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Movie Jail: This week's defendant is...John Cusack!

03.03.2014

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: The Bag Man, Adult World, The Numbers Station, The Raven, The Factory, Shanghai, 2012, War, Inc., Igor, Martian Child, The Contract, Must Love Dogs, America's Sweethearts

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you won't find a bigger John Cusack fan than the prosecution, however even we have to admit his film choices recently have been shockingly bad, and Mr. Cusack barely puts any effort into his performances as of late.

The prosecution knows movie buffs love Mr. Cusack. High Fidelity, The Grifters, Say Anything..., and Grosse Pointe Blank? Classic John Cusack. Amazing movies with outstanding work from the actor. So why is Mr. Cusack appearing in VOD or direct-to-DVD films that are below his talents? There are quality films that don't get theatrical releases, but The Factory definitely isn't one of them, and it's obvious Mr. Cusack didn't give a damn about the film. Shanghai is just plain boring, and Mr. Cusack's performance doesn't help.

Too often it seems like Mr. Cusack is just going through the motions, waiting for the check from the studio to clear. No one expected an amazing performance from Mr. Cusack in 2012, however that's no excuse for the actor to sleepwalk through the film. The Raven was just a bad idea to begin with, but once again, Mr. Cusack didn't help the film any with his performance.

But Mr. Cusack's biggest crime might be 2008's War, Inc. Although it's an informal sequel to Grosse Pointe Blank, it doesn't feature nearly as many laughs as the 1997 film, or its charm. Why is this the actor's biggest offense? Because Mr. Cusack also helped write War, Inc., and since he also contributed to the script for Grosse Pointe Blank, many expected it to be just as good. What we got instead was an absoltue mess, and the prosecution was very unimpressed with the film, and Mr. Cusack.

Mr. Cusack, we gave you our hearts, you gave us The Numbers Station. The prosecution isn't looking for a long sentence, but we do believe Mr. Cusack needs to spend some time behind bars for his crimes.

The Defense: The Butler, The Frozen Ground, The Paperboy, Hot Tub Time Machine, Grace Is Gone, 1408, The Ice Harvest, Identity, Max, Serendipity, High Fidelity, Grosse Pointe Blank, Being John Malkovich, Con Air, The Grifters, Say Anything..., Stand By Me, Better of Dead

Ladies and gentlemen, the defense will eat their own face if Mr. Cusack is found guilty. The prosecution doesn't have a clue about why fans love my client, and it's not just because of his fantastic older films. Mr. Cusack has always done things his way, and isn't your typical Hollywood actor.

"I'm not into the celebrity culture aspect of being an artist. To me it represents extinction. The more people know about you, the less they want to try to figure out what you have to say in your movies, and the less credibility you have. To me it seems: Go do your thing, then get out. That's the best way to do it."

The prosecution claims Mr. Cusack is above VOD stuff (even though The Frozen Ground is actually a very solid movie), but obviously my client likes to stay busy, based on how many films he appears in year after year. Mr. Cusack has six movies out this year alone, and while they all won't be hits, at least one or two will probably be very good. That's my client's track record. Mr. Cusack even admitted as much in an interview once.

"I've made 10 good films. The ones that suck I tend to blank out. It's like I never even made them. Well, there aren't 40 that are great, put it that way. But that's fine. Ten is a good batting average."

The prosecution's main argument is Mr. Cusack hasn't appeared in anything fantastic lately, and his performances have been lazy. Some like to knock Mr. Cusack's range as an actor, saying he always plays himself or the same low-key, quirky type of character. But The Butler and The Paperboy are excellent recent examples of my client not playing Mr. Cusack, and he did a fantastic job in both films.

However, if you really want "classic" Cusack, there's Hot Tub Time Machine and the very underrated The Ice Harvest. Both movies feature Mr. Cusack doing what he does best, and it's no surprise fans of the actor loved these films.

Mr. Cusack also appears in multiple genres of films. My client doesn't just stick to rom-coms, or thrillers, and while some of his projects are bland, many are very interesting. His upcoming Grand Piano looks fascinating, as does Maps to the Stars from director David Cronenberg. The defense's point? My client may appear in a few questionable films, but he'll also star in a couple that get movie nerds like myself very excited.

IN CLOSING...

Does Mr. Cusack deserve Movie Jail? Do you think his performances lately have been boring, or have the problem been the films themselves? Will the jury have the balls to throw Lloyd Dobler in prison? Is John Cusack 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 wasn't too kind to McG in last week's trial, declaring the director GUILTY of all charges. Some defended McG, but most jury members said they've had enough of his films, and they think it's ridiculous he calls himself "McG." The director is looking at a long prison sentence, and he'll be sharing a cell with Rob Cohen and Brett Ratner. Hopefully the three of them don't come up with an idea for a movie while in prison together...

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

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

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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4:20PM on 03/04/2014

in your eyes

not guilty. just recently started watching this dudes stuff. and so far everything i've seen by him is great.
not guilty. just recently started watching this dudes stuff. and so far everything i've seen by him is great.
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+1
6:35AM on 03/04/2014

I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!

Plus he roots for the Cubs!
That is to say not guilty by reasons of insanity.
Plus he roots for the Cubs!
That is to say not guilty by reasons of insanity.
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9:33PM on 03/03/2014

You can't put Lloyd Dobler In Jail!

So I didn't read many other strikebacks but How is his track record lately any different from Nic Cage? John Cusack is just trying to stay busy. This is a guy that will get better with age. He can the wise old man role someday so in the meantime he's going through the motions. I believe it's what a lot of bands do between BRILLIANT albums.
So I didn't read many other strikebacks but How is his track record lately any different from Nic Cage? John Cusack is just trying to stay busy. This is a guy that will get better with age. He can the wise old man role someday so in the meantime he's going through the motions. I believe it's what a lot of bands do between BRILLIANT albums.
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10:06AM on 03/04/2014
The main Defense for Cage was that his over-the-topness made his bad movies guilty pleasures. Cusack can be so boring to watch.
The main Defense for Cage was that his over-the-topness made his bad movies guilty pleasures. Cusack can be so boring to watch.
-1
7:23PM on 03/03/2014

Guilty.

While I enjoyed 2012 more than most, I think 1408 was the last genuinely good film he starred in. His performances are getting a lot lazier, too.
While I enjoyed 2012 more than most, I think 1408 was the last genuinely good film he starred in. His performances are getting a lot lazier, too.
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5:54PM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty

He has been in a bit of a slump but he still turned down Hot Tub Time Machine 2. As the Swanky Modes would say "Any ordinary man would have given it up by now."
He has been in a bit of a slump but he still turned down Hot Tub Time Machine 2. As the Swanky Modes would say "Any ordinary man would have given it up by now."
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3:56PM on 03/03/2014

Guilty

I like the man. A lot. But while he continues to have good performances in films like The Paperboy, there's no doubt he's done more than his share of utter crap. And he's an actor I think knows his strengths most of the time. But on a side note I actually sort of liked War Inc. the man may love to work, but I wish he put more effort into that work as a whole.
I like the man. A lot. But while he continues to have good performances in films like The Paperboy, there's no doubt he's done more than his share of utter crap. And he's an actor I think knows his strengths most of the time. But on a side note I actually sort of liked War Inc. the man may love to work, but I wish he put more effort into that work as a whole.
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+3
2:48PM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty

He's the Every Man.
He's the Every Man.
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2:44PM on 03/03/2014
He's not really interesting enough to be guilty or not guilty.
He's not really interesting enough to be guilty or not guilty.
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2:24PM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty

at all
at all
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12:27PM on 03/03/2014
Not Guilty at all. Sure I hated The Raven and 2012, but he's got so much weight that it cancels his bad movies out.
Not Guilty at all. Sure I hated The Raven and 2012, but he's got so much weight that it cancels his bad movies out.
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12:26PM on 03/03/2014

Guilty

John Cusack will always be cool but is he guilty of Movie Jail, Absolutely. Lets be honest, how much crap can you put out before you're found guilty? What is the number of terrible films where we can finally sit back and say alright he's pulling a Deniro and just taking the paycheck again......
John Cusack will always be cool but is he guilty of Movie Jail, Absolutely. Lets be honest, how much crap can you put out before you're found guilty? What is the number of terrible films where we can finally sit back and say alright he's pulling a Deniro and just taking the paycheck again......
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12:26PM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty

"War Inc" might not be as great as "Grosse Point Blank", but it's still funny and the satire mostly works. While "The Raven" was depressingly dumb, Cusack was clearly giving the bad material more than it's worth. He's always just jumped from project to project, and they aren't always good, but I never think he isn't trying nor wanting to challenge himself wit fare like "The Butler"', "Frozen Ground", & "The Papaerboy".
"War Inc" might not be as great as "Grosse Point Blank", but it's still funny and the satire mostly works. While "The Raven" was depressingly dumb, Cusack was clearly giving the bad material more than it's worth. He's always just jumped from project to project, and they aren't always good, but I never think he isn't trying nor wanting to challenge himself wit fare like "The Butler"', "Frozen Ground", & "The Papaerboy".
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11:39AM on 03/03/2014

Double Standards

Love how when it came to judging John Cusack's work people actually judge his work. But when it came to Kate Beckinsale people were ok to let her off because she was 'Hot' . Double Standards. This man has been in a long list of films over a good period of time. My first memory of John Cusack was in a film called the Adventures of Natty Gann and then onto great films like Stand By Me, The Grifters, Grosse Point Blanke, High Fidelity etc etc. Granted he has had a few stinkers but no where near
Love how when it came to judging John Cusack's work people actually judge his work. But when it came to Kate Beckinsale people were ok to let her off because she was 'Hot' . Double Standards. This man has been in a long list of films over a good period of time. My first memory of John Cusack was in a film called the Adventures of Natty Gann and then onto great films like Stand By Me, The Grifters, Grosse Point Blanke, High Fidelity etc etc. Granted he has had a few stinkers but no where near enough to warrant jail. I have seen former acquittals with greater charges against them.
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12:38PM on 03/03/2014
I voted guilty on that biatch because the bulk of her work is a shit sandwich. Still, she does have more range than Milla Jovovich (sp?).
I voted guilty on that biatch because the bulk of her work is a shit sandwich. Still, she does have more range than Milla Jovovich (sp?).
12:44PM on 03/03/2014
What's weird is that only Kate and Salma Hayek were forgiven for being hot, while other hot actresses were declared Guilty. By the way, while Cusack is a good-looking fellow, there have been hotter guys on trial, and none of them were forgiven for their looks. This site is clearly full of guys.
What's weird is that only Kate and Salma Hayek were forgiven for being hot, while other hot actresses were declared Guilty. By the way, while Cusack is a good-looking fellow, there have been hotter guys on trial, and none of them were forgiven for their looks. This site is clearly full of guys.
1:46PM on 03/03/2014
Dunno Dick. I think Mila Jovovich has got range but with the right Director. Just dont find Beckinsale believable in anything she is in.
Dunno Dick. I think Mila Jovovich has got range but with the right Director. Just dont find Beckinsale believable in anything she is in.
11:14AM on 03/03/2014

Guilty

I try to look at an actor's work objectively as I can, judging his work as whole unless it's been 10+ years since his last good feature.
John Cusack is one of those actors that's always rubbed me the wrong way. His main defining feature is an irritating smugness that's present throughout the roles where he has any appreciable screen time. He's one of those actors that can't help but play himself like Jack Nicholson.
I know plenty of people will vote not guilty and that's how he will be
I try to look at an actor's work objectively as I can, judging his work as whole unless it's been 10+ years since his last good feature.
John Cusack is one of those actors that's always rubbed me the wrong way. His main defining feature is an irritating smugness that's present throughout the roles where he has any appreciable screen time. He's one of those actors that can't help but play himself like Jack Nicholson.
I know plenty of people will vote not guilty and that's how he will be found, but he will always be irritating to me.
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10:41AM on 03/03/2014

Not guilty

I think the guy has just kinda gone through a slump. He's a phenomenal actor I think. Give him a few years, he will have a comeback.
I think the guy has just kinda gone through a slump. He's a phenomenal actor I think. Give him a few years, he will have a comeback.
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+2
10:16AM on 03/03/2014

although The Raven

could've been better as a whole, it was still decent and Cusack actually gave a top notch performance in it, underrated performance actually.
could've been better as a whole, it was still decent and Cusack actually gave a top notch performance in it, underrated performance actually.
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10:10AM on 03/03/2014
Not guilty.
Frozen Ground shows he can still stretch as an actor. He was great.
Not guilty.
Frozen Ground shows he can still stretch as an actor. He was great.
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10:06AM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty

Not guilty
Not guilty
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9:48AM on 03/03/2014

NOT GUILTY

Yeah he's made some bad films recently but hasn't had that one terrible bomb. But he's had such great work that I can't send him away to jail.

Also his turn in Hot Tub Time Machine recently saves him!
Yeah he's made some bad films recently but hasn't had that one terrible bomb. But he's had such great work that I can't send him away to jail.

Also his turn in Hot Tub Time Machine recently saves him!
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9:47AM on 03/03/2014

Not guilty

Despite the many straight to DVD stinkers as of late, I think he has done enough great movies in the past to keep him safe.
Despite the many straight to DVD stinkers as of late, I think he has done enough great movies in the past to keep him safe.
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-2
9:47AM on 03/03/2014

Huh? STAND BY ME?

It was a very small role. Same with 16 CANDLES, which I won't include as part of my defense. Since we're on that subject, I'd like to move some things up there. I liked AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS, and his performance in it. I also liked "2012", HOT TUB and THE BUTLER, but I didn't like his performances in them*. I didn't like MARTIAN CHILD, but I did like his performance in it. I also didn't like IDENTITY, and his performance didn't stand out as good nor bad to me. The ones that shouldn't be moved
It was a very small role. Same with 16 CANDLES, which I won't include as part of my defense. Since we're on that subject, I'd like to move some things up there. I liked AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS, and his performance in it. I also liked "2012", HOT TUB and THE BUTLER, but I didn't like his performances in them*. I didn't like MARTIAN CHILD, but I did like his performance in it. I also didn't like IDENTITY, and his performance didn't stand out as good nor bad to me. The ones that shouldn't be moved are SAY ANYTHING (decent movie; great performance), BEING "JOHN MALKOVICH" (excellent movie; good performance) and THE RAVEN (terrible movie; terrible performance). I can't judge his work in ANASTASIA, because i saw it dubbed in Spanish.

Wow, what a mess! I'm gonna go with Guilty because, while he doesn't have an awful career like other defendants, he's just not reliable. I mean, when I hear he has a new movie coming out, I don't run to the theatre because I don't trust that he chooses even passable movies anymore. Nor that he gives even passable performances anymore.

Next week: Robert Luketic, Andrew Niccol, Ridley Scott, David Spade, Sigourney Weaver, or, Dennis Dugan.

*I'm not American, and I even I know he looked and sounded nothing like Nixon.
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9:31AM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty

He may not be picking the best scripts right now, but the guy had been in more great films that I can count and because of those films the guy is a legend just going through a rough patch.

Plus, the guy has one of the most iconic films scenes of all time with Say Anything.
He may not be picking the best scripts right now, but the guy had been in more great films that I can count and because of those films the guy is a legend just going through a rough patch.

Plus, the guy has one of the most iconic films scenes of all time with Say Anything.
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9:23AM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty

Here's another case where I would have quickly voted guilty had this been a couple years ago. Through his work with Lee Daniels (only two roles thus far but very good ones, particularly in The Paperboy) the Keymaster has proven he's got more than just that one note. And hey, even that one note ain't too shabby...
Here's another case where I would have quickly voted guilty had this been a couple years ago. Through his work with Lee Daniels (only two roles thus far but very good ones, particularly in The Paperboy) the Keymaster has proven he's got more than just that one note. And hey, even that one note ain't too shabby...
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9:32AM on 03/03/2014
The Paperboy was a really good film. Everyone involved was great.
The Paperboy was a really good film. Everyone involved was great.
9:06AM on 03/03/2014
As painful as it is to say, GUILTY. Cusack is one of my favorites, but has been releasing some terrible Direct to DVD crap.
As painful as it is to say, GUILTY. Cusack is one of my favorites, but has been releasing some terrible Direct to DVD crap.
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9:05AM on 03/03/2014

Guilty

He has been bad for a while. The Raven was so boring.
He has been bad for a while. The Raven was so boring.
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8:45AM on 03/03/2014

Oh hell no

Cusack is the man... shouldn't even be up on trial, throw this case out
Cusack is the man... shouldn't even be up on trial, throw this case out
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8:42AM on 03/03/2014
Mos def NOT Guilty!! Why is he even on trial.
Mos def NOT Guilty!! Why is he even on trial.
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8:11AM on 03/03/2014

No

Aside from 2012 and some stinkers, I like his work.
Aside from 2012 and some stinkers, I like his work.
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7:58AM on 03/03/2014
Not guilty. 2012 was fine for what it was... stop thinking so much when you're at the movies. And considering Better Off Dead is one of the best comedies ever (number one in my book), he can make "Poop" the movie for every movie ever, and still be not guilty.
Not guilty. 2012 was fine for what it was... stop thinking so much when you're at the movies. And considering Better Off Dead is one of the best comedies ever (number one in my book), he can make "Poop" the movie for every movie ever, and still be not guilty.
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7:41AM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty.

He doesn't always pick the best work but when he does, he's terrific.
He doesn't always pick the best work but when he does, he's terrific.
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7:15AM on 03/03/2014

Guilty of being a colossal d-bag,

but not worthy of any time in jail. Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer get him a pass for life.
but not worthy of any time in jail. Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer get him a pass for life.
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7:15AM on 03/03/2014

Not GUILTY

Completely Innocent.
Completely Innocent.
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7:15AM on 03/03/2014
He very clearly does "one for them" movies and "one for me" movies. The "one for them" movies are generally bad and the "one for me" movies aren't. Looking forward to Grand Piano. That looks like it will be either a spectacular mess or quirkily entertaining.
He very clearly does "one for them" movies and "one for me" movies. The "one for them" movies are generally bad and the "one for me" movies aren't. Looking forward to Grand Piano. That looks like it will be either a spectacular mess or quirkily entertaining.
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7:07AM on 03/03/2014
Not guilty. Although his movies as of late aren't that good, he just needs better scripts. He needs something as good as High Fidelity.
Not guilty. Although his movies as of late aren't that good, he just needs better scripts. He needs something as good as High Fidelity.
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6:58AM on 03/03/2014

Not Guilty

So much quality allows for some guff here and there. I thought he was good in 2012... Him and Woody are the best things in it.
So much quality allows for some guff here and there. I thought he was good in 2012... Him and Woody are the best things in it.
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6:57AM on 03/03/2014

NEVER

NOT GUILTY. Do I really need to explain my choice?
NOT GUILTY. Do I really need to explain my choice?
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9:27AM on 03/03/2014
Yes. This is a trial.
Yes. This is a trial.
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