An Open Letter to Rotten Tomatoes: “The Joke’s On You.”

Dear Feckless Thugs of the Forbidden Fruit:

We need to talk. As nerds, we graciously appreciate the work you attest to provide, but let’s be real: your website is no longer providing the service it was intended.

Many of the “critics” on your site aren’t big on reading. Now, now, it’s okay. You can tell if you look at their panned critiques close enough. What with grammatical (and some spelling) issues so atrocious, you know they cheat worse at Scrabble than Oprah Winfrey in Spanx at a dinner party.

They see a movie and immediately wax visceral with a couple of paragraphs as devoid on reason and rationale as a Gene Simmons would have been on Tinder. Regretfully, when it comes to film and things we appreciate for entertainment, there are few websites that encourage that kind of cyberhedonism more than yours.

You see, we all know 85 percent of the people on social media care about two things — and two things only: the numbers of engagements they get and the numbers of haters they breed.* 

*Not a statistical resolution, just a note the author yanked out of his @$$. Makes sense, so we allowed it. 

You Employ the “Internet Famous”

yes-you-can-be-social-media-famous-infographic

Rotten Tomatoes has become the breeding ground for most of these rabid trolls. First, it was YouTube but now, there are more “IF” folks spawning from your site than some horny rabbits on Viagra. What’s interesting is you don’t give a damn.

It’s traffic. It’s good for marketing. It’s carpetbombing other blogs. Again, we get it, but even the military is responsible when they drop their bombs.

Candidly, who can blame you? After all, this used to be the content from promotional commercial of movies extolling quotes from earnest critics: “Two Thumbs Up,” Siskel and Ebert; “Spectacular,” Rex Reed; “It made my mustache straight,” Gene Shalit; and “A triumph,” Leonard Maltin.  Remember those names? Of course you do.

Today, we get fan critics like: “Like, crap,” some asshat named Dave; “A-ight,” Joe; “I thought it sucked,” Rosalyn A.; and “Who the hell made this movie,” I.P. Nightly. And yet, that’s what you promote or pass over as “Experts.” Just a bunch of unmarked and unnamed people empowered to dole out the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for movies with your “Certified Fresh” bumper sticker as the tramp stamp on some production company’s commercial.

joker
Source: Infinitube

Admittedly, it was a bludgeoning on Joker that sparked this rant and caused me to find my 12-foot ladder to climb atop of this substantial soapbox, but there are others. (Incidentally, when Joaquin or Todd Phillips is nominated for something, I hope they remember those rotten tomatoes from your site.)

Many others that have been called “fresh” and are really rotten. Conversely, others have gone splat and they were great — even, award-winning.

There actually is an art to being a film critic. It’s their craft–one honed for decades. Yet, thanks to forums like yours, the only thing “rotten” about it is that everyone is given a bullhorn and no one speaks in clear enough sentences.

And those douchenozzles are the ones you imbue with cooking recipes to ripen the transitioning fruit or make it go splat!

Ripe for An @$$ Kicking

07ROTTENTOMATOES1-jumbo
COURTESY: Chris Lyons, The New York Times, 2017

You see, makers of the mess we now get to call “ratings,” although a movie is a box-office juggernaut, doesn’t mean it’s “fresh”… or even “worth seeing.” Did you see The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water? That’s $162 million reasons of to never go see a movie again right there. Wait, of course you saw it. What am I thinking?

Your site rated it 81%!

A movie so bad that fans went looking for Spongebob to dry his square behind out in the Sahara and burn the Krabby Patty recipe in apogee. But, your gang of gallivanting critics thought that was in the Top 20% of all movies you have rated. Like, ever.

What about that straight-to-DVD-but-shows-how-dumb-people-can-be flick called Sharknado? 78% from you. An effin’ C+? I could take an Algebra test in Sanskrit and get a better grade than that worthless, brain-impaling film deserved to get on your site.

Here’s the kicker: We’re talking an Academy Award template. Spy Kids. Maybe you remember that one? Two dufus kids go off on this global adventure to rescue their parents. Sure, it was “fun for the whole family,”

But… a 93%?!

Please. Shall we look at the panned movies gone splat on your trusty site that can’t compare with the cinematic genius of Spongebob, Sharknado, or Spy Kids? 

  • Man of Steel — 56%
  • Legend 36%
  • Blade II — 57% (Incidentally, Blade was honored with a 54%)
  • The Punisher — 63% (Sorry, fans. This is the Jon Bernthal-Netflix one)

How about we get away from “nerd” movies? Let’s go across all genres…

  • Bad Boys — 42%
  • Saw — 49%
  • Top Gun — 55%
  • Home Alone — 65%
  • Forrest Gump — 72%

  • A Beautiful Mind — 74%

  • Braveheart — 77%

Yeah, Oscar gets many things wrong but they can usually pull a great movie out of a pile of barnacles found only in Bikini Bottom. Horror-defining films. All-time classics. Excellent origins. Bupkus.

But hey, thank God for Spy Kids

Someone call Martin Scorsese because not even Shutter Island (68%), Gangs of New York (73%), The Wolf of Wall Street (79%), or The Aviator (86%) can match that riveting film. Speaking of Scorsese, he wrote you a letter too (via Esquire):

“The horrible idea [Rotten Tomatoes] reinforce [is] that every picture, every image is there to be instantly judged and dismissed without giving audiences time to see it,” Scorsese said.

By the way, he loves movie fans:

“You know the difference between a YouTube video and the great American art form,” he said. “You react against the devaluation of cinema and movies by showing up.”

You’re Spoiled

rts
Courtesy: YouTube/Jacquib Rants

I don’t mean to rattle off all that math. Let’s get back to English for those of your reviewers who can read it.

Me, and a multiverse of my friends, agree with Brett Ratner about his conclusion to your site:

The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes…I think it’s the destruction of our business.

I’m no critic. I couldn’t possibly hold a pen with some of those cracked geniuses who thinks Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe are paltry excuses for acting when Hollywood is full of Ian Ziering and gaggle of cartoon characters on a pirate ship.

However, may I tell you: With a website blowtorch that burns across the Internet, your editors have a stringent obligation when they see the trolls running your asylum. 

Are all movies worthy of your hallowed “Fresh” sticker? Absolutely not. Should the majority of movies — not seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000 — go kersplat on your cutting-room floor? Again, no. Yet, there is something strangely wrong with your tomato-tectonics when Driving Miss Daisy or Dances With Wolves gets only an 82% but Avatar gets an 84% and those two Oscar-winning movies just edged out The Matrix: Reloaded at 73%.

squidwardCrowdsourcing thoughts. Gathering opinions. Collecting ideas. These are all good things, but when a bunch of dorks named Steve can throttle a potentially good movie because it didn’t fit their idea of whatever banter happens inside their hot box… well, that’s not “Certified Fresh.” 

That just stinks. And I’m pretty sure you know that. I mean, you’re stupid but you’re not that stupid, you know what I’m saying? Maybe we can go back to the good ol’ days when tomatoes were not rankings, but ammunition. Remember when people would go the theater and when something was bemoaned, patrons would hurl their fruit at the actors.

Surely you remember that? It has even been featured on one of your best-ever muses. (See above…and what I did there.) Ah well, what do I know? I’m no critic.

Love Never,

 

The Rest of Us.

One thought on “An Open Letter to Rotten Tomatoes: “The Joke’s On You.”

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