Movie Number- 56
Title– Bully (2001)
Genre– True Crime Thriller
Branden’s Rating– 6 out of 10
Bridgette’s Rating– 4 out of 10
Average Rating– 5
Netflix Rating– 2 Stars
Comments– This is a rare occurrence where I enjoyed a movie more than Bridgette. Bully is based off a true crime that happened in the swamplands of Florida (the movie is based off the book, which I read a very long time ago and was fascinated by) involving teenage kids, bullying, sex, drugs, and murder. Billy and Marty are best friends (have been since they were very young, except the movie doesn’t really tell you that until it’s halfway over), but Billy is the definition of asshole: he constantly beats on Marty, forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do, he rapes women, he exploits gay men and uses them for his pornographic fantasies, etc.. Eventually, Billy and Marty meet these two girls (Lisa and Ali), and Marty starts dating Lisa (well, they have a ton of sex in the movie, and I guess that equates to them dating). Lisa sees the way Bobby treats her boyfriend, Marty, and decides that the only way to remedy the situation is to murder Billy. Marty agrees, and the plan gets put into action. This is, obviously, the very basic plot of the movie, but that is it in a nutshell.
I thought the actors did a good enough job given the very difficult material, and the strength (better, the weakness) of the script. The star of the show was definitely Nick Stahl, who played a very believable Billy. Brad Renfro did a nice job, but you could definitely see he needed some more work (though, I just read that he died of a heroin overdose a few days before Heath Ledger; talk about tragic…). I honestly admire all the nudity the actors allowed: Lisa was fully naked more than she was dressed; Ali might as well have been naked the whole movie, and was for part of it, even pouring wax on her body; basically, most of the cast was naked…a whole hell of a lot. I don’t think it was all in vain, however, because it showed (as the book described) how these were just young kids who didn’t understand what they were doing, in part because of their naivety, and in part because of the copious amounts of drugs that flowed freely through their veins; to them, it seemed, having unprotected sex was no worse than murdering a guy.
This story is tragic, and I thought the movie did a very decent job of streamlining the book. The book, however, is definitely better. Memorable-Disappointing.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.