Rotten Tomatoes Designated Me a Top Critic!

Posted on December 3, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Copyright Rotten Tomatoes 2018
I’ve been a fan of Rotten Tomatoes since it started in 1998 and began adding my reviews to it shortly after. I check it several times every day. So it is one of the greatest honors of my life that I have been designated a “top critic!” That means my reviews will be highlighted on the site, along with those of so many of my favorite critics and friends. My deepest thanks to everyone at Rotten Tomatoes, especially those working so hard to make the site more inclusive and diverse.

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Critics

Rotten Tomatoes: How Digital Media is Changing Movie Criticism

Posted on March 29, 2018 at 8:41 am

Rotten Tomatoes has a fascinating and very insightful essay about online movie critics. Citing the 1990 essay by Richard Corliss decrying the devolution of movie critics due to television, Rosemarie Alejandrino, the inaugural USC Annenberg-Rotten Tomatoes Digital Innovation and Entertainment Criticism fellow, describes the scope of online critics and their connection to their audiences.

Across multimedia platforms — particularly online video and podcasts — a new class of critics has arisen, made up of people who view the world of film and entertainment criticism through a digital lens. Some don’t consider themselves critics at all. This new breed of content creators isn’t looking to compete with traditional print critics; in fact, they exist side-by-side in the same cinesphere, often using written reviews as a jumping off point for their discussions.

Where these video and audio critics are taking us represents an exciting chapter in the evolving narrative of film criticism. The ability to pause and zoom allows a crafty YouTuber to dive into a scene’s shot construction in minute detail. Access to streaming services lets a critic watch a movie over and over as to not miss a detail while dissecting the plot for easter eggs and hidden gems. The rise in podcasts and longform audio platforms connects the critic to the listener in an intimate setting, as if you’re listening in on a conversation between friends who love (or hate) a film as much as you do.

The key culture-shifting component of new media film criticism is the critics’ relationship with their audience.

The critics and video film essayists she interviewed include Alachia Queen, Chris Stuckmann, and Black Man Can’t Jump (in Hollywood).

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Critics Understanding Media and Pop Culture

The Case of the Missing Movie Reviews: LA Times and Rotten Tomatoes

Posted on November 6, 2017 at 10:29 pm

What happened to the missing movie reviews? The LA Times did not have a review for one of the biggest movies of the year, “Thor: Ragnarock.” And in the same week, moviegoers saw something unusual on Rotten Tomatoes when they searched for a review of “Bad Moms Christmas.” For a day after tickets were available and the movie was being shown, no reviews were on the site. What gives?

There are two very different answers. The LA Times was barred from covering “Thor: Ragnarock” because Disney, which produced the film and owns Marvel, did not like a story the paper did on its Anaheim theme park. This is an awful precedent and likely to produce more bad publicity for Disney than if they just left it alone.

As for Rotten Tomatoes, early speculation that there was some plot afoot to avoid bad reviews turned out to be wrong. The only entity attempting to maintain some leverage was Rotten Tomatoes itself, and its premiere of a new movie review web series. According to a Forbes investigation by Scott Mendelson:

Rotten Tomatoes debuted a new Facebook movie review show on Thursday night. And as part of that show, which features Jacqueline Coley and Segun Oduolowu sparring over new movies and TV shows for around seven minutes, Rotten Tomatoes will select one new movie or TV show and reveal that film or show’s Tomatometer score on the webcast itself. In this case, since the embargo for A Bad Moms Christmas was essentially 15 hours before the broadcast, they chose that newbie as the exclusive “unveiling” title. Maybe next week it’ll be Paramount/Viacom Inc.’s Daddy’s Home 2, which I imagine will also have an embargo pretty close to the Nov. 10 release date. Or maybe they will pick something with a long-lead embargo that doesn’t open for a bit. We can expect much hand-wringing if they select the obvious pick for Nov. 17 as the “keep away” title.

I spoke with my Rotten Tomatoes contacts, who assured me that this is not any kind of under-the-table deal with studios and that Rotten Tomatoes will not be holding back reviews and scores until a film’s or TV show’s opening day as a matter of course.

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Critics Understanding Media and Pop Culture

RT Interview with “American Made” Director Doug Liman

Posted on October 1, 2017 at 4:55 pm

I’m a fan of Doug Liman, director of four “Bourne” movies, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” and the neglected gem “Edge of Tomorrow.” I really enjoyed his list of five favorite movies for Rotten Tomatoes (I love “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” too) and his fondness for flawed heroes. Here are his comments on making a feature film based on a true story.

A movie like this, there’s a lot of research that goes into it. It’s a true story, so we want to honor that. But we’re not making the movie because it’s a true story, we’re making the movie because it’s a great story and has great characters in it. But I’ve often found sticking to the truth makes for better movies, at least when I make them. I come up with better scenes when I’m hemmed in by the reality of the situation. Limiting the CIA’s power in Bourne Identity – what they really could do at the time versus, you know, other movies that came up with magical command centers, where the CIA has eyes in the sky that can see everything in real time, and not deal with the reality that a spy satellite that’s low enough to see people on the ground isn’t geo-stationary, but is travelling across the land at a very high rate of speed. And it can be over a site for maybe 30 seconds. I’m interested in those limitations. I think they make the scenes more exciting.

So, making a movie like American Made, I’m interested in the reality of the story, because in my career up to date, the reality of the situation has always made my scenes more entertaining and more dramatic. And here I can always go back to the well, so any time I felt like the screenwriter was taking a shortcut, I’d say, “Well, let’s look at how it really happened.” And inevitably, I’d find a more exciting scene.

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Directors

Want One of the Best Jobs in Movie Criticism/Coverage?

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 1:21 am

The wonderful editor of Rotten Tomatoes, Matt Atchity, has left to oversee programming at the Young Turks, and that means the top job is open! Here’s your chance to run one of the most popular sites on the internet!

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Critics
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