Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Cameron Crowe!

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

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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

Aloha Cameron Crowe

The Case

The Prosecution: Aloha, We Bought a Zoo, Elizabethtown, Vanilla Sky

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in 2001 Cameron Crowe seemed to be on the top of the world. Although Almost Famous had a weak showing at the box office, Mr. Crowe won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the film, and it was well-received by critics.

But it appears Mr. Crowe may have used up his creative juices with Almost Famous, as his projects since then have received mixed-to-awful reviews. Vanilla Sky has its fans, but is in no way superior to the original 1997 movie, and Elizabethtown was a critical and box office disappointment. We Bought a Zoo did a little better, both financially and with critics, however the prosecution thought it was incredibly clichéd and schmaltzy. While Mr. Crowe's Aloha may wind up being a sleeper hit, critics definitely aren't impressed with his latest directorial effort (which is at a paltry 18% at Rotten Tomatoes), and most, if not all of, the blame for the film's failures has to fall on the director.

Mr. Crowe has done some great work in the past, so the prosecution isn't trying to throw the book at the filmmaker. However, we do need to do something with Mr. Crowe, and we believe he should serve at least a few months in Movie Jail.

Elizabethtown Cameron Crowe Orlando Bloom Kirsten Dunst

The Defense: We Bought a Zoo, Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, Singles, Say Anything, The Wild Life, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution makes it sound like Mr. Crowe's post-Almost Famous movies have been M. Night Shyamalan level bad, but that's just not the case. Maybe he's stumbled a bit as of late, but he certainly doesn't belong in Movie Jail.

We Bought a Zoo isn't a fantastic movie, but it's still a solid flick, and definitely better than most big screen family dramedies. Vanilla Sky may not be as good as the original and is a flawed film, but the defense really enjoyed Mr. Crowe's take on the story. Mr. Crowe is also responsible for four classic to near-classics (Jerry Maguire, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything and Almost Famous, although the latter two have their naysayers) and it's not like he has a massive body of work; he's only directed three movies over the past decade.

The defense isn't sure why Aloha turned out to be a such a mess, considering the talent in front of and behind the camera. But it happens to even the best directors (Ridley Scott's The Counselor, for example) and we don't believe one or two misfires from Mr. Crowe warrants locking him up, even if it isn't a long sentence.

We Bought a Zoo Matt Damon Scarlett Johansson


Is it three strikes (Aloha, We Bought a Zoo and Elizabethtown) and you're out for Mr. Crowe, or do you still have faith in his abilities as a writer and director? Does he deserve to go to prison, or do you think it's utterly absurd the filmmaker is even being considered for Movie Jail? Is Cameron Crowe 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.


Almost Famous Cameron Crowe Patrick Fugit Michael Angarano


Damon Lindelof

Damon Lindelof was found GUILTY of all charges in last week's trial, and the jury didn't hold back on how they really feel about the Star Trek Into Darkness and Tomorrowland screenwriter. Many jury members said they've been burned by Mr. Lindelof's movie and television projects far too many times, and (as one member put it) "His pompous attitude towards his own writing ability is what keeps him from moving outside of his own box."


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

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

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


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