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Movie Jail: This week's defendant is...Zac Efron!

01.25.2016

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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

That Awkward Moment Zac Efron

The Case

The Prosecution: Dirty Grandpa, We Are Your Friends, That Awkward Moment, Parkland, The Lucky One, New Year's Eve, Charlie St. Cloud, High School Musical series

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I probably don't have to explain to you why Zac Efron is up for Movie Jail. Besides not being a strong actor, Mr. Efron has also starred in multiple panned movies, including his latest release, Dirty Grandpa, which is currently tied with New Year's Eve at Rotten Tomatoes as his lowest reviewed film. Mr. Efron really hasn't shown to be anything more than a serviceable (albeit very attractive) actor in the eight years since the release of the last High School Musical flick. He's not exactly known for taking challenging roles, and while the prosecution would kill for his abs, there's more to acting than being really, really, really good looking.

As for his movies, Dirty Grandpa is just his latest poorly received film. Although Neighbors was a hit with critics and at the box office, Mr. Efron's other 2014 release, That Awkward Moment, didn't fare nearly as well. His passion project We Are You Friends (which had one of the worst opening weekends of all time) received mostly negative reviews, and he also has an awful Nicholas Sparks adaptation (The Lucky One) stinking up his resume.

The prosecution believes Mr. Efron should spend a significant amount of time behind bars, and the prosecution is fairly confident the jury will agree that he needs to serve no less than two years in prison for his lack of range and terrible movie choices.

We Are Your Friends Zac Efron

The Defense: Neighbors, At Any Price, The Paperboy, Liberal Arts, Me and Orson Welles, 17 Again, Hairspray

Ladies and gentlemen, while it's probably true that my client is more known for his looks than his acting abilities, he's done a decent job in comedies, and certainly doesn't deserve to go to Movie Jail. The defense knows that there will be some who will want to imprison Mr. Efron just because of his role in the High School Musical series, but everyone has to get their start somewhere, and we shouldn't hold them against the actor.

Although obviously not on purpose, it seems my client is following a similar career path as Channing Tatum. Both had breakthrough roles in dancing movies (HSM for Mr. Efron, Step Up for Mr. Tatum), and starred in a Nicholas Sparks film (The Lucky One, Dear John) before going on to team-up with a Judd Apatow cronie in a successful comedy (Neighbors, 21 Jump Street). The point I'm trying to make is, like Mr. Tatum, many have come around to Mr. Efron. The defense would like to see him take on riskier and more complex roles, however he's only 28, and has plenty of time to grow as an actor.

2011 Zac Efron may belong behind bars, but not 2016 Zac Efron, and, despite his recent missteps, he still has a very bright future ahead of him.

Neighbors Zac Efron

IN CLOSING...

Has Mr. Efron earned a spot in Movie Jail, or are you a fan of the actor? Should we lock the former Disney star up, or give him a few more chances? Is Zac Efron 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?

Dirty Grandpa Robert De Niro Zac Efron

LAST WEEK'S VERDICT

Ride Along Ice Cube Tim Story Kevin Hart

Fantastic Four and Barbershop filmmaker Tim Story was on trial last week, and, like his Ride Along stars Ice Cube and Kein Hart, he's been found GUILTY of all charges. We won't be sending him "to the dilithium mines on the penal asteroid of Rura Penthe," but he has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term, and I highly doubt the director will be up for a parole hearing anytime soon.

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, Hayden Christensen, Dennis Dugan, Sharon Stone, Jessica Biel, Nick Swardson, Simon Kinberg, Alex & Stephen Kendrick, Eli Roth, Paranormal Activity Franchise (Halloween Edition), Kevin Hart, Tim Story

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, Cameron Crowe, Katie Holmes, Elijah Wood, Tarsem Singh, Reese Witherspoon, Burt Reynolds, Ed Helms, Sean Astin, Michael Polish, Kelsey Grammer, Queen Latifah, Mark Wahlberg, Vin Diesel, Barry Levinson, Aaron Eckhart, Luke Wilson, Martin Campbell, Blumhouse Productions, Tim Allen, Justin Long, Will Ferrell, Chris Hemsworth

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, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson & Vince Vaughn

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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7:44AM on 01/26/2016

GUILTY

Guilty as all heck
Guilty as all heck
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12:32AM on 01/26/2016

Guilty

"That boy ain't right."
"That boy ain't right."
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7:19PM on 01/25/2016

I'm sticking with Not Guilty for the time being.

Call it parole through the Baywatch movie. If he tanks in that, then it's time to bring him in.
Call it parole through the Baywatch movie. If he tanks in that, then it's time to bring him in.
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6:10PM on 01/25/2016
This column should've been retired long ago
This column should've been retired long ago
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7:39PM on 01/25/2016
Why? It gets people talking.
Why? It gets people talking.
10:30PM on 01/25/2016
Cause when this started on the podcast the theoretical defendants were so much more fun.there plenty of positive and negative films to compare. Zac Effron? Really? Might as well be throwing a dart at a list of actors at this point
Cause when this started on the podcast the theoretical defendants were so much more fun.there plenty of positive and negative films to compare. Zac Effron? Really? Might as well be throwing a dart at a list of actors at this point
11:57PM on 01/25/2016
That's a fair statement, but I enjoy when then put up actors or actresses that have had multiple bombs in a row. It doesn't matter if they've been in movies for 5 years or 15 years.
That's a fair statement, but I enjoy when then put up actors or actresses that have had multiple bombs in a row. It doesn't matter if they've been in movies for 5 years or 15 years.
5:29PM on 01/25/2016
Not guilty. He has skill just needs better roles.
Not guilty. He has skill just needs better roles.
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+0
4:13PM on 01/25/2016

I'm going to say guilty....

but I'm going to ask for a lenient sentence. He's not that bad, just has made some seriously bad choices. We'll see if he can turn it around in the next few years. He's still just a kid.
but I'm going to ask for a lenient sentence. He's not that bad, just has made some seriously bad choices. We'll see if he can turn it around in the next few years. He's still just a kid.
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3:27PM on 01/25/2016

Guilty

Has potential,but that's about it!
Has potential,but that's about it!
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3:25PM on 01/25/2016

Not guilty

Let's give him a chance, he proved he could play well, he just need to find the right role.
Let's give him a chance, he proved he could play well, he just need to find the right role.
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1:16PM on 01/25/2016
He's funny in Neighbors...but is this guy REALLY worth a Movie Jail debate yet? Anybody actually think he's been important enough for LONG enough to make this a necessity? This is for, like, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, etc. Zac Efron?!?
He's funny in Neighbors...but is this guy REALLY worth a Movie Jail debate yet? Anybody actually think he's been important enough for LONG enough to make this a necessity? This is for, like, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, etc. Zac Efron?!?
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8:18PM on 01/25/2016
I think 10 years is long enough. We've had people on trial with shorter careers (like Melissa McCarthy).
I think 10 years is long enough. We've had people on trial with shorter careers (like Melissa McCarthy).
+0
1:12PM on 01/25/2016

Not Guilty

As opposed to the other young actors that seem to be shoved down our throat and go no where, Efron has some charisma and talent. He just needs a new manager to pick better roles for him. He needs a change in film choices like Gosling did.
As opposed to the other young actors that seem to be shoved down our throat and go no where, Efron has some charisma and talent. He just needs a new manager to pick better roles for him. He needs a change in film choices like Gosling did.
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12:42PM on 01/25/2016

NO GUILTY

The guy tries to go beyond his fucking gorgeous look (And if I sound jealous, it's because I AM !), and even knows to make fun of it.
He hasn't done enough films to be certain, but he seems to have potential.
And I could totally see him in a Marvel or DC flick (Tim Drake, Longshot...).
The guy tries to go beyond his fucking gorgeous look (And if I sound jealous, it's because I AM !), and even knows to make fun of it.
He hasn't done enough films to be certain, but he seems to have potential.
And I could totally see him in a Marvel or DC flick (Tim Drake, Longshot...).
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11:19AM on 01/25/2016

Not guilty

I like his performances in Me and Orson Welles and 17 Again.He has potential.hope he gets a Superhero role or a leading role in a big budget franchise film
I like his performances in Me and Orson Welles and 17 Again.He has potential.hope he gets a Superhero role or a leading role in a big budget franchise film
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11:14AM on 01/25/2016

Not Guilty

He has done some good ones and some bad ones to be sure. And granted, most of his roles aren't what one would call difficult. But, I still think he has talent, and he's still young. Maybe its just a gut feeling, but I think there is still great work that we will get from Efron in the future.
He has done some good ones and some bad ones to be sure. And granted, most of his roles aren't what one would call difficult. But, I still think he has talent, and he's still young. Maybe its just a gut feeling, but I think there is still great work that we will get from Efron in the future.
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11:11AM on 01/25/2016

Guilty

the guy has potential, but he needs to find better project. He's relying too much on his look and High School musical fanbase
the guy has potential, but he needs to find better project. He's relying too much on his look and High School musical fanbase
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10:21AM on 01/25/2016

Guilty!

Next Week: John Corbett
Next Week: John Corbett
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8:17PM on 01/25/2016
I think we should wait until MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2.
I think we should wait until MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2.
9:20AM on 01/25/2016

Not guilty

Also think he is underrated and a fun guy who is still trying to find his comfort zone in terms of genre and role types. At least he didn't just settles for dreamy romcom pretty guy.

And then of course there is shirtless Zac... *gasp*
Also think he is underrated and a fun guy who is still trying to find his comfort zone in terms of genre and role types. At least he didn't just settles for dreamy romcom pretty guy.

And then of course there is shirtless Zac... *gasp*
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9:14AM on 01/25/2016

Not guilty

Early in his carer things didn't look good for this guy. But he's proven that there is something there, and projects like The Paperboy and Neighbors have been good for exploring that. He doesn't have the best luck when selecting projects. He's much better when he's sending up his pretty- boy image than when he's playing it straight.
Early in his carer things didn't look good for this guy. But he's proven that there is something there, and projects like The Paperboy and Neighbors have been good for exploring that. He doesn't have the best luck when selecting projects. He's much better when he's sending up his pretty- boy image than when he's playing it straight.
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9:06AM on 01/25/2016

Not guilty

Another person who really hasn't done enough. I agree with oscarxp he may need a better agent but the guy seems like he's actually trying to be an actor as oppose to just another meat-head looking for stardom (like Taylor Lautner). The struggles that Efron has been facing probably have more to do with that he's trying to test the waters and see what kind of actor he wants to be. I have to give him credit for not wanting to be the good looking guy who sings all the time.
Another person who really hasn't done enough. I agree with oscarxp he may need a better agent but the guy seems like he's actually trying to be an actor as oppose to just another meat-head looking for stardom (like Taylor Lautner). The struggles that Efron has been facing probably have more to do with that he's trying to test the waters and see what kind of actor he wants to be. I have to give him credit for not wanting to be the good looking guy who sings all the time.
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8:36AM on 01/25/2016

Not Guilty

The guys career is certainly on the rise, just hope he doesn't choose too many sub par roles since he can be good with the right material.
The guys career is certainly on the rise, just hope he doesn't choose too many sub par roles since he can be good with the right material.
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8:17AM on 01/25/2016

Not guilty

I like the guy. He isn't an annoying idiot like most people who come from the Disney channels. I think he needs a better agent because he has potential.
I like the guy. He isn't an annoying idiot like most people who come from the Disney channels. I think he needs a better agent because he has potential.
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7:54AM on 01/25/2016

Not Guilty

He is good in the right role (ie Neighbors, Paperboy) and has come a long way since High School Musical.
He is good in the right role (ie Neighbors, Paperboy) and has come a long way since High School Musical.
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+0
7:45AM on 01/25/2016

Career average: 4.7/10.

The following things are not just my opinion, but also most critics' opinions (look them up if you don't believe me):
1) The HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL series isn't great but it's not bad either.
2) Zac made 17 AGAIN enjoyable and CHARLIE ST. CLOUD watchable.
3) He was very good in HAIRSPRAY and NEIGHBORS.
4) His only bad performance was in THE LUCKY ONE, but no one could've done anything with the material.
5) He didn't improve NEW YEAR'S EVE, but no one else in that huge cast could.

I can't
The following things are not just my opinion, but also most critics' opinions (look them up if you don't believe me):
1) The HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL series isn't great but it's not bad either.
2) Zac made 17 AGAIN enjoyable and CHARLIE ST. CLOUD watchable.
3) He was very good in HAIRSPRAY and NEIGHBORS.
4) His only bad performance was in THE LUCKY ONE, but no one could've done anything with the material.
5) He didn't improve NEW YEAR'S EVE, but no one else in that huge cast could.

I can't comment on THE LORAX because I saw it dubbed. Now, people talk about him like he was typecast, and yet he keeps being hired for all kinds of roles. Too bad the more serious ones aren't seen by many people. My point is that he's talented and very underrated. Not Guilty.

Next week: Candice Bergen, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Elisha Cuthbert, Danny DeVito, Matt Dillon, Brad Fuller, Heather Graham, Melanie Griffith, Raja Gosnell, Don Johnson, Angelina Jolie, Jamie Kennedy, Ben Kingsley, Brian Levant, Eugene Levy, Lucy Liu, Robert Luketic, James Marsden, Neal Moritz, Amanda Peet, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Seann William Scott, Barry Sonnenfeld, Barbra Streisand or Patrick Warburton.
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