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132 of 139 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brutal and Powerful Film (4.5 stars)
"Bully" is as disturbing as a movie can get. It shakes you hard and once it gets its grasp on you, it never lets go until it's all said and done. It's also a movie that is guaranteed to stay in your head for days, no matter how hard you try to forget it. This is a chilling and powerful film, and one of the darkest movies I have seen this year so far.
Based on a...
Published on April 13, 2003 by Michael Crane

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, but some important details were left out.
I enjoyed the movie when i saw it, but I knew there was something missing to the story. Then, I happened to see the A & E true story about this. Turns out that Marty may have been being molested by Bobby. When Marty decided he didn't want to be gay with Bobby anymore Bobby started making threats and being forceful with him. So, not only was Bobby date raping women,...
Published on August 29, 2005 by Demon Ted


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132 of 139 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brutal and Powerful Film (4.5 stars), April 13, 2003
By 
Michael Crane (Orland Park, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
"Bully" is as disturbing as a movie can get. It shakes you hard and once it gets its grasp on you, it never lets go until it's all said and done. It's also a movie that is guaranteed to stay in your head for days, no matter how hard you try to forget it. This is a chilling and powerful film, and one of the darkest movies I have seen this year so far.
Based on a true story, "Bully" is about a guy named Marty, who is always getting beaten up and tormented by his best friend Bobby. Bobby's one nasty and mean character who does what he wants when he wants. He's been known to be sexually abusive towards women and unleashes his violent temper upon anyone who gets in his way. Not being able to take it anymore, Marty and his girlfriend decide maybe it's time that something should be done. They get together with a group of friends and decide they have to kill Bobby What seems to be a simple plan falls apart right before their eyes, and once the deed is done they can never go back to the way things were.
This film is directed by the same man who did "Kids," Larry Clark. He does a superb job of orchestrating this brutally chilling force of a movie that knocks the air right out of your body. The cast and crew were also great. Every actor did their roles justice. Especially the man who plays Marty. As I was watching this, I kept asking to myself "This is a true story??" in complete disbelief.
Be warned, this is a VERY uneasy film to watch. Not a second goes by in where there isn't something shocking going on. This is another one of those movies that isn't meant for everybody, but I still think it's an important film. Bullying is a very serious subject that plagues the world every day. This movie reveals the true ugliness of that and shows just how far some will go to stop it.
The DVD doesn't have very much to offer, other than a couple of interviews, a music-only audio option, and a trailer. The picture and sound is really good, considering how low of a budget this movie was made on.
"Bully" is a success in my eyes, as hard as it was to watch. "Kids" is also very disturbing as well, but on much more different level. Again, this isn't a movie that everybody is going to like. In fact, I'm willing to bet that many who have attempted this movie were forced to stop it and were unable to finish it. Be warned, this is a very uneasy movie to watch. The scary reality of it all is these types of things happen all the time...
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When you give up and murder your tormentor, how should you be punished?, April 23, 2007
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This review is from: Bully (DVD)
Bully is based on a true high school crime which took place in Cooper City, Florida. Boyhood friends Marty Puccio (Brad Renfro) and Bobby Kent (Nick Stahl) traveled in the same circles of casual drug use and loose women with a group of friends who rarely attended high school classes. Bobby bullied Marty their entire lives, raped both Marty and their girl friends, and pulled aggressive stunts such as capturing a local drifter and forcing him to perform homosexual acts on camera. Director Larry Clark presents a gripping portrait of bullying and submission, and of how hard it is to stand up to the bully when he's been in power for a good sixteen or more years.

With the high school sexual acts and drug use, this film will inevitably be compared to Clark's earlier work, Kids. Bully, however, is based on a true crime with copious court records, confessions, witness statements, and a non-fiction book about the subjects. Any reviewer who attacks the plausibility of the film needs to look no further than Martin Puccio, vs. State of Florida, Appellee. No. 86,242; November 20, 1997. Clark takes the facts of the case and presents a movie which illustrates the fear and loathing of someone who submits to a bully, and makes the viewer understand how hard it is to stand up and change the status quo.

Bully is told from the point of view of the teens involved in the group murder of Marty's tormentor. The question of ultimate responsibility for the crime is answered only in the court sentences, not by the filmmaker. This is a great discussion piece--does bullying invite crimes of self-defense? Was Lisa Connelly the ringleader or did Marty grow a backbone? Was Marty manipulated by yet another bully, Lisa, when he went along with her plan? Did an atmosphere of money, drugs, and plenty of free time create the perfect storm for a mob-mentality murder? How much do absent parents play into a tragedy of this proportion?

Larry Clark has no simple Hollywood answer to any of these questions. Therein lies the beauty of this film.
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75 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A disturbing, powerful film, May 29, 2002
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
Larry Clark's film "Bully" follows a dysfunctional group of Florida teens as their lives take a turn towards a horrific tragedy. Central to the story is the relationship between Marty (played by Brad Renfro) and Bobby (Nick Stahl), who work together at a sandwich shop. Bobby physically and verbally brutalizes Marty, thus laying the groundwork for the tragedy that follows.
"Bully" is a frightening portrayal of a nihilistic adolescent wasteland. The characters' lives revolve around violent video games, illegal drugs, and exploitative sex. Amoral and disconnected from parents and community, these kids are like a cluster of human time bombs.
The film features superb performances from its talented young cast; at times "Bully" feels like a gritty documentary. After seeing Stahl portray a rather nice character in "In the Bedroom," I was both shocked and impressed by his portrayal of the sociopathic youth in "Bully." And fans of the talented Renfro will be again rewarded; he brings a palpable pain and fury to this flawed, but strangely sympathetic character.
The graphic sex, homoeroticism, and violence of "Bully" will probably be too much for many viewers to take. But if you endure this disturbing film, you will see a compelling vision of fear, paranoia, and a desparate need for love and acceptance.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Republic of Florida, April 6, 2003
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
This film is still rating 5 stars because of the sheer fact that I couldn't turn if off when I first happened upon it late at night. It was one of those movies that made you think about the rest of the country and about the people next door.
Bully is based on the Jim Schutze novel/true crime account of the 1993 murder of Bobby Kent, a teenage "bully" who pushed a group of kids into killing him. Sort of. Only some of the characters responsible for Bobby's death don't even know who is he. They are the hangers-on of the main players, a sad, white suburban teen couple. These two are played perfectly by Brad Renfro (who, in staying in character as a complete doofus, was arrested for various hijinks during production) and Rachel Miner. Yes, Rachel-ex-wife-of-Macauley Culkin-Miner who prances nude in half the film. They're bound by a pregnancy and a familiar sense of going nowehere, he a has-been surfer dude at 19 and she a never-will-be dreamer.
Uh, anyway, a good portion of the film is spent on displaying Bobby's behavior, which is the resume for his murder. Nick Stahl is intense as Bobby, even though the real life Bobby Kent was a steroid-bulging, wanna be gang member son of Iranian immigrants, an ethnicity angle strangely omitted. Also omitted to a great extent is the gang angle of the real life case. It doesn't end up mattering because ultimately Stahl plays Bobby as a borderline psycho teen. To his parents he's a decent student, ambitious, a nice young man with a future ahead in college.
But in reality he's a raging lunatic. I mean, honestly, as much as it's surprising to see young suburban kids suddenly committ a brutal member, how many friends have you ever had like Bobby Kent? Teenage boys can be cruel to each other, but how many of your friends regularly punch you in the face, perform 3 Stooges-like slaps to your head at any moment, oh, and rape your girlfriend.
The saddest, and greatest part about this film is that the case was true. However, keep in mind a key element of the film: nearly all of the dialogue is taken right from the Jim Schutze novel WORD FOR WORD. Bully, the book, was something between a novel and true crime account that was very dialogue-oriented and wound up giving the film some of its best lines. Larry Clark didn't have to touch the lines up too much. But the staging is excellent. This is an almost pornographic account of the events yet it seems appropriate anyway since Clark is simply telling a TRUE story that was very gritty, very ugly.
Let's face it. The characters in this film are dumb. Very, very dumb, so dumb that you really don't feel sorry for any of them. Maybe one or two, but you'd live with it. Seriously, if you have any friends that remind you of any of these characters even a little bit, run. Run now.
Highly recommended for just not caring about Hollywood standards and going gonzo.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bully-Stunningly Acurate, July 27, 2001
By 
Maura (Weston, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
I'm no writer, and I posess of-average eloquence, but my need to express my personal impressions of this movie far surpasses my embarassment to write a review. "Bully" was an amazing film. For those who believe Clark was doing the film for shock value are confusing the sex and violence for what really goes on in this town and towns across America. Actually living in the area where the movie was filmed, I experienced what was my middle and high school years all over again (sans murder). The film also captures the mood of the area. The long, hot, boring Florida days that invite any activity to pass the time. The increasing number of high school drop outs in the area only aggravate the the possiblity of kids following in the same footsteps, and believe me, they already do. Clark managed to capture, what I believe to be, an essence as well as recreate a tragic story.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Bully" is NOT as good as "Kids" but more raw & realistic., September 5, 2002
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
I consider "Kids" as a better portrayel of today's generalization of how bad our youth are, but at the same time "Bully" was tackling a story based on a true incident. So it's portrayel of these teens in this film is very good, because these kids are the worst of our generation and this movie about them is a masterpiece. This film is rather slow in some parts and gratuitous in others. And some of the nudity in the film was more voyeuristic than necessary. But despite this films flaws, the essence of the picture is that our kids are capable of anything. Especially where they're bored and lack adult supervision. The kids in this movie are mainly 17-18 year olds, living in Florida, who get stoned on weed and acid, booze, have sex, and hang around doing basically nothing except for plotting out the murder of their best friend. It starts out with Marty, played superb by Brad Renfro whose best friend Bobby Kent, played excellent by Nick Stahl. They've been best friends for years but Bobby abuses Marty and he can't do nothing about it because he seems defenseless against Bobby. Then they both meet Lisa (Rachael Miner) and Ally (Bijou Phillips). They get involved with one another and Marty ends up being a father when he gets Lisa pregnant. As the story goes on you see how much Lisa loves Marty despite her being bothered by his friend's abuse towards him and her. Bobby Kent is a boy making something out of himself but still has a sadistic pleasure in torturing others like raping both Lisa and Ally, beating Marty, making gay porno, and though he seems homophobic, you never seem to fully determine his sexuality.
Finally before the murder, Lisa and Marty have all their stoner friends from Palm Bay come over as they plot to murder Bobby in the most uninspired ways. Until Ally recruits a mafia hitman played by Leo Fitzpatrick (He played Telly in "Kids"). Then they have an idea to drive Bobby to a secluded area and finish him there. The murder scene is dark, bleak and unsettling. As you see these kids fall apart after the murder. You realize how stupid and moronic these youths are. They go around basically telling everyone about the murder.
Sure Bobby Kent was a vicious, brutal bully but at least he had a future. The other kid's lives were to mixed up in a bottomless abyss of sex and drugs. Both the victim and the killers don't really have any reedemable qualities, though by the end where they all face their prison sentences we have NO choice but to feel something for them. Seeing these wasted and lost children throw their lives away is sad. Larry Clark is one of the [boldest] directors out there, making controversial pictures that stay with you long after the film is done. If a film can have that effect on me, it's well worth viewing. UNRATED VERSION: Fairly graphic sex and nudity, some strong violence, language and drug use, all involving teens.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renfro's Best, Clark's Too, October 23, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
Every actor in this movie broke out strong. I'd say it is the finest performance in each of their careers, particularly Brad Renfro. This is a far better film for Larry Clark than Kids. It may not be for everyone, I agree. It's hard to say who would or would not favor this film, but if you watch the nightly news, you should enjoy this. Or not be disturbed by it at the least. And of course, if you are familiar with Larry Clark, you should already feel the need to see what he has done with this story. Pretty amazing, afterwards, it creeps into your thoughts. I walked away from viewing this with few thoughts, but the next day, without even knowing it, my mind would start to wander, curious about the real people involved. Finally I had to get online and find out all I could.
I particularly liked the camera work and angles used. Gave it a slight documentary feel. The last scene in the courtroom, although short, really stood out. In that scene, these actors were these people. The other features are great, well worth DVD over VHS. Most features are wasteful, but this contained funny, informative commentary on the entire film and the story behind it.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, but some important details were left out., August 29, 2005
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
I enjoyed the movie when i saw it, but I knew there was something missing to the story. Then, I happened to see the A & E true story about this. Turns out that Marty may have been being molested by Bobby. When Marty decided he didn't want to be gay with Bobby anymore Bobby started making threats and being forceful with him. So, not only was Bobby date raping women, but he may have also raped Marty as well. With this concoction added to the fire, it's a little easier to see why Marty and others may have snapped the way they did. What a sad, sad story.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow, They're Dumb., February 2, 2002
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
This film does more than confirm a long-held theory of mine that even social degenerates have sex. It unapologetically tells an unpleasant tale of haphazard and fatal conflict resolution in a suburban setting lacking any guidance or vision of a world beyond itself with such realism that the viewer, already knowing what ultimately will come to pass, finds himself wishing someone with a brain cell will interject, "Hey, let's get a pizza instead."
There is no reason for this murder to have happened. Larry Clark shows us the reason it did happen: Once the idea was given life, no one could think of a reason not to do it. Were it not based on a non-fiction account of a case in Florida, this film would no doubt be panned as lacking any sense of reality. (A common criticism of Clark's debut flick, "Kids.") Alas, the aimless zombies featured here do exist in larger numbers than any of us truly wants to admit. This is the only time I have seen them portrayed on the screen. They are the American Pie kids, without the charm or wit. They are the Clueless kids, without the introspection or class. They are Jay and Silent Bob, without the ability to utter anything approaching intelligent or a sense that a world exists beyond their lives and today. The only way one cannot be sincerely disturbed by this film is to deny its reality. It is not surprising that so many do the latter, since denial is the easier route.
Naked bodies of teenaged girls do absolutely nothing for me. I did not find the nudity distracting at all. For those who can't see someone naked without calling attention to either how much they enjoy it or how much it offends them: This movie is not for you. A certain degree of maturity will be necessary to see that this movie has no protagonist, no heros, no one with whom the audience should empathize. This makes the film decidedly un-movie-like and, in the process, all that much more real.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, January 8, 2008
This review is from: Bully (DVD)
This is a really great movie with good actors potraying the actual kids involved in the murder. After I saw this movie on t.v. I had to purchase it because I couldn't get it out of my head. Everyone who is interested in buying this movie please consider because (coming from someone who is the pickiest person on earth about movies) it will leave you scarred for life.
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Bully
Bully by Larry Clark (DVD - 2002)
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