Does Rotten Tomatoes Spoil Our Movie Expectations?
Weighing in on the movie review debate
By: Claire Redell
Think of the last movie you saw. Did you read the reviews beforehand? Personally, I’m notorious for instinctively heading to Rotten Tomatoes as soon as an opportunity arises to go to the theater. This way, I can get an immediate and completely biased opinion that will determine whether I should shell out $15 for a ticket. If a movie receives less than a 65 percent score, I’m overwhelmed with a debilitating internal conflict as to whether I should instead follow my sensation-seeking peers who prefer to go into a movie without any prior consultation.
Getting a second (or third) opinion before seeing a movie can help expedite the decision-making process before heading to the theater. Movie reviews can validate a pre-existing desire to watch a particular film but at the same time can discourage individuals from viewing a film that could unveil a previously unnoticed genre or a new independent production company. Many struggle to find credibility in the so-called “critics” on sites such as IMDB or Meta Critic whose opinions are notorious for contradicting those of us “amateur” consumers.
A handful of Reddit users offered a few choice words for movie critics. One person stated, “Movie critics have become so pompous that unless every film is like ‘Moonlight’ they just say it’s crap.” They continued, “... you know what I THOUGHT FANTASTIC 4 WAS DECENT there fuck you I said it.” Expletives aside, an interesting point is made—watching a movie without first consulting sites such as Twitter, RogerEbert, or The Guardian can be an incredibly liberating experience.
That being said, with the abundance of knowledge on the internet regarding films, is it really worth one’s time and money to step into a theater without some amount of preconceived notion on what to expect?