Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Zac Efron!

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

That Awkward Moment Zac Efron

The Case

The Prosecution: Dirty Grandpa, We Are Your Friends, That Awkward Moment, Parkland, The Lucky One, New Year's Eve, Charlie St. Cloud, High School Musical series

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I probably don't have to explain to you why Zac Efron is up for Movie Jail. Besides not being a strong actor, Mr. Efron has also starred in multiple panned movies, including his latest release, Dirty Grandpa, which is currently tied with New Year's Eve at Rotten Tomatoes as his lowest reviewed film. Mr. Efron really hasn't shown to be anything more than a serviceable (albeit very attractive) actor in the eight years since the release of the last High School Musical flick. He's not exactly known for taking challenging roles, and while the prosecution would kill for his abs, there's more to acting than being really, really, really good looking.

As for his movies, Dirty Grandpa is just his latest poorly received film. Although Neighbors was a hit with critics and at the box office, Mr. Efron's other 2014 release, That Awkward Moment, didn't fare nearly as well. His passion project We Are You Friends (which had one of the worst opening weekends of all time) received mostly negative reviews, and he also has an awful Nicholas Sparks adaptation (The Lucky One) stinking up his resume.

The prosecution believes Mr. Efron should spend a significant amount of time behind bars, and the prosecution is fairly confident the jury will agree that he needs to serve no less than two years in prison for his lack of range and terrible movie choices.

We Are Your Friends Zac Efron

The Defense: Neighbors, At Any Price, The Paperboy, Liberal Arts, Me and Orson Welles, 17 Again, Hairspray

Ladies and gentlemen, while it's probably true that my client is more known for his looks than his acting abilities, he's done a decent job in comedies, and certainly doesn't deserve to go to Movie Jail. The defense knows that there will be some who will want to imprison Mr. Efron just because of his role in the High School Musical series, but everyone has to get their start somewhere, and we shouldn't hold them against the actor.

Although obviously not on purpose, it seems my client is following a similar career path as Channing Tatum. Both had breakthrough roles in dancing movies (HSM for Mr. Efron, Step Up for Mr. Tatum), and starred in a Nicholas Sparks film (The Lucky One, Dear John) before going on to team-up with a Judd Apatow cronie in a successful comedy (Neighbors, 21 Jump Street). The point I'm trying to make is, like Mr. Tatum, many have come around to Mr. Efron. The defense would like to see him take on riskier and more complex roles, however he's only 28, and has plenty of time to grow as an actor.

2011 Zac Efron may belong behind bars, but not 2016 Zac Efron, and, despite his recent missteps, he still has a very bright future ahead of him.

Neighbors Zac Efron


Has Mr. Efron earned a spot in Movie Jail, or are you a fan of the actor? Should we lock the former Disney star up, or give him a few more chances? Is Zac Efron 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.


Dirty Grandpa Robert De Niro Zac Efron


Ride Along Ice Cube Tim Story Kevin Hart

Fantastic Four and Barbershop filmmaker Tim Story was on trial last week, and, like his Ride Along stars Ice Cube and Kein Hart, he's been found GUILTY of all charges. We won't be sending him "to the dilithium mines on the penal asteroid of Rura Penthe," but he has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term, and I highly doubt the director will be up for a parole hearing anytime soon.


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, Eli Roth, Paranormal Activity Franchise (Halloween Edition), Kevin Hart, Tim Story

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, Michael Polish, Kelsey Grammer, Queen Latifah, Mark Wahlberg, Vin Diesel, Barry Levinson, Aaron Eckhart, Luke Wilson, Martin Campbell, Blumhouse Productions, Tim Allen, Justin Long, Will Ferrell, Chris Hemsworth

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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