We're still two weeks away from the limited release of "Bully", the movie partly shot in Sioux City's schools. It focuses on the impact of bullying on kids. It features Alex Libby, who was a student at Sioux City's East Middle School when the movie was shot.
But, with an "R" rating, some in Hollywood are upset that the people who need to see it most-- teens-- can't.
Alex Libby, student says, "I like learning, but I have trouble making friends. Punching. Strangling me. Take things from me. Sit on me." It's not the violence that earned "Bully" an R-rating... it's the language. One scene shows a boy cursing while describing how he was going to kill a student. Ellen Degeneres, TV Host says, "After seeing it, I can tell you that the lessons the kids would learn from this movie are more important than any words they might hear... and they're words they already know, anyway."
Ellen, and other celebrities, are urging the Motion Picture Association of America to change the rating to PG-13... so the kids in the movie's target audience can see it without a parent's permission. That's music to "Bully" director, Lee Hirsch's ears. Lee Hirsch, "Bully" Director says, "It's absolutely critical and totally inspiring having the support of Anderson Cooper, and Kelly Ripa, Ellen."
On Wednesday's "Insider", on KTIV, Hirsch defended the language included in the film's final cut. Lee Hirsch, "Bully" Director says, "Everyday, thousands and thousands of people who are bullied are told, 'just buck up, and it'll be okay.' By censoring these scenes, we would be contributing to that and doing a real disjustice to the incredible kids that were brave enough to share their stories in this film."
The MPAA has scheduled a special screening, this Thursday, for parents and educators.
"Bully" will be offered in a "limited release" starting March 30th. But, Sioux City isn't among the 20 cities where it will premiere. Superintendent Paul Gausman says the Sioux City Community school district wants to show the movie, but the district can't until its ready for a school-based release.