in “Kids,” and he does it here. Portman hits it on the nose, and while Clark similarly exploits the males, it much tamer, and he doesn’t have the backbone to push for male frontal nudity like he does to the females. At the very least, Clark has taken advantage of Chloë Sevigny, Rosario Dawson, Bijou Phillips and Rachel Miner in their willingness to fulfill the demands on the role. Bijou is too good for Clark, and it’s disappointing to see her acquiesce at Clark’s behest. The rest of the cast pretty much is within the decent range, with Stahl squeaking out ahead of the others by a few (pubic) hairs.

With Kelli Garner, Leo Fitzpatrick and Daniel Franzese.


Final Verdict: D.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5480&reviewer=172
originally posted: 07/27/01 23:07:26
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell sleazy & silly who cares if it true 1 stars
10/05/13 Jeff WIlder Far better than Kids. 4 stars
12/08/09 mr.mike Takes it's time to get going. Once it does , it's on. 4 stars
4/02/09 Dane Youssef Clark is masterful when it comes to showing the ignorance and evil of American adolesence. 5 stars
1/18/09 Ray Stahl,Pitt,Renfro,Garner & Phillips quite good. I liked it, despite gratuitous nudity. 4 stars
11/25/08 CTT Hated the first half, but redeems itself with second half; Clark's best 4 stars
8/03/08 Man out 6 bucks Reviewers polemic over sex, overlooking unfathomable nihilism+insect politics. Clark rules 5 stars
4/16/07 Ando After watching, you say "what the fuck did I just see?" AMAZING!!! 5 stars
1/29/07 Carl A little pointlessly perverted at times and not filmed in the most professional way, Good! 3 stars
1/27/07 Sugarfoot So completely out of touch with reality, that it's shock value works better as comic relief 1 stars
4/12/05 Clubber Lang I normally don't like these plotless, aimless, gritty teenager films, but I liked this one. 4 stars
2/28/05 malcolm gratuitous. the shock is that suburban parents think they're so insulated 2 stars
1/07/05 Ando Sweet ass movie, disturbing, but otherwise great 5 stars
12/06/04 Kurt Cobain Larry Clark's "better" film. 4 stars
9/30/04 Dirkd I liked it, although I can see how some could hate it. 4 stars
6/21/04 neubauten pedophile larry please stop making films - you really suck that bad 1 stars
5/30/04 Daveman Repulsive, gratuitous and idiotic. 1 stars
5/11/04 tammy it was good the book was good too 5 stars
2/14/04 Charles Tatum Shock and yawn 1 stars
2/13/04 I Would Like Kids, only less entertaining and more exploitative. Larry Clark is a pervert. 2 stars
1/06/04 mad ox good movie ,pitty its not atrue account. i talk with marty reguarly 4 stars
12/04/03 Okima Michelle The true look at a true story 5 stars
9/08/03 Fox Mulder On of the worst movies of the last 20 years 1 stars
9/07/03 cheri the best show ever ive seen 5 stars
9/06/03 Shawn Franks it was good but marty is a lil bitch 5 stars
9/03/03 Kyle Scary because it really happened. 4 stars
5/14/03 GGRI Great story telling, too much nudity. Spoiled brats with no ambitions=trouble. 4 stars
5/10/03 amy this movie is the best ever!! 5 stars
4/18/03 LIAM JACKSON good film. a twisted, rapist, bullying closet queerboy:how delightful! 5 stars
4/18/03 Alicia Apodaca Though it didn 5 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Rides the surface rather than incisively delving down. Sensationalistic & unrevealing. 2 stars
2/16/03 gfdkgjdg the director was prob the only one who enjoyed it. Don't care much for dicks huh, Larry? 1 stars
1/01/03 blaine vogt brilliant, absolutley brilliant i was totally in awe! 5 stars
12/08/02 gina spellbinding 5 stars
11/27/02 Jeremy Thompson Stupid ass movie 1 stars
11/19/02 Ammatai Almost like you're there sometimes 5 stars
11/17/02 Lee It was alright, then again it was 3 am and I was hafl asleep 3 stars
10/15/02 Diana C. The book was much more impressive - I would give the movie 2.5 stars 3 stars
10/15/02 kids Remind me of some kids I know. :( 5 stars
9/17/02 nenus i only went to see it cause i had a homework about it 3 stars
9/08/02 alias fucking brilliant. it's life on the big screen. thanks to all involved. 5 stars
8/22/02 tommy quibblet acurate depiction of the pathetic skinny white guys 5 stars
8/18/02 Joey This is a TERRIBLE fucking movie. I want me 2.50 back. This movie embarassed me! 1 stars
8/08/02 daniboy among the worse movies I have ever seen 1 stars
5/30/02 Phoenix Haunting and hard to get out of your system. Excellent. 5 stars
3/02/02 The Bomb 69 well made, only problem I had were the characters were not explained well enough 4 stars
3/02/02 Rebecca Renfro is great 5 stars
2/26/02 Alan Smithee If you can get past the disturbingly unerotic sex scenes, this movie is quite chilling. 4 stars
2/25/02 Alison its mad 5 stars
2/24/02 EastBayHank more real than you think... 4 stars
2/08/02 A.K. not enough character development, 'Kids' in Florida instead of New York 3 stars
1/30/02 Seth Good premise, but missing something...great acting, great direction 4 stars
9/28/01 Mohammad J. not a masterpiece as some claim but it does look real and Kelli Garner is indeed really hot 4 stars
9/26/01 Pascal solid 5 stars
9/20/01 joh Whoa! I know people exactly like this! this could happen to, or near anyone who reads this! 5 stars
9/19/01 Martin f this movie is typical Clark, it sucks. Clark is a old perverted never-has-been. NAMBLA rep 1 stars
8/26/01 eb67(eb67@earthlink.net) America at its best...great cast 5 stars
8/22/01 Kulex Kelli Garner Is Hot! 5 stars
8/08/01 Lorene Mendoza Fantastic Movie!!! 5 stars
8/01/01 Dale Tartisel Great from start to finish 5 stars
7/28/01 Gay Tooth Fairy Some great shit. Some... Should win best cast at SAG! Not great but very interesting. 3 stars
7/28/01 mahone Muskewitz--lean what a paragraph is! 2 stars
7/15/01 Jade Some will find it to be art, others will call it pornography. A great film nonetheless. 4 stars
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  13-Jul-2001 (R)



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