I mentioned before about the difference between creating good entertainment based on historical and current figures and bad entertainment that distorts the setting through which the story telling takes place. Here’s an example about a movie that I would not go to see about Martin Luther King, and one I would go see (hence I’m presenting a new case study story line for your consideration).
I would not go to see a movie that starts with looking at MLK and his circle of supporters, and then pans to show some anonymous white guy or gal in the background who is then revealed to be a “secret supporter” of MLK and his Civil Rights agenda through his or her “supernatural powers.” This dreadful bore of a movie that would be an embarrassment to walk by the theater showing it, say nothing of go inside, would “reveal” that the pale guy or gal is in “actuality” the “reincarnated descendent of the Queen of Sheba,” who is white in “disguise” (or maybe the Thetans aren’t so good with colors). Thus this movie would “inspire all who view it to know that steps in are everywhere, and you are never really alone.” You’d also figure out that those Afro-American dudes would never have gotten anywhere without their secret step in whitey pale pals who (wink wink!) have “Solomon and the Queen of Sheba’s blood to help them.”
Here is a movie I would go to see and be proud to write and produce. Some average white guy ends up hearing MLK speak. It moves him, but he has a regular life and doesn’t want to get into the activist movement since it is, obviously, dangerous at that time. He gets the idea that to help he and his wife will adopt Afro-American orphans, say a brother and a sister. Now, that would be an astonishing decision during that time and the movie would follow their struggle to actually get this adoption approved. The narrator could even be the grown up child, one of the two, looking back on it all. “Dad sure didn’t know what he was getting into.” The movie then follows how such an adoption would have worked and how the family grows. This should be placed in the South, I guess, because I’d like to see how they raise their children with their biological relatives nearby and how they straddle the two worlds. So the movie would show what worked, and even humorous things, and a lot of drama and unexpected consequences, all mirrored against historically accurate timeframes of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s to the present. There would be tie-in’s between the events in MLK’s life, and his memory after he is assassinated, and events in the kid’s lives and their growing families. The kids make decisions about career and so forth that are fraught with meaning because of their duality of cultural and racial raising in a time when that was by no means as accepted as it is today. I’ll leave as some creative curiosity and suspense from what vantage point and ongoing life events the narrator is telling his or her family story.
Now THAT is a movie I’d like to see!