Critics v. The Rest of Us

Film critics watch movies from a different perspective than the rest of us.  They aren’t watching to be entertained, they compliment or criticize based on many factors beyond entertainment value.  I enjoy reading reviews and learn a lot from them.  One of the best examples is Roger Ebert’s review of Citizen Kane.  Even better is his lengthy commentary that was on the DVD I watched.  It’s like a short-course in film making and helped me understand why such a bad movie is considered by many to be the best ever made.

I rarely read complete reviews before I see a movie because I don’t want to know too much about it before I see it; however, I usually check ratings, i.e., how many stars did it get?  I also compare the ratings of the critics with those of regular folks.  Frequently they are quite different.

The idea of writing about this was prompted by my recent viewing of Legends of the Fall (1994).   I’d seen it several times before, enjoyed it, cried a lot, and highly recommend it (7/9).   The IMDb user rating is 7.2/10 yet it’s “Metascore” is 45/100, but that’s misleading because it’s based only on the critics’ ratings.  The user score on Metacritic.com is 7.2/10.  I checked it out on RottenTomatoes.com too, and the critic/audience comparison is 62%/87%.  The “Tomatometer” is expressed as a percentage because it’s not an average rating of the movie but is the percentage of those who gave it a favorable rating.  It’s also important to note that the RottenTomatoes audience score of LOTF is based on the votes of over 162,000 users.

Conclusion:  Look at user ratings in addition to those of the critics before deciding what you want to see, then disregard the critics.

When I feel like taking the time to look it up, and when it suits my purpose, I’ll add these comparisons to my tweets and reviews.  Using Legends of the Fall as an example, and after converting the Metacritic user score to a scale of 100, this is what you’ll see:  MC 45/72, RT 62/87.

Please leave a comment.  I’d love to know what you think.

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2 Responses to “Critics v. The Rest of Us”

  1. Ayush Ghai (@ashooghai) Says:

    While we talk about ratings and reviews, would an objective break down of on various aspects be helpful?
    For ex. how good is the drama, action, acting, dialogues etc on a scale of 10.
    Or would that be an overkill?

  2. Anon E. Muss Says:

    I like the idea but I’m just trying to make it work. A scale of 1 to 4 or 5 would be plenty. I’m sure I’ve seen reviews where critics rate aspects of a film and then give it an overall rating but this is a little different. It could become overkill but doesn’t have to.

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