Film Reviews: "Gum in My Hair" and "Six Feet Under"

Gum in my hair

Writers: Marty Reimer, Tim Shields

Director: Marty Reimer

Producer: Amy Schneider

Bullying is an all too common part of growing up. Some of us were hassled daily; others watched their friends get picked on, afraid to intervene. And perhaps most disturbing are those of us who joined forces with bullies, buoyed by group mentality and relieved to be anywhere but on the receiving end.

Sadly, our children are no more immune to bullying than were we. A new national survey found that 80 percent of U.S. children report being bullied at school. The effects can be devastating, impairing concentration and self-esteem, and even deadly, as seen in the Columbine shootings.

This is exactly what Marty Reimer, founder of video-production company Twisted Scholar, is hoping to prevent with "Gum in My Hair: How to Cope with a Bully." A 20-minute video aimed at 8- to 14-year-olds, it is designed to teach kids how to both recognize bullies and evade their grasp.

The one major downside to this video is that it's hosted by adults. And as most parents know, kids in this age group are fond of shouting, "You don't know what it's like!" to any adult within earshot. Luckily, real testimonials from bullied kids make it easier for young viewers to relate. The video also offers five tangible techniques for avoiding the enemy, such as developing confident-and therefore deterring-body language. Co-host David Scratchley, Ph.D., a psychologist and well-known children's safety advocate, lends added credibility to the lessons.

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At $49.95, "Gum" does seem a bit pricey. But if shared among teachers and parents, it has the potential to save lives. To order a copy, call 888-949-2628, or log on to www.twistedscholar.com.

"Six feet under"

Sparks flew between characters Claire Fisher and Billy Chenowith in last year's season of the hit television series "Six Feet Under." And while tumultuous relationships are no strangers to HBO, what makes this one intriguing is Billy's recent release from a psychiatric institution. Diagnosed with manic depression, Billy took a misguided vacation from his meds. Now fresh from treatment, should he pursue Claire in the show's third season, scheduled to premiere in early April? In a word: no. "Romantic relationships are a high stressor for manic-depressives in remission," explains Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D., of California State University, Los Angeles. "Deviating from established routines makes them nervous. It's bearding the lion in his den."

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