In 1983 L.A., studio exec William (Thornton) wants to reconcile with his heavily medicated wife Laura (Basinger) while continuing to see his self-doubting TV newscaster mistress (Ryder). Their son Graham (Foster) is indulging in drugs and sex with his girlfriend (Heard) and best pal (Nichols), who's also sleeping with Laura for cash. Meanwhile, Graham's doorman (Renfro) is trying to please his criminal father figure (Rourke), but Graham's friend Tim (Pucci) has no interest in connecting with his dad (Isaak).
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A slam-dunk natural subject for Clark, Bully follows the based-on-reality story of Marty Puccio (Brad Renfro), who along with his girlfriend Lisa (Rachel Miner) decides to brutally slay his "best friend" Bobby (Nick Stahl) as payback for a lifetime of abuse. Set in the ultra-trashy nether regions of southern Florida -- and I mean seriously, beyond-WWF trashy -- there's little to do but drive your car, play video games, have sex, and beat the crap out of your friends.
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Skipped Parts, based on a purportedly much-loved book that I've never heard of, tells the unlikely story of a 15-year-old boy (Bug Hall) in the early 1960s, whose trashy mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh, a fright in platinum blonde) encourages him to do whatever he wants. Namely, that involves experimenting with sex, and our buddy Bug does so, frequently, with the local cheerleader (Mischa Barton, the scariest looking young actress in film today, next to Gaby Hoffman). Meanwhile, mom sluts it up with a friendly Indian while the prepubescent teen becomes pregnant during all this boning.
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Based on the extremely controversial novel, Sleepers tells what is purported to be a true story of revenge in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. Four early-teenaged friends (played as adults by Patric, Pitt, Ron Eldard, and Billy Crudup -- who I have to mention just because I like to say "Crudup") are sent to a juvenile center when a prank goes wrong and almost kills a bystander. The brutality that occurs in the center does not need to be expounded upon, but suffice it's very horrible, and that guard Sean Nokes (Bacon) is the baddest of the bad guys.
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Not only does the provocative title of Tart mislead us, but the packaging features a lithe Dominique Swain on its covers, her schoolgirl skirt blowing up to expose her panties. The tagline: "Sex, Drugs and Study Hall."
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A troubling vérité-style docudrama about worthless, contemptible, murderous teenage losers, "Bully" is a raw and graphic, half cautionary tale, half exploitation flick, similar to director Larry Clark's controversial 1995 film "Kids."
But as infamous as "Kids" was for its grossly candid depiction of drug use and careless, even vengeful sex, it was largely fictional. "Bully" isn't quite as coarse, but may be more chilling as it is based on true events: The circumstances surrounding the very premeditated but very sloppy slaying of a malevolent south Florida delinquent who physically intimidated and verbally abused his friends until, well, they killed him.
Fascinating in a "Cops"-meets-Psychology Today, can't-help-but-look kind of way, every character in this film is a vile imbecile -- the kind of nitwits who genuinely look to angry white rapper Eminem as a role model.
Continue reading: Bully Review
How on earth did Kevin Bacon get top billing in a cast that includes Robert...