Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Michael Polish!

Last Updated on August 2, 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

Stay Cool Michael Polish Mark Polish Hilary Duff Sean Astin

The Case

The Prosecution: 90 Minutes in Heaven, Amnesiac, Stay Cool, The Smell of Success, Jackpot

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, director and screenwriter Michael Polish first garnered notice in 1999 for Twin Falls Idaho, but his films since the Sundance indie hit haven't been well-received by critics or moviegoers. Mr. Polish's latest movie, 90 Minutes in Heaven, has earned low marks from critics, and underperformed at the box office in its opening weekend, especially for a film based on a well-known true story and book.

Mr. Polish is responsible for several unmemorable and little-seen movies such as Amnesiac and The Smell of Success, and he also helped write the negatively reviewed comedy Stay Cool. The prosecution will give the filmmaker credit for exploring different genres, however we don't believe he has made an impressive movie since his feature film directorial debut. Even his highest rated post-Twin Falls Idaho film (The Astronaut Farmer) is only sitting at 57% at Rotten Tomatoes.

In short, Mr. Polish has had a very weak run of movies following his breakout film, and although they probably don't warrant a life sentence, he does deserve some jail time for his unsatisfactory big screen efforts.

90 Minutes in Heaven Michael Polish Hayden Christensen

The Defense: Big Sur, For Lovers Only, The Astronaut Farmer, Northfork, Twin Falls Idaho

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Polish hasn't seen much success critically or financially with his films since Twin Falls Idaho, but there's no need to put him behind bars. While he does have a spotty track record, the defense believes Mr. Polish isn't one of the bad guys, and he definitely isn't just another cog in the Hollywood system like other directors and screenwriters who have been up for Movie Jail.

The defense could have done without 90 Minutes in Heaven, however there are a few underappreciated gems on his filmography, like Northfork and Big Sur. Mr. Polish has mostly stuck to his indie roots, which some may argue has had a negative impact on his career, but my client has been making the movies he wants the way he wants. No, they haven't all been great, but it's not as if he's been turning out complete garbage in the years since his Sundance debut.

Perhaps Mr. Polish's most recent films have been a little disappointing, however a prison sentence seems completely unnecessary, and the defense is confident that the jury will agree that he shouldn't serve any jail time.

Twin Falls Idaho Michael Polish Mark Polish


What should we do with the Twin Falls Idaho writer, director and star? Do you still think Mr. Polish is a talented filmmaker, or should we toss him in a jail cell with his wife, Kate Bosworth? Is Michael Polish 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.


Michael Polish Kate Bosworth


Alex Kendrick Stephen Kendrick

Faith-based filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick were found GUILTY of all charges in last week's trial. Although the duo are just making films that only appeal to a certain group of people, most jury members came down on them hard for not making quality movies, and for being too preachy with their Christian beliefs.


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, Hayden Christensen, Dennis Dugan, Sharon Stone, Jessica Biel, Nick Swardson, Simon Kinberg, Alex & Stephen Kendrick

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, Cameron Crowe, Katie Holmes, Elijah Wood, Tarsem Singh, Reese Witherspoon, Burt Reynolds, Ed Helms, Sean Astin

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, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson & Vince Vaughn


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