Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
July 28, 2017 9:30 AM   Subscribe

How Hollywood Came to Fear and Loathe Rotten Tomatoes (Chris Lee, Vanity Fair) -- As Wonder Woman soars and Baywatch flops, the power of the review aggregator is looking greater than ever—and studios are looking for a way around it How Rotten Tomatoes became Hollywood's most influential — and feared — website (Ryan Faughnder, LA Times) BONUS: ‘The Emoji Movie’ has achieved the impossible—a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes (Michelle Jaworski, The Daily Dot)
posted by Room 641-A (126 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
"We could maybe try to make more movies that aren't focus-grouped, lowest-common-denominator pieces of shit?"
"You're fired. Get the fuck out of my office."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:38 AM on July 28, 2017 [76 favorites]


Yeah, just like Metacritic in video games, this isn't healthy for the movie industry. Aggregate scores are datalike product - they aren't actually data, but look like it.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:38 AM on July 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


I didn't post this earlier but it seems like I can put it here: The Emoji Movie is Inside Out crossed with a Sony commercial and dunked in toxic ooze
posted by hippybear at 9:43 AM on July 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


Somehow, I'm not really feeling all that sad that Baywatch or Pirates of the Caribbean Part 12 failed to find their audience.
posted by octothorpe at 9:43 AM on July 28, 2017 [23 favorites]


Boooo! It's a 3% now coz one critic has judged it 'fresh'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:43 AM on July 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


Rotten Tomatoes is fine if the film is obviously *insert poop emoji* or it's universally critically acclaimed... it's gets a bit tricker / less useful / harder to judge the score when it's a kinda 'well it's ok, not great / not terrible, might be worth a watch' when a number of 3 star or 2 star reviews could unfairly skew its score in either too high or too low
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:49 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I love Rotten Tomatoes. It's just important to look beyond the scores, both critics' and audiences'. Scrolling down to read the reviews, it's very enlightening to see why critics hated or loved a particular film.

Like a highly-rated capeshit film with reviews like "an excellent use of the comic book superhero genre" means I can give it a pass, but "woefully stupid comedy whose only redeeming quality is talking dolphins" means I must see this.

I also wonder how much of films tanking is due to RottenTomatoes and how much of this is Hollywood looking for something other than their lack of imagination to blame for failure. As the DailyDot piece points out, the Emoji Movie is still expected to earn quite well. Sounds like it's just easier to blame an aggregate rating site for a terrible film not selling well rather than ... I dunno, making better films? What are they mad about anyway, can't dupe people into putting their butts in seats with clever trailers?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:49 AM on July 28, 2017 [49 favorites]


In case anyone else was wondering, the titular movie here has a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently there is no honor among veggies.
posted by TedW at 9:50 AM on July 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


But after their dismal “freshness” ratings hit Rotten Tomatoes’ all-powerful Tomatometer—which assigns a numerical score to a given film based on a round-up of critical reviews—the Rock-starring lifeguard comedy promptly flopped, and the fifth installment of Disney’s long-running Johnny Depp franchise hauled in a “soft” $46 million—the lowest opening for a Pirates movie in 14 years.

Okay, but--uh, were either of those actually better movies than this aggregation suggests they should have been? I don't love the influence of Metacritic on video games where anything less than perfect seems to be treated as trash, but a lot of this reads like, "We can't get people to go see bad movies anymore by assuming some portion of people won't know or won't trust their local movie reviewer's tastes." I go see a lot of movies that have middling scores and still find them fun. But I can't think of any movies that have very low scores that I've actually seen that I've come away thinking were actually worth the ticket price and time I spent going to see them. It wasn't like these were movies that got hit hard for only getting 70% instead of 90% fresh. Stop asking us to spend money on going to see bad movies, guys. We don't want to do it anymore.
posted by Sequence at 9:52 AM on July 28, 2017 [38 favorites]


Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane: "how much of this is Hollywood looking for something other than their lack of imagination to blame for failure."

I just sprained my finger favoriting this.
posted by chavenet at 9:56 AM on July 28, 2017 [17 favorites]


If it weren't for Rotten Tomatoes, every single movie would be a huge blockbuster.
posted by aubilenon at 9:57 AM on July 28, 2017 [36 favorites]


Me going to see a movie that I've wanted to feel positive towards desire it's low RT score and then RT turning out to be correct has happened way more than the opposite, TBH.
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on July 28, 2017 [13 favorites]


Now that I think of it, Rotten Tomatoes has saved me so much in movie tickets over the years, and has tried to save me more. Every so often I'll override their judgment on a movie below about 65% and think, why do I do these things, I was warned.

These days, a big-budget movie is basically an investment vehicle you can look at. I remember how unhappy I was the last time I saw a Transformers movie (which, yes, I know, it was a social thing, I had to) and saw a Chinese construction company's logo prominent in a set piece. Any hope of joy I had in the whole endeavor went to the bathroom and didn't come back. Nothing could have made it clearer that the movie was not for me -- not for Chinese viewers, either, really -- not for anything but the shuttling of vast sums of money from location to location. Rotten Tomatoes gives me a sense of whether or not I am going to feel this dull exhaustion if I spend my evening at a given movie. And for that, I appreciate it greatly.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:00 AM on July 28, 2017 [27 favorites]


I love review aggregators, yelp, rotten tomatoes, metacritic, goodreads, whatever. There are times when context becomes important in adjusting scores though. Still, anything under half max rating is almost always garbage.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


I still hold Anthony Lane's review of The Usual Suspects to be the gold standard of a reviewer writing a thing that made me say "holy fucking shit I need to experience this".
posted by hippybear at 10:05 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Boooo! It's a 3% now coz one critic has judged it 'fresh'

And it wasn't Armond White!
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 10:07 AM on July 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


The beau and I like to go to movies. It's a thing that we do often, and we enjoy it. But we always vet things on Rotten Tomatoes and other such sites first. It's just too expensive for tickets these days not to. Plus you know, it's talked me into going to see something I was on the fence about nearly as often as it's talked me away from something else.

Also? I think the summer movie season this year has just been profoundly disappointing. There have been maybe two or three exceptions to this. So, maybe make some better movies, Hollywood.
posted by PearlRose at 10:08 AM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


My favorite: The Emoji Movie Will Send You Into a Spiral Emoji of Despair

Looking back, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there was a small, flickering reason to believe that The Emoji Movie wouldn’t be a complete travesty. After all, the adorably ubiquitous pictograms that have become a second language for at least two generations are a public-domain entity; their relative recent rise makes us forget that, licensing-wise, this is no bigger a grab than Leaves: The Movie would be. It was pretty much free to do whatever it wanted within the ridiculous, cynical parameters it had set. The Emoji Movie had nothing to sell aside from itself.

But this was naïve of me, because The Emoji Movie is selling something. In the mock tradition of countless superior Pixar films before it, it’s attempting to sell a sense of childlike wonder and fascination with an ordinary, everyday object: your smartphone. And in doing so, it is one of the darkest, most dismaying films I have ever seen, much less one ostensibly made for children.

posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on July 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


And it wasn't Armond White!

You're failing in your goals, Common Sense Media.
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on July 28, 2017


In case anyone else was wondering, the titular movie here has a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently there is no honor among veggies.

Never trust scores on these things that date back before 1999. That goes double for imdb and triple godzillion for Netflix and Amazon scores.
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on July 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


It does make sense to say that the critics are t representative of the movie audience, but I think there is a severe case of confusing cause and effect here in general.
posted by empath at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


The TomatoMeter rating is not a very useful rating because it only takes binary GOOD or BAD scores from reviews rather than more nuanced ratings.

There's a movie. All reviewers agree it's pretty alright. Metacritic score: 65%. Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%. Which is more useful?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:15 AM on July 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


That goes double for imdb and triple godzillion for Netflix and Amazon scores.

Oh man, I do NOT trust Netflix to tell me what to watch. For a while last year, every time I fired it up they were spamming me to watch True Memoirs of an International Assassin. After a few weeks of this we finally relented and gave it a shot. Had to tap out after 20 minutes, it was so terrible.

Its rating on RottenTomatoes? An "impossible" 0%.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Which is more useful?

RT every time.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


AOTKT is no better and no worse than Killer Clowns From Outer Space. Both are entirely watchable and full of WTF. So is Night Of The Lupis in a different way.

Those movies are not meant to be viewed in the same way as a $50million animated feature.

Also, is TEM only $50? I've read that figure several times, but it seems really low to me.

Or maybe not given what was delivered.
posted by hippybear at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also can we talk about The Rock's horrifyingly presidential Baywatch tweet?

Oh boy, critics had their venom & knives ready 😂. Fans LOVE the movie. Huge positive scores. Big disconnect w/ critics & people.
posted by little onion at 10:17 AM on July 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


AOTKT is no better and no worse than Killer Clowns From Outer Space.

So best watched while on a questionable substance of choice?
posted by Hactar at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


The TomatoMeter rating is not a very useful rating. There's a movie. All reviewers agree it's pretty alright. Metacritic score: 65%. Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%. Which is more useful?

Thankfully, we live in a universe with both "most critics like it" and "critics mostly like it." Both together are more useful than either alone.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:20 AM on July 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


Yeah I'm also fairly sure that's now how the TomatoMeter works. Like ten "it was ok I guess" reviews is not going to yield 100%.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2017


I find the comparison of critics opinion to audience opinion super useful. Some very highbrow films are just an unpleasant experience. OTOH, audiences can grasp the fun in bad movie. RT is just part of the choice regarding what to see tonight.

Can't wait to see Atomic Blonde.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 10:24 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


RTs harsh semi arbitrary nature and reliance on aggregated thumbs up/thumbs down is what makes it useful over the mush of metacritic IMHO. I'm trying to make a decision on laying out money for a sitter, not build a careful grading of all movies over time.
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on July 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


I find the comparison of critics opinion to audience opinion super useful. Some very highbrow films are just an unpleasant experience. OTOH, audiences can grasp the fun in bad movie. RT is just part of the choice regarding what to see tonight.

Excellent case in point: Freaked. This movie has literally no redeeming artistic merit whatsoever, and is general disliked by critics. But it also has Alex Winter, Mr. T and Randy Quaid, ergo audiences (myself included) love it.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:27 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Look at the number of movies with nearly 100%. I loved Zootopia. I do not consider 98% to be a useful score for Zootopia compared to Metacritic's 78%, something which aligns with what critics actually thought of the movie.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:27 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I usually try to avoid reading reviews of a movie that I'm going to watch before I actually see it. I can usually tell if I'm going to like a movie from the trailers and previous work by the director.
posted by octothorpe at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Trailers are usually a mistake if you want to avoid knowing the entire plot of the movie in advance.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on July 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


Trailers can also be very deceptive. The trailer for The Last American Virgin depicted it as some goofball teen comedy about a group of friends trying to get laid. The actual film itself is really dark, and has an ending that is Von Trier levels of soul-crushing.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:31 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


“When you take the 140 Rotten Tomatoes critics, you’re talking about a lot of men, a lot of white guys, a lot of people over 40." - unnamed Hollywood executive

LOL, this is one of the most remarkable instances of pot-calling-the-kettle-black I've ever seen.

Let's see: Baywatch got a Tomatometer score of 19%, while Moonlight got 98%. I think the critics/RT are not the problem here.
posted by splitpeasoup at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2017 [20 favorites]


I don't have a lot of sympathy for the idea that the studios used to be able to put out mediocre movies that would at least do well the first weekend and now they can't count on finding enough suckers to pay the bills. I do have a little sympathy for the idea that there is really no difference between a 59% RT score and a 61% RT score, but some movies are getting damaged by that difference.

Metacritic is better, but I find their interface so much less useful to me, that I just use Rotten Tomatoes anyway. The right sidebar lists of Opening This Week and Top Box Office are exactly the two things I want to see when I think 'Hey, I should go to a movie, I wonder what's playing that's good?' and I find Metacritic's image heavy interface too scrolly for finding the same information.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2017


What we didn't get so we could get the Emoji movie

i hope the RT score is part of firing whatever person made that decision.
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on July 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


Some very highbrow films are just an unpleasant experience.

My wife is always wanting to see what I refer to as "Kitten slowly drowning" films at the Arts theater. In such films inevitably a child will die in some horrific or tragic manner to allow the protagonist to suffer. Like in Manchester By The Sea, or Girl On The Train.

Fuck those movies.

I have kids. I don't need to see that shit. I have no interest in feeling worse after seeing a movie than before it.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:35 AM on July 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


My SO jokes often about how I always need to check the reviews before I go see a movie. But she is learning.

Of course you have to understand how the data is collected and yes, the rating stops being useful over 90 or even maybe 75-80 because at that point you know that most reviewers liked it and hell, I'd rather go see a movie that a few people didn't like than one that everyone liked. I find the reviewer quotes to be super useful.

My only real complaint is that I wish I could erase my knowledge of the review after deciding I want to see the film. going into a film I'd prefer to have more of clean slate unadulterated by other people's opinions (of course this is true of any film criticism though, not just RT).
posted by ropeladder at 10:36 AM on July 28, 2017


It's not just public opinion, it's bottom line. Video game developers often have significant bonuses written into their contracts that are tied to Metacritic scores. Obsidian games didn't get a bonus for Fallout: New Vegas because they only got an 84 on Metacritic, not an 85.

I like the idea of review aggregators and am OK with the vicissitudes of numeric scores. But perhaps they shouldn't be applied quite so literally.
posted by Nelson at 10:36 AM on July 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


It's not just public opinion, it's bottom line. Video game developers often have significant bonuses written into their contracts that are tied to Metacritic scores. Obsidian games didn't get a bonus for Fallout: New Vegas because they only got an 84 on Metacritic, not an 85.

If that's not a recipe for bribery I don't know what is.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:37 AM on July 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


Baywatch is one of those movies that, by its very title, says "if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like." So I expect people did go to see it and enjoy it, and that is fine. I mean, I heart the Rock, but you know what: no. Apparently millions of other people said this as well, and that, too, is fine.

Back in the day of cheap movies, when people would just wander in during the middle of a show to sit in the air conditioning for a few hours (a major selling point at one time), maybe a bad movie was an okay way to spend your afternoon. Now it leaves you feeling not just robbed, but had, like a rube who should have known better. So we need a lookout.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:41 AM on July 28, 2017 [11 favorites]


I've actually found the Rotten Tomatoes score a pretty useful rule of thumb for determining whether or not I'll like a movie. It's not every-time-guaranteed, but neither is Metacritic.
posted by kyrademon at 10:44 AM on July 28, 2017


The Big Sick is great and everyone should see it and it's 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

And I saw it because Pop Culture Happy Hour told me to see it, and I didn't check the RT score before seeing it.

I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make here other than that you, dear reader, should go see The Big Sick.
posted by jcreigh at 10:51 AM on July 28, 2017 [10 favorites]


From The Emoji Movie Will Send You Into a Spiral Emoji of Despair: (it’s not a joke, I don’t think)

That's a really damning parenthetical.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:52 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


The Emoji Movie now outranks the worst movie on Rotten Tomatoes...Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. It still has a zero rating out of 116 reviews. Ballistic is notable for one other reason: it is the only movie shot in Vancouver, B.C. and actually set in Vancouver B.C. See the Every Frame a Painting video on that.
posted by Xoc at 10:57 AM on July 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


Never trust scores on these things that date back before 1999. That goes double for imdb and triple godzillion for Netflix and Amazon scores.

Maybe don't trust IMDB scores in general
posted by one for the books at 11:05 AM on July 28, 2017 [9 favorites]


The articles are a little too vague on what Hollywood execs are complaining about I think. It isn't that the ratings as such drive box office on their own, it's that the ratings blow their predictions of box office returns based on formulas derived from subject matter, actors, directors involved and so on. The difference is that it makes saying "Hollywood should just make better movies" trickier as audiences actually aren't using the "freshness" score or metacritic data on its own, but as a secondary consideration when already thinking about specific films they might be interested in seeing.

This is why Moonlight, an enormous hit relative to cost, still only grossed 65 million (on a four million dollar budget) and The Mummy, a flop relative to cost has still grossed around 400 million. So it isn't "better movies" audiences want to see, according to these rating accumulator, but better liked movies of the sort they are already interested in of the kind Hollywood generally targets as big hits. People simply don't go see critically acclaimed movies only because they're acclaimed, they primarily go to blockbusters that don't get excessively bad ratings.

That means Hollywood is being told they're right, in ballpark terms, but wrong in specific detail and those details aren't always so easy to judge on a better/worse scale from the outset of production. That isn't to say some trends aren't more obvious. Women buying more tickets and leading movies like Wonder Woman to becoming bigger than expected hits, have some deeper reasons behind it like lack of representation historically, leading to pent up demand with more willingness to exert buying power, decline in young male viewing due to competition from video games among other things.

This leads to different kinds of movies being made, but may not provide an extended benefit to Hollywood as other issues become more pressing, like streaming shows and films and the increasing difficulty in predicting overseas markets, with things like Chinese audiences not turning out for films with Chinese themes or stars involved as hoped. Hollywood relies on their predictions of box office to set production costs and they're blaming Rotten Tomatoes, in part, for ruining that model. That isn't to say any of this is a bad thing, No one owes Hollywood anything, it's just not as simple a fix as the response "make better movies" seems to allow for, which is okay too, but perhaps a little glib about the audience/Hollywood relationship.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:09 AM on July 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


'The Mummy' director responds to critics bashing the movie: 'I'm not making movies for them'

i like it when people say "I didn't make this movie for critics" because it basically translates to "I didn't make this movie for people who like movies.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on July 28, 2017 [41 favorites]


I usually use RT to confirm my suspicions that the movie is crap. Like, I'll see a trailer, think "I wonder if that is as crappy as I think" then I see the score posted somewhere and yep. Crap.

I maybe get to go see a non-kid-friendly movie 3-4 times a year, at best, in a theater. And it requires me talking his grandma into watching him, or him having a sleepover to go to. So why the hell would I use up my precious movie opportunities on something that could be crap?

(related: we are all going to see Ragnarok tonight, because Thor (and Wonder Woman) movies are movies me and the kid can both enjoy. If for different reasons).
posted by emjaybee at 11:09 AM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Eh? That's not out till November?
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


haha my husband thought it was out. I have not paid attention to the release dates. Fuck that then. Wonder what else is playing?

/wtf husband
posted by emjaybee at 11:16 AM on July 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


Babydriver and Spiderman. Maybe Dunkirk if you're into the Nolan thing.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on July 28, 2017


“When you take the 140 Rotten Tomatoes critics, you’re talking about a lot of men, a lot of white guys, a lot of people over 40." - unnamed Hollywood executive

So I am sympathetic to this line of thinking if the 140 Rotten Tomatoes critics are genuinely systematically different, demographically, from the moviegoing public of, let's say, the US [I might have missed this in the LA Times and Vanity Fair pieces but my take is that this claim is not proven]. Or if there are recent movies (released since the advent of Rotten Tomatoes) that the critical consensus was wrong about in a particularly sexist, ageist, racist, etc. way, and we can look at them now and find that a new critical consensus has arisen, as people with newer tastes have gotten followers as film critics. Has that happened?

And if an effect of Rotten Tomatoes is to make it difficult for a slow-burn movie to find its audience via word of mouth or a revised marketing push after a slow opening weekend, then that is a shame. But is that effect actually happening?

Honestly the criticism of the effects of Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic on the habits of moviegoers reminds me of the criticism Wikipedia used to get. A website has found the right mix of curation and crowdsourcing to make it easier for everyone to get a kind of perspective that used to only be available to domain-specific elites, if it was available at all. The elites see how often it's not quite right, how this new thing isn't open to the same accountability processes as the old ones were (and they're annoyed that it isn't as vulnerable to the same kinds of discrimination and corruption). And it replicates a lot of the old hierarchies of the old attention economy -- who has the time to speak and who gets listened to. But it's so freaking useful, and in the long run it prevents a species of gaslighting that can never quite happen again.
posted by brainwane at 11:35 AM on July 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


This is why Moonlight, an enormous hit relative to cost, still only grossed 65 million (on a four million dollar budget) and The Mummy, a flop relative to cost has still grossed around 400 million.

Initial reports on the budget of Moonlight had it at $1.5 million. Now the reporting is at $4 million. The rest was probably finishing funds put in at some point. Maybe they're counting the promo budget, which The Mummy, for example, didn't. Nevertheless, the lesson is clear. If you were an initial investor in Moonlight, your ROI is much, much higher than if you had invested in a $150 million blockbuster like Jurassic World that went on to gross $1.6 billion. This is true even if Moonlight "only" grossed $45 million.

When the bets are smaller, producers can take more creative chances. This leads to better outcomes, creatively. And also some very poor outcomes, admittedly. But I saw The Mummy, which conservative estimates say cost $125 million, and all that extra money didn't buy them anything. To me, the lesson is clear: If you have $10 million to invest in films, make 5 $2 million movies, and give the creative teams freedom to do their jobs. Better to roll the dice five times than once. And one jackpot is all you need.
posted by vibrotronica at 11:42 AM on July 28, 2017 [8 favorites]


... we are all going to see Ragnarok tonight.
posted by emjaybee at 2:09 PM on July 28 [+] [!]

Eh? That's not out till November?
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on July 28 [+] [!]


Whew! Had a brief moment of panic there thinking I had missed a change in Marvel's schedule.
posted by zakur at 11:53 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


The biggest problem as far as I'm concerned is that aggregators aren't really distinguishing between a readily identifiable genre movie that scores a fairly consistent average rating vs. a more niche or less readily categorized movie where the ratings reflect a lot more of "this [is|is not] my jam."

People walk into a superhero movie or a romcom or whatever with a general idea of what they're about to see, so you're not going to ding something like Wonderwoman or Pirates of the Caribbean based on the fact that the events and characters depicted are implausible. That's because they're predictably implausible, in ways that are well established and understood, and just about anyone walking in knows to expect that. So the average ratings will mostly reflect how effectively the movie accomplished what movies like that intend to do.

If you can provide a fairly accurate description of a movie as "a [genre] about [brief plot synopsis]," then aggregate ratings are probably relatively accurate. People know what they are coming for, they know what to expect. If the movie doesn't follow a predictable storyline or a readily recognized genre, though, people are going to come in with wildly different expectations and will judge it on a whole bunch of different criteria, so the reviews are going to reflect that.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:08 PM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Countess Elena: Back in the day of cheap movies, when people would just wander in during the middle of a show to sit in the air conditioning for a few hours (a major selling point at one time), maybe a bad movie was an okay way to spend your afternoon. Now it leaves you feeling not just robbed, but had, like a rube who should have known better. So we need a lookout.

That's what a half-decently maintained fast food restaurant or a coffee shop is for now. Buy a drink, bring a book, and relax.


one for the books: Maybe don't trust IMDB scores in general

That's my general rule, but seeing that URL alone (fivethirtyeight.com/features/men-are-sabotaging-the-online-reviews-of-tv-shows-aimed-at-women) is enough to make me mad at insecure dudes again. Seriously, not everything has to be for you, dudes. Find some other hobby to fill the void in your soul.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:09 PM on July 28, 2017 [11 favorites]


In my experience. Rotten Tomatoes ratings are crap for anything at all experimental, or anything at all that's just meant to be FUN!

So many movies that are just out there to be silly and fun - such as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - which was fantastic fun action, funny parts, and honestly some great fighting and CGI has a 12%! It's a funny action B-movie with mummies!!! How can you NOT have fun watching it.

Somehow it seems many movies are graded on a comparison to peak movies. Not to movies within their own style. So for a fun B - Movie, it's fantastic. Is it the greatest movie of all time? No. Of course not. But that's not the type of review I'm looking for.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:19 PM on July 28, 2017


I tend to think that the 12% rating for M:TotDE is because the movie isn't actually all that good. In particular, it's probably seen as not being as good as either of the previous "Mummy" movies.

The critics whose opinions are being aggregated to produce an RT score, or a Metacritic score, are in general savvy enough to recognize that each genre comes with its own standards of success. They don't fault a James Bond movie for not being a richly complex character study. And they're not judging a Mummy movie against an Igmar Bergman film, either.

You can tell they don't have a problem with movies "that are just out there to be silly and fun" because the Marvel movies keep getting pretty high scores. That Mummy movie?
They're judging it against things like the "Mad Max" films, or John Carpenter movies, or the like, and they're finding that it comes up short.
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:31 PM on July 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


> "Women buying more tickets and leading movies like Wonder Woman to becoming bigger than expected hits ..."

Right now, whenever I am feeling a bit down, I pop over to take a look at how much Wonder Woman is crushing all other DCU films at the U.S. box office.

(And it was made on a smaller budget than the others.)

(And released in fewer theaters.)

(Yay.)
posted by kyrademon at 12:33 PM on July 28, 2017 [16 favorites]


Right now, whenever I am feeling a bit down, I pop over to take a look at how much Wonder Woman is crushing all other DCU films at the U.S. box office.

And the best thing about that is that it will lead to more women given creative roles in filmmaking in addition to there being more big budget movies about women. I wouldn't expect it to come in a huge rush, but when Hollywood feels out of touch, they turn to those who've had success, like Patty Jenkins is having, or copy the formula if they can't get the the people directly involved. So they're likely to bring in more women to direct, write, and star in big budget films if that seems an indicator of past success.

As long as audiences continue to show appreciation, the more the trend continues and can become a new norm, where women creators actually can wield power to make what they want. I only hope if that time comes, people keep seeing their films, even if they aren't of the DC/Marvel/Star Wars models.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:47 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


My personal low bar is Rob Schneider's "The Animal". If I watch a preview and I think about Rob Schneider's "The Animal", the movie is likely not worth my money or time. That movie got a 30% by RT and a 43% that by meta critic. I'm not sure how many bottles of scotch the investors plied the critics with before they watched the film, but it makes a strong case for bribery. "Considering that this is a movie about a man whose sex drive is controlled by animal urges, In was expecting a lot worse every time a goat or cow appeared on screen." - a positive review by Greg Dean Schmitz at Yahoo!
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:00 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't pay a ton of attention to the critics with regard to who they are, or what they love. I loved Ebert because, well, who didn't? I recall that he used to rate movies not by some absolute scale, but by how well the movie fulfills expectations. That is, a dumb popcorn action flick could be highly rated even though it was a dumb summer blockbuster.

I have to think most reviewers are like this. So if Baywatch gets only a 27%, it's not because it's a mediocre movie. It's because it's a mediocre movie by the standards and expectations of a Baywatch movie. People entered the theater with low expectations, and the movie still failed to meet them.
posted by explosion at 1:04 PM on July 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


Maybe Dunkirk if you're into the Nolan thing.

I'll second Dunkirk, if you're into it. I think it's a pretty experimental/branching out kind of movie for Nolan and in general in a lot of ways. Very interesting/engaging, fits a lot in in a relatively short period of time. You can tell where he took some of his influences from for it.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 1:12 PM on July 28, 2017


I recently saw Valerian, knowing full well the movie was going to be a pile of garbage loosely cohered by glitter and noisemakers. I still checked both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic because I wanted to see if reviews were as high variance as I'd hoped. They were​! And yet....

...my biggest complaint was that it tried to be to normal a movie to really be great trash. Hard to capture that in the summary statistics, but what can you do?
posted by palindromic at 1:18 PM on July 28, 2017


I have yet to hear word of mouth on Valerian, from people who wish it well generally, that's made me doubt the critical reception. Though someone did say it's great as long as you put in headphones and cut out all of the dialogue.
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on July 28, 2017


(That's another way RT can be pretty damning, actually: when you skip down to the quotes with the tomatos next to them and find even those less than glowing)
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


This year I've very deliberately disengaged from most negative movie criticism. Granted I will still read Emoji reviews with glee and my taste tends toward critically acclaimed movies in general, but lately I've felt that a lot of the little outrage bubbles that seem to rise up around every movie are a total waste of time, and intellectually unfulfilling to boot. It is a lot more enjoyable and interesting to appreciate movies for what they are, rather than complain about what they aren't.

Not sure if it's a result of this perspective change or if I've been really lucky with my choices, but every single movie I've seen this summer has been fantastic: A Ghost Story, Landline, Girls Trip, The Beguiled, Dunkirk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Big Sick, Baby Driver, Wonder Woman, and even poor, maligned The Book of Henry, which was magnificently terrible.
posted by acidic at 1:29 PM on July 28, 2017


Weekend Box Office: 'Emoji Movie' in Close Battle With 'Dunkirk' for No. 1

Not to discount the theme of the original post, but, ah, "hollywood" don't care.


...Valerian, knowing full well the movie was going to be a...

I too went to Valerian with low expectations and was sadly not disappointed, while the frequently observed "lack of chemistry" between the leads was true, there were a bunch of structural problems. Star Wars has it's backstory in the bag, Valerian tried to build three complex backstories (the spacestation, the skinnie world/villains, and the leads). That was just too much to wedge into a first act.

But the composite score for on RT was pretty accurate.

If you do want to see Valerian, do go to a theater (soon:-(, it's big screen material with all it's faults. Really beautiful for many shots.
posted by sammyo at 1:31 PM on July 28, 2017


When there's a conflict between aggregators, go with the lowest score!

Example: "Eye for an Eye" with Kiefer Sutherland and Sally Fields, 1996. A movie so poorly made you can see boom mics in some scenes. An 8% on Rotten Tomatoes but a 6.1 on IMDB. That 8% is correct!

As for IMDB alone, a 7.0 is my cut-off. Nine out of ten times, if it's less than that, I dislike the film. If it's more than than, I enjoy it. Where it goes wrong are cult films, Indian/Bollywood films, and anything with fewer than a couple thousand votes (because more votes tend to drown out the brigading).
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:35 PM on July 28, 2017


My favorite Emoji Movie-review is from The Guardian:

The Emoji Movie is a force of insidious evil.

Children should not be allowed to watch The Emoji Movie. Their impressionable brains simply aren’t set up to sift through the thick haze of corporate subterfuge clouding every scene of this sponsored-content post masquerading as a feature film.
posted by Petersondub at 2:04 PM on July 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


But I can't think of any movies that have very low scores that I've actually seen that I've come away thinking were actually worth the ticket price and time I spent going to see them.

So, just for curiosity's sake I went looking to see if there were any movies at 30% or lower that I thought were genuinely good. I found Hook (30%) and Dangerous Minds (29%). (OK, also Toys, but I've long accepted I'm in a distinct minority in liking that movie, so I won't count that.)

Both from the pre-2000 era when, as previously noted, RT ratings tend to be less accurate; and the fact that I had to look through several hundred movies to find those two I think underscores, rather than repudiates, the notion that RT is generally good at the extremes, and it's only in the middle where it's potentially problematic.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:26 PM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


haha my husband thought it was out. I have not paid attention to the release dates. Fuck that then. Wonder what else is playing?

Baby Driver is very very good, but The Big Sick is maybe my favorite movie of the last few years.
posted by kmz at 2:31 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


After all, the adorably ubiquitous pictograms that have become a second language for at least two generations are a public-domain entity; their relative recent rise makes us forget that, licensing-wise, this is no bigger a grab than Leaves

Tangentally: I fear that it might not be too long before a cash-strapped Unicode Consortium accepts a large sum from Hollywood in return for allocating a codepage to Minions.
posted by acb at 2:32 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


i like it when people say "I didn't make this movie for critics" because it basically translates to "I didn't make this movie for people who like movies.

I like it when people say "I didn't make this movie for critics" because one time, that sort of sentiment inspired Penny Arcade to create Catsby & Twisp which was a nice thing that I hope happens again sometime.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:42 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Why Didn’t Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Find Its Audience?

The reasons it posits are kind of why I want to root for the thing despite available evidence pointing towards it being garbage.
posted by Artw at 2:48 PM on July 28, 2017


I'm going to see Valerian in an hour and will report back. I haven't read any reviews of it because, why bother? It's a space opera by Luc Besson so it will look amazing and make exactly zero sense. I don't need a reviewer to tell me that.
posted by octothorpe at 2:58 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


But I can't think of any movies that have very low scores that I've actually seen that I've come away thinking were actually worth the ticket price and time I spent going to see them.

The delightful Speed Racer got a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and I'm still pissed off at all the critics that convinced me not to bother seeing it in a theater.
posted by straight at 3:02 PM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Why Didn’t Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Find Its Audience?

She lost me at "Besson’s 2014 Lucy was an encouraging turn for its wildly uneven director".
posted by aubilenon at 3:02 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's a space opera by Luc Besson so it will look amazing and make exactly zero sense. I don't need a reviewer to tell me that.

I was hoping for the charm of Fifth Element so knowing in advance it will be absent is helpful.
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Lucy was shit... but it was good shit
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:31 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


There's a movie. All reviewers agree it's pretty alright. Metacritic score: 65%. Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%. Which is more useful?

You'd think the two different aggregation methods would give different results, but there's surprisingly little difference between how the two methods end up ranking movies. Here's a list of recent films in order from the two different aggregators. Reviewers are a little more unanimous that Big Sick is good and feel a little more strongly about how good Dunkirk is. But for the most part, the ranking is exactly the same. Both put Cars3 and F8 of the Furious in the middle and both say Valerian, Rough Night, and Despicable Me are a little worse. Both methods tell you Pirates, Baywatch, The House and The Mummy are very bad and Transformers is the worst.

Rotten Tomatoes

Big Sick 98

Baby Driver 94
Dunkirk 93
Planet of the Apes 93
Spider-Man Homecoming 92
Wonder Woman 92

Captain Underpants 86
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 82

Alien Covenant 70
Cars 3 67
F8 of the Furious 66

Despicable 3 61
Valerian 52
Rough Night 48

Snatched 35
Pirates 5 29

Baywatch 19
The House 18
The Mummy 16
Transformers Knight 14

MetaCritic


Dunkirk 94

Big Sick 87
Baby Driver 86
Planet of the Apes 82
Wonder Woman 76
Spider-Man 73

Captain Underpants 69
Guardians of the Galaxy 67
Alien Covenant 65

Cars 3 59
F8 of the Furious 56

Valerian 51
Rough Night 51
Despicable 3 49
Snatched 45

Pirates 5 39
Baywatch 37
The Mummy 34
The House 30
Tranformers Knight 28
posted by straight at 3:54 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


What is new about reviews? I guess there is a multiplier when you can average 20 reviews, plus it's harder to game or buy off the reviewers. I look at Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes mostly to find quick links to reviewers I trust, not because their aggregate scores are very interesting.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:54 PM on July 28, 2017


A few things I've picked up over the years, as someone who's been using RT and Metacritic for years and are delighted that enough people have caught on that the movie studios are annoyed:

* RT 'fresh' vs 'rotten' ratings are independently determined by the reviewer. It's not an automatic thing. Metacritic's is automatic, which is a big problem in games where anything below 7 is frequently an 'avoid' rating. Metacritic was built for games, but its approach, I think, works better for film. For one thing it's easier to see if a movie is mediocre or divisive.

* In a misguided attempt for game publishers to 'reward' studios that make good games that don't find an audience, game developers' pay structures are often, in part, tied to hitting a certain Metacritic rating. This practice seems to have become less prevalent - for one thing, your Metacritic can vary wildly if Tom Chick, who marks harshly, or Eurogamer, who uses the entire scale, review your game vs not; publishers can tank a Metacritic rating, which happened multiple times with Obsidian, particularly with Fallout: New Vegas; and developers are less likely to sign a contract like this with crowdfunding as an alternative, although its track record for established developers is a short list that has basically Western RPG developers on it.

On the other hand, it's rare, these days, for a big AAA game to be straight up bad or broken.

* I think few people trust the RT rating alone; it's more to confirm that something that looked interesting turned out okay.
posted by Merus at 4:56 PM on July 28, 2017


I am definitely not going to spend money to see The Emoji Movie, but I am certain I will watch it at some point via Netflix or on cable because Mike White (Chuck and Buck, School of Rock, Year of the Dog and my dear departed Enlightened) worked on the screenplay.
posted by old_growler at 5:01 PM on July 28, 2017


Why Didn’t Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Find Its Audience?

We're in the theater right now 10 minutes before the show and we're the only ones here. It's been a while since I had a theater to myself.
posted by octothorpe at 5:35 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Rotten Tomatoes and the Emoji Movie:

Critics Consensus: 🚫

lol
posted by Rhaomi at 5:37 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't think there is any reason to choose either RT or Metacritic. If you google a movie both scores plus rogerebert.com's show up right on the results page. Quick and easy.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:48 PM on July 28, 2017


What is interesting to me is the discrepancy between aggregated critic reviews like metacritic and rottentomatoes and the user reviews. It is pretty damn clear that there are people who really really like crap and seek it out and rate it highly.

I like crappy movies. They have their place. I tend to rate things by the ebert method of judging withen the genre but if you tell me a Transformer movies is 3/5 stars I will disregard everything you say for the rest of your life ( I it assume will be shorter than mine because you will die of stupidity.)
posted by srboisvert at 6:59 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


See: Batman vs Superman.

Which was fucking garbage BTW.
posted by Artw at 7:07 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I just saw the emoji movie. It was really
posted by Morpeth at 7:17 PM on July 28, 2017


Why Didn’t Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Find Its Audience?

Because who is its audience? It's based on a French comic book series that almost no one outside of France and Belgium has ever heard of. Its stars seem to be random celebrities met at parties: Rihanna? Clive Owen? Herbie Hancock??? These are the people you're banking on to bring in the sci fi adventure crowd to a $200M unknown entity? All it's got going for it is Luc Besson, supercreep, who made The Fifth Element, which Valerian looked like a pale imitation of, because The Fifth Element basically lifted the comic already. Why not just stay home and watch that instead, asked everybody.

Heck, Ghost in the Shell came out back in March and fizzled despite being based one of the best-known manga series ever, starring Scarlett Johansson, and costing half as much as Valerian to make. It thought it knew its audience (thirty-something otaku) and aimed straight at it, but it barely made fifty-three cents at the box office. Got about 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. I'm sure a lot of people who might've been looking forward to Valerian saw Ghost in the Shell and aren't up for another disappointing spectacle just yet.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:34 PM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


I find Rotten Tomatoes useful for despised genre films like action and horror and disaster movies, but only because critics are generally useless about those things.

Jason X has only 19 percent and the film is a beautiful masterpiece.
posted by maxsparber at 9:11 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


We're in the theater right now 10 minutes before the show and we're the only ones here. It's been a while since I had a theater to myself.

Well by the end of the trailers about a dozen other people had filtered in. A big hit this is not.
posted by octothorpe at 9:48 PM on July 28, 2017


Valerian in 3D was crazy beautiful and marred only by the part where they decided dialogue was mandatory. It's, well, it's what it is! I didn't read any reviews or check RT because watching it was inevitable and I'm glad I saw it. Once.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:28 PM on July 28, 2017


I'm going to see Valerian in an hour and will report back. I haven't read any reviews of it because, why bother? It's a space opera by Luc Besson so it will look amazing and make exactly zero sense. I don't need a reviewer to tell me that.

We are considering going to see it at the local theater that serves alcohol and food. My expectations of the movie are very low, but I think it might be an ok backdrop to a couple of beers and a burger. If it's really terrible, then make that several beers, I guess.

I find the review aggregators really useful, mostly for when Netflix or Amazon is suggesting a show I've never heard of. A quick skim of the reviews tells me a lot more than the useless blurb on Netflix ever will. Like others have said, there's probably no useful difference between 59 and 61, but there is an informative difference between 25 and 85, even if in the end you decide that the low-scored film/show is to your personal taste.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:50 AM on July 29, 2017


What I learned through hard experience from RT is that I am much better off [renting] a 10% movie then going to see anything in the 30-55% range. That mid range is just plain boring most of the time. A few movies the critics didn't "get" can sneak in the 45-55 range, so I do watch out for those.

Like all reviews, there is a skill in reading the ratings/reviews.
posted by Bovine Love at 5:57 AM on July 29, 2017


I relied on Rotten Tomatoes ratings for the decisions to see both Wonder Woman and The Big Sick this summer and I'm thoroughly pleased with their performance. I don't really use Metacritic any more. I feel that Rotten Tomatoes ratings are more indicative of how I'll actually feel when I leave the theater - it's not about whether the movie was a perfect cinematic experience, but more about whether I'll feel it was worth going to a theater and buying overpriced popcorn to see the movie or not. Beyond that level of binary hot or not type rating, critics' opinions seem a lot more subjective to me. Like I've not seen it, but I highly doubt I'd rate Dunkirk above The Big Sick - that seems like the kind of nuanced judgment where the critics mostly being white men older than 40 is more likely to become relevant.
posted by peacheater at 6:52 AM on July 29, 2017


* RT 'fresh' vs 'rotten' ratings are independently determined by the reviewer. It's not an automatic thing. Metacritic's is automatic, which is a big problem in games where anything below 7 is frequently an 'avoid' rating. Metacritic was built for games, but its approach, I think, works better for film. For one thing it's easier to see if a movie is mediocre or divisive.

According to the article, RT assigns a rating based on the review in most cases, and only contacts the reviewer if they aren't sure, and the reviewer can correct them later if they disagree with how RT categorized their review.

And that's the gist of the problem they're talking about in the article. It's all based on a simple black and white "fresh" or "rotten" assessment. Some reviewers will focus more on whether they think a mainstream audience will like a movie than on its quality as what it is, particularly reviewers for local papers, it seems. So anything that's slower paced or doesn't follow a traditional storyline or genre tends to lean negative in those reviews. Which is not a problem if you read the review. They usually make it pretty clear that the negative rating is meant to predict whether their particular audience will enjoy the movie, rather than a general assessment of its merits. Also, Variety seems to have a pretty strong mainstream Hollywood movie bias. You go look at some of the critical favorite movies of all time, and if there's a holdout 'rotten' score, there's a good chance it's from Variety. But people don't read the reviews. They just look at the aggregate scores. And if a movie's more than a year or so old, a lot of the links are dead, so you can't see the full reviews even if you wanted to.

Aggregate critic ratings are still better than aggregate audience ratings and the ratings and recommendations on Netflix or Amazon, but I've never found them very useful in themselves.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:04 AM on July 29, 2017


It just occurred to me that perhaps instead of a percentile rating, a histogram might be a better way of viewing the data.
posted by TrinsicWS at 9:29 AM on July 29, 2017


It's all based on a simple black and white "fresh" or "rotten" assessment.

I don't think it is in reality. I've poked through a lot of RT ratings over the years and found a lot of instances where lukewarm was rated "rotten" and "kinda ick" was rated fresh. I think RT takes the meh ones and balances them out to give some kind of desired "feels right" rating. I.e. they would ensure that a movie with all lukewarm ratings didn't end up with 100%. When there isn't a human involved, you see that kind of thing happen; for example, Urban Spoon here seems to always end up with the top rated resto's being very "not bad" restaurants.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:07 AM on July 29, 2017


No system is perfect, but RT sure is more helpful than studios using self-congratulatory comments and out of context reviews as advertising. I'm half convinced that the need for external review aggregates came from the flurry of fake self promotion and festival awards happening in the 90s on the front and back of video cases. Someone had to try and weed through the dreck.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:04 PM on July 29, 2017




Anything is better than the bad old days of pulling quotes from random local papers. Remember "David Manning" from the "Ridgefield Press". Come to think of it, he was a Sony project too, just like the Emoji Movie
posted by Megafly at 4:39 PM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


He, Annabelle: Creation is riding high at 100%!

(I suspect that will change)
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on August 1, 2017


Meanwhile things are not looking so good for The Dark Tower.
posted by Artw at 7:53 AM on August 3, 2017


They condensed seven novels into 90 minutes?
posted by octothorpe at 9:03 AM on August 3, 2017


To be fair I'm not sure the non-aggregate reviews do it any more good, though they take longer to read than "18%".
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on August 3, 2017


16% now.
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on August 3, 2017


Short run-times on blockbuster type films often means that there were serious post production issues and they had to hack the heck out of it to make it even marginally releasable.
posted by octothorpe at 10:14 AM on August 3, 2017


16% now.

Still better than The Cell though... not a great time for King adaptations. Still there's always another one along soon, perhaps the new IT will be good.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:35 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


Predicting that the Death Wish remake with a sad tired looking Bruce Willis will get an even lower score than Dark Tower.
posted by octothorpe at 5:03 AM on August 4, 2017


Staying true to the original, I guess.
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Death Wish remake is directed by Eli Roth and I'm genuinely excited by just how terrible and reprehensible it's going to be. Winner must be doing what the opposite of spinning in his grave is.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:59 AM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I guess that IS the next logical step after a Cannibal Holocaust remake.
posted by Artw at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


His cannibal holocaust remake was as follows: Liberal do-gooders go to primitive country, get eaten because of course that's what happens you fucking liberal latte-sipping cosmopolitan dinguses, the world is terrible and uncivilized and your little fucking halo of thinking you can make it better is just going to get you hurt while we laugh and laugh.

Now he's making a film in which a white dude shoots black dudes because the system has failed and black dudes are criminals who hurt nice white women.

What the fuck? Who gave r/politics a movie camera?
posted by maxsparber at 8:24 AM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]




Now he's making a film in which a white dude shoots black dudes because the system has failed and black dudes are criminals who hurt nice white women.

And it's not like he actually has any respect for women either. That's been apparent since his first inexplicable hit, Cabin Fever. Any society that would make Roth's film successful, much less make him a celebrity, is one deeply suspect in my book.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:24 AM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]




You know, while the notion of the end of Hollywood movies has been floating about for quite a while now, to me, it now seems to have a more definitive end point looming. With the recent AMC theaters report of unexpected losses in their second quarter combined with reports of China becoming more protectionist about their film industry and in allowing investment in US film companies, I've got a strong feeling major US theater chains will be going the way of Blockbuster by 2020.

People are rightly excited about Hollywood finally making some small inroads in representation in blockbuster films, with Wonder Woman and, hopefully, The Black Panther films making significant profits, but I can't see that excitement lasting long when those kinds of films too fall back into the same tired cliches and storylines that Hollywood relies on to sell their spectacles. Television is now just far better at providing diversity, exciting plot beats, and more complex character development all in the same works. That isn't to say TV/Streaming media doesn't have plenty of problems of its own artistically and in their values, or that it isn't developing into an unsupportable bubble as a whole with so many companies and shows competing for views and dollars, but that there is still a sense of newness and experimentation that's providing something the old school film industry won't.

It appears like the film industry is headed for a big shake up soon. Hollywood's theater driven products will rapidly decline to perhaps some niche level of even higher cost IMAXlike spectacle or otherwise move to using movies more as short subjects to test talent before committing to longer term investments in streaming media. Boutique theaters should still exist, showing foreign films and other artistic events, like opera and ballet, and perhaps find some new uses in other areas, but the mall mulitplex seems seriously endangered and may become virtually extinct soon.

I'm not sure what the future holds for streaming media once the seeming bubble does burst, but there will surely still be a considerable effort in vying for attention among those companies that do survive. I suspect there is still some room left to inflate the streaming market for a bit longer, but it can't keep going as it is indefinitely in regards to the sheet amount of content being created and competing for attention. How markets outside the US react too will be of huge importance, just as how US viewers may or may not start watching more shows from non-US providers could change once the barrier of huge budget and effect driven spectacles is removed from consideration. The difference between, say, Korean TV and US TV is much smaller in production aspects than Korean and US movies. So the possibility exists for more cross-cultural hits if the language barrier can be broken in the US market, at least in theory.

Anyway, sorry for rambling, this is just something that's been on my mind lately and is somewhat connected to the marketing/ratings issue in the thread.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:43 AM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


With the recent AMC theaters report of unexpected losses in their second quarter

Well it's certainly not because they're spending too much on wages. The AMC we go to seems to have fewer employees than screens these days. They've automated the ticket selling and only ever have one snack line ever open and seem to have given up totally on vacuuming.
posted by octothorpe at 10:09 AM on August 5, 2017


Heh. I'm not surprised, but that's still pretty sad for a minimum wage job.

I have to wonder how many theaters still haven't fully paid off their "upgrades" to digital projection systems and, god help them, 3D systems if they went that route. A 2013 David Bordwell piece had the price at around 100 grand per screen with additional costs for other experience upgrades. It's been a few years, but I'd sure be curious to see how well off the average theatre is nowadays.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:25 AM on August 5, 2017


But then you can pay projectionists so much less now since they basically just have to plug a storage cart into the projector and turn it on vs. the complicated threading and reel changing that went on with film. Also I think that a single projectionist can handle at least half a dozen screens now since the machines are so simple.
posted by octothorpe at 12:21 PM on August 5, 2017


« Older Stop Pretending You're Not Rich   |   SwapCuz - A Story of Recreational DNA Testing Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments