Drillbit Taylor (2008)

Rated: Rated PG-13 for crude sexual references throughout, strong bullying, language, drug references and partial nudity.
Length: 102 Minutes
Grade: FDBD=D
Budget: $40 million
Box Office: $49 million ($32 US, $16 Intl)

Written by: Christopher Brown, who has written for Beavis and Butthead and The Tomn Green Show, and Seth Rogen, who is much better known as an actor, but ahs written Superbad, and also some episodes of Undeclared and Da Ali G Show…sadly.
Directed by: Steven Brill, who directed Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, and Without a Paddle, all of which should have told me something.
Starring: Owen Wilson, Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley, David Dorfman, Ian Roberts, David Koechner, and Beth Littleford.

On their first day of high school, two buddies become the victims of the school bully after one of them stands up for an even smaller kid. Not knowing how to handle it, they hire the homeless Owen Wilson, who pretends to be a bodyguard.

Entertainment Value: F
There was only one scene in this movie which was funny, and it was all the way at the very end when Owen Wilson loses a finger. Otherwise, this is a total bust. Owen Wilson is never an encouraging sign to us, but I heard some decent things about this movie from people, so I gave it a try. Why oh why did I give it a try?

Superficial Content: D
Drugs/Alcohol C, Sexuality C, Violence C, Language F, Illegality C
This is another one of those cases where I have to admit that it’s a PG-13 movie, but it’s so regularly crude and vulgar that I give it a D, which is usually only for lighter R movies. The real concerns here are language and constant bullying, with some fighting violence and theft. Surprisingly, they also managed to throw in some sex scenes as well, although it’s all implied not shown. Oh wait, I didn’t find that surprising at all.

Significant Content: B
Here’s the good news. There are some really excellent themes here. One is the power of trust, love, and faith to have a transformative effect on a person, making him want to live up to his better self. The movie is also about personal identity and whether you will choose to be who you’ve been before (if bad) or choose to live up to a better you that you could be. Honesty is praised indirectly by dishonesty leading to problems, and the downside of putting on a “mask” personality is clearly shown. The movie seemed to be offering a chance for non-violent resistance to work or at least discover some other remedy, but in the end violence is very much a part of the solution. What goes around comes around, eventually.

Artistic/Thought Value: D
Which might just be another way of saying this was an Owen Wilson movie…think You, Me, and Dupree…if you must. No, it’s not an art flick.

Discussion Questions:
~If Drillbit had been honest with the English teacher initially, would she have become his girlfriend? So does this movie endorse honesty or not?
~Why are people tempted to lie, especially about their own accomplishments? What do we do to encourage such behavior in others? Have you ever been tempted to lie to make someone like you?
~“It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” How does this phrase relate to this movie? Is it a good principle to live by?
~Have you ever felt inspired to be better because someone else believed in you?
~Do you believe anyone is a born loser?
~Why do you think no one else came to the defense of either Emmett or the boys when they were being bullied? Is bullying ever funny? What do you think is the effect of showing it in this movie: does it make people laugh at it or revolt at it?
~What should a Christian do if he sees someone being bullied? Is bullying a problem at your school? What about milder forms of bullying like just making people feel left out or excluded? Are these Christian behaviors?
~What do you think of the crude language in this movie? Does it make the teens seem more or less powerful?
~Are adults in positions of authority really this useless? Have you ever felt like you couldn’t go to adults with your problems?
Overall Grade: D
Though it has some interesting lessons and discussion material, it’s not really worth wading through the mediocrity of this movie to get to them.

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