Copyright: Public Domain / Used With Permission

From our man on the spot, Estaban DeGolf:

In a couple of recent movie reviews I’ve noted my dismay at some bad-to-mediocre movies’ high ratings as well as my search for a movie review source I can rely on.  At this point, “Rotten Tomatoes” is about the best option I’ve found, but only when I use the audience’s ratings, not the critics.  Interesting thing, that, the hoi polloi seem to be a better guide than the experts – (Libertarians rejoice)!.  In this article I’m going to discuss a few observations and pet peeves.
In addition to the current ratings that warn people about sex, violence and language I wish there one for PC crap.  I’ve found it impossible to enjoy quite a few otherwise good TV shows and movies due to the barrage of PC crap they find it necessary to stuff in, everything from Global Warming to “if you don’t want your teenage daughter to share a locker room with a man who says he’s a woman today you’re evil”.  Let me be clear, I have a decent tolerance for this stuff (if I didn’t I’d have to move to a cabin in the mountains, it’s impossible to avoid), but somewhere around the 5th time in the first 10 minutes of a movie we get a blatant slap across the face with the cold, wet PC mackerel I just can’t sit through any more.  I’ve searched for “conservative movie reviews” and unfortunately they all seem to be from a religious perspective and are far more concerned about foul language, sex and nudity than I am.  They do however, tend to ID messages antithetical to free markets or that are pro-PC, so they are of some use.
A second topic I’m interested in lately is the cases where the critics at RT differ significantly from the audience.  A few examples I noted this morning:
 
Movie
Critics’ Rating
Audience Rating
Black Panther
97
79
Death Wish
15
85
Annihilation
87
66
Last Jedi
90
48
Samson
27
66
15:17 to Paris
25
44
Phantom Thread
91
70
 
What is one to make of these differences?  Let me start by postulating a couple of reasons why they happen.  First, movie critics (like other journalists) are left-wing, probably even more than the average being artistes at heart.  Many of the differences above are due to politics. Consider that “Death Wish” scored 85% from audiences but only 15% from critics.  I contend that if you go to a movie that you know is about self-defense and seeking justice when law enforcement fails to do so and can’t stomach the very idea you shouldn’t be reviewing it.  I’m pretty sure that I would excuse myself from reviewing a hagiography about Barack Obama on these grounds.
A second reason for the big differences is that critics aren’t trying to help audiences find movies they’ll like as much as they are releasing their inner artiste.  The audience may love a straightforward action/adventure story, but the critics will lament its lack of nuance.  Consider “Annihilation” (which I have seen) – I thought it was a decent Sci-Fi flick until the end, which is a confusing, totally unexplainable non-wrap-up. Critics apparently liked that, anything for nuance I suppose.  The movie also featured four women in the combat roles, something I don’t care about but it probably added 10 points among the critics.  I’m actually mystified how the audience gave this a 66% favorable rating.
One other example, if I may.   “12 Strong” is a story about a dozen U.S. special forces who were the first to enter Afghanistan following 9/11. The critics’ commentary notes its “lack of depth or nuance”.  Obviously the movie didn’t find a sympathetic terrorist or complain about George Bush, it just focused on the heroism of U.S. soldiers.  I do think that movie critics in general and especially at RT have a hard time judging a movie from the perspective of its audience.
Movie critic: “this is a truly dreadful Pinot Noir”
Audience member: “it’s an IPA you twat, this is a beer tasting”.