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The Weinsteins Now Releasing the 'Bully' Doc Unrated This Weekend

by
March 26, 2012

Bully / Harvey Weinstein

So this is how Harvey plans to get back the MPAA, to release it unrated. 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. The Weinstein Company has officially announced that Lee Hirsch & Alicia Dwyer's documentary Bully will be released in limited New York & Los Angeles theaters starting this weekend, March 30th. If you've been curious to see this, now is the time to go see it - unrated - in theaters!

The press release for the news contains some pretty harsh criticism of the MPAA's decision, stating:

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 Change.org to urge the MPAA to lower the rating.

Said Bully Director Lee Hirsch, "The small amount of language in the film that's responsible for the R rating is there because it's real. It's what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and we're grateful for the support we've received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it's up to the theaters to let them in."

So take that, MPAA, I guess. For parents or teachers who are looking for more information or who may have concerns about showing children a movie unrated by the MPAA, please read Common Sense Media's rating details of the film linked here. "The MPAA's ratings system is inadequate when it comes looking at a movie's content through the lens of its larger thematic issues. Common Sense Media provides alternative ratings for parents who are looking for more guidance and context than the MPAA provides," says James P. Steyer, Founder & CEO of Common Sense Media (more info here). "While it's often heartbreaking and deals with tough issues like suicide, the movie addresses bullying in a frank and relatable way that is age appropriate for teens and relevant for middle schoolers if an adult is present to guide the discussion."

Bully will be released in theaters on Friday, March 30th in New York at the Angelika Film Center and AMC Lincoln Square and in Los Angeles at The Landmark, ArcLight Hollywood and AMC Century City. Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America's bullying crisis. You can watch the official trailer if you haven't seen it yet. Hopefully the film continues to expand to more theaters outside of New York and Los Angeles, but it needs all the support it can get. For more, visit: thebullyproject.com.

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  • Xerxexx
    Good. The MPAA does not matter. Side note: Weren't the Weinsteins behind the whole "Let's make The Kings Speech PG13 and remove "Fuck" so kids can enjoy the movie, even though Bertie saying "Fuck" was an important part of the story" fiasco?
    •  the Kings Speech cant really be enjoyed by kids unless they have the same thing the King had. *i did*  it made me feel good, i saw the R rated version cuz i say fuck more than PG13 allows
      • Xerxexx
         Nicely done.
    • I think there's a difference between showing a piece of reality and showing a film that's heightened reality based on history.  Take Restrepo for instance. It's a documentary about soldiers in the mid-east and it has more swearing than most rated R movies but with pressure it got a PG-13 rating. What's unfair here is that Restrepo got that rating and Bully didn't. Bully  is capturing real life and a rating shouldn't be applied to something that is actually happening in school. Saying a movie is rated R and meant for adults when it's realistically capturing Jr High and High School is asinine and the Weinsteins know it. Also the PG-13 version of the King's Speech is big in schools now. They can sell units of that to teachers and they're sure to buy it because they don't have to get permission slips.  Same thing with an indie doc called Indie Game: The Movie which has a version edited for the class room along with licenses for showing it in schools and such. They have a version with the swearing and without. I really think it's all about intent.
      • Xerxexx
         Nicely worded. Just thought it was funny seeing as Weinstein made TKS PG13.
  • Thats a huge F you to the MPAA!
  • Jaiyson
    wasn't restrepo. It was gunner palace 
  • Voice of Reason
    This is a tough one for me to settle on. I understand that if the prideful Weinsteins accept an R rating it is seen as giving in to the MPAA. But the term "unrated" will undoubtedly affect parents, schools, teachers and even theaters from feeling comfortable letting kids 16 and under to view the film. The sad truth is throughout the country there are far more stupid people than there are intelligent ones and an "unrrated" version is enough for many factors to prevent people from seeing this, namely kids 8-16. I dont think this will hurt the film necessarily, its just that the conflict with the MPAA will be lost/unknown to many parents, while schools and adults will feel uneasy about an "unrrated" version. Thanks to DVDs and quips like "the version that wasn't allowed in the theaters" the term "unrated" is synonymous with crass, violence, nudity and otherwise offensive material. I know this isnt the unrated version of Bad Teacher or Happiness, but it could easily translate like that to some. Ideally, this movie is meant to be seen by kids, teens, families, schools and basically everyone, but with the advent of "unrated" Im very interested in seeing how accessible this move will now be....
  • Thavius
    I really hope that this leads to further actions by Weinstein in the future. Involving other films I mean. If they could only get support for wider release...

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