The Importance of Movie Critics
I have always been fascinated by the concept of movie critics, as well as both the negative attention and popularity they seem to garner. They are not the most well liked people in the film world. Their jobs also seem to be incredibly volatile to a point, not to mention highly scrutinized by the general public. A film critic needs to have the prediction skills of a meteorologist, the charm of a public relations person, and the communication ability of a skilled orator.
But the real question is, do we take them seriously anymore? I often wonder how much power film critics have, and how the Internet has changed what once was a coveted newspaper position only. This is what I’d like to explore for the next little while.
It used to be that being a film critic was an occupation, not a hobby. When newspapers were still in their prime, being a film or theatre critic was a job you were hired for. Unfortunately, that position didn’t always come with respect. If you were good at your job and able to spot a flop, then you were liked by audiences and hated by filmmakers. If you had a hard time picking the good from the bad, then nobody took you seriously. What most critics ended up doing was finding a happy medium, stating the good highlights with the bad lows.
Nowadays, you can set up your own website and become a film critic without needing to be sworn in or knighted by the Film Critics Association. The Internet has not only given us access to a wealth of information at our fingertips, but has also allowed us a stronger voice. Everyone has an opinion about the movies they see, and it’s a perfect place to share and discuss all movies, from the very popular to the hidden gems. The only problem is that with so many people commenting and becoming their own film critic, how do you know who to listen to?
Some of us, of course, don’t listen to anyone at all. We avoid the critic’s review, waiting to see the film for ourselves. For some of us, it keeps the film fresh the way the way the director wanted it to be seen. Others of us, however, read film reviews as a way of knowing which movies to stay away from.
I think this is one of the reasons why sites like RottenTomatoes and IMDB are so valuable. Listening to one person’s advice here or there is one thing, but listening to the ideas of a group as a whole can be beneficial. The general consensus of a group doesn’t guarantee that everyone is right, but it gives you a better idea going in of how to level your expectations.
Let’s face it, at one point, there were no real expectations when it came to the movies. Movies were a marvel in and of themselves at one point. Now that some of us have standards and expectations when it comes to movies and such busy lives to fit them in, we don’t have time to mess around with bad movies. Knowing that a movie isn’t perfect but that it has good qualities makes us more likely to lower our expectations and enjoy the film for what it is, rather than wait and see what comes. And the only way to do that is by word of the critic.
Myself, I have to admit that the cost of disappointment far outweighs the price of a movie ticket. I definitely use Rotten Tomatoes as a way of determining which movies to see in theatres and which ones will be viewed on DVD. Movies with an IMDB average of seven or higher are always guaranteed to be worth seeing. But it all ends of being a matter of personal choice. But one thing I do know — if I do go looking for a critic’s review, it won’t be hard to find one.