1. This is exactly why I appreciate Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn site. They simply tell you what good and bad content is in the film, give you a generalized review and let you make your own choice. Lorehaven has a similar style of reviewing novels that includes a “discern” section. Rating systems drive me crazy. They are far too subjective.

  2. The only problem is that I’ve never been misled by a Rotten Tomatoes rating. What percentage of people LIKED a film is not subjective. It’s objective. That’s actually very helpful. Viewers just need to keep it in context, which is not hard given that they split the “critic” reviews from the “regular peasants like me” reviews.

    That is interesting, though, how Rotten Tomatoes classified your reviews for you. Didn’t know that was how it works!

  3. notleia says:

    I see your clickbait title. And then I clicked it, so it has justified its existence in the world.

  4. Travis Perry says:

    Rotten Tomatoes seems committed to their binary system of either thumbs up or thumbs down. You pointing that out is of benefit to Speculative Faith readers. So thank you. (Though you aren’t going to change them over to a more nuanced system.)

    However, the quest for simple answers is a very common human thing. I have in fact taken umbrage to some of your responses to certain theological issues (such as a Christian writer’s level of responsibility to readers) as being too simplistic. Yet certain reactions to things I said revealed at least some people thought I was saying something simple, too, just in the opposite direction from what you said. (Sigh.)

    A nuanced and complex understanding of things apparently is difficult!

    As for Rotten Tomatoes favoring mixed positive reviews with low strong negative ratings versus reviews that produce both strong positives and strong negatives, I think there’s some merit to that approach. Since viewers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, a lack of any intensely negative reactions is a pretty fair indicator that the while general viewing audience may not love a particular film, at least they won’t be angered by it and feel cheated out of the price of admission. Polarizing movies that some people love and some hate can justifiably be considered worse in general than movies that almost everyone likes a little.

    Though I think such a system, even if justifiable under the notion of a-film-most-likely-to-provide-fun-for-everyone, in some ways discouages risk-taking and supports mediocrity. Unfortunately the same vibe operates in books as well as movies–people tend to avoid negatives, more than seek positives. At least at times…

  5. Tim Brown says:

    When perusing movie reviews, I frequently think back to the movie reviewer for the local (“major metropolitan”) newspaper for several years back in the day. His reviews were generally interesting and informative – but after a little while, I realized that his tastes were significantly different from mine; in fact, it was 100% reliable that if he panned a SF/F film, I would like it, and if he approved of an SF/F film, I’d hate it. That rule didn’t apply to other genres, but I kind of miss the usefulness of his reviews.

  6. I kind of enjoy reading reviews sometimes. They’re kind of a good window into what people like and how they think, which can help authors learn to write better. That said, many of the reviews I’ve read were either for media I’ve already consumed, or media I was going to consume anyway. I’ve found myself disagreeing with a lot of reviews and have long since seen them as subjective. So if a show sounds really interesting to me, and I see a lot of negative reviews for it, I’ll probably still give it a shot anyway.

    I practically never use Rotten Tomatoes, though. Most of the reviews I read are from blogs, Amazon, or maybe IMDb. And, a lot of times I just read them for fun, and as ‘homework’ to learn how to write better. Not in the sense that I automatically follow all the feedback people leave in reviews, but in the sense of ‘oh, here’s what tropes people get tired of and why. If I want that trope in my story, how can I present it in a way people actually like?’

    One thing I learned from when it comes to subjectivity are the Star Wars prequels. I liked them, and when they first came out I didn’t even really hear much negativity surrounding them. So it surprised me when I started getting online and hearing such strong negativity toward them. Objectively, they didn’t seem worse than a lot of other shows that people loved or thought were ok. They added some interesting lore, and if you want to nitpick at them for things like dialogue, why not nitpick at the originals for having bad special effects or something? People can like whatever Star Wars movies they want, but at the very least I apparently have weird tastes and have to see for myself if I like something before completely writing it off.

  7. Tony Breeden says:

    You did not trap anyone. You basically said it won’t really please anyone. That is literally what you said out of the abundance of your Snyder fanboy heart. They saw through it. The fact that you thought it was Rotten was spelled out in everything except a caveat you didn’t truly believe. You truly need beta readers if you suppose that whinging Justice League review was as nuanced as you claim. The header literally notes your view that “It only kind of succeeds,” which is funny when you go down your list of almost entirely negative criticism of the film versus what you wanted it to be.

    I’m sorry you hated that they didn’t make your Injustice League movie. I truly hope they release the Snyder Cut so you can finally be more honest about the theatrical version. For the record, the only DC movies I have enjoyed lately look nothing like BvS or Suicide Squad. They look like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam and… Justice League.

    As a point of irony, this article could have been Fresh, showing how Rotten Tomatoes’ more selective critic rating system differs from audience reviews and could he used to explain some of the noted occasional disparity between the two assessments. Instead you stopped just short of that to give us a clickbait “trap” that only exists in a caveat that is wholly inconsistent with the rest of the review.

    Until we reach The Last Door…

    • Tony, you also reveal a rather basic ignorance of article publication yourself, in presuming that a writer personally writes the subhead or title of an article; in fact, these are usually written by the editor, and this was the case here.)

      The “clickbait” was tongue-in-cheek. And your line “you basically said it won’t really please anyone” is a gross misreading of my original review.

      Rather than ask questions or even offer gracious pushback for the main thrust of the article—as several other readers have so easily done—you’ve instead returned to your obsession with yelling at other people’s fandom and are just acting again like a plain and dull middle-school bully. How come?

      • Tony Breeden says:

        I don’t agree with you. I have valid reasons for my positions despite your mischaracterization of my objection as an “obsession” and as “yelling… like a plain and dull middle school bully.” I get it. You hate it when people don’t agree with you. Get over it.

        Your editor undermined your article in favor of a provocative title. Big surprise. Your editor didn’t do you any favors here. It’s not tongue-in-cheek. It’s the very claim you’re claiming your “trap” proves.
        I write my own article titles precisely because editors prefer clickbait. Editors aren’t marketers or even writers and they shouldn’t get to write headlines, like, at all.

        I don’t owe you gracious pushback. Sunday school servants have turned plain spoken honesty into a sin, even when they applaud the Nazarene for His of times on-the-nose honesty. Stop tossing rocks out the windows of your stained-glass house if you don’t want them tossed back at you. You made a false claim that what you did constituted a trap. None of those gracious push backs were honest enough to tell you that with great plainness of speech. Your review wasn’t nuanced. It was negative with the caveat that you might like it if you like watered down fan service (which came across as snarky and snobbish, frankly).

        But you’re welcome at any point you demonstrate why my summary of your fanboy review was a gross mischaracterization. If you’re done trying to bully me into silence that is…

What do you think?