How annoying is it when you’re trying to decide what movie to go to see only to browse its ratings and see a huge disparity between the critics’ rating and the viewers’ rating?
You see something along the lines of:
“34% of viewers like it, and 94% of critics like it”, or “85% of viewers like it, and 40% of critics like it.”
Really? How does that help me make a decision? Who are these critics anyway and why should I care what they think? Whose opinion really counts when it comes to movies: the critic or the viewer?
I always wondered how someone actually becomes a critic where that’s their real job. They have business cards and everything that say “fill in the blank” critic.
One dictionary defines a critic as “one who specializes especially professionally in the evaluation and appreciation of literary or artistic works.”
I think that’s a tad bit generous. A critic probably came up with that particular definition.
Another one reads like this, “one who forms and expresses judgments of the merits, faults, values or truth of a matter.” That may be a little closer to reality but it’s still not quite there yet.
If we dig even a little deeper, another definition states that a critic is “one who tends to make harsh or carping judgments; a faultfinder.” That’s more like it.
So the question remains, how does one get paid to basically take shots from the peanut gallery, and more importantly are they still taking applications?
Basically, what this rant all comes down to is that there is such a disparity between the opinion of the so-called “experts” and the average viewer. It just further pushes the idea that critics are a pretentious bunch of wannabes.
I mean let’s be real, when have you ever seen an obscure foreign film have a low critic rating? It’s not because they don’t suck, because trust me a lot of them do. It’s because critics think it makes them look more “refined” in their tastes. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a “critically acclaimed” movie is an oxymoron.
With that being said, I feel it is my duty to provide a more simple guide to picking movies as they relate to the critics and viewers rating. Let us end all the confusion and find a way to know exactly what we are signing up for when we walk into the theaters. These are the four possible scenarios and what they could mean for your movie-going experience. You can thank me later.
- High critic rating, low viewer rating – Probably an obscure foreign film. High probability it’s not going to be in English. You didn’t come to the movies to read, or learn a new language…you could do both of those at home. Give this one a miss.
- High critic rating, high viewer rating – These movies typically feature one of the following: some war or patriotic event, a re-booted comicbook super hero, or Ryan Gosling. One day somebody is going to find a way to combine all three of these elements in one movie and it’s going to change the world forever.
- Low critic rating, high viewer rating – This is where “entertainment” in its purest form typically lives. If you don’t mind “commercial” story-lines, here is where you’ll uncover some hidden gems. Obviously, because these movies tend to be more “commercial” in nature, the critics are automatically obliged to pan them lest they compromise their artistic integrity. So feel free to leave your brain at home for a couple hours because you probably won’t need it. But who cares anyway? You came to be entertained.
- Low critic rating, low viewer rating – Two words: “Red Dawn.” No movie in recent memory better embodies what this category is all about. Feel free to check it out if you need more proof. Alternatively, go to Lowe’s and buy a can of paint. After that, go to the supermarket and buy a bag of popcorn. When you get home splash some of the paint on your wall, open up the bag of popcorn, and sit back to watch the paint dry. The result will be the same, just with a more convincing acting performance by the can of paint.
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