Fans vs Critics–March 26 2021: Tom & Jerry and the Drug Trade!
Friday Feud: Tom & Jerry, The United States vs Billie Holiday, Crisis, The Father, The Vigil, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, Boogie, Chaos Walking, Coming 2 America, Raya and the Last Dragon, Boss Level, Pixie and Son
Click here to read the disclaimer that I include so I don’t have to bore returning visitors with a in-depth breakdown of how I figure all of this stuff out. I describe my process a bit down below but I encourage checking out that link to further understand the
stupidity genius on display.
You! Yes, you! Get in here so I can tell you about Fans vs Critics, the series in which I “answer” the most important question in the movie industry: do fans and critics agree more often than not? If this is your first time here you may be wondering how I do that, and simply put, I do that by comparing ratings on new releases. Of course, that doesn’t answer the question completely and comparing the data over time would be more accurate for averages, but I think there’s something entertaining about seeing what critics and fans feel in the opening weeks of a movie’s release.
I use IMDB for fan reception and since IMDB links to Metacritic for the aggregated review scores of critics I compare the two. But I do the same for Rotten Tomatoes and since the Tomato gives both audience and critic scores, I can compare those directly. Of course, there are a lot of caveats and conditions. For one, only certain people go to the internet to rate movies. Secondly, aggregation is wonky business. There are many more, but this series is ultimately meant to be fun and I just use what I have. I make jokes, so while there are a lot of numbers and bars thrown around, I also infuse it with my ill-advised attempt at humour. Let’s get on with it.
On IMDB/Metacritic, There’s a Whole Lotta Love Goin’ ‘Round
When looking at what the fans of IMDB and the counted critics of Metacritic feel, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of agreement. In fact, half of what I consider agreement is the same opinion. If you didn’t read the disclaimer, know that a same opinion means that ratings fall within five points of each other. We got Lipinski’s rule of five going on here. Or something–I just include theories developed by more intelligent minds than myself in an effort to make you believe I’m smart myself, whether the inclusion makes sense or not (it doesn’t). Let’s move on, okay?
Here we see how it all shakes down, by film. First, let’s start with the same opinion. Boogie and Raya and the Last Dragon are exact, right on the money. But critics and fans also have the same opinion on The SpongeBob Movie (thank God!), Son and Coming 2 America. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the largest difference of opinion comes from Crisis. Oh boooooy, I get to make cannibal jokes, because I didn’t get to do that enough when I gave a quick review of Crisis before. In all seriousness, the fans seem to be more inclined towards Crisis, although I wonder how that will fluctuate now that there are serious allegations being investigated against Armie Hammer.
There are also small differences concerning Tom & Jerry and Chaos Walking, with the fan average rating being higher for both. It’s also important to note (because this article is of the utmost eminence) that while it’s only technically a small difference numerically, I would consider it a large difference because one group gives the film a passing grade (50 and up, because I’m not a weirdo) and the other does not. That’s how you can tell different stories with data, folks!
On Rotten Tomatoes, There Will Be Blood (or at Least More Than There Is on Imdb)
This is why I enjoy Rotten Tomatoes more than IMDB. While technically there’s almost as much respect between the two rival camps as there is on IMDB/Metacritic, the devil is in the details. There are less same opinions and more large differences usually. That means when there’s conflict, there’s blood. But what four flicks are causing all the commotion?
It’s Tom & Jerry, The United States vs Billie Holiday, Crisis and Chaos Walking. Yeah man, it’s dangerous out there in the warzone that is Tom & Jerry. Numerically there’s a massive difference between them concerning The United States vs Billie Holiday and Crisis, but both groups still like the film to some degree. So because the critics don’t actually like Tom & Jerry and Chaos Walking–on average–I would say that’s the largest difference. But that’s just me, and as noted earlier, I am a dumb dumb head.
So on both IMDB/Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes the line is drawn on Crisis, specifically, with Tom & Jerry and Chaos Walking also being there. Three flicks that couldn’t be any more alike! They agree on The Father, Pixie and Coming 2 America, for the record.
This is when I like to make myself irrationally angry and showcase the Tomatometer/Audience Score. If you are a returning consumer of my snake oil then you know that I have some, ahem, serious problems with Rotten Tomatoes… even though I do like the site as a whole. So before we get to the graphs I have to rant (again) about how misleading the whole concept of the Tomatometer and Audience Score is.
A lot of people still feel that they are basically an average rating, but they are not. They are merely the percentage of critics (Tomatometer) and audience (Audience Score, duh) that give the film a passing grade. And stupid me, for a long time I thought this meant 50% but alas, it’s even worse than I first expected! In order for the film to be considered a tomato instead of a splatter it actually has to be 60%.
It’s not that it’s without merit. It can still give a decent idea of whether a film is considered worth watching or not; or at least, as much as a single number can. It’s just that whenever I see the Tomatometer plastered all over marketing campaigns I want to punch myself.
How long am I gonna keep doing this to myself? For as long as Uwe Boll gets to keep making movies because there might as well be two injustices occurring concurrently.
You know, I kind of enjoyed Assault on Wall Street, though.
Ever since I started doing this bi-weekly as opposed to weekly I’ve noticed that the scores even out. There used to be more variance between the Tomatometer and Audience Score but they’re pretty level now, which takes the fun out of the situation, to be honest. Because for as much as I rally against the system, I am also part of the system–it makes articles like this more interesting because the numbers can differ so greatly. This week, all this tells me is that on average, the films getting released are worth seeing. So, not a terrible time to be a movie fan!
Of course, that changes when you drill down into the data. Which I do. Ta-da. Amazing.
The different measurements tell unique tales. Take Chaos Walking over there, lookin’ ugly. While critics gave it a an average rating of 47 in an earlier chart, we see here that the Tomatometer is only a 20. So twenty percent of the critics give it a passing grade but the average rating among all of them is 47 so something must be up. So if I was any kind of analyst and not just a dude with a bunny and Microsoft Power BI, I would look at something like, say, the median. That’s also a lot of work on Rotten Tomatoes, but less so on IMDB because they actually include it. It may not make much of a difference, but it’s still something that’s worth checking out.
But anyway, regular offenders Tom & Jerry, Chaos Walking and Crisis show up again (we need some kind of rehabilitation here). The United States vs Billie Holiday is a huge disparity again, Son is fairly big and so is Pixie. Boogie joins the party and wassat? The Vigil comes in hard like it’s a Smash Bros. character reveal!
Everyone likes The Father and Raya and the Last Dragon. I haven’t seen The Father, but I’m happy that the scores for Raya are high there.
Before we get onto the final tally, I wanted to waste your time some more. Locked Down isn’t featured here because it was released at the beginning of the year, but like Chaos Walking, it was also directed by Doug Liman. This means he has directed two movies released in the same year. Not only that, but it’s not the first time he’s done this. I know other directors have accomplished the same feat, such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ingmar Bergman–those two nobodies–but it’s still impressive! Also, in 2016 Jeff Nichols did it and I think he’s one of the best modern directors so I want to show him love.
The last time he released any movies was in 2017, where he released both American Made and The Wall, which isn’t exactly Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal but still. I know that Chaos Walking had development trouble but still, damn, this guy is pullin’ double duty twice in a row. Who else has done that? I know Hitchcock has (many times) but we’ve already established that he won’t go down in history as anything. Anyway, in honour of creating a streak I just wanted to throw out a couple line graphs that show his average ratings over time.
Lord help me if people think I’m actually being serious about Hitchcock being nothing.
The rectangles mean that the movies came out in the same year.
I’ll just break it down simply:
IMDB: He went up in reception then went down until he got to Jumper, in which he started to redeem himself until he got to the point where he was at his highest (along with The Bourne Identity years prior). Since then it has been shaky. On the plus side, even though the reception for Chaos Walking is mediocre, we can currently say he’s on the upswing. But if the pattern is any indication, he will fall.
Metacritic: The critics are a little more consistent. He starts decently, maintains that for one other movie then starts a substantial descent to Jumper. But then he has a redemption story with Fair Game and Edge of Tomorrow. Since then, the trajectory is similar to the fans for a few movies, except he’s trending downward at the end, which is the opposite.
Rotten Tomatoes audience: Liman is inconsistent at the beginning but ultimately still satisfactory and then he starts to fall until he gets to–you guessed it–Jumper, which is low but not his lowest! The comeback kid returns until he gets to Edge of Tomorrow, which is rated the same as Swingers and The Bourne Identity. The audience on Rotten Tomatoes digs him a lot more than IMDB. But then the hot and cold trajectory happens. With that said, according to Rotten Tomatoes, he is currently producing work that is comparable with some of his better films.
Rotten Tomatoes critics: Then the critics have to poop on everything because from the beginning he is sliding. They don’t like Jumper, but believed in him with Fair Game and Edge of Tomorrow. John Cena couldn’t stop the fall with The Wall, and the critics trajectory is about the same as the critics according to Metacritic.
So what we’ve learned is, Jumper was a bad idea and Locked Down mostly is too. If you went just by the shape of the line you would say that Liman isn’t trustworthy, but you have to remember that sometimes these decreases and increases are only a few points, which isn’t that meaningful for an average. Even a more significant drop does not mean that a movie is bad. Take IMDB and the drop from The Bourne Identity to Mr. & Mrs. Smith for example: while a 79 is much more encouraging than the 65 that Mr. & Mrs. Smith has, a 65 is still decent by most scales. So while, yes, you should definitely go see Matt Damon kick some butt, you couldn’t really go wrong with the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie team-up.
I mean, I suppose Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could go wrong considering how their marriage went, but uh… but surely they have the memories, right?
Oh. Quick Tyler, save yourself by going to the tally! Abortion mission, go go go go go!
The Tally Thus Far (Kick Save and a Beauty)
As you can see, fans and critics agree more often than not. That’s it, it’s settled. Done. There are no flaws in how I do this whatsoever, pack it up. As has remained true from, I believe, around the beginning of this experiment back in September, 2020, IMDB/Metacritic has fans and critics more closely aligned, whereas the large differences are fewer.
Rotten Tomatoes may have more middling similar opinions and fewer smaller differences, but they are coming to play when it comes to disagreeing, with a whopping 25 large differences. I’m guessing that whenever you see “fans and critics fight over [insert movie here]” that the source is likely Rotten Tomatoes. Well, don’t go by them–go by me, I need attention–because in the opening weeks, there’s a higher probability that fans and critics will agree! Thanks for reading.
He has understood the Tomatometer since its inception. In fact, he built it; but it was better when he created it.