2017: The Death of Movie Reviews?

Can We Really Trust Critics and Movie Reviews Anymore?

For those of you who have been following my writing for a while, you know that this is not the first incarnation of Stars & Popcorn. A few years ago, this site was alive and kicking with the philosophy that “not all great movies are good.” It was a good run, but eventually, I decided to retire from the film critic game. So, what am I doing back? Well, to be blunt, I’ve taken up my pen again because I think there is something seriously wrong with movie reviews these days.

I’m not going to turn this into an attack on other critics or try to claim that I or Stars & Popcorn are superior to any of them. However, I will say that I feel like there is a huge rift between modern critics and audiences these days, and it seems to only be growing larger.

Example One:

Movie Reviews
Huh… These numbers don’t match up.

I’m sure the entire internet is pretty familiar with the negative expectations that were voiced in regards to Justice League. Everyone and their mother just couldn’t shut up about how terrible it was going to be and how bad every DC movie has been. So, when initial movie reviews came out, it was no surprise that so many critics had bad things to say about it. However, something interesting happened. While critics were content to sit in their ivory theater seats looking down their noses and snickering at Justice League, audiences actually seemed to really like it. So much so, that there is a nearly 40% difference between critics and fans (as of 12/17/2017). Now the real question is if Justice League is actually a bad film or not because movie reviews seem to paint a very different picture than fan reactions.

Now I know that Justice League doesn’t necessarily prove anything. It could have been a fluke, right?

Eh, maybe not.

Example Two:

Movie Reviews
Wait, these numbers don’t match up either! What’s going on?

This one might be a fresh wound for a few geeks out there. You’ve probably heard of Star Wars and might have even known about them releasing a new flick this year. After The Force Awakens and Rogue One, fans were fidgeting in their seats just waiting for The Last Jedi to come out, and initial movie reviews implied that Disney had done it again with the franchise. Fans were ecstatic standing in line, waiting to get a peek at something they’ve waited all year to see. The tone after the credits rolled was not quite as positive though. While critics were content to give it a Certified Fresh rating, we’re lucky that fans didn’t take to the streets rioting the travesty that occurred in a galaxy far, far away. Once again, there was nearly a 40% discrepancy between the movie reviews and how audiences really felt after seeing it (as of 12/17/2017).

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There is absolutely no special requirement to write movie reviews. Anyone can do it. Look at me. I’m just a film geek that can’t stop talking about movies. My qualifications pretty much end at the fact that I went to film school and I watch way too many movies each year.

Now, The Last Jedi and Justice League certainly don’t prove that movie reviews get it wrong every time. There have been a few occasions where critics and audiences have seen eye to eye. Of course, these are far and few between, but they’re not unheard of.

Movie Reviews
These ones do though.

So, what’s going on with movie reviews these days? Why is there this growing gap between critics and fans? What does this mean for the future of cinema as we know it!?!

Honestly, it probably doesn’t really mean that much. When it comes films, you really just need to go and see the ones you want to see no matter what the movie reviews say. After all, critics are just people with opinions. There’s no universal truth when it comes to art, though there are some commonly held beliefs when it comes to examples of “great art.” At the end of the day, their opinions are no more valid than yours when it comes to what movies are good and which ones suck.

Of course, Stars & Popcorn is TOTALLY different and you should always check the movie reviews here before spending your hard earned money at the theaters. The biggest difference between us and other critics is that we know that crappy movies can still be an absolute blast and that great films can be boring as hell. After all, my only real qualification to even write about movies is that fact that I truly love them and share the same excitement fans do when it comes to turning off my brain and watching some pretty explosions for a while. Still, my opinion is just my own. That’s why I love hearing what other people think of movies. The only thing more exciting than watching a movie is talking about it with other geeks.

What do you think though? Do critics feel like they’re not really getting what audiences want to see? Have you found yourself disagreeing with recent movie reviews? What film do you love that critics hate? Leave your comments below!