Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Arnold Schwarzenegger!

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: Escape Plan, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Collateral Damage, The 6th Day,  End of Days, Batman & Robin, Jingle All The Way, Twins, Raw Deal, Red Sonja

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Arnold Schwarzenegger is without a doubt one of the biggest action stars of all time, but it's been a long time since we've had a truly awesome Ah-nuld film. You could argue part of the reason why is because of the time he spent away from movies, but even before he was "The Governator" of California, Mr. Schwarzenegger and his films were on the decline. Most of Mr. Schwarzenegger's movies from the late 90s and early 00s underperformed and received very mixed reviews from critics, and it's just been more of the same since his return to film.

Mr. Schwarzenegger is an extremely charismatic and fun actor, but no one hires Mr. Schwarzenegger for his acting range: they cast him because he's Arnold f*cking Schwarzenegger. However, that doesn't mean we should ignore his bombs, his poor film choices or how movie goers just don't connect to his movies like they once did. The problem is since the mid-90s, most of his films feel incredibly weak when compared to previous ones in his filmography.

Look at movies like Collateral Damage, The 6th Day, and his latest Escape Plan: do they come anywhere close to the level of greatness of say Total Recall, Commando, or even Eraser? Not by a long shot. They're formulaic, bland, and not nearly as entertaining as you'd hope for a film featuring Mr. Schwarzenegger. Escape Plan would have been the biggest movie of the 1980s even with not so great reviews, but critics weren't impressed with it, and most of the public ignored it. You can say the problems in Batman & Robin had nothing to do with the actor, but he still took the part, and he's had a few other paycheck films as well. Arnold super fans might love the cheesiness of End of Days, and enjoy the nostalgia that comes with rewatching films like Junior or Jingle All The Way, but would you call them great or even good movies? The prosecution doesn't.

There was a time when Mr. Schwarzenegger was the king of action movies, but that was ages ago, and it's obvious movie goers won't flock to movies anymore just to watch him do the same thing he's been doing for decades. The prosecution knows he gets shit for his acting, however he could still do some drama like Sylvester Stallone did in Cop Land, but instead, we get limp imitations of other films that starred the actor. The upcoming Sabotage has potential, but will it surprise you if it turns out to be another unremarkable post-governor role/film for the actor? At what point will Mr. Schwarzenegger start doing VOD stuff? The prosecution doesn't want to see that, and is positive the jury doesn't want to either. Sending Mr. Schwarzenegger to Movie Jail will help the actor in the long run, and will give him some time to think about his future in movies.

The Defense: The Last Stand, Eraser, Junior, True Lies, Last Action Hero, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Total Recall, Kindergarten Cop, Red Heat, Predator, The Running Man, Commando, Conan the Destroyer, Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator

Ladies and gentlemen, my client shouldn't be sent to Movie Jail, and the reason why is actually presented by the prosecution: "no one hires Mr. Schwarzenegger for his acting range: they cast him because he's Arnold f*cking Schwarzenegger." The actor is only doing what almost everyone expects from him in a film: kill a bunch of people while delivering hilarious one-liners. Few do it as well as Mr. Schwarzenegger, and while some of his recent films haven't performed that well in theaters, people still love the big guy.

As the prosecution states, my client isn't known for being a strong actor. Hell, the most acclaimed he's ever received has been for parts that required little dialogue (the first two Terminators), but the defense argues the actor is actually pretty underrated, especially when it comes to comedies. Films like Kindergarten Cop, Junior, and Twins only work because of Mr. Schwarzenegger's performances in them. They aren't incredibly smart or original comedies, and sometimes the humor is unintentional and due to my client's acting, however these movies simply would not be the same, nor as good, without Mr. Schwarzenegger. Even Jingle All the Way is tolerable because of my client. Mr. Schwarzenegger might not be a fantastic actor, but he doesn't mail in performances either. He's done most of his own stunt work, and even if it is a movie he shouldn't care about (once again, Jingle All the Way), he still gives 110%.

There isn't a need to explore some of Mr. Schwarzenegger previous films, because most of you know and love them. Predator, True Lies, Commando, and The Terminator films are classic Arnold, and it's hard to imagine another actor being as memorable as my client in these films. His earlier films weren't critic proof, however many fans flocked to theaters to see his films in the 80s and 90s because of the actor, and they made a killing at the box office. Just because Mr. Schwarzenegger isn't as popular now as he was then doesn't mean he should be sent to Movie Jail, and the defense is confident the jury will feel the same way.


Does the prosecution have a case, or is the jury going to show up at his front door with pitchforks and torches? Does the actor deserve Movie Jail, or does he just need some career guidance? How much is he to blame for films like Batman & Robin and Collateral Damage? This is a big one guys: GUILTY or NOT GUILTY for Arnold Schwarzenegger?


*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.



Last week the prosecution tried to send Orlando Bloom to Movie Jail, but the jury wasn't down with sending Legolas to prison, and declared the actor NOT GUILTY of all charges. Mr. Bloom was saved by his role in The Lord of The Rings, but members of the jury also voiced their opinion that the actor hasn't done anything truly God awful, and doesn't deserve to be sitting in a jail cell with inmates like Gerard Butler and Ashton Kutcher. But seriously, playing Legolas totally saved his ass.


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

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


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