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21.12.14 0531
The W - One Question... - Do you read film critics and reviews?
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Oliver
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Since: 20.6.02
From: Kolob

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.25
After watching a few movies that I absolutely loved, I checked up with Leonard Maltin's reviews. Each were panned. It got me thinking, about the critics in general: do they pan movies because they think they suck?

Personally speaking, I don't care for reviews: I don't believe that the people who review movies for the newspapers have the same investment in a movie as those who attend the movies actually do. I mean, Maltin and Ebert and co. get paid to watch and comment on movies; whereas others have to pay $10+ for the flick plus refreshments, and everything else. Maybe I'm just weird, but I take more stock in the reviews from fellow W's than the guys in the local rags.

What's everyone's take on critics and movie reviews?




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Since: 28.1.02
From: Louisville, KY

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.63
well, I listen to Michael Medved's talk show on a regular basis. You may recall that he and Jeffrey Lyons hosted Sneak Previews after Siskel and Ebert went to commercial TV. I always found I agreed with him about movies that I saw. So I started going to, and avoiding movies on his recommendations. he usually does a couple reviews on Fridays on his show and, while I don't see many movies, I usually accept his recommendations. I am sure part if it arises from the fact that we are of a similar age and hold a similar background.



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Since: 21.8.03
From: the people who brought you Steel Magnolias....

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.80
I'll put stock in and use a review as a coarse filter when I have a bead on the reviewer, whether they be professional or otherwise.

I also extend that past films and onto wine, whiskey and restaurants.

Provided I know how that reviewers tastes compare to mine I'm happy to use their reviews as a decision making guide.

Jim Murray for whiskey;
Jeremy Oliver for wine; and
The Age Good Food Guide for restaurants.

I don't have a go to for films ATM, just friends, work colleagues, posters here and elsewhere.
Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.06

I like Ebert because, when he's on, I almost always learn something about film that I didn't know before reading his review - whether it's an earlier film that I've never heard of that influenced the modern film he's reviewing, or an analysis he makes that makes me think differently about a film - I almost always walk away with something to think about (in rare cases, I've even changed my mind). And, in my mind, that's EXTREMELY important. He almost always makes me think about why I liked a movie

When he was with Siskel, their debates were great because they both were passionate, they both argued well, and, whether you were on one side or the other, something was to be learned from the debate alone. That's what good critique is all about... it's not about whether a movie is good or bad, but whether you can justify beyond "I enjoyed it therefore it's a good movie" or "I hated it therefore it's a bad movie".

Not to mention that I can read Ebert's review of Battlefield Earth all day long.



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Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.51
I read film critic reviews, but always after I've seen the movie. I can tell from the trailer/commercials if I will like it or not. The ultimate factor, if I hold out and don't go opening night, will be word of mouth from my friends.





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DrDirt
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Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.56
I will read a review just to get a general idea of the film and I hear the NPR reviewers when they are on Morning Edition or All Things Considered but I decide usually based on who's in it.

One review a long time ago I paid attention to was for the Iron Giant. I drug my wife and daughter to it as they really thought it sounded bad but they loved it more than I did. I thisnk that was an NPR review.

I just have bemused attitude for most critics as they are too often those that can't do but have all the answers.



Perception is reality
samoflange
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Since: 22.2.04
From: Cambridge, MA

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.40
I'll read reviews for movies I've seen and have strong opinions about. If it was a particularly enjoyable movie, I like to read reviews to relive some of the experience and get other perspectives on it. If it was a particularly bad movie, I read a few reviews to see if I agree with the general consensus, and because it's fun to bash on things in a group.

If there's a movie I'm not interested in seeing, but still interested in knowing about, I'll read some reviews. This has recently applied mostly second-tier (to me) comics-related movies like Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Elektra, etc.



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Since: 2.1.03
From: MA

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.27
If there's a movie I'm interested in, I go to Rotten Tomatoes and look at the ratings and some of the reviews.



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ekedolphin
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Since: 12.1.02
From: Indianapolis, IN; now residing in Suffolk, VA

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.34
I rarely read the reviews myself, but my mother, who gets the Washington Post every day on her Kindle, reads them all the time.

Oftentimes I don't agree with the critics' analysis. I trust my Blockbuster customers much more. (There's a scary thought.)



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Zeruel
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Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.51
Just to add that this doesn't apply to movies, but I do read reviews of electronics I am planning on buying. I spent two weeks looking up various HDTVs before I settled on my Samsung DLP.

I also researched for a week until I found the value for money I wanted in a Crock Pot. I just like to read the good, the bad, and the in-between on something to get a feel for how people (dis)like the product.



-- 2006 Time magazine Person of the Year --

-- July 2009 Ordained Reverend --
KJames199
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Since: 10.12.01
From: #yqr

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.07
I like to read movie reviews after I've seen the movie. I don't get anything spoiled for me that way, and it's interesting for me to compare my opinions to those of people who (generally) see way more movies and know more about movie history and how movies are made.

I found that Ebert and I were in agreement most of the time; less so now that he seems to like almost everything. "Paul Blart Mall Cop: not nearly as unpleasant as losing your jaw to cancer! ***1/2"

    Originally posted by Oliver
    I don't believe that the people who review movies for the newspapers have the same investment in a movie as those who attend the movies actually do. I mean, Maltin and Ebert and co. get paid to watch and comment on movies; whereas others have to pay $10+ for the flick plus refreshments, and everything else.
But isn't that backwards? If I have to pay for my tickets, I might be prone to being overly critical of a mediocre movie because I feel ripped off, or trying too hard to praise a weak movie in an attempt to convince myself that it was worth my money. In theory, taking the money out of the equation should allow reviewers to focus solely on the quality of the movie.



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Since: 24.2.02

Since last post: 23 days
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.52
Movie reviews are interesting to read, but they don't actually influence my decision to go see a movie.
Trunzo
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Since: 25.7.03
From: New York City

Since last post: 622 days
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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.80
I never look at critic reviews, but I do look at ordinary fan reviews. However, I dont look at good reviews, only bad ones. Anyone can say "This is the best movie ever!" Not too helpful. Reading people who rate a movie a 4 or a 5 and reading their reasoning in regards to what they did not like is definitely insightful and can help me decide whether or not I want to spend time on the movie.
geemoney
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Since: 26.1.03
From: Naples, FL

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.72
I read Ebert's- sometimes, I'll even go back and read a review of a movie I saw a long time ago, just to see what he wrote about it.

Before he retired, I'd read Jack Garner- he reviewed movies for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the local paper here.

And of course, I'll check Rotten Tomatoes for movie reviews, but not necessarily read a specific review.
Oliver
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Since: 20.6.02
From: Kolob

Since last post: 11 days
Last activity: 5 hours
#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.25
    Originally posted by KJames199
    I like to read movie reviews after I've seen the movie. I don't get anything spoiled for me that way, and it's interesting for me to compare my opinions to those of people who (generally) see way more movies and know more about movie history and how movies are made.

    I found that Ebert and I were in agreement most of the time; less so now that he seems to like almost everything. "Paul Blart Mall Cop: not nearly as unpleasant as losing your jaw to cancer! ***1/2"
I know that Ebert was probably being ironic, humourous, sarcastic or something, but that was kinda rough - I definately don't like that quote. Paul Blart wasn't a great movie - it was like a family friendly Die Hard at best.

    Originally posted by KJames199
      Originally posted by Oliver
      I don't believe that the people who review movies for the newspapers have the same investment in a movie as those who attend the movies actually do. I mean, Maltin and Ebert and co. get paid to watch and comment on movies; whereas others have to pay $10+ for the flick plus refreshments, and everything else.
    But isn't that backwards? If I have to pay for my tickets, I might be prone to being overly critical of a mediocre movie because I feel ripped off, or trying too hard to praise a weak movie in an attempt to convince myself that it was worth my money. In theory, taking the money out of the equation should allow reviewers to focus solely on the quality of the movie.
That's a way to look at it, but I don't think I agree with your statement.

I look at it simply as this: Let's say the girlfriend and I decide "Hey, on Sunday evening, let's go to the movies and see Avatar". In between when we decide to catch the movie, we have a chance to get excited for the movie. We can talk to our friends about it; get input, catch the trailers and think about the movie, and talk about what it's about.

Day of the movie, there's the standing in line, the sensory stimuli of the theatre, waiting in line, getting the tickets, and getting the refreshments. Then, there's getting the seats, watching the trailers, being reminded that I'm richer than I think (geez, thanks, Scotiabank!) and then the movie. After the movie, we can talk about what we liked about the movie, what we didn't, then discuss with our friends about it. All in all, a very busy day, a very fun experience, and it's all good.

Seeing a movie, for me, is an investment. It's an investment of time and money...and it's one that I gladly make.

The comment on "Best. Movie. Like. EVURRRR" is very true. I guess I'm glad that those in my group of friends aren't those who pan everything or give everything an eleven out of eleven (cuz eleven is louder than ten, right?) but even then, I'll take their ideas with a grain of salt.

Oh, and for the record, I went to see Avatar last Sunday - and it was sold out. Seriously.

EDIT: props to one reviewer I actually do read is @Backofthehead on Twitter - A great read, and a fellow W, too!

(edited by Oliver on 11.3.10 1409)


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Since: 16.3.04
From: Albuquerque, NM

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.48
I like reading Ebert...but I don't judge whether or not I'll go to see a movie based on what he writes. The rest I leave alone for the most part...occasionally I'll watch Maltin since he's prevalent on DirecTV.



dwaters
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Since: 16.10.02
From: Connecticut

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.45
For me, if I see a movie, I have to go online the second I'm near a computer and check Rotten Tomatoes and imdb to see what others thought.
It's like a weird compulsion. It's not enough to enjoy or not enjoy a movie. I have to know what everyone else thought and how it matches up with what I thought. I don't know why I'm like this.

I was surprised after seeing Percy Jackson that it only got a 50%, when I was sure it would be in the 70-80 range.
I notice I'm much more easy to please now. Maybe because with young kids and everything else, I'm just happy to be at the movies or renting a DVD.

I was glad to see "Mr. Magorium's Magical Emporium" got the bad reviews it deserves. Surprised it got any good reviews at all. Horrible.
KJames199
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Since: 10.12.01
From: #yqr

Since last post: 1 day
Last activity: 8 hours
#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.07
    Originally posted by Oliver
      Originally posted by KJames199
      I found that Ebert and I were in agreement most of the time; less so now that he seems to like almost everything. "Paul Blart Mall Cop: not nearly as unpleasant as losing your jaw to cancer! ***1/2"
    I know that Ebert was probably being ironic, humourous, sarcastic or something, but that was kinda rough - I definately don't like that quote.
That wasn't him - I had no idea my Ebert impression was so spot-on.
    Originally posted by Oliver
    I look at it simply as this: Let's say the girlfriend and I decide "Hey, on Sunday evening, let's go to the movies and see Avatar". In between when we decide to catch the movie, we have a chance to get excited for the movie. We can talk to our friends about it; get input, catch the trailers and think about the movie, and talk about what it's about.

    Day of the movie, there's the standing in line, the sensory stimuli of the theatre, waiting in line, getting the tickets, and getting the refreshments. Then, there's getting the seats, watching the trailers, being reminded that I'm richer than I think (geez, thanks, Scotiabank!) and then the movie. After the movie, we can talk about what we liked about the movie, what we didn't, then discuss with our friends about it. All in all, a very busy day, a very fun experience, and it's all good.
This kind of proves my point. A professional critic should talk about whether the movie is good or not, and what its strengths are, and its weaknesses. Granted, they don't all do this, but that is what I look for. I don't care what kind of day the critic had, whether the popcorn was any good, whether the lineups were bad, whether the bathroom was clean, etc. From my friends and acquaintances and coworkers, sure, but I don't hold them to any kind of professional standard.



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MUTigermask
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Since: 8.10.03
From: Columbia MO

Since last post: 534 days
Last activity: 13 hours
#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.12
If I'm on the fence about seeing a movie I'll read them and figure out if I want to make the investment based on the amount of good vs. bad reviews. Its far from a scientific approach though.
Tenken347
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Since: 27.2.03
From: Parts Unknown

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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.03
Professional critics would have no place if more people were media literate. I mean, we spend years in school teaching people how to read, but we just let people figure out movies and tv as they go. You can teach yourself to read that way (and people have), but is that really the wisest course? Media is media, and people should learn the rules that govern structure. I've taught courses on media literacy, and there is more going on in a film than your average viewer ever gets. That's why we need professional critics, to help point this stuff out. Unfortunately, you usually wind up with guys who have an inflated sense of their own opinion, who fail to serve the public good and are just content to cash big checks. I really think their days are numbered, though, especially as the internet continues to bury traditional media, especially with regards to newspaper critics. I mean, just to make one point, Roger Ebert is very well-spoken in his criticisms, but has a real penchant for starting from the point of "I did/did not like this movie on a visceral level," rather than, "This is objectively a good/bad movie for the following reasons - make your decision to see the film accordingly."
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I had to revive this for the Super Bowl. Usually I go to a party but this year we're having a few friends over and I'd like to make something awesome but not necessarily standard (e.g. nacho dip, wings, etc.).
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