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marinelife's avatar

How much do you believe film critics and why or why not?

Asked by marinelife (62430points) July 12th, 2008

I have always looked at them a little askance as I find my taste does not match theirs, but lately I think they have all either gone on drugs or been paid off by Hollywood.

Instead of calling Wall E a great movie, how about mentioning it is a great kids movie or great compared to much of what’s out there, but is very shallow plotwise, and is incredibly derivative in terms of imagery and ideas?

Today we watched (me for the seond time) Ten Things I Hate About You. The guide gave this delightful movie with a young Julia Stiles (love her), Heath Leger (already steamy) and David Krumholz from Numbers (painfully young), crisp writing, good acting, and good cinematography one and a half stars.

So, what gives?

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17 Answers

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think how much you enjoy and/or perceive certain media depends on your tastes, experiences, and whatnot, so I don’t pay much attention to what individual critics say.. more like, if a bunch of them says a movie stinks, it probably does. But if the movie seems interesting to me, I’ll see it anyway. I pretty much like to form my own opinions of things and since I usually fly somewhat apart from the crowd, there’s a good chance I’ll disagree with someone’s opinion of a film.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I trust no one person. I’d rather believe a collective.

richardhenry's avatar

I’ve found that in my entire history of reading Empire magazine I’ve only ever disagreed with ten or so reviews. I love the magazine, and I find their writing informative and interesting… but, this is me.

It depends why you watch films, I guess. I’m a total film geek, so I look for different things than people who watch films for other reasons and probably less obsessively. :)

If you don’t think like a film critic, then I guess the reviews aren’t going to help you, and sites like Rotten Tomatoes will probably be far more helpful in deciding what you want to watch.

marinelife's avatar

@uberbatman Thanks. I never saw that site. I love it.

marinelife's avatar

@richardhenry I have never read Empire magazine. Is there an excerpt anywhere on the Web?

richardhenry's avatar

I think it’s a UK-only publication, but they have full reviews at

tinyfaery's avatar

I used to love movies. Now I find I’m mostly disappointed when I see the big movies everyone raves about. I thought Iron Man was predictable and boring, but critics loved it. So no. I don’t believe film critics. But I never really bothered to heed what they said anyway. If a movie interests me in any way, I’ll likely rent it. I don’t go out to the movies much anymore; its too expensive for such crap. I will go see Dark Knight and the X-Files though, even if they do suck.

marinelife's avatar

@tf I so agree about Iron Man. It was so hyped and supposed to be best of the comic superhero genre, and I was so bummed. It did not seem to move out its post-WWII comic book origins. I love Robert Downey Jr as an actor even though he has failed personhood pretty much, but he had no writing to work with. Gyneth Paltrow was wasted.

richardhenry's avatar

@tinyfaery: Interestingly, Empire gave Iron Man a paltry 3 stars.

Wine3213's avatar

I don’t listen to critics usually, but I should have when I paid money to see Hancock. Horrible movie! I also think that:

1. Critics expect to much from some movies. (Don’t go to an action movie, and expect Oscar worthy acting)

2. Some of these studios, and screenwriters must think that the whole movie viewing public are idiots.

richardhenry's avatar

@Wine3213: “Don’t go to an action movie, and expect Oscar worthy acting.” This is why I love Empire. They judge movies in their respective fields and terms, and can totally appreciate the thin plot of a film like Death Proof or Shoot ‘Em Up, or the whimsical premise of films like The Bourne Ultimatum… simply because they rock. They appreciate films on a different level and on different aspects, but they associate with the reader come the verdict.

Wine3213's avatar

I’ll have to start reading Empire.

MacBean's avatar

The trick with critics is that you have to “get to know” them before you can trust them. Know your own opinions, check out what different critics thought of different things, and rely on the ones who tend to agree (or mostly agree) with you if you want a decent prediction of how you’ll respond to a film. Or rely on the ones who don’t tend to agree with you if you want to debate! I write my own mini-reviews for most of the films I see, and I like quoting critics who both agree and disagree with me.

wildflower's avatar

I believe every word they say, but it’s still their opinion which doesn’t necessarily match mine…
I’d read a review to get the critic’s take on it, but I won’t base my opinion on it. I’d have to see the movie myself.

scamp's avatar

Critics are entitled to their opinions and I am to mine. I read them, but if the plot of a movie seems interesting to me and the critics don’t like it, I judge for myself. It’s all a matter of personal taste.

jballou's avatar

Who’s this general “critics” everyone always refers to? It’s very rare that all critics will agree, so I disagree with the base assumption of the question.

I read plenty of reviews that said Wall-E was mediocre and left a lot to be desired. And I read many more that said it was great. I think that’s because there usually is a popular opinion of people in general, and critics are a microcosm of that. They tend to reflect the opinion of the general public.

Of course there are film critics who’s only aim is to get a credit in a TV spot or on a DVD box, but there are others who take their work seriously. It’s not really feasible for us as people with lives and jobs to see everything that is released, so critics are there to cull the herd for us. I’m forever grateful to critics who turned me on to movies like Brick, Donnie Darko, Momento, 21 Grams and Better Luck Tomorrow because they were such limited releases, I never would have gotten to see them otherwise.

Movie critics are like food critics. If your palette doesn’t match one, try another. Keep trying until you find a few you trust.

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