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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

curated: the film web is why film fans don’t understand what criticism is

Some of the film web, at least…


posted in:
easter eggs
  • althea

    It occurs to me that all the heavy coverage that you detail tacitly (or maybe not?) implies approval of the movie before it opens. That is, anything that has all the money, talent, and expertise poured into it for such a long time must be worth it. Those fans don’t get that stinkers are still made even with all the money, talent, and expertise. Especially they don’t know that the producer’s and director’s points of view may seem to agree with the fans’ but instead are dependent on what they think will help sell tickets.

  • I think the “confusion,” such as it may be, comes down to actual criticism suddenly coming from the same source that has been the exact opposite of critical on a given film for months and sometimes even years prior.

  • amanohyo

    Video game journalism has a similar problem. The prebuzz is overwhelmingly positive to generate hype and garner attention. Much of this positive prerelease press comes from outlets like IGN that are paid by game developers to run ads for the very same games they are expected to honestly review. A lot of the hype comes from independent sources that make their money off of clicks and views which predisposes them to being overly positive in order to milk as much content as they can from every anticipated title.

    When a reviewer finally gives their honest opinion on the final game, there is always an enormous backlash against even the meekest criticism. As with the hit and run posters here, most of the angry internet strangers on gaming sites do not even respond to the content of the review and fixate on the largely arbitrary numerical score a la Rotten Tomatoes. Games are typically scored on a curve that would make an Ivy League dean blush – anything less than a 9 out of 10 is considered criminally low, and if it happens to be a female reviewer awarding the score, gaming fans will show no mercy in requesting she be fired and/or assaulted. Of course, this happens to male reviewers who dare to award a 7.8 as well to a lesser degree.

    It’s a stupid system, but I guess it’s human nature to hope for the best and take pleasure in anticipation. Companies are naturally going to ride those hopes to the bank. Combine all this optimistic hype with the current obsession with being on the winning team and having the best score, and anger/denial seems unavoidable. You can se a similar phenomenon with Trump – do you think any amount of “negative reviews” of the final product could extinguish all the positive prerelease hype his supporters have built up? Of course not – they’re just going to double down and call the critics fake and biased. Until they start teaching empathy and reading comprehension in public schools, all we can do is support honest, independent outlets like this one that don’t pander to their audiences or to our corporate overlords.

  • RogerBW

    Combine that with being a fan of a property, even of a franchise – being an MCU/DCCU fan is a tribal identity, and everything that comes out with that label on it Must be good (and, more importantly, Must be purchased).

    It’s no wonder people get defensive when they start to realise how thoroughly they’ve been exploited as unpaid, indeed paying, PR shills.

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