It’s not often that indie film touches on family themes, but “How to Beat a Bully,” directed by Doug Bilitch and written by Marilyn Anderson and Richard Rossner, takes on the very popular issue of bullying by using humor and some deft touches with plot, seen all through the eyes of the proverbial new kid in town.
Grant McLellan plays Cory, who in an attempt to thwart being bullied because he’s the new kid in question (having moved from New Jersey to California with his family) and therefore an automatic target, tells everyone that his father works for the mob. He thinks he’s talking his way out of his problems (just like his dad taught him) but of course all he is doing is creating more trouble for himself and his family. As the miscommunications and situations escalate, the mob does get involved; but even though the movie contains themes of bullying and uses conventions like the mafia, it’s pretty tame and there is no real violence at all. It is, after all, a family comedy.
Anderson and Rossner are both veteran writers, having achieved success mostly in television. Anderson’s credits include episodes of “The Jeffersons,” “Fame,” “The Facts of Life,” and “Carol and Company,” the short-lived anthology comedy series starring Carol Burnett. Rossner has writing credits for “Welcome Back, Kotter,” the syndicated series “She’s the Sheriff,” and “Full House,” among others.
“How to Beat a Bully” hit the film festival circuit, gaining some honors and a good reception at the L-Dub Film Festival. With Anderson and Rossner both being veteran writers who have mastered certain formulas, the movie moves quickly and families looking for a run romp shouldn’t be disappointed. This week I talk with Rossner and Anderson. We discuss their first professional writing jobs in the business and how they were able to get this latest film produced.
You can also read a transcript of this episode.
- Marilyn Anderson on IMDb
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- How to Beat a Bully on The Dove Foundation Website
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