Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-04-23
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Group reaches out to South Side LGBTQs Group reaches out to South Side LGBTQs
Contrary to conventional wisdom, queers exist on the South Side. Native South ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

Knight at the Movies: Bully; The Cabin in the Woods; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2012-04-11

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Photo of Alex Hopkins from the Weinstein Company


"I don't believe in luck but I believe in hope," 12-year-old Alex says at the conclusion of Lee Hirsch's devastating documentary, Bully. To hear that Alex, who we have witnessed enduring repeated verbal and psychological bullying for the duration of Hirsch's film, can still find a bright spot in the numbing, daily torture that has become life for him is to find inspiration—and heartbreak at the indifference and injustice to this easily overlooked practice. The same can be said of Kelby, a shy but quietly determined 16-year-old lesbian who has weathered three suicide attempts and other self-inflicted psychological damage as a response to prolonged bullying.

But several of the other kids in Hirsch's film—from an 11-year-old boy to 17 year-old Tyler—died before the filmmaker began work on his documentary. Parents, friends and other family members are left to recall the heartbreaking events that led to the suicides of these disparate victims who seemed to only have the tag of being "different" in common. In a dumbed-down culture that increasingly feels no compunction or remorse about resorting to all manner of violence when faced with these societal "outcasts," these victims represent a lot of kids like themselves.

The young teenagers who form the basis for Hirsch's movie—with Alex its central focus—all faced their worse experiences of bullying during the junior high school years, when the need to conform seems to be at its psychological height. Kids with developmental problems, and cultural and religious variations, as well as those who are gay (or perceived as gay) are singled out for the worst treatment. Being perceived as different in an urban environment, one would suspect, probably doesn't have the same impact as it does in the rural and suburban communities (all proudly espousing their Christian values) where Hirsch's subjects live—or lived.

However, bullying is bullying no matter the location, and the shocking tolerance of the practice, the lazy response to it and the "hit back and it will stop" attitude from parents and authorities are endemic. Hirsch's movie observes all these behaviors, which quickly bring his audience to a boiling point. When he intervenes after he films Alex being physically hurt one day on the bus, the response of Alex's parents is tentative at first. There's a real blame-the-victim mentality behind it and a subsequent encounter with the sunny, "hear no evil/see no evil" assistant principal is as horribly frustrating for the audience as it must have been for Alex's parents.

This observational approach would seem to be the biggest drawback of the movie; rather than use the confrontational techniques of Michael Moore or Nick Broomfield, Hirsch simply watches. And while that method picks up fascinating details—we really find ourselves immersed in the outside culture these put-upon kids have formed—it's also maddening. Time and again, we wait for the filmmaker to train his camera on Alex's bus driver, who clearly witnesses the attacks but never intervenes (or even attempts to); or on that assistant principal, with her bland smile and band-aid solutions; the upper-echelon school officials; or the bullies themselves.

However, Bully does not go for the jugular—it's a movie that literally turns the other cheek and refuses to take up arms. When I first saw the movie I thought the final sequence—in which a large, mournful crowd silently observes the anniversary suicide of a victim of bullying—was powerful but wanting; I felt it sidestepped the anger and need for revenge on behalf of the movie's victims that I was feeling. I wanted Hirsch to bully the bullies and their de facto defenders with his camera. But, on reflection, I think Hirsch's portrait imbues his everyday heroes with a dignity and grace that their tormenters obviously are too short-sighted to see and which shines in every frame of the film.

Bringing the epidemic of this social cancer to the forefront is certainly one of the triumphs of Bully—a big one (and the ratings controversy surrounding the film has certainly kicked the social discourse up 10 notches). But it's Hirsch's innate gentleness and respect for Alex, Kelby and his other subjects that will hopefully be the movie's lasting legacy.

A quick, very positive shout-out to fans of the horror genre: You are highly encouraged to take a jaunt into the forest and visit The Cabin in the Woods, the truly scary, truly hilarious mash-up of horror and sci-fi from Drew Goddard (of Cloverfield, Lost, and Alias fame) and frequent collaborator Joss Whedon. The movie—in the vaults for nearly three years, tied up in MGM's bankruptcy—is finally seeing the light of day (or, rather, dark of night), and the wait has been worth it.

It follows the familiar path of dozens of similar horror movies—with Evil Dead being the most prominent—but then takes a turn in the road (literally) and never looks back. For sheer inventiveness and for spinning the tired genre on its head, this big funhouse of a movie with no exit in sight really rewards your attention—and welcomes your delighted screams.

Film notes:

—Patrick Wang, the openly gay writer-director-star of the LGBT custody-battle drama In the Family, will appear at a screening of his movie on Saturday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., as part of its 17th Annual Asian American Film Showcase. My full review of the film appears next week to coincide with the movie's theatrical run at the Music Box theatre. www.siskelfilmcenter.org

—A number of LGBT-themed films are playing at the 28th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival, which runs April 13-26. See my separate overview article on the fest in this week's issue of WCT and be sure to make time to see the Chicago premiere of Mariachi Gringo ,from queer writer-director Tom Gustafson (again collaborating with his partner Corey James Krueckeberg) on Monday, April 16. This is the duo's follow-up to the delightful gay fantasia Were the World Mine. www.chicagolatinofilmfestival.org

—The Farrelly brothers' joint directorial attempt to revive the physical slapstick of The Three Stooges is opening in theaters this Friday. The film was not screened in time for WCT deadlines and, frankly, this kind of lowbrow stuff has never been my cinematic cup of tea. But for LGBT audiences, the presence of Sean Hayes in one of the leading roles and supporting turns by Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Sofia Vergara, et al, might be just enough to lure you into theatres.

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitymediagroup.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.

Barrowman to

be at C2E2

The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) has announced John Barrowman—the out gay actor best known as Captain Jack Harkness in the BBC's Torchwood and Doctor Who—will be appearing at this year's event as a spotlight guest.

C2E2, from the creators of New York Comic Con, is April 13-15 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event is a pop-culture convention covering the worlds of comics, movies, television, toys, anime, manga and games.

Barrowman will appear April 14-15. Previously announced guests include actor Chad Michael Murray (TV's One Tree Hill), writer Anne Rice, actor John Cusack, actress Maggie Q, singer Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), local chef Stephanie Izard and Chris Hardwick (Nerdist).

See www.C2E2.com .


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Elton John honors Knuckles; Matt Bomer's married 2014-04-23
Knight at the Movies: Child's Pose; In the Name Of; notes 2014-04-23
MOVIES Cameron Diaz: The real thing 2014-04-22
College disinvites Dustin Lance Black over photos 2014-04-22
'The New Black' screening, talk on April 26 2014-04-22
The New Black to be screened April 26 2014-04-17
Talking with GLAAD's Omar Sharif Jr. 2014-04-16
Knight at the Movies: Hateship Loveship; film notes 2014-04-16
Pam Grier talks 'Dining Out For Life,' comic conventions 2014-04-16
Soccer movie spotlights team, player's identity 2014-04-16
UIC delves into trans* healthcare policy with film 2014-04-15
'Drag Race' trans controversy; Tonys to honor Rosie 2014-04-15
Five Worth Finding 2014-04-15
Jennifer Lopez, Laverne Cox honored at GLAAD Media Awards 2014-04-15
MOMBIAN Classic film about lesbian mothers now on DVD 2014-04-09
Knight at the Movies: Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014-04-09
Sally Field pens open letter about gay son 2014-04-08
Reeling to take place in Sept.; call for entries 2014-04-08
Chicago Latino Film Festival turns 30 2014-04-08
Hooking up with John Sanders of 'Starcatcher' 2014-04-08
Film on gay rugby star; Oprah tour; Tegan and Sara win 2014-04-02
Ben Cohen issues 50th grant; group seeks to ban 'Warmest Color' 2014-04-02
Knight at the Movies: Anita and Saving Mr. Banks; notes 2014-04-01
Reeling to take place in Sept.; call for entries 2014-04-01
Divergent star's pro-LGBT statements; Fonda, Tomlin reunite 2014-03-26
Knight at the Movies: Spring LGBT movie preview 2014-03-26
Elton John movie in Chicagoland March 26 2014-03-26
Spring LGBT movie preview 2014-03-26
Sacred Stages: Local church, theatre work together 2014-03-25
Reeling LGBT International Film Festival calls for entries 2014-03-22
Knight at the Movies: Bad Words; Le Week-End; film notes 2014-03-19
'Jersey Boys' movie; Madonna's 'Game of Thrones' homage 2014-03-19
Lesbian film 'Hannah Free' showing March 21 2014-03-18
Stars are animated super heroes for Dining Out for Life 2014-03-17
Chicago homeless teens depicted in 'The Homestretch' 2014-03-15
Local Icon cinema to run Focus on Family doc 2014-03-14
VIEWS Trans roles in Hollywood 2014-03-12
Knight at the Movies: The Grand Budapest Hotel; film notes 2014-03-12
Elton John movie in Chicagoland March 18, 26 2014-03-12
Efron's shirtless vow; Diana Ross, Rufus at jazz fest 2014-03-12





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

LGBTQ Senior Housing applications to open up
 
Lambda Legal Bon Foster benefit honors Fred Eychaner
 
Body painter Barsallo delights gallery crowd
 
PROFILE Chicago lesbian hooked on CrossFit craze
 
Gay in the Life: Marcelina K. Villalobos
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.