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Movie Jail: This week's defendant is...Cameron Crowe!

06.01.2015

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This is Movie Jail, a unique maximum security prison that houses some of the worst writers, directors, actors and producers from Hollywood and beyond. Their crimes? The offenses vary from convict to convict but most of these inmates have contributed negatively to the film world to some capacity* and his or her misdeeds have covered a long enough period of time that the authorities had to intervene. In each column a defendant is put on trial, arguments are made, and then it is up to YOU, the jury, to decide if the person is guilty or not guilty of crimes against cinema. Their lives are in your hands, dude.

The Defendant

Aloha Cameron Crowe

The Case

The Prosecution: Aloha, We Bought a Zoo, Elizabethtown, Vanilla Sky

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in 2001 Cameron Crowe seemed to be on the top of the world. Although Almost Famous had a weak showing at the box office, Mr. Crowe won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the film, and it was well-received by critics.

But it appears Mr. Crowe may have used up his creative juices with Almost Famous, as his projects since then have received mixed-to-awful reviews. Vanilla Sky has its fans, but is in no way superior to the original 1997 movie, and Elizabethtown was a critical and box office disappointment. We Bought a Zoo did a little better, both financially and with critics, however the prosecution thought it was incredibly clichéd and schmaltzy. While Mr. Crowe's Aloha may wind up being a sleeper hit, critics definitely aren't impressed with his latest directorial effort (which is at a paltry 18% at Rotten Tomatoes), and most, if not all of, the blame for the film's failures has to fall on the director.

Mr. Crowe has done some great work in the past, so the prosecution isn't trying to throw the book at the filmmaker. However, we do need to do something with Mr. Crowe, and we believe he should serve at least a few months in Movie Jail.

Elizabethtown Cameron Crowe Orlando Bloom Kirsten Dunst

The Defense: We Bought a Zoo, Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, Singles, Say Anything, The Wild Life, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution makes it sound like Mr. Crowe's post-Almost Famous movies have been M. Night Shyamalan level bad, but that's just not the case. Maybe he's stumbled a bit as of late, but he certainly doesn't belong in Movie Jail.

We Bought a Zoo isn't a fantastic movie, but it's still a solid flick, and definitely better than most big screen family dramedies. Vanilla Sky may not be as good as the original and is a flawed film, but the defense really enjoyed Mr. Crowe's take on the story. Mr. Crowe is also responsible for four classic to near-classics (Jerry Maguire, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything and Almost Famous, although the latter two have their naysayers) and it's not like he has a massive body of work; he's only directed three movies over the past decade.

The defense isn't sure why Aloha turned out to be a such a mess, considering the talent in front of and behind the camera. But it happens to even the best directors (Ridley Scott's The Counselor, for example) and we don't believe one or two misfires from Mr. Crowe warrants locking him up, even if it isn't a long sentence.

We Bought a Zoo Matt Damon Scarlett Johansson

IN CLOSING...

Is it three strikes (Aloha, We Bought a Zoo and Elizabethtown) and you're out for Mr. Crowe, or do you still have faith in his abilities as a writer and director? Does he deserve to go to prison, or do you think it's utterly absurd the filmmaker is even being considered for Movie Jail? Is Cameron Crowe GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?

*The cases for and against a defendant going to Movie Jail by the author are not necessarily his views and opinions but they are some of the beliefs that one would use to effectively make an argument for both sides. Not quite a devil's advocate but you get the point. Anyway, this is all in fun so don't take it too seriously. We have a separate jail for those people called "Troll Tower" and believe me you do NOT want to go there.

WHAT SAY YOU, GUILTY OR NOT?

Almost Famous Cameron Crowe Patrick Fugit Michael Angarano

LAST WEEK'S VERDICT

Damon Lindelof

Damon Lindelof was found GUILTY of all charges in last week's trial, and the jury didn't hold back on how they really feel about the Star Trek Into Darkness and Tomorrowland screenwriter. Many jury members said they've been burned by Mr. Lindelof's movie and television projects far too many times, and (as one member put it) "His pompous attitude towards his own writing ability is what keeps him from moving outside of his own box."

PREVIOUS VERDICTS

GUILTY Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Vince Vaughn, Tim Burton, The Farrelly Brothers, Michael Bay, Jessica Alba, Ice Cube, Gerard Butler, Halle Berry, Marlon Wayans, Julia Roberts, M. Night Shyamalan , Katherine Heigl , Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tyler Perry, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Ashton Kutcher, Happy Madison Productions, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Paul W.S. Anderson, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brett Ratner, Rob Cohen, Renee Zellweger, Shia LaBeouf, Renny Harlin, Diane Keaton, McG, Demi Moore, King Joffrey (Game of Thrones Special), David Spade, Spike Lee, Kevin James, Joel Schumacher, Ehren Kruger, Chris Rock, Mark Steven Johnson, Mickey Rourke, Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, Josh Duhamel, Saw Franchise (Halloween Edition), Zach Braff, Sam Worthington, Melissa McCarthy, The Wachowski Siblings, Kate Bosworth, Garry Marshall, David Goyer, Akiva Goldsman, Avi Arad, Damon Lindelof

NOT GUILTY Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Nic Cage, John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Wes Craven, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Rodriguez, Kristen Stewart, Roland Emmerich, Kevin Costner, Sandra Bullock, Hilary Swank, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Kevin Smith, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Anna Faris, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Paul Walker, Will Smith, Salma Hayek, Michael Cera, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Milla Jovovich, John Singleton, Jon Voight, Jack Black, Brian De Palma, Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicole Kidman, Justin Timberlake, Freddy Krueger (Halloween Edition), Johnny Knoxville, Orlando Bloom, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Aykroyd, Sylvester Stallone, Gavin Hood, Jason Lee, Jennifer Garner, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack, Chris Columbus, Clive Owen, Terrence Howard, Andrew Niccol, Drew Barrymore, Steve Martin, Joel Silver, Michelle Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Dario Argento, Susan Sarandon, Dennis Quaid, Rob Reiner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mel Gibson, Pierce Brosnan, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, Ivan Reitman, Stephen Sommers, Shawn Levy, Jai Courtney, Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Luc Besson, Jason Reitman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Connelly, Sienna Miller, Ben Barnes, Simon West, Len Wiseman, Brendan Fraser, Megan Fox, Neal McDonough

UPDATES: Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage and Roland Emmerich, Jim Carrey, Robert Rodriguez and Gerard Butler, Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts and The Farrelly Brothers, Ben Stiller, Tim Burton and Shia LaBeouf, Johnny Depp, Kevin Smith & Chris Rock

Extra Tidbit: Who should stand trial next week? Share your suggestions for actors, directors and writers below with your verdict!
Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
4:28PM on 06/02/2015

Not Guilty

Not worthy of Movie Jail...maybe Movie Rehab.
Not worthy of Movie Jail...maybe Movie Rehab.
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1:12PM on 06/02/2015

Not guilty

You had me at hello...
You had me at hello...
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3:02AM on 06/02/2015

Guilty

I say guilty because Vanilla Sky was his last good movie & that was in what year, 2001 or 2002? After that I only really liked Fast Times, Say Anything & Jerry Maguire
I say guilty because Vanilla Sky was his last good movie & that was in what year, 2001 or 2002? After that I only really liked Fast Times, Say Anything & Jerry Maguire
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8:12PM on 06/01/2015

Guilty!

Bill Condon for next week!
Bill Condon for next week!
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6:01PM on 06/01/2015
And LOL at Lindelof.
And LOL at Lindelof.
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6:01PM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

I don't really like any of his films, except maybe Fast Times, but he's not a terrible filmmaker. Just going through a rough patch. The prosecution's argument is pretty thin.
I don't really like any of his films, except maybe Fast Times, but he's not a terrible filmmaker. Just going through a rough patch. The prosecution's argument is pretty thin.
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5:25PM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

"Almost Famous: Untitled" is a masterpiece. "Jerry Maguire," "Say Anything," "Vanilla Sky" and "Pearl Jam Twenty" are all 5-star films.
"Almost Famous: Untitled" is a masterpiece. "Jerry Maguire," "Say Anything," "Vanilla Sky" and "Pearl Jam Twenty" are all 5-star films.
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4:22PM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

I love Jerry Maguire, and Fast Times. And I really enjoyed We Bought a Zoo and Vanilla Sky and don't get the hate they receive.
I love Jerry Maguire, and Fast Times. And I really enjoyed We Bought a Zoo and Vanilla Sky and don't get the hate they receive.
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4:06PM on 06/01/2015

No way!

Not guilty, at least he's trying to do different movies, not the typical Hollywood rom-com. And I liked most of his work, Elizabethtown is the only one I didn't. Not guilty!
Not guilty, at least he's trying to do different movies, not the typical Hollywood rom-com. And I liked most of his work, Elizabethtown is the only one I didn't. Not guilty!
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3:57PM on 06/01/2015

Check Freely Not Cost For Seeing

I Got Hooked On Having An Online Business Almost A Decade Ago When I Created An Online Course And Made My First
......... WWW.WAGE-REPORT.COM
I Got Hooked On Having An Online Business Almost A Decade Ago When I Created An Online Course And Made My First
......... WWW.WAGE-REPORT.COM
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1:39PM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

He wrote "Fast Times at Ridgemont High!" Lifetime pass.
He wrote "Fast Times at Ridgemont High!" Lifetime pass.
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1:57PM on 06/01/2015
Troof.
Troof.
+0
1:27PM on 06/01/2015

LOCK THIS DUDE UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY!

I say this for one reason and one reason only: We Bought a Zoo.

It is rare that a movie comes along that is so terrible and so nauseating that it causes me to actually HATE it (there might be about 10-15 movies with that distinction and I've seen probably close to 2000). I'm a pretty big movie buff and I can say without any reservation that We Bought a Zoo is so bad that it emotionally and mentally pains me to even think about it. I wouldn't make even my worst enemy sit through that pile of
I say this for one reason and one reason only: We Bought a Zoo.

It is rare that a movie comes along that is so terrible and so nauseating that it causes me to actually HATE it (there might be about 10-15 movies with that distinction and I've seen probably close to 2000). I'm a pretty big movie buff and I can say without any reservation that We Bought a Zoo is so bad that it emotionally and mentally pains me to even think about it. I wouldn't make even my worst enemy sit through that pile of putrid crap. When I look over his other movies I see few that were pretty good: Fast Times and Jerry Maguire are the only ones actually.

So, lock him up and make sure he's never found!
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1:15PM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

I have not seen Elizabethtown or Aloha, but I did see We Bought a Zoo. WBAZ is not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination. There is a lot of heart in it (which is what the vast majority of duds are missing). All of heart pays off at the end when Matt Damon retells his first meeting with their mother. That scene doesn't work without the hard work of Crowe developing the story up to that point. Based on that one movie alone, I say NOT GUILTY!
I have not seen Elizabethtown or Aloha, but I did see We Bought a Zoo. WBAZ is not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination. There is a lot of heart in it (which is what the vast majority of duds are missing). All of heart pays off at the end when Matt Damon retells his first meeting with their mother. That scene doesn't work without the hard work of Crowe developing the story up to that point. Based on that one movie alone, I say NOT GUILTY!
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1:00PM on 06/01/2015

Not guilty.

If my username is any indication, I might be a little bias. However, even his so-called stinkers -- Elizabethtown and We Bought a Zoo -- were not terrible films. I just love Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous too much to give him a guilty verdict.
If my username is any indication, I might be a little bias. However, even his so-called stinkers -- Elizabethtown and We Bought a Zoo -- were not terrible films. I just love Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous too much to give him a guilty verdict.
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12:41PM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

While both "Elizabethtown" and "We Bought A Zoo" aren't perfect, they are full of small, enjoyable moments, that at least keep the movie from ever getting dull. His most biggest successes are really fun, and hold the test of time well. "Singles" however, has aged terribly.

So, I feel when looking at everything, he isn't guilty. Stumbling a bit lately, but his fall hasn't even happened yet (I have not since "Aloha"), and his is a much more graceful descent than that of the always overrated
While both "Elizabethtown" and "We Bought A Zoo" aren't perfect, they are full of small, enjoyable moments, that at least keep the movie from ever getting dull. His most biggest successes are really fun, and hold the test of time well. "Singles" however, has aged terribly.

So, I feel when looking at everything, he isn't guilty. Stumbling a bit lately, but his fall hasn't even happened yet (I have not since "Aloha"), and his is a much more graceful descent than that of the always overrated Ridely Scott.
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12:39PM on 06/01/2015

No.

Just no.
Just no.
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11:55AM on 06/01/2015

Guilty

Fast Times and Jerry Maguire are his only decent movies. Everything else is crap.
Fast Times and Jerry Maguire are his only decent movies. Everything else is crap.
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11:41AM on 06/01/2015

In no way is he guilty...

Granted, I don't enjoy every single one of his films, but he's made so many good ones and is such a great writer that I can't possibly see him going to court over his career.
NEXT: Have we really not done George Lucas yet?
Granted, I don't enjoy every single one of his films, but he's made so many good ones and is such a great writer that I can't possibly see him going to court over his career.
NEXT: Have we really not done George Lucas yet?
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-2
11:36AM on 06/01/2015

Career average: 5.8/10.

Of his classics, I've seen ALMOST FAMOUS, SAY ANYTHING and FAST TIMES. I found them to be good but overrated. Of his non-classics, I've seen WE BOUGHT A ZOO and VANILLA SKY. I found them to be average (even if I don't compare V.S. to the excellent ABRE LOS OJOS). I'm glad he's only made one remake. When you watch his movies with original scripts, you can tell he wrote them. He's a rare filmmaker you can call an "auteur" despite not making arthouse films with visual trademarks. Because of that,
Of his classics, I've seen ALMOST FAMOUS, SAY ANYTHING and FAST TIMES. I found them to be good but overrated. Of his non-classics, I've seen WE BOUGHT A ZOO and VANILLA SKY. I found them to be average (even if I don't compare V.S. to the excellent ABRE LOS OJOS). I'm glad he's only made one remake. When you watch his movies with original scripts, you can tell he wrote them. He's a rare filmmaker you can call an "auteur" despite not making arthouse films with visual trademarks. Because of that, and the fact that I haven't hated any of his movies, I vote Not Guilty.
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11:21AM on 06/01/2015

Guilty

Any goodwill amassed has been lost through almost 15 years now of non-entertaining films
Any goodwill amassed has been lost through almost 15 years now of non-entertaining films
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10:04AM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

Love Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous and didn't hate We Bought A Zoo. Willing to give Aloha a shot one night through Redbox.
Love Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous and didn't hate We Bought A Zoo. Willing to give Aloha a shot one night through Redbox.
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10:02AM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

Besides Elizabethtown, I've enjoyed everything he's done. Haven't seen Aloha yet, but I will.
Besides Elizabethtown, I've enjoyed everything he's done. Haven't seen Aloha yet, but I will.
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9:58AM on 06/01/2015

GUILTY

Cameron's certainly made some classics, but that was a long time ago. Schmaltz and sweetness may have been OK in the 90's, but none of that tolerated these days. The man clearly has refused to evolve his craft. 10 years, with possibility of parole.
Cameron's certainly made some classics, but that was a long time ago. Schmaltz and sweetness may have been OK in the 90's, but none of that tolerated these days. The man clearly has refused to evolve his craft. 10 years, with possibility of parole.
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9:51AM on 06/01/2015

Barely Not Guilty

I say probation but no jail time. He has built up enough good will to overlook these last failings. But we may want to re-visit him in the future.
I say probation but no jail time. He has built up enough good will to overlook these last failings. But we may want to re-visit him in the future.
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9:39AM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

The man has made too many classics and some of my favorite films for me to ever consider him guilty. Even a sub par Crowe film is better than most other films out there.
The man has made too many classics and some of my favorite films for me to ever consider him guilty. Even a sub par Crowe film is better than most other films out there.
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8:55AM on 06/01/2015

WISEGUY

Not Guily cause of fast times
Not Guily cause of fast times
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8:13AM on 06/01/2015

Guilty

I love Fast Times and ALmost Famous is a pretty great movie.But that was in the past, he hasn't made a good (non documentary) movie since the year 2000. Also all of his movies are way too sweet and schmaltzy(even the good ones), so he deserves some time for that too. So I say give him a couple of years to think about his mistakes and he might get out as a better man and make a decent to great movie again!
I love Fast Times and ALmost Famous is a pretty great movie.But that was in the past, he hasn't made a good (non documentary) movie since the year 2000. Also all of his movies are way too sweet and schmaltzy(even the good ones), so he deserves some time for that too. So I say give him a couple of years to think about his mistakes and he might get out as a better man and make a decent to great movie again!
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8:10AM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

I haven't seen "Aloha" yet, but his movies have always ranged between average to amazing.
I haven't seen "Aloha" yet, but his movies have always ranged between average to amazing.
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8:04AM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

I've enjoyed most of his work and his scripts are pretty good from my point of view.

Extra tidbit: I wouldn't be surprised if Lindelof Googled himself and found the past article, lost it and demanded Joblo to take that page down.
I've enjoyed most of his work and his scripts are pretty good from my point of view.

Extra tidbit: I wouldn't be surprised if Lindelof Googled himself and found the past article, lost it and demanded Joblo to take that page down.
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7:57AM on 06/01/2015

NOT GUILTY!!!!

I haven't seen Aloha yet, but even if it sucks a big ole bag o dongs, it won't tarnish his reputation much. Honestly of all his movies Vanilla Sky was my least favorite (the original was better). But he did Fast Times man, that movie alone gets him a pass for life. He's tenured because of that movie.
I haven't seen Aloha yet, but even if it sucks a big ole bag o dongs, it won't tarnish his reputation much. Honestly of all his movies Vanilla Sky was my least favorite (the original was better). But he did Fast Times man, that movie alone gets him a pass for life. He's tenured because of that movie.
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7:48AM on 06/01/2015
Not guilty. I actually quite like We Bought A Zoo. It's an uplifting movie, like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (which is also my favorite). Crowe is a good director with both hits and misses but good director nonetheless.
Not guilty. I actually quite like We Bought A Zoo. It's an uplifting movie, like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (which is also my favorite). Crowe is a good director with both hits and misses but good director nonetheless.
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7:35AM on 06/01/2015

Not Guilty

I haven't see "We Brought a Zoo" or "Aloha" but everything else this guy has done has been excellent or good. I didn't even hate "Elizabethtown". "Vanilla Sky" remains to be one of the most entertaining and interesting experiences I have had in a movie theater. If the guy keep making stinkers than fine, but he would have to do a lot to tarnish his legacy.
I haven't see "We Brought a Zoo" or "Aloha" but everything else this guy has done has been excellent or good. I didn't even hate "Elizabethtown". "Vanilla Sky" remains to be one of the most entertaining and interesting experiences I have had in a movie theater. If the guy keep making stinkers than fine, but he would have to do a lot to tarnish his legacy.
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