Brett Ratner thinks Rotten Tomatoes is destroying movie culture

3 min read
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We’ve heard the debate of review scores too many times before, but it seems that people are constantly referencing it. Yet another industry person, this time on the movie side, has raised concerns at the likes of Rotten Tomatoes and how ratings according to numbers are chasing people away from the cinemas and destroying the opportunity for people to explore different movies.

When making a list of directors that are certainties for making great films, Brett Ranter Ratner’s name is far removed from it. While the director has shown the ability to craft an exciting action sequence, most notably for his work on the Rush Hour series, he has also directed many big missteps in his career (X-Men: The Final Stand, Hercules). All this makes news of recent criticism of his directed at Rotten Tomatoes seem like a case of sour grapes. In reality, there is some truth to what he says, when he spoke on the topic to Entertainment Weekly:

The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes… I think it’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up, film criticism was a real art … there was intellect that went into that.

“You would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on ‘Batman v Superman,’ I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful.

In essence, assigning a score to any piece of art, whether it be a movie or game is difficult and while it’s a good guide for potential audiences, it should not be the default thing people look at. Tastes differ and reading the details in the review is probably going to give you a better idea of if it works or not. A movie might score low because aspects of its story or characters didn’t resonate with many reviewers, but that might no bother you and you could miss out on a good piece of entertainment as a result. I do think there is value in a scoring system, but only combined with the merits and details of the reviews themselves.

Something which Rotten Tomatoes actually believes in, as they issued a response to Brett Ratner’s comments:

At Rotten Tomatoes, we completely agree that film criticism is valuable and important, and we’re making it easier than it has ever been for fans to access potentially hundreds of professional reviews for a given film or TV show in one place. The Tomatometer score, which is the percentage of positive reviews published by professional critics, has become a useful decision-making tool for fans, but we believe it’s just a starting point for them to begin discussing, debating, and sharing their own opinions.

At the end of the day, guides like Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic are a nice look at what to watch, but people need to be aware of their tastes in entertainment and take responsibility for finding someone that feels the same way as they do. After all,  I prefer my movies to be cerebrally challenging, that doesn’t mean my opinion is superior to someone who prefers ‘skop, skiet and donner’ movies.

I do feel people shouldn’t use numbers alone to judge a film just because it’s scored poorly on Rotten Tomatoes.

Last Updated: March 24, 2017

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be discovering the cure for aids or finding ways to achieve world peace, but I'd rather be watching movies and writing here instead.

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    Stopped listening to critic’s opinions a long time ago :3

  • For me scores are very important at letting me know the level of quality of something.

    If a game/movie gets 1/5, 2/10 or 20/100 I know it’s going to be crap.. it’s not that it may not be to my taste, it’s 100% guaranteed to be garbage.

    Someone reviewing the latest Leon Schuster movie at 6/10 doesn’t put me off.. he’s a dumb movie guy and 6/10 is solid for that.

    • Fox1 – Retro

      A few years back 7/10 games were the most fun had. The scales have shifted lately because media houses throw 8, 9 and 10’s at anything from big publishers.

  • Original Heretic

    I dislike Ratner. Mainly, well, perhaps ONLY, because he ruined the third X-Men movie.
    And his other forays into film making haven’t exactly sat well with me.

    But the argument he puts forth above does make a modicum of sense.
    I also fully agree with RT’s response, though, the score should only be your starting point. Go and do your research, read the reviews.
    When it comes to movies and games, I tend to read the lowest score review and the highest score review. Doing that tends to highlight the weakest and the strongest points in both media.

  • For the Emperor!

    If you look at JUST the score, you might miss out on something awesome, or watch a pile of crap. The actual content of a review matters. For example something that was negative for the reviewer might be exactly what you wanted, or something they loved could be something you hate. Like Warcraft – most of the negative reviews focused on things that didn’t matter to me. Same with Assassins Creed. Then you get reviews where the reviewer sings the praises of the movie, and all their positive points were things I totally hated at the time…looking at you Barry Ronge…titanic pfff

  • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

    I only read the user reviews; the people have a better finger on the pulse of what’s cool or not, then the “critics”!

    • bad troll is bad… user reviews are hot garbage #FakeNews Sad!

      • Captain JJ

        There might be a lot of garbage in user reviews, but they’re also way more honest about things. Often I’ve found it to be way more helpful too. Just look at something like Need for Speed Rivals on Metacritic. 80 or something professional score, around 4 or 5 for users. And that game was complete garbage.
        Still, you’d have to be an idiot to only look at a score and deciding thereon instead of actually reading some reviews.

        • R1ker

          The one thing I hate about user reviews when it goes something along this lines:
          Just watched / played this movie /game and it sucked.

          Nothing more to state why. I tend to scroll through user reviews and look for the ones that actually explain in a constructive way why they love or hate a certain movie or game.

          • Captain JJ

            I completely agree. And I downvote each and every one of those reviews when I can.

      • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

        How dare you sir, the people are great! More power to the unwashed masses of metacritic!!

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