The Case Against Rotten Tomatoes
I have been into movies for as long as I can remember. It began when I was 5, on Sundays at noon, when my Grandma would allow me to watch the fairytale hour on the television. Germany didn't have a large television program, but every Sunday when I was with my Grandmother, I would watch classic German fairytales. I dreamed of Princes, and faraway lands, and was engulfed in the fantasy that that one hour created for me.
As I got older, and especially in the recent five years, my love for movies has grown, and diversified.
My issue with Rotten Tomatoes began with Captain Marvel. Within a mere hours of its Friday release, Captain Marvel had received 58,000 negative reviews, brought on by misogynistic trolls, who rated the movie before it was even released. This surge of reviews brought the much anticipated movie down to a 33% audience score, and about 57,000 of these reviews were by people who never even saw the movie.
I went to see Hellboy with a friend, and since we are both avid movie watchers and read the comics as well, we watched it opening night. I loved it. I checked Rotten Tomatoes maybe two days later, and saw critics tear the movie apart, citing that it was too gory and that the cast all seemed to have a "bad attitude." Isn't that what Hellboy is all about? Absolute gore and a shitty attitude? I was confused.
A Netflix show called Chambers, with Uma Thurman and Sivan Alyra Rose, the first Indigenous female lead, has recently been cancelled, with what fans suspect is a low Rotten Tomatoes score. Chambers was sinister and had an amazing cast- but the low score lead many Netflix users to avoid the show altogether. (By the way, if you're reading this and are into horror- watch it!)
Dark Phoenix was a phenomenal ending to the X-Men saga for X-Men fans, but its low rating deterred people from even taking the time to see the movie.
The issue isn't that Rotten Tomatoes has some operation issues, and it won't be fixed through the introduction of the "verified ratings." It is the same issue that the Instagram account @diet_prada brings. Rotten Tomatoes is breeding a culture of movie snobs, and the worst is that a Rotten Tomatoes score can make or break a movie. The National Research Group has conducted a study and concluded that 7 out of 10 people would be less likely to see a movie if Rotten Tomatoes gave it a score of 0-25.
There main issue with these ratings is that they are creating a toxic culture around movie ratings, and taking down movies and TV shows that deserve recognition. Rotten Tomatoes' movie critics applaud dramas and coming-of-age flicks, but genres and content that are a little bit more "out there" or don't carry a heavy moral issue, continue to be massacred by misplaced elitism. Movies such as the X-Men saga or Godzilla seem to be left in the dust and pay the price for not waging a great deep-seated message.
What the audience can do, is ignore the ratings and just go see the movies that peek your interest! I almost didn't see Aladdin because it didn't do very well, but ended up loving it more than any other live action Disney movie. Movies offer us a welcome escape from our daily tirades of office desks and water cooler gossip, and it is foolish to assume that 25 movie critics can speak for the population as a whole. Indulge in what interests you, and omit the rating research prior to seeing the movie. You'll love the escape.