Cherrypicks: The Best Place to See What Women Think About Movies
October 16, 2019 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Cherrypicks is a movie review site based entirely on the reviews of female-identifying and non-binary voices. As women, we consume more than half the media in the world. And newsflash: we’ve also got opinions. That’s why we made CherryPicks, the best place to see what women think about movies and more. We create a unique score based on reviews from female-identifying and non-binary voices, so whether you’re looking for a night out, or a night on the couch, you know the opinions you trust come from women like you. The site also features race and representation-focused articles like In “Always Be My Maybe,” Asian American Men Play the Heartthrobs: Undoing the Damage of Long Duk Dong and review categories like “Moms in Horror” and “LGBTQ Coming of Age Stories”.

Previously on Metafilter: Dr. Martha Lauzen and the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film

The 2019 report on the long-running “ Thumbs Down” study showed that [in the US] “men account for 78% of individuals writing [on film] for general interest magazines and websites, 73% writing for trade publications, 72% writing for newspapers and wire services, 65% writing for movie/entertainment magazines and websites, and 58% writing for radio and television’.... As Dr. Lauzen explains, ‘These gender imbalances matter because they impact the visibility films with female protagonists and women directors receive, as well as the nature of reviews. This research expands our understanding of how reviews written by female critics differ from those written by men.’” Full Thumbs Up report available here, along with other reports on gender equality and film/tv.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (24 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is great!
posted by tobascodagama at 11:25 AM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


If it was at all possible to fall face first into a website I'd be doing it now.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:31 AM on October 16, 2019


I'm glad this is a thing that exists, especially when I'm interested in information about films by and about women. I just don't care what male critics -- and especially what male moviegoers -- think about them.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:39 AM on October 16, 2019 [8 favorites]


Everything I heard about Cherrypicks on Twitter were from reviewers whose information was showing up on the website without Cherrypicks ever asking their permission. I believe it has a bed reputation with the people I follow.
posted by dgeiser13 at 11:41 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


So, hmm.

I looked into being one of their reviewers; I have a movie blog of classic films, and was curious whether this was something I could do.

As is not surprising, they have a specific definition for the critics they will include. I'm not actually surprised that an amateur blogger like me doesn't match them. However - I am surprised just how narrow their definition is for those who do match:
Must have written at least five (5) critical reviews for a CherryPicks-approved/selected publication.
Examples of CherryPicks-approved/selected publications include: Los Angeles Times, The Wrap, Indiewire, Sight & Sound, The Mary Sue, Common Sense Media, and The Curvy Critic.
That's....an awfully short list of "approved publications".

I am presuming that they are hoping to promote the voices of women in the field of film criticism, because the media excludes their voices. However - it strikes me that the very women critics they are seeking are writing for smaller publications precisely because most mainstream media is overlooking their voices. So this looks a little counter-intuitive to me ("We want to promote women critics, becuase they get overlooked by the mainstream media - but we'll only accept them if they've been published by the mainstream media").

Unless there's something I'm not understanding?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:47 AM on October 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


Everything I heard about Cherrypicks on Twitter were from reviewers whose information was showing up on the website without Cherrypicks ever asking their permission. I believe it has a bed reputation with the people I follow.

Ugh, that really sucks. Unforgivable, if it's true.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:49 AM on October 16, 2019


Unforgivable? I'm not sure posting excerpts of something someone made for public consumption even counts as a sin to be forgiven.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:51 AM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm glad this is a thing that exists, especially when I'm interested in information about films by and about women.

On a side note, I wish that other streaming services did what the Criterion streaming channel has recently done with highlighting women directors/writers.

It's nice to click on a box/genre tag and only be presented with films written and/or directed by women. It's the kind of thing I wish these services would curate more. I know that there are genre tags for "LGTBQ" and "Foreign Films" on Netflix, but it'd be nice to narrow down and get even more specific with tags.

So glad this exists. Thank you for sharing and posting.
posted by Fizz at 11:54 AM on October 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


Unforgivable? I'm not sure posting excerpts of something someone made for public consumption even counts as a sin to be forgiven.

I mean, it depends on the truth of the claim and the severity of the copying. This isn't exactly untread ground we're talking about.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:02 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling that list of approved publications really is just meant to provide a few examples - for example, looking at reviews for Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, the linked reviews include writers for SF Weekly, NPR, What She Said, and The Wrap - plus the eligibility requirements say "Publications unknown to CherryPicks will be subject to additional individual review." So I think they're open to other sources. (So, Empress - maybe you SHOULD apply! I like your blog!)

I am glad this exists, and I look forward to using it both to look at reviews of movies I'm thinking about seeing, and also to find out about new movies I might not have heard of otherwise. Just now I learned about Honeyland and oh my god Love, Antosha which sounds great.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us, hurdy gurdy girl! This is awesome.
posted by kristi at 12:17 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure posting excerpts of something someone made for public consumption even counts as a sin to be forgiven.

I don't know anything specifically about CherryPicks, but reposting content without permission isn't okay -- particularly if it's being done by a for-profit content provider. Their site loads poorly for me -- due to trackers I'm blocking on it, I think? -- so it's difficult for me to tell exactly what their posting model is like. I support the concept, but I'm a little apprehensive about the execution, if it indeed involves gatekeeping against less-recognised voices on the one end and using content without permission on the other end.
posted by halation at 12:33 PM on October 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don't know what their early model looked like, but right now they post brief pull-quotes from reviews -- a sentence or less -- and then a link to the full review. That's hardly reposting content without permission.

The site does not carry advertising that I can see, so I don't know what their monetization plan looks like.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:51 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "
Must have written at least five (5) critical reviews for a CherryPicks-approved/selected publication.
Examples of CherryPicks-approved/selected publications include: Los Angeles Times, The Wrap, Indiewire, Sight & Sound, The Mary Sue, Common Sense Media, and The Curvy Critic.
That's....an awfully short list of "approved publications".

I am presuming that they are hoping to promote the voices of women in the field of film criticism, because the media excludes their voices. However - it strikes me that the very women critics they are seeking are writing for smaller publications precisely because most mainstream media is overlooking their voices."


Those are definitely just examples of approved/selected publications, not the complete list. Their eligibility guidelines go on to say "Publications unknown to CherryPicks will be subject to additional individual review." and their FAQ encourages reviewers to contact them even if they don't see the publications they've written for represented on the site. Seems like smaller publications and websites are acceptable, just not personal blogs or student publications. As an example, Oceans 8 has reviews from 72 different publications (at a quick glance I saw Autostraddle and Black Girl Nerds represented along with small community papers).
posted by Secret Sparrow at 1:51 PM on October 16, 2019 [5 favorites]


This is great! I read through some of their articles and particularly liked this bit from their review of Joker:
None of this was a surprise to me or my film critic colleagues who are not white men. This is just the latest example of a phenomenon that’s typical for many critics from underrepresented groups. A movie gets critical acclaim after its premiere at an exclusive film festival that’s frequented by a largely white, male, and middle-aged movie critics pool. Then later, once seen by a wider variety of reviewers, the acclaim dims. (Greenbook rode this particular train all the way to a 2018 Best Picture win.)
posted by iamkimiam at 2:08 PM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


I wish it said which metrics it hits. El Camino obviously doesn't pass the Bechdel test, but which other metric qualified it?
posted by agregoli at 2:33 PM on October 16, 2019


Agregoli, I think it's just that its average score was high, based on the reviews published by writers who self-identify as female or non-binary. If you look at the explanation of how the Cherry Score works, it "ranks movies, according to reviews published by writers who self-identify as female, femme, or nonbinary. Our algorithm converts individual critics’ stars, letter grades, and scores into our four-prong scoring system. Unscored reviews are carefully assessed by our editorial staff. The final Cherry Score is the average of all of the individual scores."

Run Don't Walk: 65% - 80%81% - 100%
Definitely Worth The Ticket: 65% - 80%
Catch It From Your Couch: 35% - 64%
Self-Explanatory (The Pits): 0% - 34%

Not enough reviews: The clock symbol means that there are not enough reviews written by writers who self-identify as female, femme, or nonbinary to generate a Cherry Score.

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:39 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


No, I meant this portion:

The Cherry Check

A film doesn’t meet our standards if it doesn’t pass at least one of these three tests.

A film passes The Bechdel Test if it features two named women characters, who talk to each other about something besides a

A film earns the ReFrame Stamp for demonstrating success in gender balance by hiring female-identifying people in key areas of production.

A film is awarded an F-rating if it is written and/or directed by a woman.
posted by agregoli at 3:46 PM on October 16, 2019


I think if you don't see which of those tests it has passed, it hasn't passed any of them. That means it doesn't have a Cherry Check, not that it won't be included on the site with a review score.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:50 PM on October 16, 2019


Oh! I see. Sorry about that, agregoli--I misunderstood.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:52 PM on October 16, 2019


No it's okay, thanks! I didn't really get how that was a list but didn't say if it hit those metrics or not...kept nosing around the site but no film seems to say when it hits one of those. I must be missing something cause I don't know why they wouldn't add that info right on the page.
posted by agregoli at 4:11 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have *always always always* wanted a site like this -- excited to check it out.
posted by rogerroger at 8:13 PM on October 16, 2019


at times like these I like to quote my old friend Jodie: neato cheeto!

Thanks for posting. I like this idea.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:35 PM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


their language around gender seems extremely lazy. "female, femme, or nonbinary" = "women, but in a creepy way, OR specifically wlw who specifically id as femme OR the entire range of nonbinary identities, including me, a nonbinary man" doesn't seem like useful or coherent grouping, and then the rest of the writing just lumps everyone together and calls them women anyways.
posted by gaybobbie at 9:25 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


gaybobbie, I am glad you drew attention to the inconsistent gender language. I had noticed it too but didn't have the context to articulate what was problematic about it. I wonder if they have received any feedback about it.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:00 PM on October 17, 2019


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