Entries in Movie (3)


MPAA Rejects Student's Campaign for 'Bully' to Get Pg-13 Rating

Jupiterimages/Liquid Library/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Bully, an upcoming documentary about the nation's teen-bullying epidemic, would exclude much of its intended school-aged audience if the Motion Picture Association of America refuses to ease its R rating, according to Katy Butler, a bullying victim who hopes to change the board's mind.

Butler posted a petition at to get 150,000 signatures in support of a PG-13 rating for Bully.  By Thursday at 8:00 a.m. it appeared as if they had exceeded their goal with a total of 155,079 signatures and counting. The film is scheduled to open in theaters March 30, according to the film's website.

The film's producer and director, Lee Hirsch, praised Butler's courage in heading the viral campaign to ensure that junior-high and high school students have freer access to his film.  It ends with a plea from David Long, whose son Tyler committed suicide following "years of relentless bullying."

When she was a seventh grader, Butler suffered a broken finger when male bullies called her names, pushed her into a wall and slammed a locker on her hand.  She is now a junior at Greenhills School, a college prep school in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"I held back tears while I watched them run away laughing.  I didn't know what to do so I stood there, alone and afraid," Butler wrote in a letter on her web page, in which she explained her desire to make sure more youngsters would be able to see the film in theaters and in schools.  Education about bullying is considered key to prevention.

Last week, the MPAA ratings board rejected, by one vote, an appeal from The Weinstein Company, the film's U.S. distributor, to reconsider the R rating.  In a statement, Joan Graves, head of the ratings board, defended the rating, saying the film includes epithets that are hurled at a 13-year-old bullying victim.  Graves said such ratings help guide parents "who want to be informed about content in movies, including language."  She said it's up to parents to make the decision about what their children see "and not ours to make for them."

Butler objected to the effect that such a rating could have on viewership: "I can't believe the MPAA is blocking millions of teenagers from seeing a movie that could change -- and in some cases, save -- their lives."

The film's website says three million kids are bullied each month, and that 13 million kids are absent from school every year because of bullying.

An R rating prohibits anyone under the age of 17 from attending a film without a parent or adult guardian's permission.  According to the MPAA website, R-rated films "may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements."  A PG-13 rating cautions parents that a film may contain material inappropriate for children under 13.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sex Abuse Victims Protest Billy Baldwin Film

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- Advocates for sex abuse victims have called on actor Billy Baldwin and his production company to cancel plans to film a movie on the grounds of a Florida evangelical church that was scarred by a child molestation scandal.

Baldwin, 48, is set to shoot the film, Blind Faith, on the campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, where its founder, Robert "Bob" Gray Jr., was alleged to have molested more than 20 young children in the 1970s and 1980s.

Gray was arrested in 2006, but died at age 81 before he could be prosecuted.  For 38 years, ending in 1992, when he fled the country, he led the church and its Trinity Christian Academy, where his accusers were elementary students or parishioners.

The film is not about the sex scandal, and is instead based on the true story of a high school senior who struggles to become the first blind person to play football.  Baldwin plays the coach who gave Christian inspiration to the real-life athlete Michael Chastain.

"Blind Faith is supposed to be an uplifting story meant to inspire others," leaders from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wrote in a letter sent on Monday. Please don't cause these victims more pain by allowing the site of their torture to profit from your movie. We beg you to consider the atrocities that these men and women suffered when considering where to shoot your film."

Officials at Trinity Baptist Church say they have not yet been contacted by SNAP, nor have they received the letter.

"We believe the movie Blind Faith, and the real life story it portrays will be an inspiration to everyone who sees it," said Daniel Riddick, the church's director of communications.  "We are privileged to be able to provide our facilities without charge to make filming of the movie in Jacksonville possible.  Trinity serves thousands of people in Northeast Florida each week through multiple ministries, and the protection of minors is a high priority in every ministry."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cancer Comedy '50/50' Takes Lighthearted Look at Heavy Diagnosis

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There's nothing funny about cancer.  But a sense of humor can help people handle the harrowing diagnosis.

That's the premise of 50/50, a lighthearted comedy about a heavy topic set to hit theaters this fall.

Given the 50-50 odds of beating cancer, 27-year-old Adam, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, comes to terms with a potentially terminal diagnosis -- but not without the help and hilarity of his best friend Kyle, played by Seth Rogen.

"If you were a casino game you would have the best odds," Kyle says in the movie's trailer, offering some good perspective, perhaps.  But for most young adults, cancer and the stats that come with it are terrifying.

"People want to believe in their chance to survive, and I'm not sure statistics will help with that," said Scott Bea, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

As his friends start their adult lives, Adam starts treatment.  From shaving his head with Kyle's questionable clippers to munching weed-laced macaroons with fellow chemo patients, his journey captures the joy of life amid the looming possibility of death.

"The whole point of treatment is to allow you to live," said Bea.  The challenge, he said, is finding a way to keep living.

Adam's therapist, played by Anna Kendrick, tells him that while he can't change his situation, he can change how he chooses to deal with it.  That's where humor can be therapeutic -- a good laugh can be a welcome distraction from the pain of cancer.

"Humor is thought to be a very sophisticated coping mechanism," said Bea.  "You're going to want to have times when your thoughts drift away from yourself, so you can be in the moment of life rather than calculating life and death all the time."

The movie also chronicles how cancer invades the lives of patients' families and friends.

"We are really uncomfortable with the discomfort of others," Bea said, adding that often patients feel the need to help loved ones cope with the diagnosis.  "Often people use humor to make others more comfortable with an uncomfortable situation."

Laughter may be good medicine, but how you get it depends on what makes you laugh.  The cancer-comedy combo "won't be everyone's cup of tea," Bea said.

The movie is written by Will Reiser and is based on his own battle with cancer.  Holly Prigerson, director of the Center for Psycho-oncology and Palliative Care Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said patients might find "comfort in knowing that others have shared the experience, that they are not alone."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio