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Movie Jail: This week's defendant is...Chris Columbus!

03.17.2014

Movie Jail

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

The Case

The Prosecution: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, I Love You, Beth Cooper, Rent, Christmas with the Kranks (screenwriter), Bicentennial Man, Stepmom, Nine Months, Heartbreak Hotel

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, last week one of your peers said director Chris Columbus should stand trial soon for his crimes, and the prosecution agrees there's been a drop in quality in Mr. Columbus' work, as a director and as a screenwriter. Mr. Columbus helmed multiple hit movies in the 80s and 90s and directed the first two Harry Potter flicks, but most of his recent work definitely hasn't been up to snuff. And if you take a look at his filmography, he had plenty of bombs in the past as well.

Mr. Columbus' last three films were Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, I Love You, Beth Cooper, and Rent, and each of these movies received mixed to negative reviews, and underperformed at the box office. There are different reasons why each of these films didn't do well with critics or at the box office, but the prosecution feels most of the blame falls on Mr. Columbus. In particular, Rent and I Love You, Beth Cooper feature very weak directing from Mr. Columbus, and the prosecution believes both projects would have been much better with someone else behind the camera. Percy Jackson wasn't a complete train wreck, but it certainly wasn't fantastic either.

Members of the jury might not think directing three bad films is such a horrible crime, especially considering how long Mr. Columbus has been in the business, however he had plenty of other older bombs as well. Remember Bicentennial Man and Stepmom? Yup, all Mr. Columbus. He also directed the almost unwatchable Nine Months with Hugh Grant.

Mr. Columbus is also a screenwriter, but after doing excellent work with the scripts for Gremlins, The Goonies and Young Sherlock Holmes, the only thing he's written in the past eight years is the adapted screenplay for Christmas with the Kranks. How do you go from being the author of two classic 80s movies (and one very good one), to Christmas with the f*cking Kranks?

With Mr. Columbus failing to produce any scripts that come even close to the greatness of his older work and his recent flops, the prosecution thinks it's clear the director needs to be sent to Movie Jail.

The Defense: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Only the Lonely, Home Alone, Adventures in Babysitting, The Goonies (screenwriter), Young Sherlock Holmes (screenwriter), Gremlins (screenwriter)

Ladies and gentlemen, my client has had a very long, successful career in Hollywood. Like most in the business for so many years, the director has his hits and misses. But obviously the prosecution only cares about my client's failures and not the other fantastic things he's done during his career.

If you grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, Mr. Columbus had a huge impact on your childhood with his work. First off, the man gave us The Goonies and Gremlins. Some may say he was "only" the screenwriter, but he still introduced the world to Sloth, and a creature you should never feed after midnight.

My client also directed the very fun Adventures in Babysitting, and helmed both Home Alone movies. Mrs. Doubtfire was a huge hit when it was released (in theaters and with critics), and is a perfect example of a great Chris Columbus film. My client is a very safe, studio friendly director. Mr. Columbus typically creates movies that the entire family can enjoy, which may not win him any style points with movie buffs, but not every director can be a Quentin Tarantino or P.T. Anderson. Mr. Columbus puts butts in seats, which is important for any studio. It would be one thing if most of his movies were awful, however the defense feels the director has done plenty of solid work.

The defense believes Mr. Columbus also doesn't get a lot of credit for brining Harry Potter to the big screen. It certainly wasn't an easy job, and although some have criticized the first two movies for being too childish, the defense believes it was the right tone for the first films in the franchise. He didn't take any risks or make huge changes that would annoy fans of the books. Mr. Columbus created a movie that made the author, fans and the studio very happy, which is quite impressive considering expectations were already sky high for the first Harry Potter flick.

Mr. Columbus has a few blemishes on his filmography, however the defense doesn't believe they are bad enough to send him to Movie Jail.

IN CLOSING...

What are we going to do with Mr. Columbus? Does the good outweigh the bad, or is it time he paid for his crimes? Should he be sent to prison for his recent failures and previous bombs, or should he walk because of his excellent older movies? Is director Chris Columbus GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?

COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR VERDICT!

*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. Anyways, 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?

LAST WEEK'S VERDICT

 

The jury had no problems deciding Demi Moore's fate in last week's trial. The actress has been found GUILTY of all charges, and although most jury members said Miss Moore is still very hot, her terrible films and so-so acting have landed her in prison. You could say she has a ghost of a chance of every being released from Movie Jail.

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

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 Special), Johnny Knoxville, Orlando Bloom, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Aykroyd, Sylvester Stallone, Gavin Hood, Jason Lee, Jennifer Garner, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack

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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7:10AM on 03/18/2014

Guilty

He's guilty, but not, you know... THAT guilty. He's just not a very interesting director, even in his good movies. Heck, I liked the adaptation of Rent, but even so, I definitely agree that Chris Columbus was that film's major weak point. And the first two Harry Potter movies just aren't very good--not because they're too childish, but because they aren't very well made films, and they're kind of boring (and this is coming from a big Harry Potter fan).
He's guilty, but not, you know... THAT guilty. He's just not a very interesting director, even in his good movies. Heck, I liked the adaptation of Rent, but even so, I definitely agree that Chris Columbus was that film's major weak point. And the first two Harry Potter movies just aren't very good--not because they're too childish, but because they aren't very well made films, and they're kind of boring (and this is coming from a big Harry Potter fan).
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3:06AM on 03/18/2014

Not Guilty

He made John Candy into a credible romantic lead and got Maureen O'Hara out of retirement in Only The Lonely and the trifecta of The Goonies, Gremlins and Adventures in Babysitting give him a pass. Mrs. Doubtfire was overrated crap though.
He made John Candy into a credible romantic lead and got Maureen O'Hara out of retirement in Only The Lonely and the trifecta of The Goonies, Gremlins and Adventures in Babysitting give him a pass. Mrs. Doubtfire was overrated crap though.
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9:16PM on 03/17/2014

Not guilty

Maybe of being a pedophile but only thing he's guilty of film career wise is struggling to adapt in today's digital world.

Maybe of being a pedophile but only thing he's guilty of film career wise is struggling to adapt in today's digital world.

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8:08PM on 03/17/2014

NOT guilty

Just take a look at some of the other "family-friendly fantasy franchises" of the past 13 years. All of them failed (except for LOTR, which is not really a family film) after ONE movie. He managed to start two film series. Yes, PERCY JACKSON wasn't that great but it still earned a sequel, something that ERAGON or THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and countles others couldn't say. I think we were lucky that HE started the HARRY POTTER movies.
Yes, he is not an award contender. But I still think he is the
Just take a look at some of the other "family-friendly fantasy franchises" of the past 13 years. All of them failed (except for LOTR, which is not really a family film) after ONE movie. He managed to start two film series. Yes, PERCY JACKSON wasn't that great but it still earned a sequel, something that ERAGON or THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and countles others couldn't say. I think we were lucky that HE started the HARRY POTTER movies.
Yes, he is not an award contender. But I still think he is the perfect man to make an adventure movie featuring kids. I believe he will make more like that in the future.
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6:02PM on 03/17/2014

Guilty

He's bland, boring, and safe as a director. While he is better at screenwriting, since he's been directing more, and writing less, I think he's guilty. He has no sense of fun, just points and shoots.

A light sentence should suffice.
He's bland, boring, and safe as a director. While he is better at screenwriting, since he's been directing more, and writing less, I think he's guilty. He has no sense of fun, just points and shoots.

A light sentence should suffice.
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4:17PM on 03/17/2014

Do you know the difference between "family movie" and "kids movie"?

The latter is only for kids and it patronizes them, while the former is for adults as well and treats children like people. While the quality of Columbus' works vary, they ALL have been family movies. And that's rare these days. So he's Not Guilty.

You said he's a safe director. On the contrary, he's always re-inventing himself. He could've easily been typecasted as the guy who makes movies about kids having adventures. He changed that with MRS. DOUBTFIRE. After that, he could've been
The latter is only for kids and it patronizes them, while the former is for adults as well and treats children like people. While the quality of Columbus' works vary, they ALL have been family movies. And that's rare these days. So he's Not Guilty.

You said he's a safe director. On the contrary, he's always re-inventing himself. He could've easily been typecasted as the guy who makes movies about kids having adventures. He changed that with MRS. DOUBTFIRE. After that, he could've been typecasted as the guy who makes movies about parenting. He changed that with BICENTENNIAL MAN. Ever since, he's been trying all sorts of genres. And keep in mind he's made R-rated movies like BETH COOPER (which I thought was just average). I don't remember whether I liked RENT or not, but it was one of the biggest movie risks of the decade. The Musical genre had just come back, but this one was 90% singing. And it had a Rock soundtrack (which isn't the Musicals fans' cup of tea) and a depressing story.

PERCY JACKSON sucked, but not as much as its sequel. It was a HARRY POTTER rip-off, and the fact that he directed it made it feel like it wasn't a big deal. You know what I mean? By the way, he should get a fine for KRANKS, a movie with a message so harmful for society.

Next week: Dennis Dugan, Robert Luketic, Andrew Niccol, Ridley Scott, David Spade, or, Sigourney Weaver.
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3:57PM on 03/17/2014

Not guilty

Not guilty. Sure, he has had a few misfires, but overall he's done some solid work.
Not guilty. Sure, he has had a few misfires, but overall he's done some solid work.
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2:36PM on 03/17/2014

Guilty

His name has been quality poison since mid '90s, with the sole exception being Rent. Some modern classic family comedies do not keep this man's track record from looking utterly abysmal anymore.
His name has been quality poison since mid '90s, with the sole exception being Rent. Some modern classic family comedies do not keep this man's track record from looking utterly abysmal anymore.
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1:35PM on 03/17/2014

Not

His good outweighs his bad. Why not try someone like Shia Ladouche, that's an automatic into the slammer.
His good outweighs his bad. Why not try someone like Shia Ladouche, that's an automatic into the slammer.
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3:52PM on 03/17/2014
He was already on trial. He was declared Guilty.
He was already on trial. He was declared Guilty.
11:36AM on 03/17/2014
Not guilty, and why is Rent on the prosecution? I'm with Ernesto, writing The Goonies and Gremlins kinda gets him a pass.
Not guilty, and why is Rent on the prosecution? I'm with Ernesto, writing The Goonies and Gremlins kinda gets him a pass.
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11:19AM on 03/17/2014

Not Guilty

There are worse directors out there. Home Alone is my favorite Holiday film (I know it was written by Hughes) and the first Harry Potter still feels like pure magic.
There are worse directors out there. Home Alone is my favorite Holiday film (I know it was written by Hughes) and the first Harry Potter still feels like pure magic.
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11:04AM on 03/17/2014

Not Guilty

Gremlins is one of my favorite films and because of that he gets a not guilty from me.
Gremlins is one of my favorite films and because of that he gets a not guilty from me.
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10:49AM on 03/17/2014

Come on guys, we're looking at a solid decade of "guilty material"

Everything he's written and directed over the past decade has been absolute crap. Not, a year or two, not even five years, but a solid decade. On top of that, almost everything he's produced (with the notable exception of The Help) has been absolute crap, too. Yes, he directed Home Alone and the early Harry Potters, but there comes a time where you just have to take their recent body of work into account. I think the only reason whatsoever people wouldn't vote him guilty would be for the sake
Everything he's written and directed over the past decade has been absolute crap. Not, a year or two, not even five years, but a solid decade. On top of that, almost everything he's produced (with the notable exception of The Help) has been absolute crap, too. Yes, he directed Home Alone and the early Harry Potters, but there comes a time where you just have to take their recent body of work into account. I think the only reason whatsoever people wouldn't vote him guilty would be for the sake of nostalgia.
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12:06PM on 03/17/2014
It's not nostalgia, it's the simple fact that all the good he's done in film far outweighs a few bad films he may have been involved in.
It's not nostalgia, it's the simple fact that all the good he's done in film far outweighs a few bad films he may have been involved in.
10:35AM on 03/17/2014

LIFE IMMUNITY !!!!!!!!


he wrote 2 of my favorite childhood movies : Gremlins and the Goonies ; he can what he wants, I will always love this guy !
AND HIS FIRT AND LAST NAME IS SO COOOOOOOOOOOOOOL, I'm soooooo jealous

he wrote 2 of my favorite childhood movies : Gremlins and the Goonies ; he can what he wants, I will always love this guy !
AND HIS FIRT AND LAST NAME IS SO COOOOOOOOOOOOOOL, I'm soooooo jealous
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10:31AM on 03/17/2014

Not Guilty

Not by a long shot. I actually enjoy his Harry Potter films more than the others, they felt like they actually had some real wonder and magic to them whereas they started trying to make them much darker and even realistic starting with the third one. Plus he gave us Home Alone 1 and 2, Mrs. Doubtfire and wrote friggin' Goonies! Also, Nine Months was a good movie.
Not by a long shot. I actually enjoy his Harry Potter films more than the others, they felt like they actually had some real wonder and magic to them whereas they started trying to make them much darker and even realistic starting with the third one. Plus he gave us Home Alone 1 and 2, Mrs. Doubtfire and wrote friggin' Goonies! Also, Nine Months was a good movie.
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9:05AM on 03/17/2014

not guilty

Home alone and gremlins gets you a free pass for life. Also, bicentennial man was a great family flick.
Home alone and gremlins gets you a free pass for life. Also, bicentennial man was a great family flick.
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8:55AM on 03/17/2014

Not Guilty

The guy has pumped out quality for a long long time...
The guy has pumped out quality for a long long time...
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8:28AM on 03/17/2014

Nope. Not Guilty.

Guy gave me the Home Alone's and Harry Potter and also I quite liked the first Percy Jackson movie. Writing credits speak for themselves.
Guy gave me the Home Alone's and Harry Potter and also I quite liked the first Percy Jackson movie. Writing credits speak for themselves.
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8:08AM on 03/17/2014

This guy is nowhere close to guilty.

His writing credits alone.
His writing credits alone.
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7:54AM on 03/17/2014
Not guilty. His quality has dropped in recent years, but he's done some films I really love, such as home alone, so I don't think he deserves movie jail.
Not guilty. His quality has dropped in recent years, but he's done some films I really love, such as home alone, so I don't think he deserves movie jail.
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7:00AM on 03/17/2014

Corruption.

How the hell did Demi go away and Beckinsale get off? Demi's acting ability is much better.
Oh sorry we are talking about Columbus, errrrrr what the hell NOT GUILTY
How the hell did Demi go away and Beckinsale get off? Demi's acting ability is much better.
Oh sorry we are talking about Columbus, errrrrr what the hell NOT GUILTY
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6:44AM on 03/17/2014

Not Guilty

Too much good outweighs whatever bad he's done.
Too much good outweighs whatever bad he's done.
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