Posted on May 11, 2020
One of the things I loved about the late Roger Ebert was that, unlike most critics, he seemed to understand movies are a kind of Swiss Army Knife of media. They serve many purposes. Art, Education, Business and also simple Diversion.
For instance, after listening to Gene Siskel excoriate the admittedly bad Chuck Norris film “Invasion USA,” Ebert’s review was, “If you like this sort of thing, you will like this one.”
Not requiring “Invasion USA” to perform up to the standards of “The Magnificent Ambersons” should be a given for any good critic, but that’s very often what they do.
And Rotten Tomatoes’ quiptastic format only intensifies this tendency. The world is besotted with online critics right now and they’re all aware they’re only going to get a single sentence on RT so they very often lose any nuance and just come up with something snappy.
Then, when they’ve trashed an average, mid-budget film from the Hollywood factories, they’ll spend a column opining about how Hollywood doesn’t turn out the mid-budget pictures anymore.
This (and no small amount of gamification by both sides) has given rise to the split score. The critics pan it and the audience loves it, or the other way around.
I still use Rotten Tomatoes as a guide, along with IMDB, but whenever the critics’ score diverges too far from the audience score, I throw them both out and employ my time tested heuristics:
- Is this a movie I want to see? If yes, watch the damn movie. If no, watch Marvel stuff for four hours.
- Is this a fancy, art film? If yes, just watch Marvel stuff for six hours
- Is this a comedy? If yes, do I think the people in/behind it are funny? If yes, watch the damn movie. If not, watch Groundhog Day three times.
- Is this an action film? Eh, don’t watch an action movie with a split score in either direction. Action films are basically drek waiting to happen. They’re the wet fart that will only take an iota of force to turn into a splattering shart. You’re better than that. Watch Marvel stuff for nine hours.
- Is this a sequel? Does it have “Jurassic” in the title? If yes, watch Marvel stuff for eight hours. If no, does it have “Wick” in the title? If no, watch Marvel stuff for ten hours, otherwise watch the damn movie.
- Is this a Marvel movie? Does it have “Avengers” in the title but not “Captain”? If yes, watch Star Wars stuff for twelve hours. If no, why are you reading this when you could be watching Marvel stuff?
As always, you are welcome.