Critics are Far From Gospel

There has been a growing groupthink around films and their quality. With everyone checking the Rotten Tomatoes score and waiting to hear their favorite critic give a review, the individual experience with a film can be tainted, and in many ways, destroyed.

Moviegoers and fans should not put too much faith in critics and online chatter at all. But unfortunately, it seems many people place huge importance on review scores and the famous Tomatometer of RottenTomatoes.com. When you see a film get 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, you may not see it, even if you had some interest beforehand. Maybe the film really is that bad, or maybe you just missed a new personal favorite.

This is something I want to stop. Movie reviews are fine in moderation, like anything else, but staking a disproportionate amount of importance on them may prevent you from seeing a movie you’d love, or it may force you to align with opinions you don’t actually agree with.

There are movies that I love and will defend that have terrible review scores. There are also movies I loathe that have widespread acclaim. That’s why I want movie fans to understand that consensus should not be a goal. Unlike peer reviewed scientific studies, where consensus yields us the truest results overtime, art is completely different.

Stories are open to all types of interpretation, and some stories appeal to only niche audiences. They have their reasons to exist, and a loud majority of voices should not discourage viewers from their original intentions of seeing or skipping a film.

For me, it’s all about the plot summary and maybe a trailer. If I’m not intrigued by an interesting or novel plot, or a well-presented trailer, I skip the movie. But if the plot pitch speaks to me, I see it. Critic or audience reviews are just secondary or even tertiary. Recently, I’ve watched the forgotten 2013 college comedy 21 & Over three times back to back, laughing all the way through. But did Rotten Tomatoes agree with me. Let’s see:

TOMATOMETER: 26%

Critics Consensus: “Though it strives to mimic The Hangover21 and Over is too predictable, too unabashedly profane, and too inconsistently funny to carry the torch.”

Sorry, but I had to take a pass on the world renowned “consensus” of the Tomato-wielding, paid cinephiles on this one.

Look over movie reviews if you feel like it, but let your own intuition, tastes and movie-viewing experience guide you.

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