Thanks to the Internet, the way the average person consumes news and information has changed. Instead of individual voices like Roger Ebert telling us what to watch, there are myriad opinions on the Internet available to help you and your family weigh the pros and cons. And at least one director isn't having it. Recently, Tower Heist helmer Brett Ratner revealed that he feels Rotten Tomatoes is the worst thing to happen to contemporary movies culture. He said:
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. And there was intellect that went into that. And 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.
Brett Ratner does have quite a bit to say about this topic, and one thing I think he touches on that is key is bringing in Batman v Superman, which did make a ton of money relative to its Rotten Tomatoes score. (His company co-financed the film.) While this sort of averaging of opinions can be great for movies everyone loves and everyone collectively hates, it can be less great for all of those movies that land in the middle of the spectrum, with people somewhat liking or disliking them. These "movies with problems" might very well still be worth your time even if they are only running at 55% or whatever on Rotten Tomatoes, especially if they are in a genre you particularly enjoy.
The complaint about Rotten Tomatoes Brett Ratner made at the Sun Valley Film Festival (via EW) isn't exactly a new idea. Director David Cronenberg has also been open about his dislike for the service, and we're sure he's not the only one. Interestingly, Brett Ratner seems to think the biggest problem is going off of a score to determine whether a movie is positive or negative, but there's also the idea that it's Rotten Tomatoes' score specifically that might be skewed.
Even if you do kind-of like the idea of critics lumping their film scores together, Rotten Tomatoes may not be the most accurate model, as the Tomatometer just gives you the percentage of critics who liked a given movie. Its main competitor, Metacritic, on the other hand, is a weighted average of converted ratings. So a movie like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may run at 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and 44% on Metacritic, which reflects the fact that some critics were more in the middle about the film. Sure, 44% is not a perfect score, but it's far closer to the middle than the RT rating.
At the end of the day, while years ago you might have read one review in a newspaper that you potentially could thoroughly have disagreed with, now you can read up on the pros and cons through negative or positive reviews, and it's easy to find those opinions thanks to sites like Rotten Tomatoes. We've certainly lost something by no longer having film critic icons, but in its place, there's a convenience factor and a wealth of information that is hard to deny.
If you'd like to know specifically what CinemaBlend thinks about the latest movies, be sure to check out our reviews page. And remember, even within one site, we don't always agree on which movies are great and which aren't. (Full disclosure, I'm a 3.5/5 on Batman v Superman.)
UPDATE: Following publication of the story, Rotten Tomatoes reached out and offered the following statement...
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.