Encyclopedia Brown Will Be Written By The Dirties Director And Star Matthew Johnson

By Nick Venable 2013-10-15 00:24:02discussion comments
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As someone who grew up anticipating each new Encyclopedia Brown that Donald J. Sobol published, I couldnít be more jazzed with Warner Bros.í recent interest in reinvigorating a feature version of the child detective book series. Iím well aware of its potential for failure, but sometimes optimism is key with cherished properties. Itís something of a mystery in itself that Warner has chosen Matthew Johnson, the director and star of the recent drama The Dirties, to write a draft of the script, according Deadline. It isnít quite like asking Takashi Miike to make a Winnie the Pooh movie, but thereís an equal amount of bizarreness to the decision. It seems like heíd be more in line for a Mystery Team-like film over something geared towards kids.

For those unaware, The Dirties is a darkly comedic and bothersome look at how high school bullying leads one cinema-obsessed student over the deep end, where his equally bullied best friend is reluctant to follow him. Johnson, who also wrote the film, plays the troubled teen who finds mental refuge in planning a revenge plot that sprouts from a violent student film the duo made. The point is, itís a disturbing flick, even with its share of problems. Proving its effectiveness, The Dirties took the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance Festival in January, which attracted the attention of Kevin Smith, who distributed the film for its VOD and limited theatrical release earlier this month.

And from the subject matter of school shootings to wise pre-teens who run an amateur detective company out of their garage. Encyclopedia Brown books were almost always the same in basic concept, with a selection of crime mysteries that the readers were meant to figure out before gauging their sleuthiness by checking the answers in the back of the book. The mysteries, brought up by school children or Encyclopediaís father, the local police chief, generally figured on one single detail found to be amiss, and then everything is hunky dory again once the wrongs are righted.

Except thereís Bugs Meany, who leads a whole squad of bullies called the Tigers. Bugs is always causing trouble for Encyclopedia and his rough-and-tumble friend/bodyguard Sally, and frequently tries to swindle people out of their money. Once has to wonder just how dastardly Bugsí actions are going to be, with Johnson behind the story. Granted, it is going to be a family film and Iím not trying to make Johnson out to be a one-trick pony. Iíve got all the confidence in the world that he might make this work. And if he loads it down with movie references rather than douchebag bullies, Iím all about that as well.

Itís not like Encyclopedia hasnít gotten adult at some point before, as youíll see in the below Robot Chicken clip.


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