April 12, 2008

When The Critics Get It Wrong

I frequently visit a site I'm sure many of you have been to, Rotten Tomatoes (RT). Unlike IMDB where average ratings are based on regular site users, RT gives you the average ratings by critics by giving each movie a percentage based on how many recommended seeing the movie being critiqued.

I find both sites useful in their own way but every once in a while I am astounded at a rating at RT considering that so many critics contribute to it.

Let me give you a few examples of times that I think the critics on RT got it horrifically wrong.

Spider Man 3
RT rating = 62%
Watch It rating = $2


I liked Spider Man 1 & 2, in fact #2 was a great movie, but Spider Man 3 was terrible. The writing was on a much lower level than the previous two superior installments and the dark side of Spider Man was extremely unconvincing. This movie contained some of the worst scenes I've sat through in years and yet somehow 62% of RT critics recommended it! Are you kidding me?

Live Free or Die Hard
RT rating = 80%
Watch It rating = $4


Live Freed or Die Hard was OK. The complete and total implausibility of most of the action scenes lost me though and the villain was lame. An 80% recommendation from RT is shameful.

Knocked Up
RT rating = 91%
Watch It rating = $3


I've taken a lot of heat for my low rating of Knocked Up. I still say that it's a simple and vulgar movie with far less laughs than I expected. A 91% level on RT should be reserved for Oscar contenders not comedies that revolve around masturbation and poo jokes.

Transformers
RT rating = 57%
Watch It rating = $8


Transformers was a fun and entertaining movie. One of the knocks against it has been that it was weak on plot but did people really expect more from a movie based on a cartoon which was based on a toy? While 57% of RT critics saw it as good enough to recommend I don't know what the other 43% were hoping for, especially when 62% of them recommended the retched Spider Man 3.

Just my opinion though.

29 comments:

Trev said...

Toni,

I don't know how familiar you are with navigating around the "RT" site, but if you look right above the "tomatometer" for any given movie, you'll notice some tabs. The default percentage it always shows you is the "T-meter critics" concensus.

In the case of Spider man 3, you'll find a %62 average from T-meter critics (people from any given magazine, newspaper, tabloid or website) and a %63 average from the "RT community" (people who are site members!)

However, "RT" has done a wonderful thing and also presented us with their most trusted and valued critical opinions, this being the wonderful "Top Critics" tab. And wouldn't you know it, if you click on that tab, you'll find that spider man 3 was given a deserving 44 percent!

* (asterisk) said...

That 91% rating for Knocked Up is funnier than the damn movie. My sides are hurting. Thanks for the laugh, dude!

Tony Tanti said...

trev, yeah I'm familiar with those features. I still find the 44% rating for SM3 from the top critics disgraceful but at least it's an improvement.

asterisk, thanks man, you're the one guy I've found who had a similar experience with Knocked Up.

soundtrackgeek said...

Spider-Man 3 and Live Free Die Hard were excellent movies, the best in the series. How Knocked Up got more then 3% I'll never know. Transformers was also a great fun action movie like Spider-Man 3, which function was to purely entertain and it did, again and again.

Ratings... meh.

Shea said...

Ha... i feel more inclined to root for the critis on these...

interesting post but i like the dance scene in S3...sorry...ha.

Trev said...

In regards to Transformers:

I think most fans DID expect the movie to have a good plot, being as that the first transformers movie, along with the animated series, had a great story. Why they would stray from that story is beyond me.

And with a 150 million dollar budget, you'd think they could've found writers that actually thought about the script before finalizing it.

The movie succeeded as a comedy and a fine display of CGI; that's where it ends.

Tony Tanti said...

Sorry STG, to call Spider Man 3 an "excellent movie" is a bit ridiculous. Transformers wasn't an excellent movie either but it entertained me and I thought the writing (while not great) was FAR superiour to the cartoony childish writing in SM3.

Die Hard 4 was ok, again it's a big stretch to call it "excellent" but not as big a stretch as the truly horrific SM3.

Shea, I knew we'd disagree on these. :)

Trev, I see what you're saying but to me the writing in Transformers wasn't bad and they did take a lot from the original story. Overall it's not amazing so maybe my $8 rating is a bit generous but I was just appalled that more RT critics recommended SM3.

Dave said...

I am following you completely on the Spiderman 3 front. Spiderman 3 was one of the few movies that I have seen that actually made me like the previous two in the series less; awful! I liked Live Free or Die Hard, although I agree with you on the ridiculous action scenes; namely the scene with the plane. Knocked Up was overrated, but I had a few laughs. I was expecting it to be gross lame humor so it went down easier in the end. Transformers although it was good was surely only appealing to those looking for pure action or those that were already interested because it was Transformers; not much acting and not much plot made it a typical Michael Bay offering.

Dave said...

Soundtrack Geek -

I agree with you that Spiderman 3 was entertaining; I laughed at how bad it was the entire time. Really though I was with others that liked it so if you are in it for say the soundtrack or the action and don't care about the script of acting and had low expectations, then I could see how you could enjoy it. Obviously a lot of people agree with you even.

jon said...

way to go taking on the critics! love it!

these were all AWFUL movies except for die hard, but that's just because it had earned the right to be ridiculous. on its own it would have been a laugh.

spiderman 3 was horrendous. in my opinion in lowers the credibility of rotten tomatoes if their "top critics" rated that movie that well.

stay strong on knocked up. if i want that kind of a laugh i'll go to a junior high sleepover.

Fletch said...

Well, I'm with you on the first two, but opposite on the latter two. Just as you might find the 91% for Knocked Up laughable (though I agree with the Oscars statement you make), I find it laughable that you gave Transformers an $8.

Then again, what fun would it be if we all agreed all of the time?

At least most of us can agree that S3 was a heap. I put Die Hard 4 just a notch above it...

Tony Tanti said...

I'm willing to my admit my enjoyment of Transformers was more than most. Bay's movies usually suck but I was ready to enjoy this movie when I saw and I loved it. I admit the $8 is a bit high but not by much.

I stand by all my other points but as fletch said it really wouldn't be much fun if we all agreed on everything. I mean if I had my way every movie would be narrated by Morgan Freeman, no matter what the genre.

Trev said...

Haha, Morgan Freeman narrarates Fight Club...could you imagine? That'd be like casting William Shatner in The lion king.

jon said...

wasn't william shatner in the lion king?

i don't know, if i hear another morgan freeman voice over i'm gonna be about ready to puke. whatever happened to james earl jones? i guess i'm old fashioned but i don't remember when the keys to the narration kingdom were handed over.

luke h. said...

Man...so much hate for Knocked Up out in the blogosphere...the reason the critics liked it was that it was able to rise above what it was (i.e., a vulgar comedy), and deliver layered, sympathetic characters and a complex plot with a fair amount of twists. Not because it had a lot of poo jokes. (Or maybe I'm just an uncurable optimist.)

Tony Tanti said...

luke, I know that's why people SAID they liked Knocked Up and it's why I was actually excited to see it. I don't remember a single "layered" character though unless you consider couples fighting a layer above poo jokes.

luke h. said...

I think it's really a matter of expectations, though. Critics were expecting a lame gross-out comedy and got something better, so they wrote good reviews; then you (presumably) read their reviews and expected the world, so you were disappointed.

Trev said...

I simply didn't watch Knocked Up because of the title. It told me everything I needed to know about the movie. Kind of like Snakes on a Plane, there are just moments in life where it would almost seem fair to simply judge a book by its cover and move on.

Fletch said...

"I simply didn't watch Knocked Up because of the title. It told me everything I needed to know about the movie."

I guess you never saw Airplane! either then, huh? That's a shame. Or Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Or...

Trev said...

Hey Fletch,

No, I don't avoid all movies because I have an inate fear of titles. My point was often the title tells you exactly what kind of movie you're getting into. Knocked Up looked like yet another "hip" comedy that was going to leave me feeling like I wasted my money on "pooh" jokes.

Missing Airplane! and Ferris beullar's day off would be a shame? Maybe if I was old enough to have watched them in the 80's when they first came out I could've appreciated the humour. But I'm afraid those movies are downright cheesy!

Tony Tanti said...

luke, good point. I've admitted as much many times on this blog, namely that my expectations going into a movie affect my experience. This is why I try to avoid reading reviews and watching trailers prior to watching a movie. With Knocked Up that was almost impossible due to all the hype it was getting.

This is the most comments I've ever had on a post and my hits are way up too. I should insult critics more often.

Or maybe the increase is due to the growing popularity of the Large Association of Movie Blogs, of which I am proud to say I was the 3rd member. Check it out if haven't yet by clicking on the link on my homepage.

jon said...

i think the movie industry had made itself into such a machine that you can and SHOULD judge a film by its title, or if that doesn't help you, by its reviews.

i have saved myself many many wasted hours by not bothering with films like knocked up. i want to thank thoughtful critics and film-namers everywhere for helping me to avoid any more incidents like the horrible viewing of "Wild Wild West" or the mind-destroying 2 hours that were called "Spiderman 3".

That said, you can't ALWAYS trust the title or the review . . . I'm certainly not that simplistic. But sometimes that's all you need.

Tony Tanti said...

Ahhh, Wild Wild West. Horrid!

This conversation is inspiring me to come up with a "worst movies of all time" post. That will take some thought though as there are many.

Mrs. Thuro said...

I agree on all points except Live Free or Die Hard, as I have yet to actually bother watching it. I particularly agree with Knocked-Up, and I got some crap for panning it too.

Colleeny said...

I loved Spiderman3! I loved it for one reason only. Bruce Campbell! I am contractually obligated to love every thing that man does. Heres hoping the directors cut is 6 minutes long!

Matt said...

Like most everyone else, I was also disappointed with Spider-Man 3 but mostly because I found the third installment to be derivative of the first two.

I thought Die Hard 4 also failed to live up its own series standards and brought nothing that hadn't been done, and been done better, in other movies.

However, Knocked Up and Transformers were great fun and I enjoyed both films immensely. Sometimes some poop jokes and talking cars are exactly what the doctor ordered.

Anonymous said...

I agree with them, whats your problem? I thought spiderman 3 if anything was better than 1 and 2, maybe would've given die hard a lower score but thats all,
Stop whining prat

jeffrey said...

Are you kidding me? Spider-man 3 is one of the best movies I like!

Lizbeth said...

Little doubt, the dude is completely fair.