Bully which is the Weinstein Co.'s next release, is a documentary about bullying which is due in theaters March 30th.
The film is previewed and touted as a powerful film of real stories of teens and the challenges they face with bullying.
I have received an e-mail or two about a petition to change the films rating, which appears to be appeal to get wider viewership, and open up the opportunity for the film to be more freely shown in schools.
The Steven Zeitchik for the Los Angeles Times writes:
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) have touted its importance. A Michigan teenager unaffiliated with the film has started a petition in favor of a more lenient rating from the Motion Picture Assn. of America — it was given an R for profane language — and has gathered nearly 200,000 signatures to date.
That being said, the Michigan teenager mentioned, Katy Butler, I feel has the right attitude and idea that a PG-13 rating probably would increase the films viewers, but all reports indicate that neither the film's director, Lee Hirsch or the Weinstein Co., are interested in editing out select passages with foul language to make the ratings meet the MPAA standards.
Which I get it - I get both sides, and yet, I think the ball is truly in the movie producers court to consider a re-edit (or alternative version for public presentation, such as schools), rather than suggesting that a petition could change the rating.
While the rating system is somewhat arbitrary at times, there is a general framework of standards associated with the ratings (although always changing). But it would be like a candy bar company collecting signatures to get the nutrition counsel to change it's nutrition label standards to make the candy more have wider appeal verses changing the contents of the candy bar (or accepting it the way it is).
This is a case where you will not find my name on the petition. I do think the film deals with an important concept, and I hope that the film has an impact and starts important conversations regarding this very real topic.