Saturday, June 13, 2009

25% independent thinking

The latest thumbsucker on the transmogrification of film criticism and the popularity of aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes got me looking at my profile there. It says I agree with the omnipotent Tomatometer, the godhead at the center of the matrix, 75% of the time, meaning I run with the herd that votes "fresh" on Star Trek or The Hangover or "rotten" on the junkers three-quarters of every occasion I go to the movies. The last time I checked, pre-fatherhood, I was at 72%, which I think shows that I'm self-selecting more when I go out and skipping the more marginally reviewed movies that I used to see.

Extrapolating from this, you can say that the movie portion of this site and my other endeavors in criticism is 25% independent, go-my-own-way, he's-a-rebel thinking, which isn't bad. Hey, I've chucked vegetables at not one but two Oscar-nominated Meryl Streep pictures (how can the miserable Ironweed be at 90% fresh?) If my agreement level was too much lower, I'm not sure why I'd bother putting the effort into something I wasn't crazy about to begin with.

I'm no quote whore, not that I've ever been blurbed in a big way. (A quote of mine got on the box of a Canadian movie I reviewed, but it was attributed not to yours truly but to the outlet. Blame Canada.) The rest of the time, I'm just part of the pack mentality, the Borg that goes thumbs up or thumbs down. What I'd really like to see is a rating of reviewers, based on responses to the quality of the writing--and some measure of how many Tomatoes readers click beyond the headlines to the actual articles.

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