Full Disclaimer: This was originally a piece of classwork that was to presented as a speech. However, since I haven’t posted here for months, I figured it was relevant enough to be reposted here. And I am aware how hypocritical this is. Do as I say, not as I do.
Good day fellow humans. Today, I would like to talk to you about a topic I feel plagues our modern film-going society.
And that thing is Rotten Tomatoes.
“But what’s so bad about Rotten Tomatoes?” I hear you say
Well fundamentally, there’s nothing wrong with Rotten Tomatoes. For those unaware, Rotten Tomatoes is a Review Aggregator. It collects reviews of a film from various different websites, works out how many of those reviews were favourable, and converts that figure to a percentage. The site works fine. It does what it says on the tin.
So why am I talking about it?
Well, in light of some fairly recent events surrounding the film known as Suicide Squad, I felt compelled to have a little chat about film criticism with you.
You see some rather disgruntled fans of that particular film, who were appalled by the rather negative critical reception of the film, decided to start a petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes, as it told people that movie was “bad” when in fact, it was actually “good.” this petition received over 22,000 signatures. Over this one superhero movie. These people were genuinely upset that a movie they liked got bad reviews.
I think that is more than enough evidence to suggest that maybe people are taking these reviews a little too seriously. To the point of emotional distress. But why are they getting so worked up over this?
Well, it seems that people think that there is a “right” and “wrong” opinion on what they watch, and that if something they like isn’t well liked by critics, it somehow invalidates their opinion.
This is the main thing that really irritates me about people who do this. They seem to believe that there is an objective way of criticising a film, that a movie is inherently good or bad. However, if you were to actually stop and think about it for a few seconds, you would realise that criticism by its very nature actually is based entirely around opinion, which is almost the definition of subjectivity. So, trying to find an objectively “right” review is pointless!
IT MAKES NO SENSE!
They take the word of critics as those of some all knowing film Gods, instead of someone trying to point a consumer in a nice direction when they go to the cinema on a Saturday afternoon. So, when people find themselves disagreeing with these “Gods”, it tends to create what I would call an Existential crisis, leading them to having a breakdown and than doing some rather silly things, such as the prior mentioned petition and, most worryingly, sending death threats.
There is another part to this particular issue that I would also like to address. That being the use of Rotten Tomatoes as justification for an opinion. For example:
“I just watched Adam Sandler’s latest movie and I thought it was an artistic masterpiece”
“WHAT! You can’t like that movie. It has a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes! That means it has to suck!”
This is a rather limiting mindset, as it means you dictate every bit of media in your life based around the opinions of what are essentially random strangers. Sure, they may have seen more films than your average movie goer, but that doesn’t mean their opinion is more valid than anyone else’s. They are not absolute authorities. They are guides who try and help you find something interesting to watch.
So, in summary, if you are the sort of person who takes reviews very seriously, I would implore you to reconsider. Because, in the end, the main thing about going to the movies is about being entertained*. And if some random on the internet giving it a low score out of ten ruins the movie for you, then maybe it wasn’t so great in the first place. Like what you like, and do not let anyone tell you otherwise, not me, not your friend, and certainly not a critic.
*Unless you’re really into artsy avant garde cinema, in which entertainment is not a given.