I’m Throwing Tomatoes At Rotten Tomatoes

rat.gifWho among us hasn’t cited an RT percentage when trying to convince someone to see a movie?  It’s easy and fast and has a good reputation.  But two movies this year have exposed the flaw in the RT methodology: Ladybird (of the famous 100% rating) and Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi (of the 94% rating).

When I think of a 94%, I think a movie is 6% points away from being a perfect movie.  That’s the impression I get.  But the actual rotten tomatoes algorithm is a far different thing.  Let’s say there are 100 critics and each rates a movie on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 6 or above getting a “fresh” rating.  This isn’t how it works but let’s pretend.  Ladybird, in my opinion, should have gotten about 100 “7.5’s”.  And it should have been rated a 75 (%). It was pretty good but nowhere near perfect and not even great. But unfortunately, RT only gives a binary fresh or rotten label to each critic’s review.  So even though no critic gave Ladybird (or can give any movie a perfect 10 score), let alone all 100 critics, it still got a “fresh” rating from each one and thereby gets that magical 100% rating.

This is bullshit of course.  It makes people expect an amazing movie when it is nowhere near amazing. Would RT ever be able to convince critics to rate each movie on a scale of 1 to 10 so they could get a more precise score?  No way.  Critics believe movies are art and they are loathe to reduce their precious reviews to a number system.  And for the most part, I agree with them.  There’s so much that goes into what makes a movie “good.”  There’s just not enough nuance in the current model.

For the record, if I were to give a percentage to Episode 8, it would be 82%.


459 thoughts on “I’m Throwing Tomatoes At Rotten Tomatoes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.