Australian Council on Children and the Media

Drillbit Taylor

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Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 due to the theme of bullying, violence, sexual references, drug references and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Drillbit Taylor
  • a review of Drillbit Taylor completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 March 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to the themes of bullying, violence, sexual references, drug references and coarse language.
Children 13-14 Parental guidance recommended due to the themes of bullying, violence, sexual references, drug references and coarse language.
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Drillbit Taylor
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence, sexual references and coarse language
Length 102 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Wade, Ryan and Emmit are twelve-years-old and tend to stand out in a crowd, Wade (Nate Hartley) is tall and skinny, Ryan (Troy Gentile) is short and overweight and Emmit is the “geek”. The film begins with Wade and Ryan excited about day one of their high school lives. However, the day turns into a total disaster when Wade speaks out against a psychopathic school bully named Filkins (Alex Frost), and as a result becomes the target of the bully himself. When day two turns out to be an even bigger disaster, the trio place an ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine to hire a personal bodyguard.

After interviewing a number of candidates, the boys decide upon Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), an ex army ranger who tells the boys that he was discharged from the army for “unauthorised terrorism”. In fact, Drillbit Taylor is a homeless person who begs for money, lives in the park and showers nude on the local beach.

Drillbit deceives the boys into believing he can teach them army fighting skills that will protect them from Filkins, while in reality he is stealing silverware and iPods from their homes. When Wade receives another beating from Filkins, Drillbit has a change of heart and decides to start really protecting the boys. He dons one of Wade’s father’s suits and goes to school with the intent of keeping a close eye on the boys. However, as soon as Drillbit sets foot in school he is mistaken for a substitute teacher, setting in motion a series of events that allows Drillbit to unleash some payback on the boys’ behalf.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Bullying

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Drillbit Taylor contains frequent violence, some of which is designed to be comical in intent, while other violence is presented in a more brutal manner. Most of the film’s violence focuses on the bullying and intimidation of younger students (twelve-years of age) by older students (eighteen-years of age). The film also contains violence enacted by adult males against other adult males. Examples include:

  • Emmit, an undersized twelve-year-old boy is roughly handled, picked up, carried and then forced into a small school locker by Filkins (eighteen-years-old) and another older boy with the locker door being closed on Emmit’s hand. 
  • Filkins and another boy humiliate Wade and Ryan in front of other students by forcing the boys to wear the same T-shirt at the same time (as if Siamese twins).
  • Filkins grabs Wade by the throat in a threatening manner.
  • Filkins humiliates Wade by pushing him into a urinal causing the front of Wade’s pants to become saturated.
  • Filkins deliberately pours drink onto a computer terminal Wade was using causing the terminal to short circuit.
  • Drillbit sets fire to a student’s wooden model in order to set off fire sprinklers.
  • Wade has his pants pulled down in front of his fellow students, his camera is deliberately smashed, and Filkins kicks Wade while Wade is lying helplessly on the ground.
  • A younger student sitting on a wheeled chair is deliberately pushed into metal lockers.
  • Wade, Ryan and Emmit discuss the idea of hiring a bodyguard to beat up kids that bother them. The boys talk about High school fights being brutal.
  • Filkins drives a large, black, high-performance car in a reckless manner while attempting to run down Wade, Ryan and Emmit. When the boys escape behind a garage door, Filkins gets out of his car and headbuts the garage’s metal door in frustration.
  • When interviewing potential bodyguards, one candidate asked whether they wanted the kid (Filkins) killed quickly, or slowly, while another candidate opened his jacket to reveal an armory of knifes. During the interview session a fight broke out between two of the candidates resulting in the men punching each other in the face and one hitting the other over the head with a bag knocking the man to the ground.
  • A man tells Wade, Ryan and Emmit that he hates kids like them.
  • Drillbit tells Wade, Ryan and Emmit that he is going to teach them how to kick arse.
  • Wade, Ryan and Emmit talk about being frightened by a Samurai sword that Filkins openly displays.
  • In one scene Drillbit has Filkins and another boy hanging from the ceiling by short ropes, Drillbit then turns on a ball-serving machine that hurls balls at the rope dangling pair.
  • While attempting to teach Wade, Ryan and Emmit self-defence techniques, Drillbit is grabbed and tackled to the ground by the boys, Drillbit hurls Ryan down a steep slope, and scares Emmit into running head-on into a tree knocking himself out cold.
  • Filkins punches Wade in the face knocking Wade to the ground. Wade is later seen with a bruised eye and cheek.
  • Filkins punches and pushes Wade
  • Filkins punches Drillbit in the face, there is a bone breaking sound and Drillbit’s nose appears obviously broken.
  • A man punches Drillbit in the face. Drillbit kicks another man in the face with the man hanging onto the door of a moving truck and then falling off.
  • Filkins insults Wade telling Wade that he doesn’t have “any balls” and that he is “sackless”, Filkins then slaps Wade across the face causing Wade’s glasses to come off.
  • To practise taking punches, Wade and Ryan punch each other in the stomach, face, forehead, back and the groin with Ryan eventually falling to the ground.
  • At a party, Wade and Ryan punch Filkins in the face and then kick him in the groin with Filkins falling to the ground. Filkins grabs a light stand and wields it as a weapon smashing wildly at Wade and Ryan. Filkins smashes the light stand into a stairs banister rail smashing the rail to pieces. Filkins tells the crowd that he wants to fight “both these bitches” (Wade and Ryan). Filkins hits Emmit across the head knocking him out, and punches Wade several times in the stomach. Drillbit arrives at the party and calls a stop to the fighting. Filkins laughs and punches Drillbit several times in the face.
  • When Drillbit learns that Filkins is a legal adult (eighteen years of age) he punches Filkins in the face and kicks him in the head knocking Filkins to the ground. In retaliation, Filkins hurls a Samurai sword at Wade, which Drillbit catches in midair saving Wade’s life. Drillbit loses a little finger in the process; the finger being severed by the sword and then run over by a car.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Images of threatening looking men with mean looking faces, gruff sounding voices and arms and shoulder covered in tattoos. 
  • Towards the end of the film, Drillbit uses his bare hand to catch a sword thrown through the air. After he catches the sword, Drillbit’s little finger falls off, severed by the sword, and is then run over by a car. Later the stub of Drillbit’s raw and slightly bloody finger is briefly depicted. 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, children aged eight to thirteen are particularly likely to be disturbed by the level of bullying which occurs and the reaction of parents and teachers to the boys’ requests for help, including the following:

  • The school’s principal laughs at Wade, Ryan and Emmit when they tell him they are being bullied and being called “Siamese queers”.
  • When Wade tries to talk to his stepfather about being bullied, his stepfather responds by asking Wade why you would want to protect a kid from a bully, further telling Wade that it is the natural order and that he was a bully at school.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the level of bullying and the adult response to it.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Red Bull energy drink

Sexual references

Drillbit Taylor contains a number of sexual references including:

  • When Wade’s stepfather enters Wade’s room he tells Wade to get some chicks on the wall (pin-ups).
  • In one scene a British/Colombian girl is referred to a being a “potent mix.”
  • Wade and Ryan are referred to as “Siamese queers”. 
  • In one scene Wade and co referred to Filkins and co as “gang bangers.”  
  • Drillbit tells Ryan to “watch his ball in the morning.”  
  • Reference is made to a one and only “nut hair” pubic hair.
  • One man says he is not going to “bang” another man.
  • During a rap singing content, Ryan tells Filkins to “…suck on my family jewels bitch.”
  • A teacher asks Wade’s class to give him another name for gonorrhoea, the teacher then refers to the disease by the names The Clap and The Drip. The class is then show images of a gonorrhoea diseased penis (image inferred rather than depicted) and the boys in the class all cringe.
  • Drillbit flirts with a female teacher, the teacher refers to Drillbit as a “bad boy”, and tells him that he seems like a man who can accomplish a lot. When Drillbit is called away he tells her that he will be back in four minutes, the teacher tells Drillbit that she will keep the couch warm and reference is then made to using a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
  • Drillbit takes a female teacher out on a date. During the date the teacher tells Drillbit how she is attracted to men who are losers, dirt-bags, lying pigs.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • There are a couple of rear view images of Drillbit nude taking a shower in public. Drillbit’s naked back, buttocks and legs are shown.
  • A couple of images of women wearing low cut top with exposed cleavage.
  • Filkins calls Wade a “bitch” and slaps Wade on the bottom. 
  • Wade has his pants pulled down revealing his underwear.  
  • Wade, Ryan and Emmit come across two high school ages girls sun baking lying face down in their bikinis. The boys stop and take photos of the bikini-clad girls with their cell phone. Photos are then taken of Wade lying between the two girls.
  • Drillbit walks into a classroom to find a female teacher sitting in a seductive manner on a desk, Drillbit walks into the room and the teacher jumps off of the desk and onto Drillbit wrapping her legs around Drillbit’s waist. The scene then cuts to the female teacher walking out of the room pulling down her rumpled skirt. 
  • During a party, Ryan grabs an unknown girl by the head and kisses her on the mouth, the girl then slaps Ryan across the face.
  • Towards the end of the film, a high school-age girl kisses Wade briefly on the lips. 

Use of substances

Drillbit Taylor contains one instance of mild substance use, and some drug related references. For example:

  • Before a party Evan Ryan and Emmit each drink a can of Red Bull energy drink.
  • Reference is made a couple of time to Caffeine Crunch breakfast cereal.
  • While begging for money, a man gives Drillbit some money (a note) and then asks Drillbit if is going to spend the money on marijuana. The man writes on the note, “Not for pot” and then tells Drillbit “You’ll feel silly if you buy weed with that.”
  • While trying to sell stolen goods a man makes the comment “Half your customers are crack heads.”   
  • Wade’s father makes reference to weirdo friends having a “Marijuana Party”, and Wade’s mother asks him if he is smoking pot. Wade’s parents make reference to him taking drugs from people at school.

Coarse language

There is some medium level coarse language and put downs in this movie, including:

  • Wade's stepfather refers to Wade’s room a being a “nerds' paradise.”
  • At various times, Wade, Ryan and Emmit are referred to as “losers, dorks, bitches, “Jack-arse” and “Dirt-bag.”
  • “Squeezing on my arse”; “You’ve got to be shitting me”;  “Crap”; “Oh Jesus H…”; “We have to do this shit”; “Gang Bangers”; “Up yours”; “Kick your arse”; “Kiss your arse”; Jerry bastards”; “Wash your ball…”; “large arse”; “Punk arse rapper”; “You can suck on my family jewels bitch”; “Holly crap, you guys are retarded”; “You’re a damn Hobbit”; “What the fu…..” (the ending sound of the word trails off); “Loser magnet”; “lying pigs”; “Faganomity” (made up word that references homosexuals); “Can’t polish a turd”; “All the shit is gone in my house”; “Billy Jack someone’s arse”; “Get out of my house you arsehole”; “You don’t have any balls, you’re sackless”;  “Douche bag”; “You hit me in the nuts”; “I want to fight both these bitches”: 

In a nutshell

Drillbit Taylor is a high school comedy based around the bullying of new students by older students. While the film contains some humour, the film’s portrayal of the systematic bullying of defenceless younger students by older students and the response of adults to this, is far from humorous. As a result, some viewers may find Drillbit Taylor more disturbing than entertaining.

Although Drillbit Taylor shows that individuals who stick together and persevere can defeat bullying, the film contains more negative messages than positive. Including:

  • If you are being bullied at school the bully will be believed and supported by the school system rather than the victim.
  • That bullying is the “natural order” of the school ground, and that students should not support the victims of bullies, or speak up against bullies.
  • The only way to deal with bullies is by the victims getting back at the bullies through violent means. 

Parents may wish to discuss these messages and the appropriate ways in which schools, families and individuals can deal with bullying.

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