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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

wtf: who cares if ‘Toy Story 3’ is 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes?

Whatever issues you may have with Rotten Tomatoes — and lots of people see lots of problems in the site in particular and in the larger notion that something as idiosyncratic as 150 film reviews can be boiled down and compressed into one metric — it’s surely easy to admit that at least some people find a certain narrow use in knowing what the very general critical consensus is on a film. And as of this moment, 165 reviews have been tallied for Toy Story 3: 162 are Fresh, or generally more positive than negative, and three are Rotten, or generally more negative than positive. Which gives the film a Freshness rating of 98 percent.

Now, if you were on the fence about seeing Toy Story 3, would it make any difference whether that Freshness rating were 97 percent, or 95 percent… or, in the other direction 99 percent or 100 percent? By the measure of what Rotten Tomatoes promises, 98 percent tells you what you need to know.
But some fans are upset. More than upset. You see, for a while, when reviews of Toy Story 3 started rolling in, the film was 100 percent Fresh. And fans were excited because Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are also both 100 percent Fresh, and hitting this trifecta was important, for some reason. And then Armond White and Cole Smithey checked in with negative reviews, spoiling that lovely one with its lovely two zeroes. It’s true that White probably is a troll (we discussed this last summer when his apparent trollishness reached a previous high-water mark), but no one has ever accused Smithey of that (though he’s getting hit with that accusation now).

The reaction has been bizarre, even by fannish standards. Zach Dionne at PopEater is truly distressed over these “unsavory reviews keep[ing] ‘Toy Story’ from being the only trilogy of all time to receive perfect marks.” Josh Tyler at Cinema Blend calls White and Smithy “assholes.” The comments on RT in response to White’s and Smithey’s reviews are the usual cesspool of insults and idiocy… though there are, surprisingly, more than a few calls for people to just calm the fuck down.

Even The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine have taken note of the uproar.

And then Jeremy Heilman — who, like Smithey, has not been considered a troll — logged a negative review. The RT uproar got louder.

The best argument against Rotten Tomatoes, perhaps, is that it reduces criticism to a number, and is uninterested in what any individual critic has to actually say about a film. Of course, RT can be used wisely by those who do wish to read a critic’s words — the links are right there. But it’s sort of strange that RT’s own users appear to be going out of their way to prove the point of that contention.



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  • JoshDM

    Metacritic is a pretty good indicator for the quality of a video game, but I don’t get into frothing furor when a game I like doesn’t get over a 90%.

  • While I use Rotten Tomatoes as a good source of links to reviews of movies, I find that the score is fundamentally flawed.

    This is because it acts as a yes/no aggregator, so a movie that 100% of critics consider “3 stars” would be 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but a movie that 75% of critics think of as “4 stars” but 10% think of as “2 stars” might be somewhere between 80-90% on the meter. This is a poor way to score a movie.

    Personally I’d rather see something that most critics thought was drop dead brilliant and that other critics hated with a passion. Then I know I’m at least in for an interesting experience. Rotten Tomatoes can’t tell me this.

  • Michael

    Rotten Tomatoes seems to come from the growing societal attitude that if it takes more than a few seconds to say/process, it’s not worth

  • DaveTM

    And this is why we have to throw out a numbers based rating system of any kind. Or at least anything above a 1-5 rating. It’s because if you start handing out scores like 98% some people are going to freak out that the thing they like worse got a 99%. I point to video games as my main example since, while JoshDM doesn’t freak, you’d be amazed at how many people do go crazy about even a .5 difference between two things.

    While I know that these people are just the vocal minority it almost seems like these sites are playing to them because otherwise they’d crunch the numbers and label Toy Story “Universally Loved” or some other descriptive comment that would apply to everything 85% and up without posting the exact number thereby taking away the whining.

  • I’ve liked movies that scored as low as 50-60%, and while no examples come to mind immediately, I vaguely recall them being comedies where some people get the joke and some people don’t.

    As for the people attacking the critics who gave Toy Story 3 a thumbs down, I wish computer technology was advanced enough to tell if it is the same people freaking out on the Web about everything or different people freaking out about different things. Is it a tiny minority of people running around the Net raising a fuss about anything that trips their trigger, or are most people on the Net basically sane but ocassionally get their button pushed?

  • Nate

    I think it’s more about people just rooting for the 100% than anything else. I doubt anyone’s opinion of the film was altered by White or Smithey’s reviews. Like it or not, people pay attention to Rotten Tomatoes and a record like an entire trilogy having 100% is pretty cool. And when it’s ruined by someone widely agreed to be a troll and another person who only complains about the lack of 3D gimmicks and how it deserved a higher MPAA rating, you can see how it would frustrate people.

    Personally, I don’t pay attention to the percentage rating as much as other people. Toy Story 3 has the same percentage as How to Train Your Dragon but the “average rating” is 0.8 higher. That tends to be more indicative of the film’s quality.

  • amanohyo

    It all boils down to the prevailing notion that we are what we consume. Back in the olden days, if someone didn’t like a certain product, but you did, no biggie. It wasn’t seen as a personal attack. Today, as we all know, there are scores of people who scour Rotten Tomatoes in search of any negative review of a film that they like so they can march off on a trolling crusade. They are reluctant to address specific issues or criticisms, much less acknowledge that there is a large degree of subjectivity when it comes to placing value on entertainment. Nope, their first impulse is to jump straight into the waiting arms of their bosom buddy, Ad hominem.

    Why? Because if you don’t like the products that they like, it is a personal attack against them. You have insulted them, so they will do the same to you. The music they listen to, the games they play, the movies and shows they watch, the teams they like, in short every form of entertainment they consume is who they are. The ideas underneath all the consumption and entertainment? They don’t know and they don’t care to take the time to figure any of it out. Even religions and political affiliations have become just another set of brand names.

    Our generation was somewhat cynical when it came to marketing. This generation usually believes the hype – they’ve been force-fed entertainment products from the cradle. You’d think that having access to so many varying viewpoints would make us all more tolerant, but in many cases it has just made it easier for people to find others that agree with them and reinforce their provincial perspectives. The only solution I can think of is to include required classes on rational thinking in public schools (instead of only focusing on abstract thinking, basic verbal skills, and political correctness). *Sigh* but that’ll never happen… a nation of rational citizens? What government in their right mind wants to deal with that nightmare? /fogey rant

  • Nate

    Back in the olden days, if someone didn’t like a certain product, but you did, no biggie. It wasn’t seen as a personal attack.

    Have you read Armond White’s review? It is an attack on Pixar fans. To quote:

    Toy Story 3 suckers fans to think they can accept this drivel without paying for it politically, aesthetically or spiritually…The Toy Story franchise isn’t for children and adults, it’s for non-thinking children and adults.

    His review of Up in particular expresses a contempt for Pixar and its fans.
    http://ourtownny.com/2009/05/27/the-way-of-pixarism/

    I really don’t think people would be as upset about this if it were something like Joe Morgenstern’s review of Up, where he gave a well-written and detailed review about why he didn’t like it that much.

  • Orangutan

    I think amanohyo is more referring to the fans rather than any critic in particular. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times, but the most glaring current example is Twilight fans. Read any negative review of it anywhere, you’ll find a small legion of fans who show up for a screaming match, as if you just went ahead and kicked their puppy and killed their mother, or vice-versa. amanohyo, as usual, was far more erudite than I. :)

    My own personal theory is the way this generation was raised, where they’re constantly told that everything they do is perfect and they’re always right no matter what. So disagree with them, imply that they might be wrong, and it’s all OH NO YOU DIDN’T!!.

    Or you’re just jealous.

    :)

  • amanohyo

    Armond White is a contrarian. I can tell he has fun writing his reviews, but little conviction or consistency. Smithey has an apparent prejudice about what is and is not appropriate material for a children’s movie. Heilman, however, makes several excellent points in his review, particularly about the feeling of redundancy that permeates many of the scenes.

    However, even if White’s review was the only negative one. So what? Why are people so angry? There are real ideas in his review. It’s not solely ad hominem by a long shot, although he is clearly egging people on. Is the movie primarily about consumerism as he states? Does the Ken dress-up scene function as satire? Should it? Is there any political or spiritual meat to the film? (I would argue that there is, although it’s largely unexplored).

    White is tossing out ideas, not just insults. But people don’t want to address, critique, or even digest them. Why? Because they think he’s playing a game? Well if he is, they’ve fallen right into his trap when they hurl thoughtless insults. The fundamental reason they are angry is that they perceive his negative review as a personal attack. Because that pure 100% somehow meant that they were associated with perfection, and he defiled it. He defiled them.

    100% 98% 50% 2% It doesn’t matter. If you liked the movie, you liked the movie.

  • Nate

    White is tossing out ideas, not just insults. But people don’t want to address, critique, or even digest them. Why?

    Why should I care about his ideas when he’s insulting me in the process? I wouldn’t expect people to do that in real life for their friends; why would they for an alternative, contrarian film critic?

    The fundamental reason they are angry is that they perceive his negative review as a personal attack.

    Because it is.

  • JoshB

    I get a kick out of Armond White’s reviews. How can someone write so much while saying so little? I’ve read through his Toy Story 3 review three times, and I still can’t figure out why he dislikes it. Except of course, that he is a troll.

  • Nate

    As for Heilman, I’ll concede that his review is more clearly thought out in his criticisms than the other two, though I really don’t like what he says about the ending, and he really exaggerates the prevalence of “fart jokes” (I don’t remember any myself). And I thought the “gay” jokes (I wouldn’t even call them gay; more like “transvestite”) and Spanish Buzz were funny. It would make sense that his Spanish mode would be better tuned to Spanish culture (the US Buzz is just as much a character stereotype as the Spanish Buzz).

    About the “redundancy”, I think MAJ explained well in her review why it was actually a positive when you look at the trilogy as a whole, though I guess that’s still up to personal preference.

  • After beating Armond White to the punch of upsetting “Toy Story 3’s” perfect 100% Rottentomatoes score I realize how fascistically fetishistic RT readers are about things like protecting a “perfect score” for a movie.

    What’s more surprising to me is how few “critics” exercise the demands of their job description. There isn’t a film I can think of that doesn’t have detractors, so why should “Toy Story 3” be any different? That I had to come along behind 150 “critics” to be the first one to speak out about the film’s weaknesses, and they are many, speaks volumes.

    As the Staff Film Editor the largest print circulation publication in the country “Kidsville News!” I am sensitive to ratings for children’s films. As well, I have young nieces and nephews with responsible parents who are very sensitive to what their kids see. I could not in good conscience endorse “Toy Story 3” as a G-rated film that meets their criteria.

    On top of that, Hollywood is currently changing the game on what audiences should expect from a “3-D” movie in order to charge higher ticket prices. As a critic, I’ve had the luxury of seeing many “3-D” films, and know what that medium should deliver on a consistent basis. Again, I cannot endorse the watered-down version of “3-D” that Disney/Pixar is selling with “Toy Story 3.”

    As for all of the personal attacks that readers make in their rude e-mails to me, I understand that people need to let off steam, especially in these very difficult times. It goes with the territory of being a critic who takes his job seriously.

    By definition, being a critic means it is our job to “criticize.” I wrote this review just as I approach writing any piece of criticism–with honesty, sincerity, and a singular mission to express my ideas as clearly and briefly as possible.

    A masterpiece like Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” only has a “96%” rating on RT, but I don’t think anyone’s losing sleep over the fact that it isn’t a perfect “100%.” It’s still a far better film than “Toy Story 3.”

    To feign indignation over such a trivial issue is a sign of ulterior motives from people pandering to some imaginary form of lowest common denominator.

  • My problem when I read the first two negative reviews was that the reviewers didn’t seem to be criticizing the movie, they were sneering at tangential elements or at the film’s hyped reception by fans. But that’s not your question should really be about: the question should be “Why care about Rotten Tomatoes at all?”

    It’s a terrible review service. It goes by numeric value and practically gives you nothing about the QUALITY of the review. I’ve been better off reading through the list of External Reviews at the IMDb pages and getting more detailed exposition from the actual reviewer. It’s how I first found your review site, MaryAnn.

    It shouldn’t even matter if a film’s got a 100 percent rating or not. What should matter is A) you think the film’s great, B) your friends think the film’s great and C) the film REALLY IS GREAT and everyone (well except for the two bleepholes) enjoyed themselves. :) (I haven’t seen the third negative review, so I cannot comment on its quality)

  • Nate

    On top of that, Hollywood is currently changing the game on what audiences should expect from a “3-D” movie in order to charge higher ticket prices. As a critic, I’ve had the luxury of seeing many “3-D” films, and know what that medium should deliver on a consistent basis. Again, I cannot endorse the watered-down version of “3-D” that Disney/Pixar is selling with “Toy Story 3.”

    Then don’t. But review the 3D as separate from the movie itself, because 2D versions are still available.

  • Nate

    I am sensitive to ratings for children’s films. As well, I have young nieces and nephews with responsible parents who are very sensitive to what their kids see. I could not in good conscience endorse “Toy Story 3” as a G-rated film that meets their criteria.

    But that’s not the fault of the directors, that’s the fault of the MPAA. Don’t hold it against the movie for having a rating you disagree with.

  • This is the first time in three years I’ve gone back to look at Rotten Tomatoes. And seriously, 73 percent for Iron Man 2?! A-Team got 48 percent?! Jonah Hex rated higher than Marmaduke? And you see, here’s the thing: those numbers don’t tell you what the reviewers actually SAY. If I recalled, last time I looked, there were a spot of reviews for some action film where the reviewers were saying mostly good things about it but the RT rating system still gave their review a negative value. It was why I walked away from looking at it…

  • Nate

    If I recalled, last time I looked, there were a spot of reviews for some action film where the reviewers were saying mostly good things about it but the RT rating system still gave their review a negative value. It was why I walked away from looking at it…

    Again, pay more attention to the “average rating” on the upper right corner of the page. That gives you a better idea of the quality of the film.

  • MC

    JoshDM… there is an entry on TV Tropes called Eight Point Eight. I think we’ve both encountered individuals like that.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EightPointEight

    In the final section, Toy Story 3 is actually brought up.

  • MaryAnn

    It’s a terrible review service. It goes by numeric value and practically gives you nothing about the QUALITY of the review. I’ve been better off reading through the list of External Reviews at the IMDb pages and getting more detailed exposition from the actual reviewer. It’s how I first found your review site, MaryAnn.

    Well, to be fair to RT, every review that contributes to the Tomatometer is linked at the RT page for a given film. No one is stopping anyone from clicking through and reading the full review. FlickFilosopher.com gets a lot of traffic because of people doing exactly that.

    the RT rating system still gave their review a negative value.

    Most critics who contribute to the Tomatometer input their links themselves, and choose whether their review is Fresh or Rotten. Sometimes for me it’s hard for me to decide whether a mixed review I’ve just written is Fresh or Rotten. That may be the case with reviews that don’t seem to match their ratings. In any case, however, there is no “RT rating system” that is automatically applying those ratings.

  • Hey look kids, it’s Smithey!

    As the Staff Film Editor the largest print circulation publication in the country “Kidsville News!” I am sensitive to ratings for children’s films. As well, I have young nieces and nephews with responsible parents who are very sensitive to what their kids see. I could not in good conscience endorse “Toy Story 3” as a G-rated film that meets their criteria.

    Can you give us an example of what you think is a G-rated film to fit your criteria as to what kids should see? I remember the Muppet Movie when I saw it as a kid back in 1979: that was a G-rated movie and it was just as dark and trauma-inducing (car chases, a bike crushed under a steamroller, beer-hall violence, interspecies lust, our hero threatened with electric lobotomy as well as extermination by a corporate evildoer, and Animal turning into a 50-foot drummer) as half the Pixar G-rated movies out there (Toy Story 3 included). Oh, and by the by the Muppet Movie didn’t turn me into a sociopath: the only thing that came of that movie was my refusal to eat frog legs from that moment on.

    I’m with Nate: if you got a problem with how a movie is rated, take it up with the MPAA. And you ought to realize that a G-rated movie doesn’t mean it should be designed strictly for kids. Nearly every ‘family’ film is made for the WHOLE family: the youngsters, the teens, AND the parents. With the bonus of having parents being there with the kids to sort out any of the ‘dark issues’ you think a film would have. The showing of Toy Story 3 I went to had a solid mix of adults as groups, teens as groups, and families with parents and their kids. No one had a problem during the viewing (okay, one kid loudly asked for the bathroom, that was it).

    Mr. Smithey, you need to trust the filmgoers – especially the parents you’re supposedly writing the reviews for – a little more than you do. And trust that kids aren’t going to be as traumatized by a family animated movie more than by what they see on the nightly news.

  • Chris

    I think the big reason that everyone wanted Toy Story 3 to accomplish the feat of 100% was not that the first two also got 100% fresh ratings, but that no film in the modern RT era has ever gotten 100%. Both Toy Story 1&2 are pre RT movies and there are ton of those movies out there, simply because there are fewer movie reviews and almost all of them come from top critics.

    The only problem I really have with this whole mess is that Mr. White has proven himself to be a troll and yet again RT is doing noting about it. Instead of being concerned about spreading the word of a good film or warning the public of a bad film, White seems to be concerned with increasing his web traffic. Negative reactions to popular movies are always a good way to direct traffic to a website (Mary Ann’s review of Knocked Up lead me here). I would have less of a problem with Mr. White if he were running his own website like Mary Ann, but Mr. White works for a publication and his employer has an obligation to hire critics who are fair and truly are looking out for the publication’s readers. An independent voice is just as important but for the most part the readers of the publication tastes should fall in line with the critic more times than not. I think it’s safe to say that is not the case with Mr. White reviews.

  • Mike

    Well, the problem with Cole Smithey is that he’s pretty well known for doing things to get attention. He’s spammed wikipedia entries with links to his reviews- tactics that most reviewers don’t do.

    Plus he isn’t giving any real tangible reason as to why he disliked Toy Story 3. He goes off on how the film isn’t supposed to be too overly sensitive for the kiddies or how the 3D doesn’t go for cheap sight gags. Smithey has yet to give any real reason for his C+ rating other than “I think it is too mature for the kids & there’s no cheap 3-D gimmicks!” Frankly put, he’s doing it so he can get attention and hopefully get more traffic to his site.

    But I’m not surprised- his whole family has a history of doing this. His brother is Christian Weston Chandler, someone who is infamous on sites such as Encyclopedia Dramatica for being a “lolcow”. Once you realize what his family is like, it is highly understandable as to why he’d think that doing things like this is the way to get attention and to succeed.

  • Mike

    Smithey is also whipping people up into a frenzy, trying to extend his 15 minutes of fame even further. He’s finding every site that has a mention of him, then posts the same rant on each one. On the RT site he finds it necessary to post e-mail after e-mail from people that have supposedly e-mailed him with his support as well as posting quotes from people (all 3 of them) who had given him compliments about his reviewing style before this entire thing got started.

    I’m just saying… it is pretty obvious that Smithey is just trying to get attention. No matter how hard he tries, he’ll never be able to get out of Armand White’s shadow & will just be seen as a pale imitation. Besides, is that really what you want to be known for? For being the guy who posts “troll” reviews in the hopes that people will pay attention to you?

  • Our generation was somewhat cynical when it came to marketing. This generation usually believes the hype – they’ve been force-fed entertainment products from the cradle. You’d think that having access to so many varying viewpoints would make us all more tolerant, but in many cases it has just made it easier for people to find others that agree with them and reinforce their provincial perspectives.

    Every generation likes to believe that they–and they alone–saw through the marketing schemes of big business and that it’s just those young whippersnappers in the younger generations who will eat up anything advertised.

    Because it’s not like there aren’t a lot of older folks buying into the hype for i-phones and i-pads and other “necessities” of modern life.

    Every time I hear talk like this from otherwise sensible people, I can’t help but be reminded of the scene in Life of Brian in which a crowd of people shouts out in unison that they’re all individuals.

    And yes, I admit that I sometimes despair of the younger generation–especially that part to which I’m not personally related–but then people have always despaired of the younger generation.

    And a lot of the stuff Gen-Xers seem to be saying about those “spoiled” and “intolerant” younger kids sounds suspiciously like the same things that Baby Boomers once said about Gen-Xers and that members of the World War II generation once said about Baby Boomers.

    The more things change…

  • Isobel

    Just had a look at White’s review, and it’s not accurate (he refers to Hamm as one of the daycare bad guys), which would lead me to think he’s not got a particularly informed opinion. If I’d just come accross his review, I would have ignored it, but the way Rotten Tomatoes works means that his uninformed opinion counts towards the overall score, which is a little odd, perhaps?

    I don’t use Rotten Tomatoes, I find a few critics whose reviews I like and who seem to have similar taste in films to me, and stick with them!

  • amanohyo

    Tonio, I think the increased sussceptibility to marketing is due to the fact that marketers are getting much better at their jobs and are also casting their nets at younger children. It’s not that this generation is more vulnerable or less savvy, quite the opposite, it’s just that the boundaries between life, advertisment, and entertainment have been destroyed. We have happily transformed ourselves and others into walking ads and/or sources of entertainment. It’s almost impossible to defend against a value system that places entertainment and self-promotion on the highest pedestals. I don’t think that western civilization is on the verge of collapse or anything, but it’s undeniable that the number of shallow narcissists is on the rise. The type of person who thinks, “What does this so-called critic know? Only an idiot would disagree with me.” The type of person that let’s the (admittedly abrasive) opinions of a stranger like Armond White get so far under their skin that they have to lash out.

  • amanohyo

    The type of person who proofreads his comments for spelling errors after posting them…eeesh susceptibility, advertisement, lets

  • Rusty Broomhandle

    Problem with Armond White’s reviews are that I don’t believe they are sincere. It’s not just based on his Toy Story 3 review, and many have pointed this out.

    I am pretty sure he’s a paid troll, who exists entirely to get site visits. And in that respect he seems to be rather good at what he does.

    It’s not a far fetched idea either. There’s a strong case to be made that technology author John C Dvorak spent most of his career portraying a similarly fabricated persona. Manufactured controversy.

  • How “Toy Story 3” Blew Up in My Face
    By Cole Smithey

    Last Friday I did what I usually do on Friday mornings, I walked down to my local cineplex to pay to see a movie (in this case “Toy Story 3”). After lunch I wrote up my capsule review. At the end I gave it a “C+” grade. Between B- and C+ is where I draw the line amid good and bad to fit to Rottentomatoes’ “fresh” or “rotten” rating system.

    I posted the review on my website (ColeSmithey.com), and on Rottentomatoes. By Saturday morning I had a message from a website asking for a phone interview and the kind of hate-mail and death threats you’d expect for Joran Van der Sloot. The world wide web had turned into a tsunami of negative attention directed at myself and Armond White, the 146th and 147th critics to weigh in on “Toy Story 3.” The problem was that I had dared to tarnish the film’s sternly guarded “100%” rating on Rottentomatoes, which would have given the trilogy three perfect scores. White redoubled the insult by posting his even less favorable review 15-miniutes later.

    Sites like Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and AOL’s PopEater were quick to lump White’s and my reviews together as critics who “hated ‘Toy Story 3’.” How my C+ grade equaled “hate” mattered not for the frothing complicit public protectors of Disney•Pixar. As with everything else in the American media there’s no room for nuance in today’s court of public opinion; it’s all or nothing. My review was being sniffed at like it was a box of Cracker Jacks with no prize. Although I’d made fifteen points about specific problems I had with the film, some readers seemed unable to grasp a single criticism. Did they even bother to read it, I wondered. The answer was painfully clear. All they needed to know was that I didn’t like a movie that most of them hadn’t even seen.

    There isn’t a film I can think of that doesn’t have detractors, so why should “Toy Story 3” be any different? Yet the media’s framing of me as an attention-hungry film critic, gaming the system at the expense of a movie franchise’s place in history is a stretch editors were happy to make. On the face of it, you could surmise that hate-mongers like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have effectively opened the floodgates for a pervasive conscience-free mob mentality to breed like gangrene. Now it’s on the menu at Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal.

    As the Staff Film Editor for “Kidsville News!,” where I deal exclusively with G and PG-rated movies, I’m aware of ratings for children’s films. I have young nieces and nephews with responsible parents who are sensitive to what their kids see. I could not in good conscience endorse “Toy Story 3” as a G-rated film that meets their criteria. As well, Hollywood is currently changing the game on what audiences can expect from a “3-D” movie so they can charge higher ticket prices for an inferior product. “Toy Story 3” is a poster child of this unsavory business practice.

    By definition, being a critic means it is my job to “critique.” I wrote my “Toy Story 3” review just as I write any piece of criticism–with honesty, sincerity, and a singular mission to express my ideas as clearly and briefly as possible. For the media and members of the public to feign indignation over such a trivial issue as an aggregate website’s critical rating of a movie, as an excuse to unify groupthink at the cost of all independent thought, is a bellwether of where America is at these days. It’s not a safe place for kids, but don’t say it out loud.

  • Nate

    ^Seeing as your posts haven’t been deleted yet, I’ll assume this is the real you.

    You’ve posted the same exact defenses of your review twice on this blog, word-for-word except for some cutting and pasting. By doing this you’re only supporting the accusations that you’re only looking for attention. As “The Smartest Film Critic in the World” I would hope you’d have more integrity than that.

  • Well, Cole is probably invested in damage control right now, on a lot of fronts. If I go to a website and post something and get jumped by irate people, I can just stop going for a couple of weeks until people cool down. He’s doing this for a living, so it’s not as much an option.

  • Nate

    But people are still going to poke holes in his arguments just as quickly as I did. This damage control is akin to dumping water out of a sinking boat.

  • It’s a terrible review service. It goes by numeric value and practically gives you nothing about the QUALITY of the review.

    There are two things I think are worth noting about RT that nobody seems to have noticed. First of all, there are “Top Critics”, so while this is kind of a popularity contest, you can certainly get a slice of “informed” opinion vs. just anyone with a blog.

    Secondly, RT does include an “average score” for the movie in the main block with the RT percentage. Reviewers are asked to input a numerical score for the movie, and then that is averaged out, so readers will be able to identify the difference between an 80% comprised of A’s vs. an 80% comprised of all B-s.

    All in all, I think it’s good if you view it as the simple system that it is. There’s “good” and “bad” when it comes to the RT percentage. An 80%, however strong the critics in question felt about it, still says that 80% of X amount of critics (it tells you how many reviews there are too) thought it was “good” or “bad”. You can only “see” or “not see” a movie, so if you’re using RT to decide I don’t see what the big problem is on that level.

  • Mathias

    I particularily enjoyed this guy’s take on it all.

    http://herald-review.com/app/blogs/decaturade/?p=472

    I agree with him and urge all of you guys to comment on your fave critic’s input to RT more often. White shouldn’t be the only critic with a devoted following.

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