It seemed nearly impossible for a movie to fail by Fandango's standards.
October 15, 2015 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Be Suspicious Of Online Movie Ratings, Especially Fandango's — FiveThirtyEight.com notices a consistent pattern in Fandango movie ratings, and warns against the perils of relying on ratings provided by companies trying to sell you the product being rated.
Several sites have built popular rating systems: Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb each have their own way of aggregating film reviews. And while the sites have different criteria for picking and combining reviews, they have all built systems with similar values: They use the full continuum of their ratings scale, try to maintain consistency, and attempt to limit deliberate interference in their ratings.

These rating systems aren’t perfect, but they’re sound enough to be useful.

All that cannot be said of Fandango, a NBCUniversal subsidiary that uses a five-star rating system in which almost no movie gets fewer than three stars, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. What’s more, as I’m writing this, scores on Fandango.com are skewed even higher because of the weird way Fandango aggregates its users’ reviews. And while other sites that gather user reviews are often tangentially connected to the media industry, Fandango has an immediate interest in your desire to see a movie: The company sells tickets directly to consumers.

[...]

Fandango.com’s rounding methodology, even if it was just an innocent bug, is a good example of why you should be skeptical of online movie ratings, especially from companies selling you tickets. If this kind of bug can survive unnoticed on the website of a major American ticket seller for who knows how long, there’s no reason a similar bug — or another issue we’re missing — couldn’t be on any other site we’re using to figure out if something is good or not.
posted by tonycpsu (184 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
I live and die by the Tomatometer myself. Nothing above 85% critics rating has ever let me down.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:32 AM on October 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


But do you Live and Let Die by those ratings? That would only be a 66%....
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:35 AM on October 15, 2015 [23 favorites]


It would never occur to me to look at the ratings that total strangers give to movies. If someone I actually know tells me "this movie is awesome and you would like it" then it's reasonably certain that I will like it.

my movie needs are pretty basic though: explosions, and no one talks about their feelings unless it is how they feel about more explosions.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:37 AM on October 15, 2015 [37 favorites]


To Live and Die In L.A., meanwhile, gets a merited 93%.
posted by chavenet at 9:39 AM on October 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


In tomato-related news, there is also, as usual, a big gender imbalance in reviewers there.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:40 AM on October 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


Never heard of Fandango, and RT has rarely let me down. When it has, it's been because I went to see a highly-rated movie in a genre I despise, i.e., my own damn fault.
posted by Sternmeyer at 9:41 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


my movie needs are pretty basic though: explosions, and no one talks about their feelings unless it is how they feel about more explosions.

Death Blow 2: When someone tries to blow you up, not for how you feel about them blowing you up, but for how you feel about them blowing up different things altogether...
posted by AndrewInDC at 9:41 AM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Fandango rated Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 three-and-one-half stars.
posted by boo_radley at 9:43 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


boo_radley: "Fandango rated Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 three-and-one-half stars."

What's your point?
posted by chavenet at 9:45 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


presumably it should have been rated 1 massive collapsed star instead for the way it just fucking sucked so bad
posted by poffin boffin at 9:47 AM on October 15, 2015 [21 favorites]


Should I have added "Q.E. Fucking D." at the end there? Not sure how to proceed, please advise.
posted by boo_radley at 9:49 AM on October 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


poffin boffin: "It would never occur to me to look at the ratings that total strangers give to movies. "

I never met Roger Ebert, but I found him to have some insightful things to say.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:53 AM on October 15, 2015 [22 favorites]


Huh. I've used Fandango to buy movie tickets on more than one occasion, but if someone had asked me "Are you aware that Fandango offers user-generated movie reviews and aggregate star ratings?" I honestly would have said "No, I did not know that."
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:58 AM on October 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


I did not know that Fandango even had a ratings system.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:00 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


For a while, I was using a 'Fair Value' system, where I attempted to ascribe what I considered to be the price the film could expect in a perfect capitalist system. I gave things ratings from a high of $60 to a low of -$20.

More recently, in my articles, I've been going with simply trying to identify the ideal viewer, i.e. the kind of person that will really enjoy the film, and the ideal avoider, i.e the kind of person that would negatively experience the film.

I still lead with the question of whether the film is worth a person's time, but there's an inherent subjectivity there. My time, right now, is less valuable than many. One of the great problems of criticism is the failure to recognize and respond to the multiple tiers of audience engagement: the Netflix and Chill audience is a separate body from the Film Festival audience, etc. Different genres also have their respective fandoms and milieus of engagement.

Of course, when reviewing children's films, I use a different rating system, which goes off of the number of Strong Island Ice Teas (like the Long Island, but with more booze) that make the experience bearable, given the hordes of screaming incontinent podlings that inevitably surround you during a viewing.


My general recommendation is to identify and follow three disparate critics that you find resonate with your own interactions with film, and attempt to hedge the aggregate of their opinions.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 10:02 AM on October 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I don't trust any of those sites. Aside from the gender imbalance, which is enormous, I feel like mainstream critics generally suck when discussing genre films. I have my own metric for deciding to see films, which varies from film to film. For instance: The Last Witch Hunter, which will come out soon.

1. Am I immediately interested in it: No. -1 point.
2. Is Vin Diesel in it: Yes. +1 point.
3. Is he playing his own Dungeons and Dragons character? Yes. +1

Therefore, I will see it.
posted by maxsparber at 10:02 AM on October 15, 2015 [43 favorites]


So what you're saying is that they hired Peter Travers?
posted by benito.strauss at 10:02 AM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Is it "toe-may-toe-mee-ter" or "toma-toma-ter"?
posted by griphus at 10:04 AM on October 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


poffin boffin we call those "boobies and explosions" movies. they are a strong fav when we are tired and brainless.

BUT more importantly there is a raging controversy in my home:

my husband says "tomato-meter" but I say "toma-tomeh-ter", which is obviously the correct pronunciation, amirite?
posted by supermedusa at 10:05 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I never met Roger Ebert, but I found him to have some insightful things to say

hey, whatever works for you is great, it's just not for me personally.

although i do have some unfortunate news for you about him.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:05 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


So you're opposed to the idea of film criticism at all in general?
posted by Sangermaine at 10:07 AM on October 15, 2015


So movie trips are kind of a big deal for us, involving a sitter and a certain amount of hassle and expense, so we've pretty much adopted a blanket rule that if it doesn't get at least 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and we don't have a special reason to see it we don't bother. I can't say it's really done us wrong.

I must admit a certain grim fascination with anything that gets single figures, especially if it was big budget.

User ratings, on the other hand, are pretty ignorable. There's all time film classics on Amazon and Netflix with three star ratings.
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's why I said *found*.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:09 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Artw: "So movie trips are kind of a big deal for us, involving a sitter and a certain amount of hassle and expense, so we've pretty much adopted a blanket rule that if it doesn't get at least 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and we don't have a special reason to see it we don't bother. I can't say it's really done us wrong.

I must admit a certain grim fascination with anything that gets single figures, especially if it was big budget.

User ratings, on the other hand, are pretty ignorable. There's all time film classics on Amazon and Netflix with three star ratings.
"

That's YOUR opinion.
posted by Samizdata at 10:11 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


So you're opposed to the idea of film criticism at all in general?

Writing about film is like dancing about architecture (a lot of fun.)
posted by griphus at 10:11 AM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Nothing above 85% critics rating has ever let me down.

I've been let down enough times that I don't really trust aggregated ratings at all. Quite mediocre movies can scrape out pretty good reviews in aggregate. For example, I watched Win Win based on the strength of the RT rating and the cast, and it was a waste of two hours. Looper should be right up my alley (rian johnson! bruce willis! emily blunt! 93% fresh rating!) but I found it to be a muddled mess covering up a rather boring sci-fi premise.

I honestly don't know how to find a good movie any more. Now I guess I just watch whatever floats by and turn it off quick if I'm not in to it, even if it has good reviews.
posted by muddgirl at 10:11 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


The IMDB ratings work well for me. Anything above seven stars is usually pretty good.

Otherwise, it's a general feeling of " do i have a burning need to see this on the Thursday night beforecit officially opens?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:11 AM on October 15, 2015


my movie needs are pretty basic though: explosions, and no one talks about their feelings unless it is how they feel about more explosions.

Have you played Borderlands 2? You should play Borderlands 2 because you might be Mr. Torgue.

my husband says "tomato-meter" but I say "toma-tomeh-ter", which is obviously the correct pronunciation, amirite?

toe-mah-TAH-mitter 4evar
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:11 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Surely it's toe-may-TAH-mett-er.
posted by stopgap at 10:12 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I sometimes look at the user ratings if there's a movie that looks like it might be "fun" but not "good". It'd be neat to see what sort of results a 2:1 weighted metric using critic scores and user scores gives.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:12 AM on October 15, 2015


In tomato-related news, there is also, as usual, a big gender imbalance in reviewers there.

Rotten Tomatoes is dead to me ever since I discovered that But I'm a Cheerleader only has a 34% fresh rating and the first reviewer couldn't even be bothered to spell the star's name right for chrissakes.
posted by phunniemee at 10:13 AM on October 15, 2015 [23 favorites]


So you're opposed to the idea of film criticism at all in general?

yes, i think it should be banned and all its perpetrators put to death

i mean really what bizarre fanfiction are you writing about me here? how do you extract this statement from me saying "I don't choose what movies to watch from online reviews, i prefer recommendations from friends who know what kind of movies i like".
posted by poffin boffin at 10:13 AM on October 15, 2015 [33 favorites]


Ok now I have "toma-toma-toma-toma-toma-toma-me-ter" stuck in my head to the tune of "Karma Chameleon" and you will all pay dearly for this trespass.
posted by griphus at 10:14 AM on October 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


If it's any consolation, griphus, you're not alone.
posted by stevis23 at 10:15 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Certainly not any more now that I've read that comment.
posted by phunniemee at 10:16 AM on October 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


i mean really what bizarre fanfiction are you writing about me here? how do you extract this statement from me saying "I don't choose what movies to watch from online reviews, i prefer recommendations from friends who know what kind of movies i like".
poffin boffin

Sorry, didn't mean to touch a nerve there. Given what you've said, it seems like you don't see much value in criticism and I was wondering why.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:16 AM on October 15, 2015


(Also, I didn't intend for my comment to be so absolutist. It's clear that many critics and viewers disagree with me about the two movies I mentioned and many others. When I say "good movie," i don't mean that in any sort of absolute rating but rather as a personal metric of what I enjoy watching.)
posted by muddgirl at 10:17 AM on October 15, 2015


Sorry, didn't mean to touch a nerve there. Given what you've said, it seems like you don't see much value in criticism and I was wondering why.

I have discovered in my life that vast numbers of people who disagree with me about pop culture tastes are not only WRONG but also DUMB AND WRONG and why would I want to support a system that pays people and rewards them for being DUMB and WRONG.
posted by phunniemee at 10:18 AM on October 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


stevis23: "If it's any consolation, griphus, you're not alone."

2 / 10 stars.

The poster happily expects recognition for lacking selfcontrol. Not to mention the entire post is based on an obsolete 80's song that was NOT even by Adam Ant. I will never give this poster my favorites by reading this post again. Also, the post was derivative by being a mere continuation of the post above it.
posted by Samizdata at 10:19 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I must admit a certain grim fascination with anything that gets single figures, especially if it was big budget.

It's amazing to me that this is even possible. I understand how some daring experiment in form might aim for the stars and fail spectacularly, but how do you not manage to make something minimally competent and entertaining out of, for example, the Fantastic Four? If you gave me free reign and a budget equal to the gross domestic product of a small nation, I think I could put together something that would hold most people's attention for 98 minutes.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:19 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have people who swear by Rotten Tomatoes before they watch a show or a film. Some people use the AV Club as their metric. For me, it's more about having an interest in the film/show itself that I probably discovered through friends or through here. I don't really pay much attention to whether or not it got a Fresh rating or not.

Same goes for Amazon or Goodreads reviews. I don't really care about them so I don't bother reading them. (Unless someone points out funny ones or weird ones or unhinged ones. But that's for entertainment not making a choice about anything.)
posted by Kitteh at 10:19 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


seems like you don't see much value in criticism and I was wondering why.

I've been a film critic for decades, and I also see no value in film criticism -- as a consumer guide. I don't trust any of those fools.

Criticism is valuable when it explores themes, or exposes filmmaking techniques, or otherwise illuminates the film. But if it is one schmuck's opinion about whether the film is worth seeing, their opinion is about as valuable as literally anybody else's.
posted by maxsparber at 10:20 AM on October 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


I'm usually pretty bored by middlebrow Hollywood output, and I actively dislike most big "spectacle" movies, so my metric, for multiplex films anyway, is the distance between the highest and lowest scores on Metacritic.

Typically, the higher the spread, and the more polarized the reviews are, the more likely I am to see the movie. If a lot of critics hate it AND love it, it means that chances were taken, and there's likely something interesting there to chew on. It's no guarantee that I'll enjoy the movie, of course, but it's likely give me plenty to think about and discuss afterward. Which is more valuable, to me, than being kind of bored by a reliably mediocre awards bait drama.

From what I've seen, the filmmakers who benefit most from this selection process are the Wachowskis, whose last few movies have had HUGE spreads: Jupiter Ascending (85 point spread), Cloud Atlas (90 point spread), Speed Racer (75 points).

To me, the perfect "must-see" movie would have a 50 score on Metacritic, with half the critics giving it a 100, and half the critics giving it a zero.
posted by incomple at 10:20 AM on October 15, 2015 [29 favorites]


A thing I've been paying attention to more and more are late reviews as a possible red flag. When all the other new movies for the week have ratings but Big Star Vehicle doesn't there's a fair chance something is up.
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


see the thing is, had Spouse and I bothered to look at things like ratings and listened to things like the criticisms of our peers, it might have allowed us to miss out on the glorious trash that is, respectively, Jupiter Ascending and Kingsmen: Secret Service. both movies are deeply, deeply flawed in different respects and completely inappropriate for anything but 2 adult consenting humans rolling up on the couch with crunchy snacks in hand to watch on cheap/free streaming service, but they both scratch that "I need loud pretty brainless entertainments" itch so there's that.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:21 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


A thing I've been paying attention to more and more are late reviews as a possible red flag. When all the other new movies for the week have ratings but Big Star Vehicle doesn't there's a fair chance something is up.

Yep. Ebert always wagged his finger (literally) at those ones.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:26 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"If you gave me free reign and a budget equal to the gross domestic product of a small nation, I think I could manage to put together something that would hold most people's attention for 98 minutes."

It'll be difficult to get that budget and it comes with overseeing.

You will never get free reign on a budget that size unless you pony up the money yourself.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:26 AM on October 15, 2015


My usual explanation involves massive amounts of cocaine.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I know what you mean but I have chosen to picture this as you right before you explain.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:34 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


This post led me to the amusing observation that Orlando Bloom is listed on Rotten Tomatoes as a voice actor from the 1978 rotoscope version of Lord of the Rings (Hello? John Hurt as Aragorn! Anthony Daniels as Legolas!).
posted by nzero at 10:37 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do not beleive RT works all that well as a historical retrospective.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on October 15, 2015


Vote manipulation on imdb came up over the (pretty atrocious) Courtney-killed-Kurt movie Soaked in Bleach on reddit. Pretty interesting if you can overlook the breathless conspiracy theory paranoia of some of the commenters.
posted by mannequito at 10:42 AM on October 15, 2015


I do not beleive RT works all that well as a historical retrospective.

What are you talking about? Inside Out is obviously the 15th greatest film ever made.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:43 AM on October 15, 2015


Does nobody just kind of take a more diverse approach or combination of approaches for movies?

I usually go some mix of friends recommendations, recommendations by critics or people I follow online, individual written reviews, the trailer, the tomatometer, and also seeing who directs or acts in it. And sometimes I just watch whatever's available for online streaming or what's playing at the theater. I also admit, sometimes I see a big ass billboard or wall mural of the movie and think, "I like that movie's advertising, maybe i'll go see it."

It's not foolproof, but at least it yields something interesting or new.
posted by FJT at 10:44 AM on October 15, 2015


An important thing to remember about a high Tomatometer score isn't that a high score means a great movie. It just means almost everyone agrees it's at least pretty good.
posted by chimaera at 10:44 AM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Critics reviews should be used like a golf handicap. 3/5 ⭐️That I like = 5/5 ⭐️ That I'm ok with.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:56 AM on October 15, 2015


Also, the latest Fantastic Four movie wasn't that terrible. You can see what the director was going for in the first third or so, a sort of dark and horrific vibe. After that, it just suddenly switches gears for no reason and goes downhill into crap.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:58 AM on October 15, 2015


I'd sort of had it with the imdb ratings when I saw that the site ranks "The Shawshank Redemption" and the best movie of all time and "The Godfather" as the second best movie of all time. I didn't even have the stomach to continue and see where it ranked "Fight Club."
posted by holborne at 11:01 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


RT works well for sorting out obvious bombs and masterpieces and those close to them... when doesn't reach those heights (or lows) then its counting of above or below 50% as hit or splat can produce some odd results when critics are more in the middle

Still it's handy for having all the reviews for a film in one place
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:07 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love film criticism but usually wait until I've seen a movie first before I read the reviews. I pick movies to watch based on the director's previous work or if it's something like an MCU movie, I figure that I have to see it since everyone else will and I'll be out of the conversation if I don't.
posted by octothorpe at 11:13 AM on October 15, 2015


Jebediah Atkinson is the only reviewer I trust.
posted by drezdn at 11:14 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I beleive they don't go by rating but straight up ask each critic for a yes or no. Metacrtitic is more abot trying to agregate scores, and TBH it doesn't give as good results.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on October 15, 2015


Oh god, never read reviews for something you're ging to see anyway , nobody has any idea how to write them without loading them with spoilers these days. Generally it's after I;ve seen a movie that I'll read them along with other background material, interviews, etc...
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've always liked CinemaScore. It's like exit polling for movies. So as long as you consider that it's a rating by people who went to see the movie based on the marketing, and their evaluation relative to that marketing, it's useful. If I want to see a movie, and it has an A CinemaScore, I probably won't be disappointed.
posted by smackfu at 11:17 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you gave me free reign

I must briefly be That Guy. It's REIN. Nothing to do with kings. Like you REIN in a horse.

Thank you.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:18 AM on October 15, 2015 [28 favorites]


/Lowers Chysostom's Peeple score.
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on October 15, 2015 [39 favorites]


it makes me very sad that one of their example "bad" films is mortdecai. i can't get enough of that film. it's certainly silly. it's definitely not going to inspire generations. but just funny as hell. i wish they had chosen a different "bad" film. yes, mortdecai. watch it.
posted by rude.boy at 11:20 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I do use reviews, mostly Ebert's, to guide my classic film viewing. I've been working through the 366* films in his Great Movies list but again, I don't read his review until after I watch it.

*I've seen 198 so far which puts me at 54%
posted by octothorpe at 11:23 AM on October 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Did we ever Fanfare it?
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on October 15, 2015


Crimson Peak is hovering in the high sixties on RT. My heart says "you want to love this movie", by brain says "that's probably an indication that it'll be a bit of a letdown", I'm obviously going to see the bloody thing anyway, scores be damned.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


User ratings, on the other hand, are pretty ignorable. There's all time film classics on Amazon and Netflix with three star ratings.

The Netflix star rating is based, in large part, on what Netflix thinks you'll think of the movie, predicated on how you've rated previous movies.
It is not a straight-up user rating.

In the old interface, they used to be separate:
Our best guess for you: 2.1 stars
Average of 100,000 ratings: 3.4 stars

But now it's just one number that is calculated, near as I can tell, on exactly how crappy a movie Netflix thinks you are bored enough to watch.
posted by madajb at 11:27 AM on October 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


Oh dear. Netflix clerly thinks very little of me.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I saw Noah go down from 3 stars to 1 star right after I watched most of it.

I don't know what that means but if Netflix is reading my mind, why isn't it suggesting better movies.
posted by griphus at 11:32 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I generally like Roger Ebert's (RIP) reviews because, whether I agree or disagree with them, I'm pretty confident I know from his review whether I'll like the movie. Well, all but that one time.This guy had it better than the audience.
posted by zippy at 11:33 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


RT has only let me down a few times, mostly with genres that I don't usually enjoy much.

Lately: Sicario. What a ponderously improbable turd that was.

But back on topic: being surprised that Fandango juices the ratings so that you'll be more likely to buy tickets through them is like being surprised that Yelp disappears bad reviews so that they can sell reputation management services to advertisers/businesses. Or that the BBB never gives a business a bad rating.

Sorry for the spoilers.
posted by etherist at 11:35 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've found a high RT score doesn't necessarily mean so much to me -- Hugo is 94% critics, 78% audience, and I think the audience is more right. Star Trek Into Dumbfuckery has an 87%/90%. Low scores are pretty damning, though.

The most useful thing on RT to me are the "top critic" review blurbs, which can give a decent idea of what the movie is about, what may or may not work in it. If a lot of reviewers mention slowness I can be sure it's pretttty damn slow, and decide if I want to see it based on that. It's also fun because I read them aloud to my SO and use different voices for the critics. Colin Covert is the most fun to read, it turns out he's a little bit cajun and likes to pause before the final word and then deliver it.... dramatically. David Denby is a slurping, whiny nerd. Dana Stevens is clipped and direct. Bill Goodykoontz ends up sounding like Tree Trunks. I have no idea what these people sound like irl and don't ever want to find out.

Amazon's ratings seem almost random. Trash with four stars. Average stuff with a fractional stars. Who knows.
posted by nom de poop at 11:38 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, all but that one time.

Without even clicking, I guessed correctly what That One Time was.

I would say 98+% of the time, even if I did not agree with Ebert, I could see the reason for his fondness or disdain for a movie. That one, though... it is hard to grasp that he and I watched the same flick.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:40 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hugo was an obligatory watch thanks to our Oscars challenge. Ugh, ugh, ugh, what a price of crap. But Oscar movies tend to have their own special set of pitfalls.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Crimson Peak is hovering in the high sixties on RT. My heart says "you want to love this movie", by brain says "that's probably an indication that it'll be a bit of a letdown", I'm obviously going to see the bloody thing anyway, scores be damned.

It's a del Toro movie, I'm never not going to see one of his on a big screen. I didn't even like Pacific Rim all that much (or at least not as much as people on Metafilter) but I'm still glad I saw it in IMAX.
posted by octothorpe at 11:41 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Noted critic Leonard Martin gave Laserblast 2.5 out of 4 stars. Is that good enough for you Philistines?
posted by demiurge at 11:42 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Without even clicking, I guessed correctly what That One Time was.

Just one?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:46 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Freddy Got Fingered is the comedy of the year" - Leonard Martin

"Watch out because the next Spinal Tap is Freddy Got Fingered" - Roger Ebelt

"As a pompous Brit I hate American humor but Freddy Got Fingered is a masterpiece" - Antony Layne
posted by griphus at 11:53 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I take RT with a grain of salt after the obvious disparity between the two, shallow, nonsensical, eye-candy, fantasy-masturbation flicks of last year: Jupiter Ascending and Kingsmen. Usually though I stick to animated features and whatever fan buzz sounds like it would scratch an itch.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:59 AM on October 15, 2015


RT gives a very low rating to the greatest film of all time, Bad Boys 2, so I was clearly correct in deciding this website to be of little value to me.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:02 PM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


boo_radley: "Should I have added "Q.E. Fucking D." at the end there? Not sure how to proceed, please advise."

Advisement unclear, underwrote Paul Blart, Mall Cop 3: Blart Hard
posted by boo_radley at 12:06 PM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


demiurge: "Noted critic Leonard Martin gave Laserblast 2.5 out of 4 stars. Is that good enough for you Philistines?"

Ladies and gentlemen, the Leonard Maltin sketch.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:06 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


presumably it should have been rated 1 massive collapsed star instead for the way it just fucking sucked so bad

Now I want to know what sequence of events led you to watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
posted by echocollate at 12:16 PM on October 15, 2015


I see Pan is getting a real panning... I'm here all week, tell you're friends.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:17 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Criticism is valuable when it explores themes, or exposes filmmaking techniques, or otherwise illuminates the film. But if it is one schmuck's opinion about whether the film is worth seeing, their opinion is about as valuable as literally anybody else's.
posted by maxsparber at 10:20 AM on October 15


Especially coming from a "film critic," that's kind of an odd view of the value of film reviews in helping audiences choose to watch a film. I am sure I'm not the only person who often reads a scathing review of a movie and thinks "this movie sounds like exactly what I like." This happens all the time for me, and I suspect for others as well. So reviews can be very helpful in deciding what movie to see.

And to say a critic's opinion is no more valuable than "anybody else's" ... that's not actuslly saying a critic's opinion is worthless. Anybody who sits down to write a few hundred words on a film I'm interested in, has an opinion that is worth something to me. The thing is, most people don't take the time to do that, it's mainly "film critics" who write really thorough reviews, so yeah, they're the ones I read. But I also read tons of user reviews on Amazon and IMDB which are insightful as well.

So your attempt as a "film critic" to diminish the value of film criticism doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
posted by jayder at 12:18 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think maxsparber is attempting to diminish the idea that a piece of film criticism should be a yes/no valuation, as opposed an exploration of a film.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:24 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Noted critic Leonard Martin gave Laserblast 2.5 out of 4 stars. Is that good enough for you Philistines?

Someone being "noted" for their profession isn't always a positive. Consider noted gangsters or noted mass murderers or noted politicians, for instance, who remain in the public memory bank because they are, well, notable.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:28 PM on October 15, 2015


It would be nice if film critics could give you more of a sense of the proper way to experience upcoming movies. E.g.,
  • Furious 7: You must see this opening day, there are no alternatives. It's not as good as the last two, but whaddaya gonna do?
  • Kingsmen - The Secret Service: You will think it looks terrible but you'll eventually watch it on a plane and be thoroughly entertained for two hours
  • Selma: You will fully intend to watch it in the theater, then end up watching it on a plane and cry openly in front of strangers
  • It Follows: You will probably not want to see this, but you will go see it with friends and end up not being able to stop thinking about it for months
  • Ex Machina: You will know nothing about it and fall asleep partly through it for unrelated reasons, but like what you saw enough to go back and watch it in the theater again and wish there was like, I don't know, an expansion pack or something
  • Inside Out: You will like it okay, but be afraid to express anything less than effusive praise because you don't want to be That Guy
posted by psoas at 12:35 PM on October 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


Big Stone Gap: Your wife will get all excited to see this and you will go to please her. Later, she will apologize.
posted by Naberius at 12:38 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have found that I generally like movies that score between 60 and 80% on the tomato-meter. If it's higher than 80, then generally it feels like there are too many critics who have fallen for marketing, (I like Pixar, but not everything they do is THAT great) and if it's below 60, it's probably shit. But 60-80 means that there's something interesting going on in a film that many critics like, but is weird enough that it puts a not-insignificant number of critics off.

I've seen a fair number of movies, so these days a film needs to be doing something a little weird to make me find it interesting.
posted by nushustu at 12:41 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Watch out because the next Spinal Tap is Freddy Got Fingered" - Roger Ebelt

The real Ebert wrote this about FgF:
This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.
posted by octothorpe at 12:43 PM on October 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


obvious pandering on his part to Big Cooper
posted by poffin boffin at 12:54 PM on October 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


Rotten Tomatoes is dead to me ever since I discovered that But I'm a Cheerleader only has a 34% fresh rating

This makes me gasp, clutch my chest, and tell Weezy I am coming home. I am horrified. If you will bring pitchforks I will get the torches.

To me, the perfect "must-see" movie would have a 50 score on Metacritic, with half the critics giving it a 100, and half the critics giving it a zero.

I think the problem with that is that most people are reluctant to give something an absolute zero unless it's bad both in matters of taste and in matters of apparent competence. I'm sympathetic to your premise but I think I'd want 100% on one end and 20% on the other.

Maybe I am wrong about how many people rate something that they can tell is competent but just wasn't right for them. I myself have stopped rating stuff on Goodreads when I feel like there was nothing wrong with the book but it was just wrong for me.
posted by phearlez at 12:54 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Inside Out: You will like it okay, but be afraid to express anything less than effusive praise because you don't want to be That Guy

Perhaps you've heard of the one person in the world who didn't like Wall-E? ✋
posted by phunniemee at 12:58 PM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am grateful to be informed of the gender imbalance at RT, which is really, really glaring and disappointing.

My general rule for other aggregate sites is to remember: it's not just how a movie is ranked, but why it ranked that way. So seeing a movie got a 90% aggregate but the reviews are basically saying "Hemsworth does a great job of acting like a swaggering meathead who is nice to look at, and totally fulfilled expectations", no, I'm not going to see it.

I mean I do not watch just anything over 85% on RT. There are subjects, directors, and content that I have no interest in seeing, no matter how well executed. I guess it ties in to the whole Two Questions of criticism, i.e., what is X trying to do and do they do it. A movie might do X very well, but if I have no interest in X, I'm still not going to watch it.

That said, since it's apparently horribly gender biased I won't be visiting RT again anyway so there it is.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:58 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe I am wrong about how many people rate something that they can tell is competent but just wasn't right for them.

People are terrible at this.
cf. all the extremely mediocre crowdsourced review scores for It Follows
posted by phunniemee at 1:00 PM on October 15, 2015


I've basically had to avoid just about all discussion of It Follows because oh my god
posted by griphus at 1:02 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


right?
posted by phunniemee at 1:02 PM on October 15, 2015


It keeps coming up as a recurring joke on Never Not Funny and I can't hit the "2 minute jump" button fast enough.
posted by griphus at 1:03 PM on October 15, 2015


Without even clicking, I guessed correctly what That One Time was.

Just one?


I would like to amend my statement to be "just that couple of three times." New hypothesis: Roger Ebert has a soft spot for cheesy space operas. Here's his review of Flash Gordon, the ne plus ultra of the genre:

"At a time when 'Star Wars' and its spin-offs have inspired special effects men to bust a gut making their interplanetary adventures look real, 'Flash Gordon' is cheerfully willing to look as phony as it is.

I DON'T mean that as a criticism. You can make a city float in the clouds and look marginally realistic (as in 'The Empire Strikes Back'), but there's something sort of fun about the 'Flash Gordon' city that floats in the clouds and looks like a large miniature model floating in fake clouds. And as the spaceships lumber past on the screen, I really wouldn't have minded if they'd left a tube of model airplane glue lying in the lower left-hand corner."
posted by zippy at 1:29 PM on October 15, 2015


Ebert adds: "This is space opera, a genre invented by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Hugo Gernsback and other men of unlimited imagination harnessed to definitely limited skills."
posted by zippy at 1:31 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


THIS THREAD IS NOW ABOUT IT FOLLOWS
posted by shakespeherian at 1:34 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


i still can't figure out if you guys love it or hate it tbh.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:36 PM on October 15, 2015


THIS THREAD IS NOW ABOUT IT FOLLOWS

Wait, can you guys see this thread too?

...phew...

seriously that movie is goddamn great
posted by FatherDagon at 1:40 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm reading this thread on a clamshell e-reader that doesn't actually exist and snacking a whole lot
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:48 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm wearing so much denim.
posted by griphus at 1:49 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


It Follows is the only thing that's keeping me from spitting literal rage-induced fire over the not-Mae Whitman casting choice for the Independence Day sequel.
posted by phunniemee at 1:50 PM on October 15, 2015


Nthing "It Follows is awesome"
posted by phearlez at 2:01 PM on October 15, 2015


Is it the 80s? I don't know!
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also this thread is now in a suggested triptych of movies alongside Jennifer's Body and Teeth.
posted by Artw at 2:16 PM on October 15, 2015


Man Teeth is so close to being great but it's especially worthwhile for the MRA-penned one-star reviews on Netflix.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:17 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


wait wait okay on the one hand yes Freddy Got Fingered was awful, but on the other hand I'd say about 10% of the reviews noted the possibility that there was a very small chance that Freddy Got Fingered was actually a Buñuel-esque surreal masterpiece and no one had figured it out yet.

DADDY WOULD YOU LIKE SOME SAUSAGE
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:18 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


It Follows is the best horror film of the year. I thought it had a mile wide plot hole, but then somebody pointed out that it's not so much of a plot hole when you take the monster to be the metaphor of the consequences of women expressing their sexuality.

The problem with the utility of criticism is the diversity of audiences. You'll never have a high batting average writing 'consumer guides'. There are too many audiences too engage.

I consider criticism useful in the same way that a sommelier, a curator, or a travel agent is useful. A good critic uses their sophistication to help navigate the film-goer to the most rewarding cinematic interaction.

Criticism is useful, because we need parsers, even professional parsers. Our world is too information rich, too culturally rich. And if we cede the profession of parsing, we get Fandango and everything that started this thread: rigged marketing.
To assign no value to a profession is a classic approach of capitalism, used to crush the labor value of the position. If we let the amateurism of some critics void the field of criticism then we relegate criticism to the hacks that get paid by the big media companies.

As for the triptych, Hard Candy is the best piece to include with Jennifer's Body and Teeth. Or Ginger Snaps.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 2:19 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I preferred the early 00s remake, which of course they retitled Fingering Freddy.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:20 PM on October 15, 2015


I'm waiting for IT FOLLOWS 2: IT FOLLOWS IN SPACE
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on October 15, 2015


literally all i want out of life is to see megan fox ritually consuming the flesh of men
posted by poffin boffin at 2:27 PM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


As for the triptych, Hard Candy is the best piece to include with Jennifer's Body and Teeth. Or Ginger Snaps.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:27 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Criticism also needs to be taken in the time and social context of the critics writing the reviews. Critics are humans so they're going to be influenced by their personal biases and political beliefs. Since Rotten Tomatoes aggregates all reviews and most reviews are written around the time of a movie's release, it means the rating of a movie made in 1983 will mostly be determined by the perspective of critics from 1983.

Any time you're looking at an older movie's aggregate review score involving anything remotely controversial it is worth reading a sampling of reviews to get a feel of the perspective the reviewer is coming from. For example, when I watched Kramer vs. Kramer I was put off by the film's palpable distaste for working women. But reviewers at the time seemed to find it a totally accurate and sympathetic portrayal. It's like going back in time!
posted by schroedinger at 2:51 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


IT FOLLOWS 2: THEY FOLLOW


(I'm right here, Hollywood!)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:51 PM on October 15, 2015


Also It Follows wasn't for me... I know.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:52 PM on October 15, 2015


IT FOLLOWS: IT DIDN'T FOLLOW WHAT IS WRONG
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on October 15, 2015


IT FOLLOWS 2: THEY FOLLOW

ITS FOLLOW
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


IT FOLLOWS 2: IT FOLLOWS SYLLOGISTICALLY

(In this sequel, I'm imaging that the "it" following these women is a dudebro who absolutely will. not. stop. ever. until you are mansplained to.)
posted by AndrewInDC at 3:00 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


LA CAGE AUX FOLLOWS
posted by zippy at 3:00 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


A RIVER FOLLOWS THROUGH IT.
posted by Naberius at 3:06 PM on October 15, 2015


and to think I almost mentioned Fury Road too
posted by psoas at 3:10 PM on October 15, 2015


FOLLOWING IT: IT FOLLOWS 2
posted by griphus at 3:11 PM on October 15, 2015


IT FOLLOWS 3: I WILL FOLLOW YOU, WILL YOU FOLLOW ME (ALL THE DAYS AND NIGHTS THAT WE KNOW WILL BE)
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:12 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


IT FOLLOWS 3: IT FOlllOWS
posted by psoas at 3:14 PM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


okay I hate to combo break, but there's this sort of interesting quote from Ebert on the wikipedia page for Freddy Got Fingered:
Later, in his review of the film Stealing Harvard, a film co-starring Green, Ebert wrote: "Seeing Tom Green reminded me, as how could it not, of his movie Freddy Got Fingered, which was so poorly received by the film critics that it received only one lonely, apologetic positive review on the Tomatometer. I gave it—let's see—zero stars. Bad movie, especially the scene where Green was whirling the newborn infant around his head by its umbilical cord. But the thing is, I remember Freddy Got Fingered more than a year later. I refer to it sometimes. It is a milestone. And for all its sins, it was at least an ambitious movie, a go-for-broke attempt to accomplish something. It failed, but it has not left me convinced that Tom Green doesn't have good work in him. Anyone with his nerve and total lack of taste is sooner or later going to make a movie worth seeing.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:20 PM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


IT FOLLOWS 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
posted by burgerrr at 3:24 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


IVT 4LOWS
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


IT FOLLOWS 2: FOLLOW THROUGH
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:33 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


For a long time, my favorite example of Ebert being totally wrong was Spawn. He seems to have had a weakness for sci-fi spectacle films, no matter how awful they were.
posted by neckro23 at 3:33 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Any time you're looking at an older movie's aggregate review score involving anything remotely controversial it is worth reading a sampling of reviews to get a feel of the perspective the reviewer is coming from.

Oh, is this why one of the But I'm a Cheerleader reviews written by a man contains the phrase "any self-respecting lesbian should..."?

still bitter
posted by phunniemee at 3:38 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


in the blockbuster sequel But I'm A Movie Reviewer that man will be ritually consumed by megan fox
posted by poffin boffin at 3:47 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


poffin boffin: "in the blockbuster sequel But I'm A Movie Reviewer that man will be ritually consumed by megan fox"

So, allowed to choose the manner of his execution? [NSFW, Monty Python]
posted by chavenet at 3:52 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I once made the mistake of putting the It Follows soundtrack on while cooking and everything got so spooky and menacing I had to turn it off and go sit in a dark room for a little while until I calmed down
posted by The Whelk at 4:03 PM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I lived in England for a semester so I say it, "IT AUTUMNALS"
posted by nom de poop at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


IT FOLLOWS: H2O

"surely it can't have gotten into this submarine, that would be absurd!"
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on October 15, 2015


Then maybe an anthology film with lots of ITs following across various hstirical period, mInly variants on "It can't have possibly got into this castle/hot air balloon/BOAC Constellation - oh no! It has!".
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on October 15, 2015


A hard tasteless grain becomes trendy and appears in every resteraunt you go to, you can't escape, try to order something new and ...

IT FARRO
posted by The Whelk at 4:26 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Goddamnit I am now about to watch this movie because of the title riff in this thread.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:53 PM on October 15, 2015


this is the first I've heard that there are people in the world who thought It Follows was not an excellent movie and I'm horrified
posted by triggerfinger at 4:59 PM on October 15, 2015


'Nothing can grow in this soil!'

IT'S FALLOW
posted by shakespeherian at 5:07 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nothing can prepare you for the birth of a domestic pig litter

IT FARROWS
posted by The Whelk at 5:25 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


This summer... only one actress dated both Sinatra and Allen and lived to tell the tale

MIA FARROW
posted by shakespeherian at 5:31 PM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


FIVE CHILDREN AND IT FOLLOWS
posted by Artw at 5:44 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Don't listen to inane criticism of the best horror film in years


IT HOLLOW
posted by The Whelk at 5:46 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


IT FOLLOWS BUT IT MIGHT BE A BIT LATE BECAUSE IT IS GETTING SOMETHING FROM THE CHURRO STAND SO IT ISN'T HUNGRY LATER
posted by um at 5:55 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


i have this reoccurring nightmare that i am a helpless churro clenched in the chubby fist of a mexican child at a street fair

it's very distressing
posted by poffin boffin at 6:01 PM on October 15, 2015


MORSHMOLLOW
posted by zippy at 6:04 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


For 120 days, four men will attempt to discover the limits of sexual excess

IT'S SALÒ
posted by shakespeherian at 6:09 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


It Follows, but clown.

STEPHEN KING'S IT FOLLOWS
posted by Artw at 6:09 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


My brow, it furrows.
posted by um at 6:09 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


i have this reoccurring nightmare that i am a helpless churro clenched in the chubby fist of a mexican child at a street fair

IT CHURROS
posted by um at 6:16 PM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Maybe its because I've worked in the film industry for nearly 2 decades but I'm with Maxsparber on this - film criticism, whether in its academic or populist forms, is not a great way to choose films at your local theatre. It can be a good way to make connections between films, themes, directors or perhaps help understand a film but unless you understand where the critic is coming from I think it can mislead. We all have had experiences like that - "The critics liked this shit?" or "Wow, this film is awesome why did the critics gave it such a low score."

A better way, I think, is to understand what you like and know the people making your entertainment. Knowing who's in it, who shot it, who wrote it and who directed it are just as important as knowing the plot IMO. As for IMDB ratings, those have been gamed for years to the point that they are nearly worthless.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:23 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


As for IMDB ratings, those have been gamed for years to the point that they are nearly worthless.

Yeah like how you can't actually rate Spinal Tap an 11. Bullllshiiittttttttt
posted by phunniemee at 6:41 PM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


That would actually be pretty awesome if they allowed ratings just for Spinal Tap that go to 11.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:48 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


burgerrr: "IT FOLLOWS 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO"

IT WON'T FOLLOW: NOT WITH THAT OVERUSED PUNCH LINE
posted by Samizdata at 8:06 PM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


It would never occur to me to look at the ratings that total strangers give to movies. If someone I actually know tells me "this movie is awesome and you would like it" then it's reasonably certain that I will like it.

This is an odd position for me. Mainly because I don't really have that many friends, but mostly because of the ones I know, virtually no one has seen the current movie releases that first or second week. Hence critics fill a niche.

And you can trust a critic as much as you trust a friend; Roger Ebert was rock-solid movie critic, even when I didn't agree with him. I'll bet some of your friends actually liked The English Patient and Million Dollar Baby, so why the hell would you trust them to guide you to a good movie.
posted by zardoz at 9:55 PM on October 15, 2015


RT FOLLOWS
posted by Artw at 10:14 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


So that was a great movie. I maybe should have read a little about it first - if I had known there was a rape I would have at least been emotionally prepared - but arriving at the office today, I found I couldn't tell my co-workers anything about it without spoiling it.

But yes, absolutely terrifying and fantastic film.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:25 AM on October 16, 2015


So what you're saying is that [Fandango] hired Peter Travers?

Oh man, noticing what a complete hack Rolling Stone's Peter Travers was in handing out positive reviews to mediocre crap was a key moment in my awakening as a budding film consumer. That he's still at it decades later, his gushing blurbs about shitty movies appearing regularly everywhere, is astonishing to me, and I have to give the man respect for longevity, if little else. efilmcritic.com [I know, I know] named its "Whore of the Year" award after him and had to retire him from competition. He actually writes blurbs that don't appear in his reviews for the studios to use. Hilariously awful reviewer.

muddgirl: I honestly don't know how to find a good movie any more.

Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal is amazingly consistent, reliable and intelligent as a guide to what movies are worth your time. Took me a decade to find him so don't make that mistake yourself.
posted by mediareport at 4:45 AM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


why would you be friends with someone who liked Million Dollar Baby
posted by shakespeherian at 6:06 AM on October 16, 2015


i mean first of all why would anyone pay a million dollars for a baby
posted by poffin boffin at 6:18 AM on October 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's like an ortolan but for four.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 AM on October 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


You tell me where you can find a baby for less than a million. That's an excellent price for a baby.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:15 AM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


That would actually be pretty awesome if they allowed ratings just for Spinal Tap that go to 11.

As a programmer I feel I must inform you that none of us will ever find a joke funny enough to justify adding yet another edge case to a project. Even for Spinal Tap.
posted by phearlez at 8:04 AM on October 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a programmer I feel I must inform you that none of us will ever find a joke funny enough to justify adding yet another edge case to a project. Even for Spinal Tap.

I.T. FAILS
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on October 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Artw is my favorite person for today.

I guess we should be glad that the movie wasn't a bigger success else we'd have gotten the porn parody...

okay I had to go search to make sure it didn't happen anyway. It didn't, but I found this treasure which it awesome and worth your 3 minutes. It Swallows.
posted by phearlez at 12:02 PM on October 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


i mean first of all why would anyone pay a million dollars for a baby

Because it is a baby made from the finest crystal and platinum. The eyes are made of rubies the size of... well, baby's eyes. A million dollars is a steal, but I can offer it at that price because, well, I stole it, and some heroic bloodshed cop killed my fence, so, yeah, liquidation prices.

(Bonus: it makes squeaky noises, if you rub fur on it!)
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:02 PM on October 16, 2015


You want a baby? I can get you a baby, believe me. There are ways, dude. You don't wanna know about it, believe me. Hell, I can get you a baby by 3 o'clock this afternoon. With nail polish.
posted by um at 7:58 PM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll bet some of your friends actually liked The English Patient and Million Dollar Baby, so why the hell would you trust them to guide you to a good movie.
posted by zardoz at 21:55 on October 15


Eponysterical
posted by wotsac at 9:06 PM on October 16, 2015


um: "You want a baby? I can get you a baby, believe me. There are ways, dude. You don't wanna know about it, believe me. Hell, I can get you a baby by 3 o'clock this afternoon. With nail polish."

But I need it fresh and I need the serial number filed off.
posted by Samizdata at 10:01 AM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is fast becoming the weirdest version of Raising Arizona I've seen.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:08 PM on October 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane: "This is fast becoming the weirdest version of Raising Arizona I've seen."

Just wait until I pay in Bitcoins and it's time for FedEx.
posted by Samizdata at 7:56 PM on October 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've always pronounced tomatometer as TOE-MOM-IT-ER, which is obviously not the same word but it rhymes with thermometer and rolls off the tongue.

"Yo dawg, check the tomameter."

"Inside Out got a fever!"
posted by dgaicun at 9:51 AM on October 22, 2015


Something I've noticed about Rotten Tomatoes ratings - and mind you it might be something I've completely imagined - is that they seem to be trending towards greater critic conformity. The 80-100% ratings are seemingly increasing, and are now common when they seemed to be rare in the past. My hunch is that critics, in all their inherent yuppitude, are quick to conform to the dictates of urban professional tastes. And review aggregation, and the Internet in general, are tools that allows critics to more quickly and accurately gauge what they are "supposed to" like and dislike. It's the Observer Effect: Rotten Tomatoes has changed the phenomenon it was trying to measure.
posted by dgaicun at 11:53 AM on October 22, 2015


Not usre the current homepage really bears that out, TBH.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on October 22, 2015


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