This Rotten Week: Predicting G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Host And More Reviews

By Doug Norrie 2013-03-24 11:35:13discussion comments
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The Place Beyond the Pines
So Ryan Gosling is a good actor. That isn’t exactly news. Ryan Gosling is also really good at picking movies. This is somewhat more important than being a good actor. One thing I’ve noticed from writing this column the last few years is actors and actresses rarely play a big part in the overall predictive measure of a movie. That is to say, even the “best” actors get involved in bad flicks. The general measure of a movie is the script and the direction, which means good acting can only go so far. (Consider a singer with a phenomenal voice who also sucks at writing lyrics and chooses a terrible backing band. The ceiling is fairly low, though the floor is pretty high.)

Let’s take a look at some of the “best” actors of the last decade. For this exercise I came up with a quick list of names, asked Katey Rich her expert opinion, and went through movies back to 2004 that gave the actor a prominent or starring role. Let’s look at the numbers (number of movies in parentheses, sorted by median high-to-low):

Christian Bale (12) Mean 75%, Median 81%
Ryan Gosling (10) Mean 70% Median 80%
Brad Pitt (12) Mean 73%, Median 75%
George Clooney (13) Mean 71% Median 72%
Matt Damon (16) Mean 68%, Median 71%
Leonardo DiCaprio (9) Mean 65%, Median 68%
Joaquin Phoenix (9) Mean 54% Median 57%
Daniel Day-Lewis (5) Mean 59%, Median 46%

That means, if The Place Beyond the Pines can stick above 82%, Ryan Gosling could be considered, by this metric, the most critically acclaimed actor of the last decade. (I tend to think median is the best score here, as it tends to negate the highest of highs and the lowest of lows giving a truer sense of the actor’s body of work, though I’m no economist.)

So I’m rooting for Derek Cianfrance’s (Blue Valentine-88%) movie to score well with critics. I find myself cheering for Gosling and not just because Mrs. Rotten Week inexplicably has this book on our living room shelf. I like actors who make good choices, and by early accounts his latest is another win. Critics, by and large, are loving the flick’s tone, style, direction and drama. Another win for Gosling. The Rotten Watch for The Place Beyond the Pines is 82%


Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?

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