Six words — actually, one word used six times — have set off a battle that could keep the people who most need to see “Bully” from seeing it.
The documentary, out Friday in select cities (and on April 13 in D.C.), includes six instances of the F-word, which resulted in the MPAA’s absolutely ridiculous, pigheaded, moronic decision to slap the film with an R rating, thereby ensuring it couldn’t be shown in most schools. The Weinstein Co. has decided — rightfully — to release the film without a rating. But that means some theater chains won’t show the film at all. Because we have to protect minors from the language the minors in the film use.
The MPAA has had its head up its A-word multiple times before, but this decision proves just how out of touch the organization is. Of course one child saying to another “I’m going to kill you, you m—–f—–” is inappropriate. That’s the point. OF THE FILM. By pretending the tweens of the country will faint dead away the moment such words hit their delicate ears, the MPAA is complicit in the bullying the film depicts. It is pretending it didn’t happen. And the film clearly shows where such a head-in-the-sand mentality leads. (Spoiler alert: It leads to parents dressing their son in his favorite Cardinals T-shirt so he can represent his team when he’s lying in his coffin.)
The MPAA is part of the very culture of silence “Bully” is fighting against.