Critiquing the critiques

I have always found it difficult to lock down a good source for accurate movie reviews. People are so opinionated about film that it will always be difficult to generate a rating that everyone can agree with.

Best you can do is trust your gut and get a little help on the side. So I’m going to conduct a little test here by comparing the ratings of the same movie given by five different websites.

Now this movie has all the makings of a sports classic, civil rights, baseball, underdog roles, overcoming adversity, Harrison Ford. On paper this movie looks like 10/10, of course that didn’t stop it from being garbage. So let’s see what the internet has to say about the Jackie Robinson story, 42.

1.) Rotten Tomatoes  79%

Rotten Tomatoes works by collecting movie ratings from reputable sources all across the web. It’s the first place check because I can take it as the average and work from there.

But this system leaves a lot of room for opinion. For example that score of 79% means that “reputable” critics were regularly scoring the movie higher than that.

I’ll argue that 79% down to a .05% all day long, but with years of experience and 1.72 million followers on Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes still definitely has my attention.

2.) Metacritic 62

With Metacritic you start to get a lot more specific reviews from reputable writers, which you can look up straight from the site. What I really like is they limit the size of their review pool from whom it believes to be a reputable critic.

Critics give their decision making behind the reviews as well. A common theme among this movies ratings is the critics liked the story. It’s hard to give Jackie Robinson a crappy rating, here the critics get a chance to explain that.

For the record Metacritic does reviews for literally everything on the face of the earth so check it out. It only has 45k followers on Twitter, but don’t let that sway you, it’s a good site to agree/disagree with.

3.) MrQE 73

The Movie Review Query Engine or MrQE (pronounced marquee) takes a similar approach to their ratings as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but they force your eye towards long form reviews done by great newspapers.

If you really want to get into the nitty gritty details of what makes any film good/atrocious, is is your site.

MrQE has actually been around since 1993, which is now surprising you because you’ve never heard of MrQE, but their trusted list of critics is what sets them apart from the other sites I’m comparing.

4.) IMDB 7.5

International Movie Database

The International Movie Database is the first place you’ll want to look for a full list of cast and crew, but I’ve never loved its rating services.

It just throws a number like 7.5/10 at you and tells you it’s coming from 63,000 people. It’s 63,000 random people who have seen the movie, and that 7.5 is pretty reflective of all the other scores I’ve compared.

I don’t dislike IMDB for its lack of accuracy but instead for its ambiguity. There aren’t 2,000 good movie critics in the world let alone 63,000, but me and the 3 million people following them on Twitter will still use it nonetheless.

 5.) Roger Epert 3 stars

805 thousand people follow the guy on Twitter. One opinion that reaches that many people, which is what makes his influence even comparable to Metacritic, IMDb, or Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s easy to get lost in the pot with 60,000 plus people screaming their opinions at you. Robert Epert takes you away from that by providing the opinion of just one dude, leaving you to agree/disagree.

I’m not really sure if Epert uses a five star system or a four star. I’ve never seen anything with more than four stars but I like to think he’s just saving the fifth star for something truly spectacular. Thankfully it wasn’t Spike Lee.

The idea behind this newsletter is to help expose people to the highly subjective world of movie critiques. It’s hard not to be opinionated when it comes to movies. It’s not my job to make an opinion for you, but to help you find the resources to make one for yourself.