Last week I managed to find the time to check out Bully, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.

Bully Review

Bully takes a look at the problem of bullying in American public schools, choosing to focus mainly on two suicides that were caused by bullying. Tyler Long is the first young man that the documentary covers. Tyler was 17 years old when he committed suicide. Unfortunately there seems to be some inaccuracies, or possible manipulation of information, in regards to Tyler Long’s story. While the parents and documentary seem to lay the blame solely at the feet of the school, information in another article I found seems to point out that Tyler had a long list of problems, some of which came from his family.  (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/bulle/2012/03/bully_documentary_lee_hirsch_s_film_dangerously_oversimplifies_the_connection_between_bullying_and_suicide_.html)

I couldn’t find any information saying otherwise, so I’m going to assume the story behind the second suicide is accurate. Ty Smalley was 11 when he decided to take his own life.  Ty’s story seems to be one of a little kid who did his best to stand up for himself, and seemed to have a generally positive attitude towards things. I felt his story was the most heartbreaking because you hear most of it not from his parents, but from his best friend. Ty regularly confided in him, and unlike the Long family who seemed to want to shift some of the blame, Ty’s story seems to be completely honest and true. Ty’s best friend also has some amazing views on life and society, which he has learnt from dealing with the loss of his best friend.

The other children that the documentary looks at are Alex, Kelby, and Ja’Maya. Alex is an odd kid who seems to lack social skills, who is repeatedly picked on and harassed by kids at school, especially on his bus rides. Kelby is a 16 year old girl whose come out in a small town in Oklahoma, and her whole family has to deal with the consequences. Ja’Maya is a 14 year old girl from Mississippi who is frequently taunted at school, and one day she gets sick of it and decides she’s going to make it stop, one way or another.

Bully was without a doubt one of the most difficult documentaries I’ve ever had to watch, but it was very effective at getting it’s message across. Having been bullied at various stages of my life, this movie really hit some nerves and I was pretty much in tears from five minutes in. This is probably the main reason I wouldn’t watch it again. I felt a lot of old emotions being dragged up to the surface, and I don’t know if I would want to put myself through that again. The only problem I had with Bully was after I discovered more information about Tyler Long’s suicide, I couldn’t help but wonder how much other information had been left out about Ty Smalley’s case. The other stories seem relatively accurate as the children who were being bullied were there to talk about it.

Movie Rating: An excellent documentary that addresses the problem of bullying in America’s public school system. A warning to people who have been bullied, as well as to sensitive viewers, this documentary contains some scenes that you will most likely find disturbing. 

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead Review

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead follows Joe Cross, a successful Australian in his early 40s. Unfortunately when Joe started shooting the documentary, he suffered from an autoimmune disease which caused his skin to break out in hives if any pressure was placed on it. This could be caused by him sitting down or a simple handshake. In order to manage the disease Joe was on a huge cocktail of drugs.

After trying a variety of alternative cures, Joe eventually decided to look at his diet. Joe loved to eat, and the more successful he was in his career, the more he ate. When he started the documentary he weighed over 300 pounds. One of the solutions he’d tried before was juicing. What is juicing? The idea behind juicing is taking the healthy vegetables and fruits that your body needs, and using a food processor or juicer to turn it into a liquid. This makes it easier to ingest. Joe had juiced for short periods of time, but never managed to sustain it. For the documentary, Joe decided to travel to America, the home of fast foods, and to spend two months traveling and drinking only juice made from healthy fruits and vegetables. If he could resist eating in America, a place where he loved to eat, he figured he could sustain it anywhere.

I really enjoyed Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead because it shows that with a bit of discipline and hard work, we can change our lives for the better. Joe Cross takes a good long look at himself and manages to break a bad habit that was threatening to kill him. I’ve also been taking a long hard look at various things that I’ve seen as sources of unhappiness, and have been taking small steps to to fix them. One of these aspects is my diet. Now I’m actually underweight for my height, so I doubt switching over to a juice dieting is going to help me. But it has taught me a few easy ways that I can introduce more vegetables into my diet, which will at least help to boost my energy levels.

Movie rating: An informative documentary that shows people who are unhappy with your weight, or just in general, that you can change your life. All it takes is motivation, hard work, and self discipline.

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