HBO's Fall Documentary Season Kicks Off Tonight with "Valentine Road"

Summer is over and Fall has begun, and as I mournfully put my short shorts back in the closet, there are still reasons to celebrate, such as the beginning of HBO’s Fall Documentary Series. Beginning tonight, HBO will debut new doc specials every Monday from now until December 9th. I love documentaries, because they combine the lazyness of sitting on your ass with the brain stuff of learning.

Tonight’s installment is Valentine Road, which I hope is a heartwarming tale of candy hearts and young love.

Feb. 12, 2008, started like any other day at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, a California beach town northwest of Los Angeles. Eighth-grade students filed into computer lab to do an assignment on the topic of tolerance. But before the class was over, 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” King lay fighting for his life, shot twice in the back of the head at point-blank range by classmate Brandon McInerney. Two days later, on Valentine’s Day, Larry died, the victim of a crime that grabbed national headlines and dramatically changed the lives of the students, teachers and community.

…But hey, eighth graders murdering each other, that’s cool too, I guess.

VALENTINE ROAD explores the murder of a teenager who had begun exploring his gender identity, revealing the circumstances that led to the shocking crime, as well as its complicated aftermath. Directed and produced by first-time filmmaker Marta Cunningham and shepherded by award-winning producers Sasha Alpert (HBO’s “Autism: The Musical”) and Eddie Schmidt (HBO’s “Twist of Faith”), the film raises issues about the safety of LGBT teens, juvenile justice and the ability of the country’s educational and social service systems to prevent such tragedies. VALENTINE ROAD debuts MONDAY, OCT. 7 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, during National Bullying Prevention Month.

Ugh. I used to substitute teach eighth graders once upon a time, and I can confirm that they are all the absolute worst. The only way anyone survives is by cocooning their true self inside indiscriminate dickishness and petty mischief. Now that I’m a movie blogger, the dickishness is pretty much the same, but now I get to watch movies for free and drink whiskey in the middle of the day. Pret-tay, pret-tay good.

Sidenote: Are we sure we want to lump this in with “bullying?” Bullying is bad, but I’m not sure we want to blur the line between name calling and, you know, MURDER.