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How Much Influence Do Movie Critics Have On Your Film Selections?

by Cynthia Reid
September 8, 2011 7:07 AM
18 Comments
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It's an age-old debate regarding the real impact film critics and reviewers have. There are those that swear up and down getting specific reviewers to co-sign a film can equate, at the very least, critical success of a movie while others think those days are a bygone era.

Some filmmakers believe their influence is minimal and ineffective so they dismiss them easily. Yet, the minute they get a bad review, they're on a hunt for blood.

In the end, the film goer is the ultimate deciding factor and that's the question I'd like to pose to you. How much weight do you give critics in selecting the films you go to see at the movie theater? Also, do you have any favorite reviewers?

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18 Comments

  • jackmoore | September 17, 2011 11:06 AMReply

    thanks

  • Olaf | September 9, 2011 12:32 PMReply

    Critics? No effect on me at all. I ignore their ratings.

    I find that most critics tend to rave about movies I end up disliking, and dislike movies I like. They also tend to put their reviews in terms I don't care about- who cares whether a shot is artistic or not, when we pay money to watch escapism...

  • Orville | September 9, 2011 8:53 AMReply

    I make my own decisions I think that film critics are just people that get paid for their opinion. I feel that sometimes people don't think for themselves and ALLOW the media to think for them. You should make your own decisions about a movie whether you want to see it or not. The critics hate Tyler Perry BUT he is a multi millionaire and huge star. So obviously people made their decision to think for themselves and NOT allow the film critics to decide for them.

  • Cherish | September 9, 2011 2:35 AMReply

    If there is a movie that I'm undecided about, and it receives overwhelming critical appraise, I will want to see it. I will also be less likely to see it if it is critically panned.

    Outside of that, if there is a movie I really want to see (which is very few these days) I will see it no matter what critics says.

    Roger Ebert is the only critic I pay attention to. That's about it.

  • R.J. | September 9, 2011 2:19 AMReply

    I love hearing people discuss and dissect film, and so I read/watch reviews for the fun of it. Of course, there are critics whose opinions I value over others and whose taste is more similar to mine, but I will never not like a film just because my favorite critic says it's bad. I've never wanted to see a movie and then lost interest once a certain critic hates it, but I have gained interest in films that I had initially written-off when they end up getting good or even mixed reviews.

  • James Madison | September 8, 2011 12:15 PMReply

    I watched Siskel and Ebert whenever I could, not for influencing what I saw but more so that I could see clips to give myself more information about a movie.

    I will watch Ebert Presents for the same reasons as listed above and for an intelligent conversation about film, but nothing to influence my wanting to see a film.

    The influence it does have, is when a film that I do not know about is presented and opens my curiosity.

  • CareyCarey | September 8, 2011 12:07 PMReply

    "And another thing, review and opinion are like fart, everybody does it"

    That reminds me of somethings ( so I had to come back and sneak this in here) some critics are going to say "Shame" is a "good" & powerful thought provoking movie with great actors. Now y'all know what I have to say about those words and the movie critic(s) behind them - don't you *smile*

  • BondGirl | September 8, 2011 11:24 AMReply

    I don't listen to critics so I put films into categories...some I watch because colleagues (other industry types) have recommended a film, and sometimes the general public have praised a film. Controversy actually peaks my curiosity and I'm 2x more likely to see it if there's hoopla. However, if it's just plain old-fashioned fun, I'll watch the trailer and trust my own instincts. If the synopsis is appealing, then usually that's what ultimately makes me spend $13. I will say that most films I feel will be shitty just from viewing a teaser...are usu. shitty after seeing the whole thing. That goes double if Adam Sandler penned it.

    Then there are franchises that I wil see for nostalgia sake...Mission Impossible is one that comes to mind. Loved the tv show, love the franchise even more.

  • Monica | September 8, 2011 10:56 AMReply

    Everyone's taste is different. Just because a critic doesn't like a movie/show/music cd etc doesn't mean I won't or you won't, etc. People should see/buy something because THEY find it interesting. Just my 2 cents.

  • JMac | September 8, 2011 10:39 AMReply

    I might read reviews for certain movies but I've never "used" them. If I like the story or the trailer, I'll watch it. End of story.

    Come to think of it, I tend to only read reviews [or glance at the overall rating on rotten tomatoes or imdb] for movies I don't plan on seeing or I've seen a very long time ago. That excludes S&A ,of course. I read almost every review posted here.

    There was a time my sister and I would watch Siskel and Ebert but it was just like watching McEnroe play tennis lol. I'll read Ebert's reviews every now and then... for sentimental reasons.

  • Will Wright | September 8, 2011 10:36 AMReply

    Hmm. What's a film critic worth? Great question. And there're several ways to respond to that.

    Consider some basic numbers: more than 400 mainstream American feature-length films are released in the U.S. each year. I think that number rises when you add the independent films to that. And, then, there are foreign films very few (maybe 5%) of which are seen in the U.S.

    There are far too many feature-length movies to see in any year. Sometimes your friends' opinions are barely informed, aren't enough or aren't convincing. So you might wanna read an expert's opinion. After having watched many, many movies over as many years, you find a way to consider or even ponder a movie's wit and worth dispassionately.

    Sometimes a film critic proves useful.

    Those're my five cents (inflation, you know).

    Will Wright | film critic | WrightsWords.com
    Writing about independent, foreign and documentary movies.

  • Darla & Mark | September 8, 2011 10:12 AMReply

    And another thing, review and opinion are like fart, everybody does it.

  • Darla & Mark | September 8, 2011 10:03 AMReply

    Take movie, book and play critic review with a grain of salt, especially today. 12 publishers turn down J.D.Rowling 'Happy Potter' book before the 13 saw a potential hit.

    There are many stories where a critic or critics were wrong and thevmovie went on to become a hit.

  • ojie king | September 8, 2011 10:01 AMReply

    To be honest, I was a geek for film reviews, constantly checking rotten-tomatoes for updates. But i noticed that these reviews did allow me the freedom to have my opinion about the film instead i walk in with someone-else's opinion in my head. It was up until Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince that i stopped reading the reviews prior to seeing the film. Due to the overwhelming praise from the critics, I was very much eager to see it. I remember sitting in the cinema from beginning till end and feeling nothing. It was that day that i decided to stop reading reviews about films BEFORE I SEE THEM. What I do is that I see the film, then compare my opinion with the critics, because lets face it, a review is just someone's opinion about a film, nothing more, nothing less.

  • CareyCarey | September 8, 2011 8:45 AMReply

    I use movie critics in several ways. Some, based on their past review, I know where they are coming from, i.e, race, pandering to a certain crowd, or has been known to sell their ass like a 2 dollar crack whore, etc, I can use them to listen for what they are not saying. You know, the old reverse game recognize game thing.

    It's also important for me to know their own personal speech patterns, witticisms, code-words, personal favorite genres, possible political slants etc. Hey, movie critics are human beings complete with all the common character flaws - okay. And that writer's "speak" can be so "empty" and totally drenched in flavory ambiguity that leaves me feeling dry & hungry.

    Having followed some critics for quite some time and understand exactly what each of them are about, and how they write their reviews, I can better assess exactly what they are saying. As we all know, “good” is very subjective, and some movie critics base of interests my be totally different from why I go see a movie. Some my sleep with a camera in their bed, looking for the one brilliant camera shoot. Another may be a frustrated ex-black panther who loves nothing more than conflict among the races. Frustrated would-be writers are also very tough critics. They may be looking for snappy dialog of the Woody Allen Variety, and thus loathe any mention of Tyler Perry. That reminds me, the frustrated would-be, wanna-be filmmaker turned part-time movie critic, gets my deepest eyebrow raise. I call their reviews, film-school inspired flap jack talk.

    So, there it is, that’s how Much Influence Movie Critics Have On My Film Selections. However, I know some people will read a blurp or a movie review and view it as the gospel.... AND SPREAD IT TO OTHERS! oh yeah, my lady comes to mind. She’ll say, “They said this is a real good”. Now, of course I’ll say, “who said it’s real good?”. Then, if she has already purchased the video, she'l stop and read the guys names she’s referring to... “Lets see baby, here it is. This guy said it’s an excellent movie and his name is Mr. Fuddy Duddy from Backroom press.com.

  • Tara | September 8, 2011 8:37 AMReply

    Hmmm . . it depends on the critic and the film. If I'm on the fence about a movie and I see some bad reviews, it can make me not want to see the movie. The only movie critic that I like really is Dave White on movies.com.

  • Mecca | September 8, 2011 7:54 AMReply

    Usually I watch a trailer and decide afterwards whether or not I want to go see the film.

    I occasionally go online and browse through revews (good or bad) but that still doesn't stop me from seeing the film I want to see in theatres.

  • Clayton | September 8, 2011 7:22 AMReply

    How much influence a film critic has on me? None... :)


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