Rant: On Reviews and Disagreeing with People
I try my best not to ever read reviews – I made that a habit a long time ago. I honestly really like to decide for myself what I will think of a movie or book or album without being clouded by other people’s opinions. And in reality, that’s almost always the best way to do things. It’s why I’m so fascinated by other people throwing disproportionate tantrums when critics hate a movie, or when people hate that a certain movie was made (Ghostbusters; I’ll get to it).
I saw today that someone had started a petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes after the site almost universally panned Suicide Squad (it’s currently sitting at 27% rotten). First off, and I’ve talked about this before, critics have very different criteria for movies than comic book fans do. If you’re honestly a fan, whether or not a film critic likes a comic book movie you’re looking forward to should be a moot point. Whether or not you end up liking it is all that matters.
Second, I can’t believe people think a Change.org petition is the solution to everything. Funnily enough, when I started looking into this before I decided to write on it, I found some interesting things. The original petition is this:
We need this site to be shut down because It’s Critics always give The DC Extended Universe movies unjust Bad Reviews, Like
1- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016
2- Suicide Squad 2016
and that Affects people’s opinion even if it’s a really great movies (sic)
Hmm, that’s not really how life works, is it? Censorship issues aside, it’s horrible that our society’s first reactions to things that don’t agree with their opinion is to try to shut them down completely. Again, that’s not how life works. However, as I kept looking into it, I found this clarification from later in the day:
First : Thank you very much for reaching more than 5000 supporter
Second A Clarification : A petition definitely won’t shut down the site
The aim of the petition is to deliver a message to the critics that there is a lot of people disagree with their reviews.
A lot of people the supporters and the opponents of the petition act like we are already going right now to shut down the site
not it’s just a way to express our anger
All right, fair enough, although you did expressly ask for the site to be shut down because it hurt your feelings. But Rotten Tomatoes isn’t even the one doing the reviews; Rotten Tomatoes is a collection of critics’ reviews, and it also gives a platform for people to review after seeing a movie, almost like Yelp for movies. It’s mostly useful for people who do rely on reviews, but it’s also very useful for people who aren’t sure they want to pay to see a movie in theatres or wait until it comes out to rent or buy.
The petition only reached not even 19,000 signatures, so it’s really a small segment of people complaining, and was most likely picked up by the news because it was so ridiculous. You want to know the best way to disagree with someone’s negative review? Go see the movie! Pay money to go see the movie in theatres, especially opening weekend, and heck, why not write your own positive review after the fact? Plaster it all over social media that you loved the movie, and that you went to see it, and that you think other people should too. That is the real way to deal with negative reviews, not trying to shut down an entire company (even if you later say you just wanted to “send a message”).
Just for fun, here’s a list of movies that were panned by critics, but are widely known as successful, and in some cases, iconic movies:
- Boondock Saints
- Fifth Element
- Fight Club
- It’s A Wonderful Life
- The Wizard of Oz
- The Blues Brothers
- Animal House
- The Empire Strikes Back
Now, on the flip side of my rant today, are the people so thoroughly upset that new versions of movies from their childhood are being made, often with entirely different casts, that they try to completely obliterate the movie before it’s even released (see: Ghostbusters, told you we’d get there). I’m amazed that people think a new version of a movie will ruin the one that was already made years ago. How will it do that, by recording over everyone’s VHS or DVD copies of the movies? You guys know Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is fiction and we can’t erase memories, right?
If you really don’t want to see the new version of a movie you’ve loved your whole life, I have a simple solution for you: Don’t go see it. They’re making a new version of The Mummy with Tom Cruise, and I absolutely love the one with Brendan Fraser. Am I going to sit around and start fights from behind my keyboard with people who think it looks good just because I don’t? No, I’ll probably just not see it. Being upset that the new one will ruin the Brendan Fraser one would be like thinking that gay marriage negatively affects my marriage to Captain America somehow just by existing.
At the end of the day, if something that isn’t actually directed at you or harming you, and is in fact an optional activity you can choose to partake in, is making you this upset, then you’re the one with the issue. We’re all individual little snowflakes with our own tastes and desires; just because a critic doesn’t like something you love, or they’re trying to make money off a new version of one of your favorite movies, doesn’t mean your life is ruined. Will some people not go see Suicide Squad because of the reviews? Probably. And they were probably the people who weren’t sure they wanted to see it in the first place.
Will I still be going to see Suicide Squad? Of course. Other people’s opinions don’t affect the things that I love or if I will love them. For all I know, the movie may be terrible, but I’m going to go see it for myself to make that decision.