Fans vs Critics–January 1 2021: Everybody Hates Wild Mountain Thyme!
Friday Feud: The Prom, I’m Your Woman, Mank, Wander Darkly, Black Bear, Wolfwalkers, Wild Mountain Thyme and Ammonite.
Click here to read the disclaimer that goes into more detail about what Fans vs Critics is trying to accomplish. I put a disclaimer here every week so returning visitors don’t have to slog through a long explanation every week. I briefly discuss what this is throughout the article but don’t give an explanation about how I determine certain things. That’s what the disclaimer is for.
Are you hung over? It’s probable that you are since it’s the first day of 2021. What will help your pounding headache and puking spells more than talking about numbers? Exactly. Welcome to Fans vs Critics: Friday Feud, a weekly series where I dissect movie reception.
The central theory that I explore is this: do fans and critics agree? We can’t know for sure but I take a few new releases every week and compare how critics and fans rate them on sites like IMDB, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. I use IMDB for fan reception and I directly compare the critical rating on Metacritic to that since IMDB links to it. Rotten Tomatoes is self-sufficient so I can compare the critics and audience on that website since it includes both.
You may be asking, why do I only do new releases when I could just acquire the database from IMDB and see how they react to one another throughout time? Surely acquiring that would be more comprehensive. It would be, but it’s a fun little game to see how the people rate movies in the opening weeks, since websites often write about the original opening–not a year later.
Before we begin, this is meant to be entertaining. There are a lot of numbers but I attempt to inject some comedy–or snark, at the very least–every week so it’s not a chore to read. I hope I succeed in that, so let’s get on with this and learn a little bit. This week is a doozy! I featured eight movies, and it would have been nine if Another Round would have had an audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
On Imdb/Metacritic, the Fans and Critics Are Sharing a Kiss at Midnight.
Yeah, this week I’m keeping the headlines related to New Years because I’m a thematic genius? Anyway, there’s nothing surprising about what this donut shows because as we’ve seen since the beginning, the fans that rate on IMDB and the critics counted by Metacritic and its aggregation tend to agree to some degree. So we just break it down by film and see what’s happenin’.
According to my scale, Black Bear and Wander Darkly come the closest to introducing some chaos into the equation–but they can’t quite get there. In terms of the other flicks, well, it’s just a love affair going on and we should be happy for everybody involved, right?
Wrong! We want drunken fights, not everybody standing around singing joyous songs! So for that we have to go to Rotten Tomatoes. I’m sure that there will be more exciting activity over yonder.
Rotten Tomatoes Is a Group of Friends Made up of a Few People Who Just Want to Drink and Dance on New Years and a Few People Who Are Undoubtedly Going to Smash Something
I’m correct! While there is still more affection than conflict, we run the gauntlet. Every single opinion is represented here. It’s not uncommon for Rotten Tomatoes to be more diverse, even if it has flattened out as we’ve gone along (more on that in the results). Scroll down and see where the differences lie.
The Prom is really close to being a small difference and Ammonite just gets over that hump. As far as I can see, there are two real stories here: everybody rightfully dislikes Wild Mountain Thyme (like I do) and holy hell the fans love Wander Darkly (which I do not)! I seem to remember seeing that there were only 19 user ratings for Wander Darkly, however, so that’s hardly a decent sample size.
When it comes to the movies that I’ve seen from this week I seem to alternate between who I agree with more. You didn’t ask for that but I gave it anyway.
Is that so?
IMDB: It’s a big party over here on IMDB/Metacritic where the vibe is pleasant and they’ll all hang out again sometime soon. They will also likely discuss their night at work the next day. What I’m trying to say is that there is literally no significant disagreement numerically–on my scale–between fans and critics this week.
Rotten Tomatoes: On Rotten Tomatoes they will also discuss the fun times they had, even when the bad boys (and girls) are present. But once those troublemakers leave they will be called idiotic behind their backs. Rotten Tomatoes does have some disagreement but ultimately it’s more positive than negative over there as well.
The Final Verdict: In all seriousness, Rotten Tomatoes has consistently shown that it’s more flammable over there–but they still agree more than disagree as a whole. That is also true this week. IMDB/Metacritic is just continuing their trajectory to world peace.
It’s Technically Done but Now It’s Time to Go Deeper Into the Numbers
This part of the article is the “one more drink” part, where I tell you that if you wanted to you could leave… but if you stay–and have one more drink–then you can watch as I go into the numbers and how they play out.
IMDB gives access to demographics so you can see age groups, gender and even if the user is from the USA or not. Rotten Tomatoes is less in-depth so that’s why there’s only one page of charts compared to multiple for IMDB/Metacritic. Until otherwise noted, the charts you see relate to IMDB and Metacritic.
Here we have the films broken down by gender, age group and country. I also include the total amount of ratings in the second page so you can better see how popular a film appears to be.
When we are in this section it’s important to remember that generally the numbers don’t show a lot of variance. A .5 difference is more significant during this breakdown than it is when I’m just looking at the average ratings for the films. That’s because–it turns out–that people of different ages, genders and even nationalities rate similarly most of the time.
If you’re looking at the charts you’re probably thinking about how the under eighteen crowd approaches and criticizes films. I mean look at them! They break away from the pack fairly consistently. They want to create their own identities and show those pesky old people that they have their own viewpoints that are worth considering! Or, y’know, there are just fewer of them rating any given movie. Oops.
Knowing all that, there’s not much of importance here so we can just move on.
I expected to get more intriguing results by incorporating so many movies this week, but this isn’t really the case. When broken down by runtime there’s not a lot of difference between everybody, except for the under eighteen crowd.
However, here’s something mildly entertaining to point out. It’s not a huge deal but it’s worth mentioning that the females prefer romance, much to the surprise of nobody who has any understanding of differences between the sexes. But what will surprise you, perhaps, is that they also rate science fiction higher. So what is it girls, are you stereotypical females or are you nerdy boys? Of course I’m joking, people can like whatever they want. I just joke about things here.
On top of that, this week critics play into the reputation of being stuffy and unable to appreciate genre work. They like drama more than the fans do, and fans like science fiction more. It’s funny how this stuff exposes itself when you look at data, even though the sample sizes are incredibly miniscule.
Now we look at what people think, depending on the movie rating. Critics like both R and PG movies more than fans, while the fans enjoy PG-13 more. I’m not sure what to take from that, other than to point out that the critics are working on the extremes.
According to these stats, females just like every movie rating more on average. The under eighteens also like R-rated movies the most, and I think that literally happens every week. The most important finding from this page of charts is that the USA typically has more appreciation for film than the rest of the world. Go USA! Put that in your pipe and smoke it people who think that foreign countries have a deeper admiration for the art of cineeeemaaa. I’m not American, by the way.
These detailed breakdowns usually get the most interesting when we get to this page, because the Tomatometer/Audience Score are malleable tools that get misused. That’s right people, it’s time for Tomatometer 101 (coming soon to a university curriculum near you).
The Tomatometer–and the Audience Score for the most part–only represents the percentage of critics who give a particular film a passing grade. This means that [insert mediocre, good or great movie that is certainly enjoyable but not worth a perfect score] could theoretically get a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes if every critic thought it was slightly enjoyable.
Can you imagine a world where Paddington 2 has a 100%? Well, imagine no longer because it does.
Truth be told, this makes me smile and see the world in a more delightful way. I’m Gene Kelly singing in the rain on this one. I dig these Paddington movies a lot, but would never consider them perfect. The numbers don’t show that they are, but companies love to use the Tomatometer as a way to tell the public that their movie is amazing. In their defense, it’s unlikely that a bad movie will get a high Tomatometer score, but still.
If you take anything from my crap today, know that Paddington 2 has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Let’s keep it pure.
Even still, I include the Tomatometer/Audience Score because it’s more dynamic. Look at the “Audience Score vs Tomatometer by Film” chart and you can see how one might look at it and think that there’s a huge discrepancy. I mean, there is in a sense, but we know better than to take the Audience Score and Tomatometer as actual ratings. Right?
When we look at the actual average ratings in the other charts we do notice some relatively significant disparities. The audience likes both science fiction and romance more, while the critics are still being stuffy with drama. Way to break the mold, fellas.
Even the runtime has some decent findings. When you read around the 105 minute mark you notice that their trajectories change, occasionally intersecting. The critics wind up enjoying the longer movies more while the audience loves the film that has a runtime more in line with what films typically have (90 minutes). Is the audience more casual, wanting films to hover in the accepted average runtime? Are critics more patient? Do fans have less patience for movies since it’s not their job and they have other places to be? Paddington 2 has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Emily Blunt loves Paddington. Probably.
The Tally Thus Far
Technically there are a few more weeks of releases that qualify as 2020, but in terms of the timeframe for Fans vs Critics as a series, this is how the results stack up for 2020.
IMDB/Metacritic continues to increase the gap between agreements and disagreements. This will never change, so I guess at this point we just need to focus on just how much they get along.
Rotten Tomatoes, on the other hand, will likely keep agreeing. But at the very least there’s some amount of vitriol between fans and critics. Rotten Tomatoes does a better job encompassing a variety of responses. I don’t know if that makes Rotten Tomatoes more accurate or not. There are a lot of doinks who just review bomb.
That brings us to the end of another edition of Fans vs Critics. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I have essentially stayed within this format since I began, but is there something you’d like to see? I hope you had a great New Years Eve and I will see you next time.
This could be us.
He wants you to know that Leave No Trace also has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s another great flick that isn’t perfect.