Tomato catch-up | Bleader

Tomato catch-up

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Hey, give us some of those tomatoes!
  • "Hey, give us some of those tomatoes!"
When you visit Rotten Tomatoes, you can view all the reviews for a particular movie, or all the reviews for a particular star, or all the reviews of a particular critic. One thing you can't do, as far as I can tell, is view all the movies with a particular percentage of positive reviews. So I'm confined to purely anecdotal evidence here. But it does seem to me that, the longer the site operates and the more influential it becomes, the more uniform the reviews featured on the site have become. For instance, the Adam Sandler comedy Jack and Jill scored a humiliating 4 percent, while a swath of holiday releases have scored near 100 percent: The Artist (98 percent), The Muppets (97 percent), Hugo (97 percent).

Normally I don't spend that much time on the site, but I was poking around there today because, for our capsule review of The Muppets, I noticed a pile-up of outraged comments, which usually means that RT readers have hopped over to our site waving pitchforks and clamoring for the monster. As it turns out, I'm one of only three reviewers so far who didn't goop all over the movie, which at least one blogger is treating as a news event (God help us). Of course, we'll take all the Web traffic we can get, but I was surprised how little it took for the capsule to be classified as "rotten" when there were so many other "fresh" ratings. If you look at the text, all I really said was that the movie was pitched at kids, which is more objective than subjective. What did you expect? The Reader is a publication for grown-ups (specifically, those who have better things to do than mount impassioned defenses of Kermit the Frog).

What's even weirder is that, if you peruse the 50-odd irate comments at the site itself, a fair number of the commenters are particularly incensed that the movie was denied a "100 percent fresh" score. In other words, what really pissed them off was not that I didn't like the movie, but that I was permitted not to like it. Contrast this with something like The Tree of Life, which has become the most hotly debated movie of the year, loved by some (including me) and detested by others. That's the kind of response that gives me hope for American movies, slim though it may be.

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