No, movie critics aren’t offline – internet warriors are the problem


By “public”, I mean here the same people as Follows: Internet users who know about the existence of IMDb and who have the time and the desire to open an account on the site. Members of this group differ from critics in several ways. In fact, they don’t have to watch a movie before rating it, and they can rate movies as many times as they want, as long as they can bother to keep creating new accounts. with which to do it.

They’re also not made to rate with weight: the extreme responses are instead rewarded, as they have the greatest effect on the IMDb rating displayed at the top of each movie’s page. (As of this writing, more than one in six users for Star Wars: The Last Jedi – a notable battleground in America’s Culture Wars – is one or 10 out of 10.) And, of course, the same applies to most other online rating systems, including audience scores on the biggest review aggregator of all, Rotten Tomatoes.

As useful as it can be for statisticians if everyone was required to log in after watching a movie and recording their score, this just isn’t how it works. (Although I have no doubt that statisticians themselves can.) People are pushed into taking polls in the hope that their perspective will help move the needle – which, in film terms , often means pushing back a dominant critical or commercial line.

The Last Jedi was by far the highest grossing release of 2017, and according to Metacritic the highest-rated Star Wars movie since the 1977 original. Ah, but a certain subset of fans of the franchise didn’t. doesn’t he hate? Well, those who contributed to its particularly low audience score on Rotten Tomatoes certainly have. (Audiences rated it a 42 ‘rotten’ compared to critics’ 90 ‘fresh’.) The site to make sure – they would still only make up a fraction of a percent of the film’s actual viewership. .

And since everyone has actively decided to go online and vote in the first place, it seems safe to assume that many are from the very specific fraction of a percent who thinks their views aren’t already being expressed loud and clear enough. .

The subscription-based business model and algorithms used by streaming services like Disney + and Netflix may be changing that, but the best way we have to determine whether the general public likes a movie or not. hasn’t changed in the last 100 years: it’s counting how many people actually paid to see it.


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