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Movie Jail: This week's defendants is...Ben Stiller!

Sep. 24, 2012by:

Welcome to Movie Jail, a facility like any other, only its inmates are Hollywood writers, directors, actors and producers. This column will serve as a Movie Jail trial. We will put one defendant on trial; lay out arguments for the Prosecution and Defense. And we leave it up to YOU, the reader, to decide whether the defendant is guilty of his or her crime. What crime? The crime of consistently being a stinking shithouse.

The Defendant


Ben Stiller

The Case

The Prosecution: The Watch, Tower Heist, Little Fockers, Meet the Fockers, Night at the Museum 2, School for Scoundrels, Envy, The Heartbreak Kid, Duplex *

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, when we threw Vince Vaughn's ass on trial, it was brought up more than once that Ben Stiller also deserved to be thrown on trial, and since this court is nothing but fair (and drunk most of the time), we must oblige the jury. Now, we're not saying Mr. Stiller doesn't have box office appeal. Movies likes There's Something About Mary and Meet the Parents made Stiller a household name and gave him legitimate office cred. But so what? Aside from the very successful Madagascar movies, Stiller has flopped critically over the years with The Watch, The Big Year, Little Fockers, Meet the Fockers and a slew of other movies. In fact, the majority of Stiller's films over the past 10 years have been "rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, Tower Heist made its money back, but just barely, and though it has a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes by critics, the audience rating shows their contempt for the flick with 51%. It's become obvious to the prosecution that America has had it with the "aw shucks" bumbling, "nice guys finish last until the end of the movie" schtick that seems to permeate through all of his roles. No one is doubting the man's work ethic since he averages three movies a year, but the odds that any of those three movies will be anything worthwhile these days are very slim. The prosecution moves for a guilty verdict to show Mr. Stiller that just because you CAN put out three movies a year as the same character, doesn't mean you should.

The Defense: There's Something About Mary, Zoolander, Permanent Midnight, Tropic Thunder, Night at the Museum, Dodgeball, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, The Royal Tenenbaums*

Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, all this nonsense about critic ratings and box office numbers means nothing at the end of the day. Has Mr. Stiller had some bumps in the road? Sure. But what actor with a resume like Stiller's hasn't had bumps in the road? The man has been acting, writing, directing and producing since the mid 80s. Whether it was the hilarious and overlooked The Ben Stiller Show or directing shorts for SNL, the man has kept busy and worked to create his own brand. Has his brand grown old? No, the prosecution has. It's clear that the people who want to see the Ben Stiller brand, are going out to see it. Where's the crime here? Yeah, there are some risks to your brand when you keep busy and spread yourself out in Hollywood, but Mr. Stiller is always creating, always keeping active, and that shouldn't be a crime. Tower Heist may have not been big for audiences, but that was likely due to Movie Jail inmate Eddie Murphy. Come to think of it, he was also in The Watch with another Movie Jail inmate, Vince Vaugh. You know what? Whatever. Why you gotta bring up old shit?


IN CLOSING...

So, whats to be done with Mr. Ben Stiller? Has he, like the aforementioned Vince Vaugh, gone on too long with the same ol' same? What's wrong with the same schtick, if it works? On the other hand, does the schtick even work at this point? And the most important question to be asked, once all evidence is taken into consideration, we ask you The Jury, is Ben Stiller GUILTY or NOT GUILTY? Lets hear YOUR arguments, either side, by STRIKING BACK BELOW.

*The court recognizes that all movies are subjective, so relax.

WHAT SAY YOU, GUILTY OR NOT?


LAST WEEK'S VERDICT

It is the jury's decision that after reviewing last week's evidence, the court finds The Farrelly Brothers GUILTY of all charges. The jury concludes that there definitely was a time and place for the duos' style of humor, but that time and place has long since passed. Their brand of "gross out" humor has simply not progressed or evolved since the 90s and for that, the jury sentences the duo to Movie Jail until further notice.

Extra Tidbit: Who Should Take the Stand Next? Strike Back Below!
Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
7:15PM on 09/25/2012

Lock his ass up...

he's like a jukebox stuck on the same song.
I liked Tannenbaums though.
he's like a jukebox stuck on the same song.
I liked Tannenbaums though.
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5:20PM on 09/25/2012

Not Guilty

Ya his last few movies have been duds but with Night at the Museum and the Meet the Parents sequels he's still playing the same lovable character that we loved in the first movies so i blame the failure of the sequels on the writing but i will say hes probably hanging out with the wrong crowd on the wrong streets and hes one bad decision from getting to meet a whole bunch of negroids
Ya his last few movies have been duds but with Night at the Museum and the Meet the Parents sequels he's still playing the same lovable character that we loved in the first movies so i blame the failure of the sequels on the writing but i will say hes probably hanging out with the wrong crowd on the wrong streets and hes one bad decision from getting to meet a whole bunch of negroids
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4:34PM on 09/25/2012

Not Guilty

Zoolander
Heavyweights
Royal Tenenbaums
Zoolander
Heavyweights
Royal Tenenbaums
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4:33PM on 09/25/2012

Not Guilty

Zoolander
Heavyweights
Royal Tenenbaums
Zoolander
Heavyweights
Royal Tenenbaums
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3:30PM on 09/25/2012

Not Guilty

Zoolander and The Royal Tenenbaums. Enough said...
Zoolander and The Royal Tenenbaums. Enough said...
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+2
11:36AM on 09/25/2012

Not Guilty

A warm glass of SHUT THE HELL UP!
A warm glass of SHUT THE HELL UP!
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9:15AM on 09/25/2012

Not Guilty

You didn't mention Mystery Men. In my book, that is one of his best and most overlooked. (Of course, it is from his earlier days.) Even in iffy movies, Stiller still has the goods. Spare him, judge!
You didn't mention Mystery Men. In my book, that is one of his best and most overlooked. (Of course, it is from his earlier days.) Even in iffy movies, Stiller still has the goods. Spare him, judge!
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7:59AM on 09/25/2012

Not Guilty!

The guy is still funny he just needs to stick to better projects like Greenberg.
The guy is still funny he just needs to stick to better projects like Greenberg.
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6:41AM on 09/25/2012

Not guilty.

Reality Bites is like a get out of jail free card.
Reality Bites is like a get out of jail free card.
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12:44AM on 09/25/2012

Not Guilty, of course!

Are you serious?!

Aside from being a great actor in other gems like Greenberg and his hilarious turn in the Extras pilot, he's also a great director. Just look at Zoolander, Tropic Thunder and even The Cable Guy (I, for once, loved the hell out of that dark twisted movie). And I actually enjoyed Tower Heist.
Are you serious?!

Aside from being a great actor in other gems like Greenberg and his hilarious turn in the Extras pilot, he's also a great director. Just look at Zoolander, Tropic Thunder and even The Cable Guy (I, for once, loved the hell out of that dark twisted movie). And I actually enjoyed Tower Heist.
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11:21PM on 09/24/2012

Guilty!

His bad work drastically outweighs his good work. End of story. He should focus more on directing and writing than acting because he's awful.
His bad work drastically outweighs his good work. End of story. He should focus more on directing and writing than acting because he's awful.
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9:50PM on 09/24/2012
He is absolutely grating and bland and awful in anything he has little creative control over.

But when he's writing & directing & (sometimes) producing, he might be the best guy making comedies today. I'd honestly stack Tropic Thunder against the best movies Mel Brooks or the Zuckers ever made.

Not Guilty, albeit with a warning to stop starring in movies just for the paycheck.
He is absolutely grating and bland and awful in anything he has little creative control over.

But when he's writing & directing & (sometimes) producing, he might be the best guy making comedies today. I'd honestly stack Tropic Thunder against the best movies Mel Brooks or the Zuckers ever made.

Not Guilty, albeit with a warning to stop starring in movies just for the paycheck.
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9:23PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

Definitely Not Guilty... however, the caveat should be that he is on 'sequel parole'... Ben Stiller makes pretty good originals... (Meet the Parents movie, first Night at the Museum, Madagascar, Zoolander etc.) It's when he returns to the well for more cash that things start going screwy
Definitely Not Guilty... however, the caveat should be that he is on 'sequel parole'... Ben Stiller makes pretty good originals... (Meet the Parents movie, first Night at the Museum, Madagascar, Zoolander etc.) It's when he returns to the well for more cash that things start going screwy
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8:44PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

Tropic Thunder is only four years old. Considering that was one of the best comedies of the last decade, it will take a few more years of crap before Stiller can be considered eligible for movie jail.
Tropic Thunder is only four years old. Considering that was one of the best comedies of the last decade, it will take a few more years of crap before Stiller can be considered eligible for movie jail.
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8:40PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

One Word: Heavyweights.
One Word: Heavyweights.
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+3
8:19PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

The defense should have submitted Greenberg as evidence, and the prosecution needs to not play fast and loose with it's evidence ( Ben Stiller wasn't in The Big Year ). Besides, even if you throw him in movie jail, he's Tony Wonder, he'll magic his way out.
The defense should have submitted Greenberg as evidence, and the prosecution needs to not play fast and loose with it's evidence ( Ben Stiller wasn't in The Big Year ). Besides, even if you throw him in movie jail, he's Tony Wonder, he'll magic his way out.
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+0
7:56PM on 09/24/2012

Guilty

Tropic Thunder was great IN SPITE of him. Name your favorite part about that movie and I suspect he wasn't on screen for it (Tom Cruise parts, RDJ parts, Danny McBride parts, etc.). And on a more individual level, many of those movies that are his defense I didn't think were very good anyway... so guilty.
Tropic Thunder was great IN SPITE of him. Name your favorite part about that movie and I suspect he wasn't on screen for it (Tom Cruise parts, RDJ parts, Danny McBride parts, etc.). And on a more individual level, many of those movies that are his defense I didn't think were very good anyway... so guilty.
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6:58PM on 09/24/2012

Guilty

Guilty. Why. Because someone who writes/directs some of the best comedies like Zoolander and Tropic Thunder must know when he's signing on to a bad movie and must do so only for the paycheck. Also, I can find some actors funny in a bad movie, but not Stiller. When his movies are bad, they're painfully bad. He's got a lot of great films however, so although I say guilty it should be a very light sentence.
Guilty. Why. Because someone who writes/directs some of the best comedies like Zoolander and Tropic Thunder must know when he's signing on to a bad movie and must do so only for the paycheck. Also, I can find some actors funny in a bad movie, but not Stiller. When his movies are bad, they're painfully bad. He's got a lot of great films however, so although I say guilty it should be a very light sentence.
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6:37PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

Completely Not Guilty. Scores on Rotten Tomatoes should not be taken into account. It should be about the quality of a film. Decided he was not guilty before I even read this.
Completely Not Guilty. Scores on Rotten Tomatoes should not be taken into account. It should be about the quality of a film. Decided he was not guilty before I even read this.
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+3
6:09PM on 09/24/2012

Tropic Thunder is his 'Get Out of Jail Free' card - and he just used it.

Seriously though what is it with the comedians and the lazy efforts? Going by the past defendants I'd say it looks like the funny men need to up their game.
Seriously though what is it with the comedians and the lazy efforts? Going by the past defendants I'd say it looks like the funny men need to up their game.
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4:10PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

you cant put Zoolander or Mr Furious in jail!!!
Also is the only Reason Katherine Heigl hasnt appeared on here because there isnt enough defence for her?
you cant put Zoolander or Mr Furious in jail!!!
Also is the only Reason Katherine Heigl hasnt appeared on here because there isnt enough defence for her?
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3:42PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

But on probation.
But on probation.
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3:09PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

Defense is just TOO strong! Zoolander could never be guilty.
Defense is just TOO strong! Zoolander could never be guilty.
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3:08PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

(I hope I picked the right colour) Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball and Zoolander alone atone for most of his sins. He has more than enough in reserve to cover his other evils.
I like him.
(I hope I picked the right colour) Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball and Zoolander alone atone for most of his sins. He has more than enough in reserve to cover his other evils.
I like him.
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3:02PM on 09/24/2012

Not guilty

sigh.........not guilty
sigh.........not guilty
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2:59PM on 09/24/2012

Both

Stiller can be great in the right role, even in more recent films (ie- "Tropic Thunder"), but he seems content to coast on his 'aw schucks'-ness, and that's annoying. I don't think he's entirely guilty, nor is he entirely innocent. So, house arrest?
Stiller can be great in the right role, even in more recent films (ie- "Tropic Thunder"), but he seems content to coast on his 'aw schucks'-ness, and that's annoying. I don't think he's entirely guilty, nor is he entirely innocent. So, house arrest?
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+1
2:52PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

The defense should have submitted Greenberg as evidence, and the prosecution needs to not play fast and loose with it's evidence ( Ben Stiller wasn't in The Big Year ). Besides, even if you throw him in movie jail, he's Tony Wonder, he'll magic his way out.
The defense should have submitted Greenberg as evidence, and the prosecution needs to not play fast and loose with it's evidence ( Ben Stiller wasn't in The Big Year ). Besides, even if you throw him in movie jail, he's Tony Wonder, he'll magic his way out.
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2:50PM on 09/24/2012

Not guilty

Stiller has been hit and miss recently but in no way has fallen off like some of his contemparies. I get the impression he does the 'neurotic dude' schtick for a couple paychecks but when he's into the material the guy can really knock it out the park.
Stiller has been hit and miss recently but in no way has fallen off like some of his contemparies. I get the impression he does the 'neurotic dude' schtick for a couple paychecks but when he's into the material the guy can really knock it out the park.
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2:40PM on 09/24/2012
I've never been a fan of Ben Stiller's. He's had some decent roles and funny movies, but for the most part - he's a one-trick pony. His style of comedy has been the same since he became famous. And that style got old really quick.

GUILTY
I've never been a fan of Ben Stiller's. He's had some decent roles and funny movies, but for the most part - he's a one-trick pony. His style of comedy has been the same since he became famous. And that style got old really quick.

GUILTY
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+1
1:30PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

The defense should have submitted Greenberg as evidence, and the prosecution needs to not play fast and loose with it's evidence ( Ben Stiller wasn't in The Big Year ). Besides, even if you throw him in movie jail, he's Tony Wonder, he'll magic his way out.
The defense should have submitted Greenberg as evidence, and the prosecution needs to not play fast and loose with it's evidence ( Ben Stiller wasn't in The Big Year ). Besides, even if you throw him in movie jail, he's Tony Wonder, he'll magic his way out.
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1:11PM on 09/24/2012
I forgot about Heavyweights and you guys forgot about Starsky and Hutch so I say NOT GUILTY!! Steve Austin should take the stand next.
I forgot about Heavyweights and you guys forgot about Starsky and Hutch so I say NOT GUILTY!! Steve Austin should take the stand next.
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12:54PM on 09/24/2012
Along came Polly is awful, Dodgeball really stupid and (as I said in the Farrelly`s case) Heartbreak kid is really funny. The Museum flicks are both ok, none is really good. And I never was a fan of Tropic thuner, the best part of it was Cruise. Anyway, with many crappy movies and many good one, I dig the man! he`s really cool in my opinion. NOT GUILTY!
Along came Polly is awful, Dodgeball really stupid and (as I said in the Farrelly`s case) Heartbreak kid is really funny. The Museum flicks are both ok, none is really good. And I never was a fan of Tropic thuner, the best part of it was Cruise. Anyway, with many crappy movies and many good one, I dig the man! he`s really cool in my opinion. NOT GUILTY!
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+0
12:31PM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

A tough call, but seeing Zoolander for the first time was like a religious experience for me.
A tough call, but seeing Zoolander for the first time was like a religious experience for me.
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11:20AM on 09/24/2012

Guilty

I'm sorry in advance to all Ben Stiller fans but I just can't get on board with his movies. His original act was good at the time but not even There's Something About Mary can hold my tolerance for him anymore. The few movies that I can stand watching with him in are only ones with a large enough cast that he gets lost to me like Dodgeball and Tropic Thunder. Crucify me if you must but I just don't like the guy; not as an actor at least, he may be a nice person but I've never met him.
I'm sorry in advance to all Ben Stiller fans but I just can't get on board with his movies. His original act was good at the time but not even There's Something About Mary can hold my tolerance for him anymore. The few movies that I can stand watching with him in are only ones with a large enough cast that he gets lost to me like Dodgeball and Tropic Thunder. Crucify me if you must but I just don't like the guy; not as an actor at least, he may be a nice person but I've never met him.
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11:14AM on 09/24/2012
Not guilty. The man isn't always on the money with his comedies. But put him in the director's chair, or sign him up for a small indie film, and watch something special happen. Tropic Thunder was the most consistently funny movie I have seen in a very long time.
Not guilty. The man isn't always on the money with his comedies. But put him in the director's chair, or sign him up for a small indie film, and watch something special happen. Tropic Thunder was the most consistently funny movie I have seen in a very long time.
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+1
11:09AM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

He directed and starred in one of my favorite movies of the 90's Reality Bites...

But if he makes another stupid Focker movie then he gets a retrial.
He directed and starred in one of my favorite movies of the 90's Reality Bites...

But if he makes another stupid Focker movie then he gets a retrial.
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11:08AM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty... For the moment

Unlike other comedy actors, Stiller actually has the potential to be great. Dodgeball and Zoolander prove this easily and Royal Tennenbaum's is a great role for him. So let's keep him out, for now.
Unlike other comedy actors, Stiller actually has the potential to be great. Dodgeball and Zoolander prove this easily and Royal Tennenbaum's is a great role for him. So let's keep him out, for now.
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+1
11:00AM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

The guy is still talented and I like watching his movies. Zoolander 2 and maybe another cameo in Anchorman 2 would be nice. BEEETCHES!
The guy is still talented and I like watching his movies. Zoolander 2 and maybe another cameo in Anchorman 2 would be nice. BEEETCHES!
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+1
10:59AM on 09/24/2012

NOT GUILTY

Zoolander makes it all good
Zoolander makes it all good
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10:51AM on 09/24/2012
Not guilty. I couldn't stand 'The Watch', but I think Stiller himself is always welcome onscreen, he has a very easy comedic persona that's hard not to like.
Not guilty. I couldn't stand 'The Watch', but I think Stiller himself is always welcome onscreen, he has a very easy comedic persona that's hard not to like.
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10:10AM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

His performance as White Goodman makes up for everything he's ever done and will do.
His performance as White Goodman makes up for everything he's ever done and will do.
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10:07AM on 09/24/2012
Guilty. Sentence: He must have Kristen Stewart style botox injection. Justice is served.
Guilty. Sentence: He must have Kristen Stewart style botox injection. Justice is served.
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9:59AM on 09/24/2012

Really?

This week's "defendants" is your grammar, JoBlo.
This week's "defendants" is your grammar, JoBlo.
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9:36AM on 09/24/2012

not guilty

i like him for Tropic thunder,zoolander.hope he ll bounce back.he is better than Adam sandler.wish to see Face-off Ben stiller vs Adam sandler and Jim carrey vs Eddie Murphy
i like him for Tropic thunder,zoolander.hope he ll bounce back.he is better than Adam sandler.wish to see Face-off Ben stiller vs Adam sandler and Jim carrey vs Eddie Murphy
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9:35AM on 09/24/2012

Not Guilty

Not Guilty. The Cable Guy, Tropic Thunder, Greenberg, HEAVYWEIGHTS
Not Guilty. The Cable Guy, Tropic Thunder, Greenberg, HEAVYWEIGHTS
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8:38AM on 09/24/2012

not guilty, yet

I say Zoolander 2 will make or break him.
I say Zoolander 2 will make or break him.
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8:37AM on 09/24/2012
Not guilty. I find Stiller's works more acceptable than Adam Sandler's. My only Prosecution is Meet the Parents sequels which should just stop at the first movie. I actually enjoy Night At The Museum 1&2. For the defense, you should also include "Greenberg" in the list. It's a nice change of pace to see Stiller in a more dramatic role. As for the next Movie Jail, Steven Seagal.
Not guilty. I find Stiller's works more acceptable than Adam Sandler's. My only Prosecution is Meet the Parents sequels which should just stop at the first movie. I actually enjoy Night At The Museum 1&2. For the defense, you should also include "Greenberg" in the list. It's a nice change of pace to see Stiller in a more dramatic role. As for the next Movie Jail, Steven Seagal.
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8:25AM on 09/24/2012
I'm not Stiller's biggest fan, but even I'll admit he has the potential to do good work, both as a comedic actor and as a director. As such I wouldn't movie jail the guy - maybe impose a sentence of making a comedy about a movie star having to do community service though - I like the whole 'art imitating life' creative sentencing aspect.
I'm not Stiller's biggest fan, but even I'll admit he has the potential to do good work, both as a comedic actor and as a director. As such I wouldn't movie jail the guy - maybe impose a sentence of making a comedy about a movie star having to do community service though - I like the whole 'art imitating life' creative sentencing aspect.
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8:24AM on 09/24/2012

Not guilty...

"Tropic Thunder" and "Zoolander" make him exempt.
"Tropic Thunder" and "Zoolander" make him exempt.
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8:19AM on 09/24/2012
Definitely not guilty. Sure, he has his crappy films, but overall he's in good ones.

And Starsky and Hutch should definitely be listed in his defense.
Definitely not guilty. Sure, he has his crappy films, but overall he's in good ones.

And Starsky and Hutch should definitely be listed in his defense.
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8:59AM on 09/24/2012
Yep. Definitely Starsky and Hutch.
Yep. Definitely Starsky and Hutch.
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