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BULLY

Starring: Brad Renfro, Rachel Miner, Nick Stahl, Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt, Kelli Garner, Daniel Franzese, Leo Fitzpatrick, and Deborah Smith Ford
Directed by: Larry Clark (who has a brief appearance as "the hitman's" dad.


It has been incredible watching young mansteak in waiting Nick Stahl grow into legal fixin's. He's maturing rapidly and growing into his deep smoky eyes quite nicely. He's the main cat, Bobby Kent, in Bully. A mean, creepy over bearing friend who pushes his underling friend, Marty ( Brad Renfro) too far.

So far in fact, that instead of simply avoiding Bobby or ceasing to "hang out with him" Marty and his white trash posse decide the best thing for all involved, perhaps the world, is to kill him.

The saddest part of Bully, and the thing that keeps you from leaving the over Indie, Indie, 40 minutes into the thing, is the fact that this is a true story. Based on a group of Florida teens, suburban misfits from semi-normal families, (an oxymoron) who in 1993 actually plotted and schemed to execute their friend because he was a big bad neighborhood bully.

Granted Bully's Bobby's a bit of a cruel sadistic nimrod; he makes, no forces, poor moronic Marty (Brad Renfro) into mock stripping for a mere 100.00 to help a couple of gay fellows better enjoy the evening. Bobby rapes the town slut. And I mean she does anything to anyone, and was having sex with him when he got rude-n-rough, so technically YES it was rape. He also slept with his best friend Marty's girl Ho. In fact when the darling wee trash-lite gal gets pregnant she's in a quandary over which sperm donor is actually her future career grocery-bagger child's teenage daddy.

The director, Larry Clark (who also brought us the ominous "Kids" in '95) gets over zealous with the trash le Blanc on trash le Blanc sex scenes. Okay we get it! Teens have sex. Teens have kinky sex. Onward please. He ads so much "stuff" it's to the point of squeezing a two-hour movie into a three-hour documentary-like life lesson filled with shocking revelations for the gasping parents of teens across the globe who find themselves in his audience.

But, for we folks "in the know" of the pubescent monsters high on Eminem (or who ever is the Backstreet-InSyncy-Britney Aguilera- bubble pop "in" idol that day) the whole thing got a trifle boring, and tried too hard condemn the species of teen. Not all kids get high on acid everyday, not all kids know more about Kama Sutra then Hugh Heffner, and, certainly, not all kids dissolve their childhood friendships with a quick bludgeoning and a (stab or 40) in the back. You wouldn't think that if Clark's version of adolesance was your text book on the subject. Lucky (and sadly) , for Clark this was a true story or Bully really would have been intolerable.

The young cast members were excellent. Except for Brad Renfro who was the other star, Marty. He apparently was told drama equals excessive drooling and smooched tiny teeny lips with pursed eyebrows. He's young he'll hopefully learn to stretch that Brady Bunch anger routine. Although, he was super unnerving as the jock-neo Nazi a few years back in underrated Apt Pupil. Maybe, it's just I have seen better from him...

Nick Stahl, besides being baklava sweet on the retina, is quite the budding actor. I have enjoyed every piece....of work he's done. Here, even with the shock filled dialog he was given as Bobby, he came through as menacing and dangerous not because of his vicious filthy words, but because of what Stahl had brewing behind those handsome piercing eyes. He wasn't "this guy needs to die for the good of mankind" menacing but, he made Bobby as bad as the dialog allowed.

Rachel Miner, who plays Marty's innocent- as- a- banshee -in- heat gal pal Lisa, did a great job until the beating/murder of Bobby Kent. Then she was possessed by Joan Crawford's "Eye's! Watch my eye's " soul risen from the Hollywood ham's grave, alive and kicking with film noir over acting.

Bijou Phillips (sibling of Cynna and Mackenzie) on the other hand as Ali the town whore, was unbelievably good. She hit every emotional plateau the script called for with realism actors twice her age are still reaching for. She's great at these rock-groupie-minishirted-bl**-ya-for-a-joint style gals. Keep your eye out for this "kid."

Bully is a bit long and repetitive. If edited a wee bit it could be riveting. That, and wipe the godforsaken drool from Renfro's mouth! It's shocking to see kids, I mean kids, go this far, so fast. They have no regard for taking another's life, a "friends" life. You couldn't see a dram of conscience between them.

See this if just for the up and coming generation of talent hodge podged on Clark's canvas, but be ready to be dragged through gratuitous teen sex scenes, and mind numbing visions of a group of youths so lost in oblivion you'll think twice about giving the drag racing teen next to you the finger ever again!

Snack recommendation: Pizza Hut©

 

 

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