Something’s rotten in the state of cinema

Remember that show you loved that ended after one season? What killed it?

Rotten Tomatoes.

At its core, Rotten Tomatoes makes it easy to consume a diet of popular media, but what if we’re missing out on spontaneous media that we might have encountered if we followed our noses?

Established in 1998, an industry leader in film and television show reviews, Rotten Tomatoes prides itself on being “the world’s most trusted recommendation resource for quality entertainment.” Rotten Tomatoes reviews movies and TV shows based on the Tomatometer scale, which builds on the opinions of hundreds of television and film critics. To be considered a Tomatometer-approved critic, one must have demonstrated key values in the fields of insight, audience, quality, and dedication. The Tomatometer tells the viewer the percentage of Tomatometer-approved critics who gave a positive review.

What if the whole process is rotten?

Take Dave Chappelle’s, “Sticks and Stones;” the comedy earned a 99% audience score out of 33,000 members, while achieving a mere 27% Tomatometer score out of 15 critics.

Similarly, 2015’s historical drama “Stonewall” earned a 10% rating from critics, compared to an 85% from audience members.

Likewise, “Star Wars and the Last Jedi,” which premiered in 2017, aquired a certififed fresh rating of 91% by critics, in contrast to a tipped bucket rating of 42% by audience members.

In another instance, the 2017 mystery/drama “Maze” received a fresh critic rating of 92%, in contrast to a tipped bucket rating of 48% by audience members. The drama was regarded by Screen International critics as educative and entertaining while audience members were left questioning their choice.

What happened? Are critics really that out of touch with viewers? According to a Medium story, the answer lies within political bias. Professional film critics tend to lean left. In short, critic bias is higher against controversial films, such as Chapelle’s special, and they support progressive films.

By sticking to these recommendations 24/7, our media diet will lack a crucial component – content diversity. Although Rotten Tomatoes allows us to use our screen time more efficiently, they encase us inside of a comfortable house that we end up never leaving.

How can we stop ourselves from becoming prisoners in the House of Tomato?

Delve into the non-fiction realm with documenteries, explore local film festivals, experience international film, or check out a classic.

We can develop more nutritious viewing habits by filling our plate with genres we’ve never tried before.

In essence, use the Tomatometer to seed your media garden, but don’t let it control what gets planted in your mind.