After discussing with multiple people how little I enjoyed Transformers 3, and hearing their opposite and remarkably understandable opinions, I’m finding it difficult to keep my own score up on the site without extending this discussion. I honestly believe that as a movie it is a piece of garbage made for profit, but as entertainment I’ve found myself agreeing with people that it’s practically the perfect popcorn flick. In fact I’ve told multiple people to pay money to see it on the big screen because any other venue would render it completely lackluster. A friend remarked to me that it’s around 35% on rottentomatoes from critics, but a 90% with users. This is becoming a problem.
What I’m finding is that critics tend to only write for themselves and other critics. Intentions becomes less for audiences to know whether or not a movie (or anything else) is accessible and entertaining than they are to impress others. I haven’t read any reviews in the past years that can’t be called self-indulgent at some point. It’s tooting our own horns based on our opinions, and while the concept of creating a review to help others is great sometimes I feel like we miss out on realizing the numbers of people who enjoy mindless violence. As evidenced by Transformers 3′s last couple of weeks, they’re making bank on just that demographic.
I point all that out not to say that my overall review score was incorrect; I’ll fight to the death the fact that the Transformers series should have been shut down at the conception stage. But rather, that review score to me while I wrote it was objective, based on cold hard facts about the movie. And as with any entertainment experience, that’s merely half the story. When I told another friend that Bumblebee almost dying was the least emotional trauma I’ve ever gone through at a theater, he spouted gibberish at me in surprise. Because to a grand majority, it’s the subjective person-to-person reaction that means the most. I can relate with my experience watching Horrible Bosses this evening. The movie was probably a good 70 at best for movies’ sake. But in reality I really want to give it an 80 or more, because while it wasn’t as funny as, say, Bridesmaids, it kept me laughing the whole time and as a viewer I loved the three lead actors from respective TV shows in the past. But where does my loyalty lie? Can I allow myself to recommend a movie that others may dislike for my own personal reasons? Or should I give this movie a purely objective score that ignores who I am?
I think the review system as a whole deserves an overhaul. Critics need to understand that they exist for and because of the people. Therefore they owe their public reviews that don’t assume everybody is watching a movie or playing a game or hearing a song just to criticize it. While at the same time, they have to keep the producers and artists in check, panning poor examples and raising up excellence. But where do you draw the line? Do we need to start having multiple scores, one for critics and one for the movie-going public?
What does everybody think? Is our system flawed or are rottentomatoes and metacritic always pretty spot-on?