Are Movie Critics Right?

Alyssa, staff

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You want to hit the movies this weekend, but you seem to have a one problem: you don’t know what to see. Whatever shall you do? Ask the ticket seller at the theater window? Go in BLIND?! Well, thank goodness for popular culture and the internet, because we have something that can save you from the terrible perils of seeing an awful movie you didn’t have to see: movie critics.

However, there’s one issue. What if you still don’t like the movie? Even when the critics do? Are the critics always right about their rankings?

Well…technically there’s no way to assume that there will ever be a single movie critic review percentage will match all viewer opinions. Thus, the viewer review. Just like we have reviews for restaurants and consignment stores, we have reviews for movies. However, there’s a significant difference between the way critics review movies and the way the general viewer reviews them. Subjective vs. objective.

A subjective review is a review based on opinions not founded in consistency. Each person has his or her own difference in opinions that makes viewer reviews vary greatly from person to person. How, then, do critic reviews remain somewhat consistent? Why pay critics for reviews in the case that we already have millions of free warm bodies available and willing for critics? Because of objectivity. An objective review is a one based on a scale, not changed based upon opinions nearly to the extent of a subjective review, and vary less from person to person. The need for objective scaling systems is so important that it is the reason behind having things like the United States Constitution to set a standard.

One problem is still evident, however. Even despite this difference, usually between critics and general viewers, there is some kind of consensus. Why then, sometimes, when a popular movie comes out, such as The Last Jedi, is there such a big gap between viewer reviews and critic reviews? Sometimes we see reviews and with great indignity decide that they simply rated a movie way too high for its actual value, and sometimes vice versa. Are critics reviewing things…wrong?

Well, the biggest problem is likely in the way that a viewer watches a movie compared to a critic. A critic has a trained mind, a blank slate. The general viewer has something that takes practice to shake: a preconceived notion. Often times, going into a movie, the viewers assume it will be a certain way. They may read theories predicting the outcomes of a movie or analyze trailers and teasers on their own, assuming they will include certain information that they don’t or take a turn that never seems to happen. This causes the general viewer to feel sometimes overwhelming disappointment at the end of a movie when it did not perform as expected. How do we fix this? We appreciate the movie for what it is. Even if the story is not the story we wanted or expected to see, it may still be a good story.

Other times, we see a movie and think very highly of it, yet when we read critical reviews afterwards, we realize that critics posted negative reviews on them. When critics go into review a movie, as I said before, they clear their minds and absorb themselves in the film. However, this act does not only allow for enjoyment of the movie as it is intended, but also as a way of providing a gateway to that all-important objective criticism that they are so known to impose on movies. They not only analyze the entertainment value of the film, but the atmosphere, animation, acting, music, and filmography. This is the second half of the mindset we must have to understand how a critic reviews a movie. This side shows us how many things we enjoy can be, while entertaining, overall a bad execution.

Overall, though, when reading critic reviews before a movie, you may find that you actually do agree with their notions. Sometimes you may feel as though they disliked a movie you thought was great, and sometimes you may feel the opposite. However, if we go into movie watching with a mind like a critic, we may be able to understand what movies provide that makes them not-so-admirable (and therefore save our friends from suffering through them), and more importantly, appreciate movies we otherwise may have been disappointed by.

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Are Movie Critics Right?