There's one student in particular that stands out: Alex, who was in middle school at the time. He was bullied incessantly, for all sorts of things, including for the way he looked. It's heartbreaking to hear him and the others talk about their experiences and even see some of the bullying happen on screen.
And that's one of the biggest shocks, is that even though these students knew they were being filmed, they still continued with their bullying ways no matter what. You'd think you'd want to be on their best behavior during times like that, but to get to that point where you'll still do it regardless of who's watching is unbelievable.
Something else that's unbelievable is how incompetent the school administration officials were. It's like they weren't even aware bullying was going on in their schools. And even if they were aware, they weren't motivated to do anything about it. As someone who at one time was pursing a career in teaching, I can't imagine working in a school where the officials don't even bother to reprimand the bullies, and instead treat the victims like they're the ones who did something bad.
When Bully first came out, there was a lot of controversy over the rating, and how the filmmakers tried appealing the MPAA decision so that more minors would have the opportunity to see the film. And see the film they must. Bully is a must-see for everyone: students, teachers, school officials, parents and even those who don't have kids or aren't involved in the school system.
You can see the struggles that Rosenthal goes through as he tries to persuade various TV execs and others on why certain elements of Everybody Loves Raymond are the way they are and why they need to stay that way to maintain the appeal and heart of the show. And of course there's always that give and take. Certain cultural elements needed to be modified to suit the Russian culture and audience. He has disagreements with many of the production crew and these sort of "rivalries" formed, if that's even the right word.
I don't want to delve too much into it because it's so much fun as a first-time viewer to experience this journey with all the ups and downs, the humor, the tension, everything. I ended up enjoying Exporting Raymond far more than I thought I would, and you know what? It makes me want to flip on some reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.
As far as Pixar sequels/prequels are concerned, it's nowhere near the disaster that Cars 2 was. And it's not the perfect film that Toy Story 3 was. But I still recommend it because I came in expecting to be entertained and I was by no means let down. Having a prequel sets up a whole new world, in a way, because we get to experience a time in Mike and Sully's life that is completely different than in Monsters Inc. And to put it simply, I had a blast watching it.
The quality of animation has improved immensely since the original film came out, which is definitely noticeable. There's one scene in particular that stands out to me on this topic, but at the same time, it's also a scene that I have a little bit of a gripe with. It's when they go to the cabins in the human world. The animation is so exceptional that there are moments you could almost mistake it for something in real life. To me, this is also a major continuity issue. The human world and the humans looked a certain way in the original film, and regardless of the advances in animation, I would have loved to see them maintain that original look, mainly for continuity reasons, as I mentioned. It almost seemed out of place.
But when you look at the film as a whole, it's highly entertaining, and just when what you think is the climax has come and gone, there's still more left in the movie to explore, which was great. Mike and Sully are fantastic characters, and this is a movie that people of all ages, both kids and adults, will enjoy. (On a related note, I received Monsters University as a gift this Christmas! I can't wait to watch it again.)
This is very much a character movie, where we delve into who he is as a person, examining what his personal life is like and if he really can change. The final lines of the movie are extremely powerful. I'm not sure if this would be considered a spoiler, but in the final scene in Fight, someone (I won't say who, though maybe you can gather who I'm referring to) says, "The essay I have to write, it's called, the most fascinating person I've never met. ... So, who are you?" And Washington's character replies simply, "That's a good question."
I was expecting Flight to be just another movie. But I was entranced pretty much the entire time, and came away in awe of what the filmmakers created.
I hadn't read the book, so I really didn't know what the movie was about. I'm not going to go on and on about the plot (even though it's top-notch) because to me, the two leads steal the show. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have some of the best on screen chemistry. Their interactions throughout are so much fun to watch. Their characters, they both have issues in their lives, and when they come together, the way they play off of each other and rile each other up and everything they do together is pure gold. It's obvious why Lawrence won an Oscar for her role.
To sum up, watch for Cooper and Lawrence and stay for everything else that unfolds along the way: the humor, the tragedy, the level of talent among all the actors, the script, the directing.