Warner Brothers Is Making a Narrative Movie About Michael Brown Jr., With a Worrisome Precedent

They're going for "tonally and thematically similar to 'Crash.'" Hew boy.

The response to the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by Officer Darren Wilson was one of the most important moments in the current battle over civil rights and police brutality. In 2014, the unarmed 18-year-old African-American was shot dead in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, and left there for several hours. Brown’s death galvanized the protest movement, which made Ferguson a center of action for several weeks, and made Brown one of the martyrs of the movement, particularly after a grand jury unsurprisingly failed to indict Wilson for the murder. Several documentaries have tackled the story, including Whose Streets, Copwatch, and Stranger Fruit; now, there will apparently also be a narrative adaptation. And it sounds… troubling!

The source is unimpeachable – according to The Tracking Board, Warner Brothers has acquired the rights to Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown, the 2016 memoir penned by Brown’s mother Lezley McSpadden (with novelist Lyah Beth LeFlore). Here’s the part where it goes into the ditch: “Insiders say that Warner Bros. aims to develop a drama that is tonally and thematically similar to Crash, which won Best Picture in 2005.” Tonally and thematically similar to Crash, you say? The loathsomely simple-minded everybody’s-equally-racist collection of strained monologues and bullshit coincidences that managed to capitalize on a potent brew of white guilt and low-key homophobia to beat highly-favored Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture of 2005?

Pro tip to studios, filmmakers, and the world in general: let’s never, ever aim for “tonally and thematically similar to Crash,” okay?