January 30, 2013

Movie Jail Relay Race

Nostra over at My Filmviews excels at putting together "relay races" that ask bloggers to call out their favorite and least favorite artists on the movie scene. Working alongside Terrence from The Focused Filmographer, he's constructed a fun new series that puts offenders in "movie jail" for crimes against cinema. Thirteen participants have modified the list so far, and Iba from iluvcinema has passed the baton to me. Will I be up to the challenge?

Here are the rules for this Movie Jail Relay Race:
It’s time to put some movie people in jail. The object is to give a prosecutor’s argument as to why these movie people belong in “Movie Jail” whether it be for violating the integrity of the content source of one their films, or being a sell-out, just making bad movies overall, getting worse as time goes on or not being in a good movie for many years. The baton will be passed to another blogger who will have to do the following:

In order to free someone from Movie Jail they have to do 2 things:

1 – Give a defense attorney argument defending the plaintiff
2 – Pay bail: the cost of which is another case for the court and a prosecutor’s argument against the actor/director of their choice that will replace the one set free.

There must always be 10 people in Movie Jail.

The Participants
These intelligent bloggers have passionately defended their picks during this important race:

1. My Filmviews/The Focused Filmographer
2. Cinematic Corner
3. And So It Begins...
4. Surrender to the Void
5. Cinematic Paradox
6. The Cinematic Spectacle
7. Being Norma Jean
8. Defiant Success
9. …let’s be splendid about this
10. Lime Reviews and Strawberry Confessions
11. Aziza’s Picks
12. Flixchatter
13. i luv cinema

The Current Inmates
This group of actors and directors has delivered some of the worst examples of movies lately, at least according to my fellow bloggers. I'm inclined to agree with them for most names, but there is one original artist who stands apart from the crowd. While I mount my defense for this unfairly incarcerated genius, let's check out the current group of inmates.

Michael Bay
(Transformers, Pearl Harbor, sexism)

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie)

Raja Gosnell (Big Momma's House, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, The Smurfs)

Katherine Heigl (The Ugly Truth, One For the Money, being full of herself)

Todd Phillips (Hangover sequels, produced Project X)

Eddie Murphy (Norbit, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Meet Dave, many others)

Adam Sandler (That's My Boy, Jack and Jill, Grown Ups)

Kristen Stewart (The Twlight series)

Nicolas Cage (Over-acting to a ridiculous degree)

Jennifer Lopez (The Back-up Plan, Monster-in-Law)

Who I'm Defending: Nicolas Cage
It's so easy to rip on Nicolas Cage for his scenery-chewing tendencies and poor choice of roles. However, few actors have provided more entertainment and been the saving grace in terrible movies. Would the Ghost Rider films even be watchable without Cage? Even a flimsy movie like The Sorcerer's Apprentice benefits from having his quirky appearance. Plus, he gave an excellent performance only several years ago in Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. This example reminds us that every Cage performance has the chance to be something great. It isn't surprising that so many bloggers do marathons of his films. While there are some awful movies in his career, that's going to happen with a guy who works this much. IMDB currently lists 13 movies on the slate for him in the next few years. Cage remains an intriguing actor who's always doing something original on screen. For that reason alone, he deserves to be released from this disreputable group.

Who I'm Throwing In: Gerard Butler
There are actors with less talent than Gerard Butler, but few have wasted so much time in terrible movies. This guy could have a solid career, but someone in Hollywood insists that he should be a leading man. The problem is that he has little charisma and terrible chemistry with his female co-stars. Playing For Keeps, The Bounty Hunter, and The Ugly Truth are the only arguments that I need to make for locking Butler up and throwing away the key.

Looking beyond those romantic comedies, he's also starred in B-grade material like Gamer and Law Abiding Citizen that are barely a step above those clunkers. He may be able to escape his sentence with Olympus Has Fallen and the sequel to How to Train Your Dragon, but that's for another discussion. Speaking from January 2013, Butler deserves to be sentenced to movie jail for horrendous crimes against multiplex audiences. I dare anyone to step in and defend his honor against these legitimate charges.

I now pass the baton to Eric from The Warning Sign.


  1. Excellent choice for both release and incarceration. As I scrolled down the list of inmates, Cage stood out to me too for being the prime candidate for early parole. Yes, he has terrible films, but he also has Kick-Ass, Face/Off, Con Air, Adaptation and The Rock. Case dismissed.

    1. Thanks Jay. I know there's a list of Cage films that are awful, but in terms of potential, he's in a different category than the rest of the list for sure.

  2. Agree with Cage's release. He gets torn to shreds for the current state of his career, but he does have some recent good films/roles.
    Gerard Butlet definitely deserves to be there. His appearance in Movie 43's trailer as a bound dwarf alone warrants his sentence.

    1. I have a feeling that I may get some backlash for Butler fans, but to me he's just wasting his talent. Cage can be awful too, but there's still enough in his career to warrant the release.

  3. Damn fair trade. I kind of love Nicholas Cage. Yes, he's insane. Yes, he makes some truly awful films. But when he's at his best, it is damn difficult to top. Plus, who doesn't love watching an insane Cage performance every now and again?

    Butler... well, I've just never seen him do anything remotely good.

    1. Exactly! Even when he's bad, it's fun to watch Cage go off the rails. I think what makes Butler even worse is that he's being pushed so hard for a persona that doesn't suit him. Maybe he'd be okay in action movies, but he's so awkward on screen in most roles.

  4. Fine choices, Dan. They both have their ups and downs, but Butler's career has been mostly downs.

    1. Thanks Josh! Butler's career has been going down a lot lately.

  5. Thanks for participating Dan, but I have to give most of the credit for this relay race to Terrence, since he came up with the idea. I only did the execution of it.

    Happy to see Cage released. I will watch him in almost anything as he's always entertaining, especially when he's "over the top Cage" like in Bad Lieutenant. I don't have much to say about Butler as he's not an actor who stands out to me.

    1. Nostra, I wouldn't downgrade your participation, as execution is the big part of anything like this project. Nice work! I'm hoping Cage doesn't get put back into it, as there are a lot of other more worthy contenders.

  6. Yeah, when Cage is good he's good. As for Butler, i feel most of the movies he's been in wouldn't really be much better with a different actor(and i found him decent in both 300 and a indie called Dear Frankie) so i think perhaps he just needs to stop signing on to crap.

    1. I think that may be true. I did see Dear Frankie and enjoyed it, but it seems like the bigger paycheck is the goal for Butler at this point. It's been surprising to note the string of such awful movies in a row for the guy.

    2. Btw that was supposed to say "Julian." But yeah his roles have been pretty craptacular for the most part

  7. What a good choice to incarcerate Butler. He does deserve to be here...alongside Nic Cage. haha

    I am curious to see what Ruth has to say on both actors! :)

    Thanks for being a part of this great relay race! and while Nostra is very kind in mentioning me, I truly thank him for launching it in a way in which I could not.

    The relay race continues. and what fun it has been so far!

    1. I know that Ruth is a huge Butler fan, though even she has soured on him recently. I'm very curious to know what she'll think of his placement in jail.

      Great ideas to get this rolling! Nice work!

    2. Ahah, I knew someone is gonna mention me when you pick Butler, hope that won't be the case any more as I've said my good bye. The funny thing is, I was considering putting him in jail, Dan, I actually mentioned that in my post. I don't have a problem that Nic Cage gets rescued either, I do have hope that once his debts are paid off he could actually sign up for decent roles again, I love a bunch of his older movies.

      As for Butler, well I think he's actually got the chops and screen charisma (you're a guy so I get that you don't find him charismatic or sexy). I've seen enough of his earlier work to make me think so, and I don't think he lacks chemistry with his female co-stars. The problem is that a lot of the roles and scripts he chose lately are crap, so yeah, he deserves to be locked up until he's wisen up.

    3. Ruth, I still wonder about Butler's abilities to sell a comedy, even if it was a better part. Still, you make a good point that the biggest issue is that he's appearing in terrible movies. That guy needs a new manager!

  8. Good stuff, Dan! Cage would have been my choice to free as well. Now I'm not so sure I want to free any of these guys, heh.

    Thanks for passing it my way! This is going to be a tough decision.

    1. No problem Eric! It's starting to get very hard to find the person who doesn't belong in this group. I don't envy your position and would have a hard time defending anyone who's left.

  9. I am most definitely not a Nicolas Cage fan, but you made a strong case. And in all fairness, I haven't seen bad lieutenant.

    1. Bad Lieutenant is pretty much a "love it or hate it" movie. Werner Herzog and Cage go way over the top, and I love the attempt. It's a bit much at times but also great.

  10. hAhaha. I just realized that only 1 of the original inmates is still in jail...and then there's the re-incarceration of K-Stew that would technically mean 2 of the original 10 are still in prison!

    fun stuff

    1. That's funny. I think some of the original picks like Robert De Niro and Tom Cruise still have something going for them even if they aren't doing their best work every time. The current group is more on the terrible end of things, not just falling a bit short of past greatness.