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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

note to self…

Do not EVER read the comments thread following my review links on Rotten Tomatoes.

Like this one. Don’t ever read it again.



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maryann buzz
  • Orangutan

    This is more evidence of John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory – http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

  • Keith

    Ack! What a bunch of lovely people, NOT!! I’ve seen friendlier snake pits. I’d like to think a classier group of folks frequent here.

  • Keith

    Lol, Orangutan. Hadn’t seen that before, but I think that is too true! People do all sorts of crappy things when they think they can act with impunity (with or without an audience).

  • Keith

    Also, you gotta wonder how much Rottentomatoes attracts the sort to actually want to throw rotten produce. Not the most civilized type of individual to be sure. The modern equivalent is to hurl rotten sentiment at anyone they dislike, not just the performers (though now critics often are themselves performers).

    Wonder what those bygone fruit throwers would make of this, besides probably witchcraft?

  • Knightgee

    Hmm.

    1. A “witty” reiteration of the critics original line but with the critic the subject of scorn and ridicule: Check
    2. Lashing out at the critic by insulting the most minute details about the critic, such as attacking the name of his/her site: Check
    3. Sexist and misogynistic attacks on the critic based on their gender: Check. Check. Check.

    These are the kinds of people who are absolutely terrified by any opinion that doesn’t reinforce their own and resort to any cheap insult to bring that opinion down. This is generally why you don’t frequent the comments sections of places like imdb, rottentomatoes, et al. Because giving the average moron the power to say anything without any accountability results in heinous fuckery. Youtube comments border on terrifying.

  • Neil

    Sad…

    I’m actually a fan of John Carpenter, but I don’t like Halloween either. When I finally got around to watching it, it was like “This is the movie that ‘made’ John Carpenter??” I was shocked, but more than that, I was really disappointed, because as a fan of the guy, I wanted to like it, believe me.

    I think what I should do is go back and watch it minus the high expectations, give it another chance…I dunno. Anyways, The Thing, Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness make up for his misfires.Halloween isn’t the only Carpenter film I don’t care for, just the one that surprised me the most.

    But yeah, to address the actual topic, I find people like this really bizarre….I guess they just can’t handle dissenting opinions…strange…

  • Henry

    It’s weird to think that these people actually exist somewhere in real life, and they’re allowed to drive cars, vote, and procreate.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Avoid RT comments. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

    They make IMDb posters look like PhD’s in film study.

  • wooster182

    MaryAnn, I typically never agree with you, but I enjoy reading your opinion because it is always thought provoking. And this posts brings me to two thoughts: 1. I don’t know why we ever give internet posts a microphone. I saw CNN reading posts about Jolie and Pitt off of Facebook and there’s never any good reason to legitimize nutjobs. 2. Halloween is one of the worst horror movies I have ever seen. It is boring. And it isn’t scary. Seriously, what was his motivation? And why does he walk so slowly? You’d be in another state by the time he got down the leaf-filled, lonely sidewalk. So I say kudos to you for saying what you thought and it sucks you had to read the ridiculousness of trolls.

  • Movie: Not Scary.
    RT Commenters: Terrifying.

    I used to comment over there about six years ago, when it was a bunch of French New Wave snobs boring everyone senseless. Boy, things have really changed…

  • JoshB

    Oh, that was delicious. I love nerdrage. It nourishes my soul.

  • Patrick

    Horrifying. I’m sad it makes me special that I know the difference between between “your” and “you’re.”

  • MaryAnn

    3. Sexist and misogynistic attacks on the critic based on their gender: Check. Check. Check.

    Only if the critic is female, that is.

  • Cyndy

    Yeah, that’s sad. I’m fine when folks disagree, but damn, give me a reasoned response.

  • Whilst I may not agree with your assessment of Halloween it doesn’t make it right for small minded people to try to belittle you just for having a different opinion. It’s sickening and is one reason that I don’t visit certain movie sites/blogs because they allow people to be offensive and attack other people in their comments.

  • I want to know more about this company you work for, MaryAnn – the one that spells philosophy with an F.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    It’s really bizarre, isn’t it? I don’t usually have much truck in these pseudo-sociological worries about how the internet will affect us because most of the same fears have been aimed in the past at pretty much any technological advance, but it does seem increasingly like the internet is breeding a generation of people who get genuinely angry when someone doesn’t agree with them, which is freaky.

    It’s like: back in the bad old days, we had genre snobbery, where people used to say that horror, fantasy, science fiction et al weren’t real art and didn’t deserve serious consideration. That was bad. But it’s gone now. What it seems to have been replaced with – and you can see this even on a relatively civilised site like io9 sometimes – is a sort of genre supremacy, the idea that every time someone either praises a non-genre film or criticises a genre film they’re doing so out of some terrifying elitist snobbery, because of course anything that doesn’t feature spaceships and monsters must be really boring and pretentious and Commie. It is just so weird.

  • Reminder: do not feed the trolls.

    The trolls, quite honestly, don’t care about either the movie or the reviewer. They only care about making insults they deem to be clever, so they can establish dominance over others.

  • JoshDM

    MaryAnn Johanson. Your husband probably finds you boring but scary. There. I said it.

    C’yeah, as if some guy would want to marry someone who’d find Halloween derivative.

  • Probably just best to avoid comment threads on the Internet in general, really.

    Yes, I realize the irony of this statement.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    3. Sexist and misogynistic attacks on the critic based on their gender: Check. Check. Check.

    Only if the critic is female, that is.

    If the critic is male, substitute claims about his sexual proclivities and the size of his penis.

  • Heck, you get small-minded people like the ones on RT commenting on this site. Not in such numbers as RT, thank God, but quite enough to be noticeable.

    That said, I disagree with MaryAnn about the merits of Halloween but I don’t feel it necessary to insult her gender, her intelligence, or her marital status in order to do so. And the fact that commenters on RT feel differently ultimately says more about them than it does about MaryAnn.

    As the guy said in Life of Brian: There’s no pleasing some people.

  • Your husband?!? Dang, you’ve been holding out on us, MaryAnn!

  • Paul

    As someone who has been considering making a website of their own, I find that discouraging. I’ll have to think of a policy, such as, if that’s the best you can do, I’ll delete you.

  • JoAnn

    I can’t speak to the film (because you know I’ve never seen nor will ever see Halloween or its ilk) but the comments are seriously harsh. I recently read an article that people sometimes don’t think that a real person is actually behind reviews & blogs & such and, when reminded, they are contrite. Perhaps you need to get to reminding … large knife & hockey mask optional.

  • Kenny

    Well… the very last comment isn’t so bad. Haha, and looking at the posting date, I’d say it was one of your loyal fans sallying forth to smite the RT goblin trolls(who really are a bunch of fuckwads).

  • EEEE-yew! It’s like prising up a rock, isn’t it? I didn’t think anything could be worse than the brawls that break out in the comments at cbc.ca. (You’d think people reading a news site would get a grip, but no, it’s like watching an accident in slow-motion; I gotta quit reading them.)

    This, though….This is just depressing.

  • TommyB

    I always go with Ben Affleck explaning the internet in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”:

    While reading the comment thread on a movie website, he explains that those are written by “movie buffs” who are “sad pathetic losers who live in their parent’s basement downloading scripts and what they think is ‘inside information'”.

    If I looked at it any other way, I’d loose my faith in humanity. It’s too depressing.

    Btw, don’t forget that comment threads like these are often used mainly to get hits on your website.
    (That doesn’t apply to this site, of course).

  • Orangutan

    So out of curiosity, I decided to check out some of the other comments sections on negative reviews of Halloween. They’re mostly obscenity laced, with everyone basically parroting the ‘defined the genre’ comment with varying degrees of grammatical accuracy. They also seem very fond of the word ‘revolutionary’. And there was one shining example of the ‘well let’s see you make a movie then!’ retort.

    But none of them come even close to the level of vitriol and rage hurled at MAJ in her comments section. There was one personal attack on Josh Larsen, the only other negative review to have a picture attached. Even that was just a standard ‘stupid face’ insult.

    I’m left to assume this disparity is because Mary Ann had the audacity to be out of the kitchen and not breaking a heel while running in the forest.

  • Chris

    Although yes, there are obviously many morons commenting on RT, I really disagree with you saying you shouldn’t ever read comments there. Ignore the sexist, angry thoughtless comments, but why hide from people who engage with your work, disagree yet explain why calmly. I submit for your attention Joel Crarey from said comments:

    ” Regardless of the unnecessary misogynist and illiterate comments posted here, I think this review is a particularly unfortunate one because it sees no reason to treat “Halloween” and thus films in general as something that may be bandied about in discussion by its fans. It’s a strange position for a reviewer to take.

    The claim that the reviewer “has no time” to engage in the critique of a film beyond her initial reactions to it, especially with the knowledge that it IS widely regarded as an influential picture, is kind of mystifying when the reasoning provided is so childishly ludicrous. “It sucks” is not criticism, and the remainder of her reasoning indicates an unwillingness on her part to involve herself critically.”

    I think he makes a fair point. Of course it’s entierly up to you MaryAnn, but if this was a comment on my review I’d feel this comment merited a response. So if there is even just one person worth your time, isn’t that enough to justify reading through the crap? As someone who engages with a text, surely you are interested in intellegent discussion with polite people? I imagine you would disagree with Joel here, but I think comments such as his present you with an opportunity. Instead of hiding from the ignorant haters, you can prove them wrong by engaging with the minority that deserves a response.

  • Lisa

    still thinking about changing your name to Mark Johanson?

  • MaryAnn

    So if there is even just one person worth your time, isn’t that enough to justify reading through the crap? As someone who engages with a text, surely you are interested in intellegent discussion with polite people?

    Yes, I am interested in intelligent discussion with polite people. And if that commenter wanted to come here, where the conversation is actually civil conversation, I would be happy to engage with him.

    But if you’re suggesting that I should slog through the hundreds — perhaps thousands — of comment threads after my RT review links in order to find the single comment worth engaging with, you’re insane. I wouldn’t have time to do anything else, and after just a couple of those threads, I’d be curled in a fetal ball and unable to do anything at all.

    And anyway, that one commenter deliberately misinterprets what I wrote. (The review he’s referring to is here.) I didn’t say that the movie isn’t worth discussing. I said it’s one of those “if you’re not already in the club, you’ll never get it” movies. Which isn’t the same thing at all. And if that commenter had bothered to poke around this site even just a little bit, I think he would have learned quickly enough that I’m not someone who isn’t willing to discuss stupid stuff (like, say, *Doctor Who*) incessantly… *if the spirit moves me.* I’d say that in general I’m a fan of John Carpenter’s, but the fannish spirit does not move me when it comes to *Halloween.*

    So what I’m saying in that review — which that commenter misinterprets — is that *Halloween* does not engage my fangirl gland to make me want to obsess over it.

    Still thinking about changing your name to Mark Johanson?

    I have never seriously — or even unseriously — considered such a thing. I don’t judge others who use pseudonyms, and I understand that there are absolutely situations in which a pseudonym makes sense. But I could not do what I do here if I were pretending to be a man. So much of what I’ve written is about daring to be yourself and standing up to bullshit that it would be utterly disingenous for me to do that while pretending to be something I am not.

  • Victor Plenty

    You are simply beyond the comprehension of the troglodytes who posted that trash at Rotten Tomatoes, MaryAnn. Those comments are *not about you*. They tried to make their comments about you, and they failed. They instead commented *only about themselves*.

    If you could hold onto that fact, you might be able to study such comments with cold detachment, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Then it might be an interesting academic exercise to seek out the few intelligent minds who might, on rare occasions, be lost somewhere in that mob.

    But if such cold detachment eludes you, as it eludes most of us — if reading that shit starts to affect you in the slightest negative way — then you are absolutely right to avoid them. The vast majority of those comments are utterly devoid of merit, and not worthy of anyone’s time, except possibly a psychotherapist nobly attempting to cure whatever the fuck is wrong with one of those people.

  • Bluejay

    …as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

    Are you calling MaryAnn a Martian now? Is she slowly and surely drawing her plans against us? :-)

  • Victor Plenty

    Good catch, Bluejay! And in answer to your question, no. I merely borrowed that metaphor as an apt description of the mind-boggling gulf between the ambitions of those Rotten Tomatoes commenters, and their puny powers of perception.

  • Bluejay

    Good catch, Bluejay!

    Thanks. And I notice that your slightly altered quote is from the musical version narrated by Richard Burton, which is one of the best auditory experiences ever. Nice to recognize a fellow fan.

    So can I join the “We Know Our H.G. Wells and You Don’t” Club? Please please please? :-D

  • Chris

    And if that commenter wanted to come here, where the conversation is actually civil conversation, I would be happy to engage with him.

    I suppose I’m more on the side of showing up the morons on rotten tomoates through the use of intellegent discussion as a way to hijack their small minded vomit-drops. By limiting civil discourse to your own turf where, let’s face it, such utter pollution would be deleted on-sight (and rightly so), you deny frequenters of RT an example of reasoned argument and challenging opinion as well as form. I’m not saying you should visit RT comments daily or anything, but once every 6 months or so is a vastly different attitude to “don’t ever read it again”. In fact, if you were to respond in an assured, engaging way, those who are writing and thinking on a higher level will be more likely to respect such attitude and move to commenting here.

    I’d be curled in a fetal ball and unable to do anything at all.

    I’m just curious, how serious/sarcastic is your response to the haters, emotionally I mean? If it does genuinely upset you I’d be sorry to hear that, but you really shouldn’t take it that way. Victor is absolutely right to say:

    Those comments are *not about you*. They tried to make their comments about you, and they failed. They instead commented *only about themselves*.

  • JoshB

    if reading that shit starts to affect you in the slightest negative way — then you are absolutely right to avoid them

    Nooo!!!

    Don’t ignore them, toy with them! You can poke them and make them jump!

    Try “You think Halloween is scary? Pshh…Michael Myers is a thumbsucking sissy. Jason would totally kick his skinny ass!”

  • MaryAnn

    I suppose I’m more on the side of showing up the morons on rotten tomoates through the use of intellegent discussion as a way to hijack their small minded vomit-drops.

    How many of those commenters do you think ever return to see what anyone else is saying?

    I’m just curious, how serious/sarcastic is your response to the haters, emotionally I mean?

    Reading one batch of comments once, no, I’m not that deeply affected. I couldn’t read them regularly, though. They are very disheartening. I know, of course, that Victor is right in what he says about them. But what does it say about *all of us* that there are so many people like that? These people are not aberrations: they are depressingly ordinary, and a depressingly large number of people don’t really see much wrong with them.

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