When Hollywood Gets It Wrong

I recently read this post by Eric Goebelbecker, and he links to an article where Hollywood attacks the movie rating site Rotten Tomatoes.

Too much truth here.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Rotten Tomatoes is an online site where they aggregate critic reviews and give a total rank. The NY Times article above goes into more detail as to how they choose who is and isn’t included in the reviews they aggregate, but it sounds to me like Rotten Tomatoes does a pretty good job. Especially as they try to include a more diverse group of reviews that the traditional middle-aged white male perspective.

Still, the whole things does reinforces the term “la la land” for Hollywood.

Because, rather than them taking a hard look at the movies they’re making and asking themselves why they’re flops, they’re blaming a rating agency for giving those who go to their site the truth as a wider array of critics, and eventually viewers themselves, sees it.

And this is what people want.

Rotten Tomatoes gets more than 13 million unique visitors every day.

If Hollywood were honest with themselves, they’d take a hard look at the competition. And I don’t mean just other movies.

They are competing with so many other forms of entertainment that they really have to bring their top game.


Too much truth here, too.

Let’s face it, our choices are more expansive that ever:

  • Reading books
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Video Games – whether phone, console or PC
  • On Demand TV – Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc.
  • Whatever the heck it is millennials do on their phones

Many of these forms of entertainment are “free”. Once I pay for my Netflix subscription, I can watch what I want when I wish.

For my husband and I to go to the movies to see a single movie costs more than my monthly Netflix subscription. Add to that the cost of a babysitter, and the fact if I wait a few months, I can rent it or buy it for less than the cost of going to the theater, and we just don’t go. Especially as home theater systems and big screen TVs have become a whole lot more affordable.

Way too much truth.

And while Hollywood is bemoaning their “plight” with Rotten Tomatoes, HBO was laughing all the way to the bank as they cashed in on Game of Thrones.

So yes, people are watching “TV”, although the seventy-plus minute final episode of season 7 bordered on movie-length.

Yet, people were lining up to watch it. Waiting in eager anticipation. Talking about it all week before and after the episode. Building enough anticipation that the show has only gotten more popular, despite the gap of a year or more between seasons.

Yes, Game of Thrones has Drogon, and that’s hard to beat.

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But there’s a lot more to the show than Drogon. There’s a list of characters pages long that viewers have come to care about. Come to love. That we tune in to see what happens to them even they aren’t fire-breathing reptiles.

And yes, HBO spent a lot of money of those special effects. But it wasn’t all about special effects. How many of us were right there with Tyrion as he cursed Jamie for being an idiot as he charges Dany?

Perhaps if Hollywood could distill that and give it to us, they could make movies we want to see.

All in, I hope places like Rotten Tomatoes stick around. They give us what we want. If Hollywood would do the same, they wouldn’t have such an issue.


How about you? Do you go to movies? Ever used Rotten Tomatoes guides?



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4 thoughts on “When Hollywood Gets It Wrong

  1. Rotten Tomatoes is sort of a guide to me. What I like about them, and what the Times only briefly mentions is that they aggregate other reviewers’ ratings and *show* them to you so you can read it for yourself and see, for example, that’s it’s just A.O. Scott whining about it not being enough of a arthouse flick for him.

    So I may use it as a tiebreaker to see if I am going to wait until a movie is available at home or fork out the $30+ it costs for my wife and I to see a movie.

    But I usually know well before a movie hits the theaters whether or not I’m going to see it. I didn’t need Rotten Tomatoes to tell me that Suicide Squad and Batman vs. Superman sucked.

    I had the trailers for that.

    1. We don’t use it for much. The cost of tickets, popcorn and a babysitter makes waiting 3 months to get it totally worth it to us.

      I honestly think the cost makes it a lot harder for people to justify movies, and that means the studios have to make really good movies to get us to go. This is where they need to focus.

      Lower cost or increase value.

  2. I rarely go to the movies any more either.
    Partly because of the cost, and partly because I get much more joy out of TV. TV can depict character and plot much better because it has more time to tell a story. The exceptions are often kids movies (How to Train Your Dragon, Big Hero 6, Moana) which I often find tell a good story. I love looking at review sites but like to keep an open mind, because when it comes down to it, reviews are opinions, and everyone thinks differently 🙂

    1. You are so right! They are just opinions. And we can take them or leave them.

      I agree with you on TV, too. You can really develop characters when you have an hour a week rather than two hours total.

      Interesting, isn’t it, that they can do it with kids’ movies but struggle with adult movies? It can be done. I loved Wonder Woman, for example, but I didn’t go see it until friends said it was great. After the Batman vs Superman mess, there was no trust.

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