Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Robert Rodriguez!

Welcome to Movie Jail, a facility like any other, only its inmates are Hollywood

writers, directors, actors and producers. This column will serve as a

Movie Jail

trial. We will put one defendant on trial; lay out arguments for the Prosecution and

Defense. And we leave it up to YOU, the reader, to decide whether the


is guilty of his or her crime. What crime? The crime of consistently being a stinking




Robert Rodriguez



The Prosecution: Shorts, Spy Kids 3 & 4, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D, Machete, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Planet Terror

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, this court has seen its share of directors pass through with the likes of Tim Burton (GUILTY), Oliver Stone (NOT GUILTY), Michael Bay (GUILTY), and Wes Craven (NOT GUILTY). Now that we’re at two a piece on director verdicts, why don’t we break the tie this week? Mr. Robert Rodriguez has been brought up twice by previous juries and we think the case is strong here. While we appreciate Mr. Rodriguez’ creativity, work ethic, and the DIY attitude he brings to filmmaking, in the end, we’re finding the majority of his work a tad frustrating. For one, his films look great and for the most part have solid premises that should satisfy us. But something in the execution and storytelling leaves us frustrated, like going to a strip club. All the elements are in place, but at the end of the night, you’re short on cash, unfulfilled and walking funny. Now, you’re going to say that Machete, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Planet Terror “know what they are” and that they’re “mindless fun”, but I ask the court to watch these again and condemn them for the messes that they are. Flashy editing and highly stylized action is no substitute for sloppy storytelling, causing these movies to fail in executing any kind of coherent narrative. Lock him up folks, this court will not fall for the banana in the tailpipe again.

The Defense: El Mariachi, Desperado, From Dusk til Dawn, Sin City, Spy Kids 1 & 2, The Faculty*

Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, Mr. Rodriguez is a one man wrecking crew of cinematic goodness. What other filmmaker rocks a giant compound in Texas and handles almost every technical aspect of the filmmaking process without leaving the zipcode? From writing, producing, directing, film scoring and visual effects, is there anything this guy can’t do? He’s drifted in and out of multiple genres, all the while putting his own original stamp on every film he’s done. Don’t like the Spy Kids or Sharkboy movies? They’re not for you. As far as we can tell, they do well enough for Mr. Rodriguez to do his cavalier, outside the Hollywood system thing. And while the prosecution claims that Machete, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Planet Terror are failures, all three were praised by both critics and audiences. Not to mention Mr. Rodriguez gave us one of the best and most violent comic book/graphic novel adapations with Sin City, leaving all of us salivating for a sequel. He also taught us how to cook like gangstas. So where’s the crime here?



So, what’s to be done with Mr. Robert Rodriguez? Is he all style, no substance? His movies seem to be fan friendly, but does that excuse its faults? And the

most important question to be asked, once all evidence is taken into

consideration, we ask

you The Jury, is Robert Rodriguez GUILTY or NOT GUILTY? Let’s hear YOUR

arguments, either side, by STRIKING BACK BELOW.

*The court recognizes that all movies are subjective, so






It is the jury’s decision that after reviewing

last week’s evidence, the court finds Matthew McConaughey

NOT GUILTY of all charges. In yet another landslide verdict, the jury’s decision came in almost unanimously but for one or two holdouts who were probably dazed and confused themselves. Umm, Jury Movie Jail??



Eddie Murphy

Vince Vaughn

Tim Burton

The Farrelly


Michael Bay

Robert De




Nic Cage



Oliver Stone

Ben Stiller

Jim Carrey

Wes Craven

Matthew McConaughey


About the Author