Before the advent of the things like the Internet, Youtube, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes and nearly 24/7 access to new and upcoming project news. TV review shows and magazines were only information source for the movie going audiences. If you wanted access to the latest reviews and news you had to watch TV or pick up a magazine, but with the advent of the internet this is only a click away. And everyone including your mother can consider themselves a critic of something, no real qualifications needed. Today, internet critics often seem at odds with the pulse of the audience and what the audience loves and enjoys, it feels like critics critique for each other on the studied merits of a film they reviewed instead of reviewing it from a fans perspective.
Sometime these two opinions align, other times, there is such a massive gap that one might consider that the audience and the critics watched totally different movies. Lately I have found it very difficult to find movies I will enjoy because of this disconnect, and as a result I have stopped watching movies in the theatres and wait for the inevitable DVD or Blu-Ray release. I think part of this problem is the fact that critics watch far more movies than a typical movie goer, so they get bored with the typical movie. When a movie does something different, whether particularly good or bad, they sit up and take notice. This leads them to put excess weight on novelty in films, compared to the typical movie goer.
Hence highly rated films are usually either political documentaries, or experimental art films. A particular pet peeve for myself is that, reviewers shouldn’t write about genres they generally don’t like, such as the super hero genre of movies. Because they invariably trash films that have merit and massive fanbases within the confines of the given genre. Or they write down from some moral, social or intellectual plateau that is in conflict with how much fun a super hero romp can be for a movie loving fan just looking for some eye-popping spectacles and entertainment. Most moviegoers watch a film to enjoy it for what it is, and don’t necessarily mind formula or cliché dialogue. These films are comfortable escapism for us.
Most movies follow one formula or another, but what matters to people like myself are the little plot points, cool sequences, or jokes along the way. I don’t agree with some movie critics comments that I as the movie going audience am more easily satisfied than the professional movie critic. Unlike the critics I sometimes just look for something to entertain me. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece or be an earth shattering cinematic event. I do think they tend to get jaded after seeing so many films as a job. Having said that I think the conversation should be less about the difference between the critics and the audiences review scores for a movie, and more about why the audiences no longer value the critic’s opinion.
[Editorial Note:] “A man becomes a critic when he cannot be an artist the same way a man becomes a informer when he cannot be a soldier” – Flaubert –