General Information

Glossary: T
Released Year: 2016
Runtime: 101 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Casts: Ian Buruma, Cai Guo-Qiang, Wen-You Cai, Wenhao Cai
IMDB: The Bad Kids (2016)

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User Rating:
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IMDB Rating: 7.0


The A.V. Club - Noel Murray
Directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe (best-known for their Terry Gilliam behind-the-scenes docs Lost In La Mancha and The Hamster Factor) have made The Bad Kids in the “fly on the wall” mold of Frederick Wiseman, crossed with the “year-in-the-life” storytelling of Hoop Dreams. The structure of Black Rock itself is one of their biggest narrative assets.
Los Angeles Times - Kimber Myers
This isn’t just a necessary or powerful story; it’s a well-told one.
Slant Magazine - Diego Semerene
Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe's documentary raises important questions about the limits of pedagogy.
Village Voice - Daphne Howland
Desert flowers can be hard to spot, but are often distinctly beautiful, and The Bad Kids has them in focus.
Movie Nation - Roger Moore
It’s bracing and inspiring, what filmmakers Keith Fulton and Leo Pepe show us in that first hour.

The Bad Kids (2016)

On a remote patch of the Mojave Desert, amidst dusty tumbleweeds and rangy Joshua Trees, sits an anomaly: a high school where educators believe empathy, life skills, and the constancy of a caring adult are the differences that will give at-risk students command of their fates. On any given day, principal Vonda Viland calls kids at the crack of dawn to see if they’ll make it to school. And if they need a ride? Well, she’ll pick them up. Vonda knows each student’s challenges and coaches them tirelessly, never fostering false hopes. Her philosophy combines loving compassion with realism, and given her school’s rising graduation rate, it seems to be working.