Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…John Singleton!

Last Updated on August 5, 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

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The Case

The Prosecution: Shaft, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers, Abduction

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, John Singleton stands before you today and the reason why is very simple: wasted potential. We asked you last week which director should stand trial, and we agree with those that said that there has been a serious drop off in the quality of Mr. Singleton's films.

Mr. Singleon's debut film was Boyz n the Hood, and part of the reason why that film was such a success was some of the courses he took with Margaret Mehrin while studying at the USC School of Cinematic arts. Her FILMIC writing program helped teach students how to create their own vision with their scripts and films.

So why are we talking about Margaret Mehrin and why is this important? Because Mr. Singleton has lost his vision. His first few films are excellent, but cracks begin to show as early as 2000's Shaft. While some people may enjoy that film, the prosecution feels that Shaft isn't all that entertaining, nor did it have the cultural impact that the first ones had.

From there, things start to go downhill for Mr. Singleton. He helmed 2 Fast 2 Furious in 2003 and that film is by far the worst in the franchise. The action scenes aren't exciting, the film lacks the charm of the first one, and if 2 Fast 2 Furious hadn't been so profitable the series probably would have died with that film. Mr. Singleton went on to direct Four Brothers, a movie that some people really like but the prosecution just can't get behind because of how the tone of the film seems to constantly change. The prosecution enjoys some gritty violence, but Four Brothers has that and nothing else to offer. Then there's Abduction with Taylor Lautner, which is a complete mess of a film. A lot of blame gets put on Lautner, but even if you had a more talented actor as the lead I highly doubt that movie could have been saved. It's poorly executed, and that is completely Mr. Singleton's fault.

Which brings us back to Margaret Mehrin's course. The point of her program was so that students could work immediately within the industry and be able to develop their own material, but Mr. Singleton hasn't directed something he personally wrote since Baby Boy in 2001. Mr. Singleton's best films have been ones he wrote, so why has he become more of a hired gun and less of an actual filmmaker? This is the man that also wrote Boyz n the Hood and Poetic Justice, emotionally powerful and important films. The prosecution isn't saying Mr. Singleton should only work on films that "matter," but we do expect more from the director, especially one who has a film that is being preserved in the National Film Registry.

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The Defense: Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Rosewood, Baby Boy, Four Brothers

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Singleon isn't a director who puts out a film every year, or even every two years. He's only directed 9 films since 1991, and when Abduction was released it was his first movie in five years. My client obviously isn't just a "hired gun" because if he was he would have his name attached to more films, or movies that he clearly did for a paycheck. From his filmography, there are only two films that you can truly say he may have done for the cash or are below his talents: 2 Fast 2 Furious and Abduction. And the defense feels that since he doesn't direct that many films those blemishes stand out even more. If my client had directed two or three more films that were well received, would Mr. Singleton even be considered for Movie Jail? The defense doesn't think so.

Shaft and Four Brothers might be on the prosecution's list of evidence, however there are plenty of fans of both films. Reviews from critics might have been mixed, but most of the general public seemed to enjoy those movies. The defense can already hear certain members of the jury angrily cursing the prosecution for using Four Brothers. On the flip side though, the defense also knows there are people that really hate Baby Boy. Liking or disliking a movie can be a subjective opinion, so if we are only looking at Mr. Singleton's films from a technical stand point, the only one you can really fault him for is Abduction. Oh, and by the way that film was rushed into production. The defense isn't saying this is why Abduction turned out so bad, however in this case we do not believe it is entirely Mr. Singelton's fault and shouldn't be a final judgment on his career.

If Mr. Singleton had a few more bad movies on his filmography the defense could see why he would be considered for Movie Jail, but the defense feels the prosecution is writing off the director too quickly and doesn't have enough evidence against my client. He wrote and directed Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice and the very underrated Rosewood: he's earned the right to work on a few more films (especially ones he actually writes) and redeem himself before we throw him into Movie Jail.

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Should John Singleton go to Movie Jail? Is there enough to prosecute him or is Abduction more than enough? Should he be blamed for 2 Fast 2 Furious, or was that just a paying gig for the director and nothing more? We as you the jury, is John Singleton 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.


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Bruce Willis guilty

After reviewing last week's evidence, the jury  declared Bruce Willis GUILTY of all charges. The jury made it clear that while they have love Mr. Willis for years, it's obvious that the actor has been mailing it in and has appeared in some terrible films. Bruce Willis recently said he has become "bored" with action movies, but that's something we've known for years and now it is time for him to pay. Enough is enough, which means Movie Jail for Bruno.


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

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


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