Movie Jail: The People vs. Eddie Murphy

Ever wonder what happens to actors and filmmakers who stop making good films and start releasing bad ones? They land themselves in Movie Jail! JoBlo.com readers will act as the jury to hold celebrities accountable for the diminishing quality of films, while still taking into full account their entire career. While they won't actually spend any time behind bars, this is a fun way for you to voice your opinion as to whether a few bad movies discredits an entire career. So, read through the evidence on both sides and let us know in the comments whether this week's defendant deserves to go to MOVIE JAIL!

The Defendant: Eddie Murphy

movie jail, Drama, Craig Brewer, Eddie Murphy, Craig Robinson, Wesley Snipes, Mike Epps, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Dolemite is My Name, 2019

The Charges: 

Famed comedian, 1980s icon, and musician Edward Regan Murphy is hereby charged with fame abandonment and absues of film quality. Over the last twenty years, Mr. Murphy has willingly and knowingly performed in subpar productions that had met neither a level of quality nor success worthy of his stature.

The Prosecution

EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION: THE GOLDEN CHILD, THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN, VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, METRO, DR. DOLITTLE, HOLY MAN, NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS, DR. DOLITTLE 2, SHOWTIME, THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH, I SPY, DADDY DAY CARE, THE HAUNTED MANSION, NORBIT, SHREK THE THIRD, MEET DAVE, IMAGINE THAT, SHREK FOREVER AFTER, TOWER HEIST, A THOUSAND WORDS, MR. CHURCH

As good as Eddie Murphy's movies can be, his bad ones can be even worse. While he played multiple characters to great effect in COMING TO AMERICA, he turned that trick into a cliche with a steady stream of bad movies like NORBIT and the NUTTY PROFESSOR sequel. A skill he learned from his time doing stand-up and Saturday Night Live, this shtick wore thin by the 1990s. When he tried to switch back into cop mode to leverage his success with BEVERLY HILLS COP, we got movies like METRO and SHOWTIME which fail to meet Murphy's standards.

Many of Murphy's movies have suffered from relying on the cachet his name carried with it and with each bomb, including the historically bad THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH, further cementing that he was no longer the actor we once adored. For every quality film Mr. Murphy released in from 1990 to 2019, there were three bad ones. In fact, there was a stretch between 2000 and 2006 where he had only 1 watchable performance and acted in 9 films (excluding voice work). While it is excusable to made bad films in your career, a stretch that poor is inexcusable.

An adept dramatic actor, too, Murphy spend the last two decades making dreck like A THOUSAND WORDS and MR. CHURCH that tried to mine the success he found from his Oscar-nominated turn in DREAMGIRLS but instead resulted in more Golden Raspberry nominations. Eddie Murphy is a multi-hyphenate that countless young actors strive to be like and yet he fails to capitalize on his own success. While we do not fault him for spending time with his family, he certainly should have selected better projects than he did.

The Defense

EVIDENCE FOR THE DEFENSE: 48 HRS., TRADING PLACES, BEVERLY HILLS COP, BEVERLY HILLS COP II, COMING TO AMERICA, RAW, HARLEM NIGHTS, ANOTHER 48 HRS., BOOMERANG, BEVERLY HILLS COP III, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, LIFE, BOWFINGER, SHREK, SHREK 2, DREAMGIRLS, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME

Ladies and Gentlemen, has there ever been a more unnecessary trial in Movie Jail history? Eddie Murphy is a class act, family man, and comedy icon. To put him on trial is ridiculous. From SNL to his box office hit stand-up films and then his countless classic films like COMING TO AMERICA and TRADING PLACES and BEVERLY HILLS COP, there is no question that Eddie Murphy should be absolved of all charges against him. The sheer magnitude of his successes far outweighs his failures.

Yes, Eddie Murphy made some back movies in the early 2000s. But, in the past ten years, he has made only 5 films compared to 35 made between 1982 and 2009. Taking a step back to only work when he wanted to allowed Eddie Murphy to appear in movies like DREAMGIRLS and the critically lauded DOLEMITE IS MY NAME. In fact, Mr. Murphy is well on his way to earning another Oscar nomination for his amazing turn as Rudy Ray Moore. His recent return to Saturday Night Live also showed he has not lost a step and is still as hilarious as he ever was before.

Clearly, Mr. Murphy has made some poor choices in his recent projects, but his great filmography speaks for itself and shows that you don't lose the ability to be hilarious. With COMING 2 AMERICA debuting late in 2020, the world is likely going to see that one of the funniest actors working today is back at full strength and could be tagging some Oscar gold on all of his future trailers. It would be an abuse of this court's power to find Mr Murphy guilty in light of his extensive roster of movie classics.

movie jail, Drama, Craig Brewer, Eddie Murphy, Craig Robinson, Wesley Snipes, Mike Epps, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Dolemite is My Name, 2019

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

Eddie Murphy is a legend and one of the most successful box office performers of the last forty years. But, he has also spent the last 20 of those years delivering very few hits and a substantial number of bad movies. Does his legacy warrant his innocence or should Mr. Murphy be held accountable for the atrocious abominations that are NORBIT, PLUTO NASH, and MEET DAVE to name a few. You, the Jury, will decide.

*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?

Here is your change to make your voice heard. You are the Jury! Let us know in the comments below whether you find Eddie Murphy INNOCENT or GUILTY and we will share the verdict in two weeks! Remember: this is all for fun. No celebrities have been harmed in the creation of this column.

LAST WEEK'S VERDICT: GUILTY

movie jail, Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems, Netflix, The Ridiculous Six, PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, Reign Over Me, Murder Mystery, Pixels

While his supporters are incredibly outspoken, the votes were overwhelmingly in favor of finding Mr. Sandler guilty on all charges. Unfortunately, Mr. Sandler's wanton disregard for film quality has doomed him in the eyes of the Jury who have elected to overlook bright spots of humor in his recent Netflix output and the acclaimed work he has turned in in UNCUT GEMS. By making cheap and unfunny films for a decade after such a strong start as a movie star, Mr. Sandler is hereby sentenced to a year probation from his Netflix contract with a possibility of parole should he win an Oscar.

Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

5932 Articles Published

Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.