Movie Reviews

Category Culture
This post was published on Wednesday 10 March 2010.

I use a couple of movie review sites to get a flavour for a particular film, and I’m starting to think they are actually quite pointless.

Most of them allow you to rate a film out of 5 or 10 stars - or even using a percentage.  Very useful you might think, until you realise that the sheer volume of people using them (1000s) mean that they are pretty much useless.

For example, I just looked through 100 film recommendations on Love, and almost every single one of them had three stars.  On other sites, I’ve noticed that movies tend towards exactly that - around 60%.  Why?  You can’t give no stars in a rating, so the median rating will always be 3 - and over such a huge number of people, the mean will tend towards that number too.

The best site I’ve found is Rotten Tomatoes, which collates critics, who are usually a bit more discerning.  The scores there do differ much more.  But even there, you still get wildly different reviews.

All of which tells me, you can’t tell how good a film is going to be unless you’ve seen it.  How profound.