Why Do You Care if Critics Hate the Movies You Like?

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 7th, 2012 at 9:39 pm,

critics header 2 Why Do You Care if Critics Hate the Movies You Like?

[With all the heated discussion over our Green Lantern review (and pretty much any other superhero movie these days), we thought it might be an opportune time to resurrect this article from last year - Ed.]

“Opinions are like armpits – everyone has them and some of them stink,” so the old adage goes. This phrase rings doubly true when it comes to movie critics and their reviews of films.

The word “critic” is derived from the word “critique” which is defined by Dictionary.com as “a criticism or critical comment on some subject.” Film critics in general simply critique a movie based on their personal feelings and experiences. Why then do people get totally upset when a review for a film goes in the complete opposite direction of their personal experiences?

In other words: Why do people care if critics hate the movies they like?

In my recent review for Dinner for Schmucks, I was literally raked across the coals (OK not literally) for giving the film a poor score that others felt was not justified. For example: “You have no idea what comedy is.” or “I pity you for lacking a sense of humor.” or “You have no soul and are a worthless coward who hides behind words to attack hard working people making a film.” Alright, I sort of embellished that last sentence and quoted it out of context but something similar was actually said to me.

These are all good people who have absolutely nothing invested in the film beside two hours of their time and a few dollars from their pocket; so why are they adamantly defending a movie that amounts to nothing more than a toss-away summer comedy?

critics freud Why Do You Care if Critics Hate the Movies You Like?

I think the answer is more or less buried beneath the complex layers of the human psyche. Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of what is conceived to be the winning group or side. No one wants to be associated with a conceived bunch of losers (except maybe Zoe Saldana *bum-dum ching*), so every time someone attacks something we’ve aligned ourselves with, our first instinct is to defend it – whether it is a political view, a friend or family member, a beloved sports team or even something as contrived and ultimately meaningless as a film - if we love it and someone attacks it, then we WILL defend it!

It used to be that movie going audiences would live or die by the professional movie critic. At one point, the mere direction of a thumbs up or thumbs down from famed and influential movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert would be enough to make or break a film. Of course, back then no one had the ability to quickly spout off a remark on their blog page and voice a contrary opinion.

Now, thanks to Al Gore, we have this thing called *deep booming, echoing voice* The Internet!

The internet has given anyone who wishes to share their critiques with the world the ability to share their thoughts on a particular subject via a personal blog, a FaceBook status update, a short Twitter message or, if they are really lucky, a medium-to-high profile blog and/or news column.

It used to take days for word of mouth to spread regarding a film and now it take minutes or even seconds (depending on whether you use the AT&T cell network *zing*). Of course, every rose has its thorn (thanks Poison) and just like the Internet can be used to respond to a reviewer with enthusiastic agreement, it can also be used to put forth a scathing rebuttal.

critics angry mob pitchfork Why Do You Care if Critics Hate the Movies You Like?

Reviewing a film can often be a tough row to hoe and, if they are lucky, the reviewer can find their opinions falling in lockstep with the opinions of their peers; they can also find their review on the opposite of popular opinion, which opens their review (and subsequently the reviewer) up to criticism.

Of course, whether a film is good or bad is purely subjective and while one reviewer might enjoy a light-hearted romance comedy about a love triangle involving a bartender, an extreme mountain biker and a nun, another reviewer might be completely turned off by that concept and both reviews will ultimately reflect those feelings.

A few recent examples of this would be Roger Ebert’s half-star review of Kick-Ass, Cole Smithey’s C+ review of Toy Story 3 and pretty much anything Armond White reviews in general (the guy seriously liked Jonah Hex). See what I just did right there? I, along with most of the reviewing community, gave Jonah Hex a horrible review and I just dismissed White’s opinion because it didn’t mesh with mine. That’s not very nice of me to do is it?

Ebert’s scathing and often times sanctimonious review of Kick-Ass caused such an uproar in the fanboy circles that the Godfather of all movie bloggers, Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News, wrote a response to Ebert calling him out for his controversial and sometimes hypocritical views on this and other films.

Cole Smithey and Armond White (who appears to have a form of movie review dyslexia) were the first people on Rotten Tomatoes in the entire world to give Toy Story 3 a rating that wasn’t fresh, which was ceremoniously frowned upon by critics and bloggers alike in almost an instantaneous fashion. Cinema Blend, /Film, Pop Eater and others all rallied around what they thought to be a critical injustice. In other words – they all defended what they liked against what they perceived as an attack.

critics ebert smithey white Why Do You Care if Critics Hate the Movies You Like?

Again, why is it even important that a film review, good or bad, agrees with our individual opinions? Ultimately a handful of overly-aggressive reviews does nothing to deter the general movie-going audience from attending a film. Kick-Ass was hailed by the fanboy community while bringing in an impressive world wide box office gross of $96 million, even though Ebert hated it; Toy Story 3 is a huge blockbuster success even though Smithey railed on it and Jonah Hex appropriately failed even though White adorned it with kudos.

So what does this all mean in the grand scheme of things? Nothing, really; the true purpose of a review is to give the reader a look at how they may or may not enjoy a film based on someone else’s experience who shares their viewpoints.

Bottom line: If a critic doesn’t share your opinion on a film, don’t take that opportunity to rip into them; just find yourself a critic you do agree with and in the end you’ll enjoy your movie experience a whole lot more.

Let us know in the comments how you feel about critics who generally don’t agree with your opinions on movies.

Follow us on Twitter @Walwus and @ScreenRant.

TAGS: dinner for schmucks, inception, jonah hex, kick ass, toy story 3, transformers 2

226 Comments

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  1. This site is the opposite of an AA meeting. We all come here because we are denial about the things that have control over our life. Plus you cant go to an AA meeting drunk and have people agree with what you said even if they only understood half of it

  2. my personal bone to pick with reviewers is when they go beyond their opinion and state hatefull comments at will. if you dont like something, fine. when you attack people that do and call them retards, then you might expect a response along the same lines.

  3. I think that when critics hate a big blockbuster movie that most people like, they hate it because of peer pressure. Think about it, if a critic wants to be as big as Roger Ebert, he/she are going to trash movies that the majority of audiences love.

  4. We hate that critics give bad reviews just for the sake of being different. They are afraid to love the big picture. This the same reason why “Inception” didn’t win Best Picture and “The Dark Knight” wasn’t ever nominated for best picture. TDKR was a fantastic picture and it did give fans closure.

  5. Wether a movie is good or bad is NOT subjective. If you know even a tiny bit about film, then you should be man (or woman) enough to be able to look at a movie and say “it has a good story, good acting, good effects, etc. but I just don’t like it.” or….”the acting is really cheesy, the effects are laughable, and the story is one we’ve seen a million times before, but the movie is really fun to watch.”

    Just because you like something, doesn’t make it good. And just because you hate something doesn’t make it bad. There ARE movies that are horrible movies but are really fun to watch, if only just to make fun of it. Why do you think MST3K was so popular ? How many times did they have a movie that was technically good ?

    For instance, one of my favourite movies is Dragon Ball Ultimate Edition. It’s a horrible movie. It’s an update of a 90s chinese movie. Though the updated effects were done in the 2000s, they are horrible and look like they were done with a very bad job in photoshop. The acting is achingly bad. But it’s a LOT of fun to watch. I like the movie. But I can look at it and say it’s bad.

    On the other side of things, there are plenty of movies that I can look at and, while I can see the effects are good, the acting isn’t the worst I’ve seen, or that the story is good, I just hate the movie. A good example is Titanic. The effects are really good. The acting, especially Kathy Bates, is good. But I just don’t like it. I think it’s because Kate Winslet, who is good as the female lead, is far more manly than the supposed leading man, Leonardo Dicaprio.

  6. >These are all good people who have absolutely nothing invested in the film beside two hours of their time and a few dollars from their pocket; so why are they adamantly defending a movie that amounts to nothing more than a toss-away summer comedy?

    Because when you love a movie and it suddenly gets attacked by the so-called “critics”, what “critics” are attacking it’s not just the movie, but your tastes, preferences, sense of humor and in some cases, your whole ideology as a person so of course they will feel offended. I honestly don’t know why you find it so hard to understand, to be honest.

  7. I actually love MANY movies that are usually considered “bad” in general opinion. One of them even got only “bad” awards: Worst scenario, worst productor, ect. I must say it’s never fun when everybody seem to hate what you like.
    I watch movies with themes and subjects that interest me, and that’s all I need to enjoy it. I’m not questionning about the storyline or the acting. I just watch and enjoy the movie. However, when I find out that one of my favorite ones is known as a “failure”, it’s still a bit hard to swallow.

  8. If you can’t take criticism, don’t dish it out. You set yourself up as a ‘critic’ but don’t seem to want to be criticized yourself. That’s being a bit mardy.

    • Ian, we’re not just talking about someone saying, “Actually, I think you wrote a bad review and here’s why…” Critics usually welcome debate and many will respond to comments on their websites.

      However, there are more and more people who type personal attacks towards critics. When you see a negative review for a Batman movie on rottentomatoes, the comments will have several people calling the critic an a**hole for ruining a 100% tomatometer score and a few even expressing their hope that the critic, and everyone he cares about, die. Very few comments will actually address the points in the review. Many people seem to get angry when a critic dislikes a movie they like, which is what this article is addressing.

  9. Hi, Kurvos here. I’m a reviewer on DeviantArt: http://kurvos.deviantart.com/gallery/9337429 (those before my The Dark Knight Rises review are considered kinda outdated, by the way)

    And my opinion is that a reviewer should talk about all the aspects of a movie when they review it. I don’t like the idea of a movie being praised as if everything about it is good, or a movie being ripped a new one as if nothing about it is good. There are good and bad things about movies – and talking about it all helps people reading or watching the review to know better if they will potentially like the movie or not.

    That being said, you do make some good points. I just think the fault is mutual between the reviewer and the readers. Reviewers tends to be pretty harsh sometimes, or to be pretty annoyingly onesided.
    It’s hard to explain – I just guess I could say I think I am hopefully aiming for the right direction with the reviews I write nowadays. Especially from my The Dark Knight Rises review and forward (though, my Prince of Egypt “review” is, uhm… sort of more me writing about how much the movie hurted me :P).

    I am still working on how to review, and I am far from perfect. I just don’t like the way people tend to review. Especially Spill.com… they are tools, plain and simple.

  10. Critics are the worst and dirtiest scum the world has to offer. I hate critics, and I simply despise them. But I forgive them for being bad people… BUT MY TOOMY GUN DON’T! (Haha I don’t forgive them).

  11. I really liked this article. A problem I have with critics is that they tend to spend a lot more time talking about what they don’t like than what they do, which is frustrating and depressing.

    It’s somewhat inherent in the idea of criticism to talk about what you don’t like, but I feel I learn much more from critics who spend more time talking about what they do like than what they don’t. I suppose this is because a negative review tells me what someone thought of a certain element of a movie, or is unfortunately often just used to put down the movie makers (for example, spending half of one’s review of The Hobbit calling Peter Jackson a greedy director who’s out to milk the system). A positive review tells me not just about specific elements, but also about what a movie intended to do for its audience using those elements.

    The other thing that gets me about critics is group-think, which seems pretty common. I may be wrong, but it seems that the reviews which agree with the most popular opinion on a movie tend to all say the same things, and often use the same phrasing. This suggests to me that movie critics may be too easily influenced by eachother. [A notable exception in my opinion would be Roger Ebert, who maintains his own opinions, though I quite often disagree with him.]

    Still, critics can say what they want, but different movies are taylored just right for different people, and as this article points out, I don’t care what critics think if I like the movie myself.

  12. I often asked myself the same question you asked; why do people get so angry and verbally attack me or threaten to beat me up only because i said i hated a movie they loved? Then one day it hit me that people are shallow minded-narcissists who find their own individual values or group values in their favorite movies. The same thing is true about their favorite celebrities and athletes. So when you insult or express hatred to their favorite movies, celebrities or athletes they feel strongly that you’re insulting them and telling them that they have no value or they are worthless. Though it’s true that they’re worthless, but since people have inflated-egos(narcissism) they can’t see their worthlessness and think they’re like kings and queens, and your criticism has reduced their king-like existences into ordinary existences, and that is like the worst insult and damage to them so they feel they have the duty and right to retaliate and punish anyone who’s telling them they’re not kings and queens. We live in a world filled with ants who believe they’re elephants. And it’s the movies that make these ants to believe falsely they’re elephants.

  13. Critics I feel,are just like our parents,teachers,church heads,and our big brothers/sisters. They all tell us what NOT and what TO DO. Think about it, did we listen? NOPE! We went our way and did it ANYWAYS(well,many of us did)and we were GLAD we did or SAD we didn’t listen. Go see the movie, THEN,(if you want), go read their criticism. If you thought they were DEAD WRONG, you just put them out of business cause you’ll NEVER read one more iota they write. Our minds work SOLELY on “opposites do attract”…YEAH negative hatred of opinions is the result,(what do you think keeps them in business?) WE/YOU are the ONLY best “determiners” of what WE like and you should listen MORE to YOURSELF than an outside “intruder”(on your feelings and correct determinations NO matter WHAT the area of subject-opinion your dealing with). Now lets contemplate/analyze “I NEVER go see a movie UNLESS I read the reviews”. That “can” be a very GOOD thing to invite outside opinion of no matter WHAT the subject in life is, no matter HOW rash the bashing they give(but stop and THINK, their bashing is what gains their popularity to pay their bills because they THRIVE on the heartbeat of America reading and critiquing their articles).You BETTER believe they surf the Internet in search of blogs like this one and manymany websites to”test the waters of hatred” that to them, determine their popularity. You MIGHT look at it this way, 500 million go see “Look Who’s Talking” and NO ONE paid attention to their bad reviews and THEY know this by the gross earnings, boss says “No ones reading your column, your gone, Critic THAT”. It’s their gross negative that attracts hatred and the attention THEY THRIVE on to survive(job).If his/her views bother you, I (you) MAY derive at a conclusion of “I should go see it and SEE if I SEE what they are talking about”(if you don’t, you MIGHT of just missed a GREAT movie pass you by because of them). Many solely rely upon other peoples view that they are consumed by their peers, or co-workers that a particular film was the GREATEST they have seen in a long time” and guess who didn’t bother to go because of an opinion? I personally NEVER read a review, I try to “hope” there’s many trailers to “study” from, word of mouth, and society popularity(not their opinion persa, just “the buzz”). All of you(if I may) DEFINITELY see these movies on a regular basis faster than I do(when they come out).I want my OWN critique(study) done first, then I go. I look at it this way OVERALL. Sports,religion,politics,and the movies are CHOCK full of critics, their opinions are JUST what they are, opinions and they can havem. We are our own BEST critics, let them ramble on because they MUST give bad reviews, or they would be out of a job. If they said they liked EVERY movie(which I believe,they like some ALOT but they MUST”put down” NEGATIVE reaction so as to “re-direct” the flow to obtain popularity.

  14. Sorry,maybe someday I’ll space my paragraphs. ;o)>

  15. The reason why most people hate critics is precisely because most people are not critics. If most people were critics, then they would understand. Critics review movies for a living, and with anything that tries to attract an audience, a pattern has to be followed. Most movies (and to an extent most other forms of art as well) follow established patternes, because generally that is what the non-critic movie going public want to see. So what you end up with is many movies following the same pattern. If you watched as many movies as critics do, you would get tired very fast, and would want to see something that would from the norm, or at the very least capture your attention.
    The critic and the movie-goer have different goals. The movie goer wants a good way to kill 2 hours. The critic wants so disparately to see something that will hold his or her attention. What we need to do is like what we like and not care what other people think. which for most people is so hard to do.

  16. Hmmmm when critics try and give a review about action movies and they pan it…. Honestly when is the last time a action movie won a Oscar? I like many different genres, but sometimes I just like sitting back watching a “popcorn movie”. I think it’s all rather relative, if someone likes “chick flicks” and even give the film a high rating, chances are, most blokes still won’t see it. Then you may go to a movie, highly rated “art house type” and think its over hyped…. I watched hansel and gretel witch hunters , average rating by paid critics was 15 percent and regular viewers was much higher at 64 percent, which makes me wonder why the huge difference in score? Then one reviewer was giving a bad review, admiting he didn’t like the director….like in a personal way….

  17. To be honest, I’ve always wondered NOT “why critics trash-talk films liked by a lot of people?”, but “why are critics paid so much to be so g****** pedantic?”.

  18. A film critic who doesn’t want to come under any critism….hmmmm…Oddly hypocritical.

  19. Hi !

  20. Critics will only dislike films that a lot of people like.

  21. Yes, but if a critic(s) start ripping into a movie that I like and they could potentially damage it’s profits, that’s when I get defensive.

  22. I hate critics, they suck and nobody gives a damn about what they think, do u hear me yall critics suck. Remember that critics are always wrong and they always will be and that’s the bottom line because i said so.

    -Hell
    -Economics
    -Learn
    -Live
    -Own

  23. No. Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one.

    Some cristics are really just egoistical movie snobs. But I trust a site like Rotten Tomatoes, which collects reliable reviews. And Green Lantern is terrbile movie. Period.

  24. When it comes to movies, games, books or other things reviewed by critics they don’t make something everyone will like.
    However I do dislike to fact some critics try to compare one thing to another.
    I also dislike these bigger companies get the critic to review say a orange when the critic they got to reiview it loves apples and is a expert in apples and dislikes oranges it is going to pretty one sided.
    It can also be hard for critics to not be biased.

    When it comes to any reiview if say the movie is part of series watch the previous movies as a refreasher or read the book/comic it is based off of or play the game it is based off of,but remember it won’t be the same so you might pick up things or it won’t have anything to do with it so treat it with a grain of salt and have a fresh mindset. Some things you may need to see more then once before it all sets in.

    Getting crushed by criticisms while being critics I belive is part of the hidden job description you got to be tough to be a critic and not let the criticisms get to you no matter how horrible people might be too you.
    Sometimes it is better to not fly into the s*** storm, but you should have valid reasons you did or didn’t like something about the film or whatever your reviewing and not just bland reasons like it has been done before and make a comparison of the goods and the bads and don’t compare it to other movies unless it is one of those follow up movies actually part of the series and not a late prequel.

  25. People care because they have too much free time and a scary love for superhero movies…

  26. For you to get mad at a critic (or critics) for disliking a movie you like would mean you’d be unable to go against the grain forever.

    There are people that dislike a movie everyone else loves, and people that love a movie everyone else dislikes. If you get mad about an individual review (solely on whether they liked it or not, not the actual criticisms), then you’d be unable to differ from mass opinion ever again…otherwise you’d be a hypocrite.

  27. I hate critics because they do nothing but get paid for there opinion. I love alot of movies that critics said were crap. And think alot of movies are crap that critics love. So they are worthless as far as I’m concerned. I always have to see it for myself. And no one in the world like all the same movies. What I really hate is when people bash a director as if they could make a better movie…. please… really. Shutup. ;-)

  28. I hate critics because they do nothing but get paid for there opinion. I love alot of movies that critics said were crap. And think alot of movies are crap that critics love. So they are worthless as far as I’m concerned. I always have to see it for myself. And no one in the world like all the same movies. What I really hate is when people bash a director as if they could make a better movie.

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