Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Chris Columbus!

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

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: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, I Love You, Beth Cooper, Rent, Christmas with the Kranks (screenwriter), Bicentennial Man, Stepmom, Nine Months, Heartbreak Hotel

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, last week one of your peers said director Chris Columbus should stand trial soon for his crimes, and the prosecution agrees there's been a drop in quality in Mr. Columbus' work, as a director and as a screenwriter. Mr. Columbus helmed multiple hit movies in the 80s and 90s and directed the first two Harry Potter flicks, but most of his recent work definitely hasn't been up to snuff. And if you take a look at his filmography, he had plenty of bombs in the past as well.

Mr. Columbus' last three films were Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, I Love You, Beth Cooper, and Rent, and each of these movies received mixed to negative reviews, and underperformed at the box office. There are different reasons why each of these films didn't do well with critics or at the box office, but the prosecution feels most of the blame falls on Mr. Columbus. In particular, Rent and I Love You, Beth Cooper feature very weak directing from Mr. Columbus, and the prosecution believes both projects would have been much better with someone else behind the camera. Percy Jackson wasn't a complete train wreck, but it certainly wasn't fantastic either.

Members of the jury might not think directing three bad films is such a horrible crime, especially considering how long Mr. Columbus has been in the business, however he had plenty of other older bombs as well. Remember Bicentennial Man and Stepmom? Yup, all Mr. Columbus. He also directed the almost unwatchable Nine Months with Hugh Grant.

Mr. Columbus is also a screenwriter, but after doing excellent work with the scripts for Gremlins, The Goonies and Young Sherlock Holmes, the only thing he's written in the past eight years is the adapted screenplay for Christmas with the Kranks. How do you go from being the author of two classic 80s movies (and one very good one), to Christmas with the f*cking Kranks?

With Mr. Columbus failing to produce any scripts that come even close to the greatness of his older work and his recent flops, the prosecution thinks it's clear the director needs to be sent to Movie Jail.

The Defense: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Only the Lonely, Home Alone, Adventures in Babysitting, The Goonies (screenwriter), Young Sherlock Holmes (screenwriter), Gremlins (screenwriter)

Ladies and gentlemen, my client has had a very long, successful career in Hollywood. Like most in the business for so many years, the director has his hits and misses. But obviously the prosecution only cares about my client's failures and not the other fantastic things he's done during his career.

If you grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, Mr. Columbus had a huge impact on your childhood with his work. First off, the man gave us The Goonies and Gremlins. Some may say he was "only" the screenwriter, but he still introduced the world to Sloth, and a creature you should never feed after midnight.

My client also directed the very fun Adventures in Babysitting, and helmed both Home Alone movies. Mrs. Doubtfire was a huge hit when it was released (in theaters and with critics), and is a perfect example of a great Chris Columbus film. My client is a very safe, studio friendly director. Mr. Columbus typically creates movies that the entire family can enjoy, which may not win him any style points with movie buffs, but not every director can be a Quentin Tarantino or P.T. Anderson. Mr. Columbus puts butts in seats, which is important for any studio. It would be one thing if most of his movies were awful, however the defense feels the director has done plenty of solid work.

The defense believes Mr. Columbus also doesn't get a lot of credit for brining Harry Potter to the big screen. It certainly wasn't an easy job, and although some have criticized the first two movies for being too childish, the defense believes it was the right tone for the first films in the franchise. He didn't take any risks or make huge changes that would annoy fans of the books. Mr. Columbus created a movie that made the author, fans and the studio very happy, which is quite impressive considering expectations were already sky high for the first Harry Potter flick.

Mr. Columbus has a few blemishes on his filmography, however the defense doesn't believe they are bad enough to send him to Movie Jail.


What are we going to do with Mr. Columbus? Does the good outweigh the bad, or is it time he paid for his crimes? Should he be sent to prison for his recent failures and previous bombs, or should he walk because of his excellent older movies? Is director Chris Columbus 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. 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.




The jury had no problems deciding Demi Moore's fate in last week's trial. The actress has been found GUILTY of all charges, and although most jury members said Miss Moore is still very hot, her terrible films and so-so acting have landed her in prison. You could say she has a ghost of a chance of every being released from Movie Jail.


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

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, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Aykroyd, Sylvester Stallone, Gavin Hood, Jason Lee, Jennifer Garner, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack


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