Effective Jan 1, 2021 We Will Only Recommend Movies 4-Star and Above

Our new review criteria will only have recommended movies be 4, 4.5 and 5-star movies.

This one might be on the controversial side for some, or maybe it will make sense. This piggybacks on a 2020 post, see: How All Movie Review Rating Systems Are Flawed

Have been thinking about this a little while, definitely a lot more over the holidays. With so many movies available to watch and looking back at our 5-star review scale, we need to make a change that benefits closer to what we truly would recommend to friends.

Yes, readers, you are friends. If we recommend something, it should be indicative of something we thought was not just good, but great.

Before getting back to our own review ratings and this 2021 change, let’s look at how Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer aggregated score is flawed.

Rotten Tomatoes’ numerical rating is not an average review score as the percent indicator may suggest, but it’s a measurement of consensus. Every review, whether it’s a middle of the road review, an extreme positive, or an extreme negative, is converted into a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, and the final percentage indicator only specifies what percent of reviewers gave it a positive score to any degree. As a result, the Tomatometer disproportionately benefits safe, middle-of-the-road movies and penalizes polarizing movies that have a lot of rave reviews but a handful of detractors.

Wonder Woman 1984’s Release Highlights Major Rotten Tomatoes Flaws

Clearly, middle of the road movies shouldn’t be recommended, it creates a false positive overall. We don’t want to participate in that any longer. We want to create a recommended movie list that consists of great to excellent films.

After all, would we recommend 3-star reviewed movies to people we know offline? Our closest friends and family? Probably not. These 3-star movies are basically slightly above average movies on a 5-star scale. There is no point in saying they are recommended.

If we examine the 783 movies we’ve assigned on a 5-star rating scale since August 2019, this is how the breakdown of star reviews looks so far:

22.2% = 174 out of 783 = 4-stars and above

22 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Love it, Must See
41 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Amazing
111 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Great
= 174

Essentially 1 out of 5 movies we see would meet our new criteria for a recommended movie.

No, we’re not going to go back and edit the 3-star and 3.5 star out of 5 movies we’ve previously reviewed and take out any recommendation. That sounds too much like work and at the time we reviewed the film, we felt it was recommended to see 😉 I have edited the home page to reflect our new recommended criteria.

Going forward, only 4-star 4.5 and 5-star movies and TV shows will be recommended. This list is much smaller and better represents what we felt is the best

If some sort of 2020 retrospective recommended list is created and posted here, then we will follow our new recommended criteria.

Is this subject to change in the future? Of course. Like I said back in May, all rating systems are flawed. It’s our opinions. Some of these movies and TV shows we recommend others will not think as highly and some that we only give 3.5 or less stars to, others will think are higher. Subjective, indeed.

If we go back through every movie seen in theaters in 2020 only *2* movies would be recommended under our new 4-star+ recommended criteria: 1917 and Let Him Go. Would probably have given The Invisible Man 4-stars instead of 3.5 if I could go back and rewatch, because both of us really enjoyed that movie. No Tenet, no Wonder Woman, no Bad Boys 4 Life that took in the most money at the domestic box office, and the list goes on.

Hopefully, this gets us a little closer to a movie or TV show we would truly, honestly recommend to our friends, which, in our book anyway, is the goal worth striving toward.

As always, your commentary is welcome. What type movies do you recommend? How good does a movie have to be in your mind to recommend to your closest friends?

How To Add Your Movie Review Blog to our Preferred Review Pull Quote List

I’m working on compiling reviews for the above movies, so as good a time as any to break out this post. If you have seen one or more of the movies pictured above and reviewed them on your blog, then I’m out searching for review pull quotes as of this posting.

This post is on the longer side and if you’re not a movie review blogger, it probably isn’t worth reading. But, bonus, there is a little history lesson on me as a blogger, maybe that might interest some. Readers are never wrong about what they like, so your call.

A little history on blogging for the record, and please forgive the meta nature of this post — I actually dislike writing meta posts on a blog that isn’t meant to have those type posts (some blogs sole purpose are blogging about blogging, so relevant there), even though I know they’re often very popular to read. This blog is fairly new (started August 12, 2019), but I’m not a brand new blogger.

I used to run a very busy, active tech blog. It was popular and became one of CNET Top 100 blogs. That was 2003-2009. I walked away from it for one simple reason: got tired of writing about tech.

Seriously, I’d written many thousands of posts and over a million words on new and old technology. Burnt out is probably a better description. The website had become a profitable business long before I quit, but the business, the money, the accolades were never primary reasons for blogging.

If my heart was no longer excited about the material, I felt continuing was no longer warranted.

So, I let it go.

A blogger who cares about the content and his readers, is it possible? Yes, it is. I was one, at least. Didn’t feel that I should just create posts because it was profitable doing so. That wasn’t why I started the blog or why it kept going. It was a personal site that grew into a business site, which was OK until I no longer had the passion for creating the source material. While this might seem implausible, it seemed fraudulent for me to continue under those circumstances.

So, I bailed.

Honestly, thought I’d never blog again. It would be something saved in the internet archive, a footnote in a six plus year adventure that faded away over time. Was OK with that, too.

Now, here we are 10+ years later and I’m blogging again. The fire, if you will, has returned.

The circumstances are similar, but very different. I want new readers here to know blogging history isn’t likely to repeat itself.

For one, I have always watched movies. I mean, since a very young age. Have always enjoyed watching movies and have never done any sort of significant movie reviewing until this past year. Yes, I did write and share a few movie reviews on my old tech blog and it might be interesting someday here to resurrect those posts and compare to rewatches 10-20+ years later. Compare the texts side by side and laugh if I contradict myself (I probably have!).

Being older now and having some detailed record of what movies I’ve enjoyed to pass down to other family, friends and others might be fun and useful from a historical perspective. Not that I am some great movie scholar or anything — I’m admittedly a new pupil to the craft of film critique and reviewing — but do believe experience means something. 45+ years of movie watching experience absolutely must make me at least an expert of my own tastes.

Also, becoming a film critic is something I’m curious to learn more about. Am not sure if I’ll ever become a professional critic, but am interested in researching and exploring the craft and profession. I don’t believe education and research should be bound by any age group.

So, why this blog?

Have told this part of the story a couple other times, so forgive me regular readers if this looks familiar.

I wanted to keep track of all the movies I’m watching. Quickly, I realized the site that I was using didn’t allow for any sort of blogging. It was just about the movies themselves, but no other anecdotal information or news surrounding the movie was available. The site I’m talking about is Letterboxd. It is awesome for just logging what you watch and optionally leaving a rating and/or review (totally optional).

But what if you want to talk more about multiple movies coming in the future (you can make a list and add commentary there), maybe record thoughts or collect news articles on movies and movie-related topics? Keep track of TV shows you’ve watched? What do you do then?

Start your own blog.

That’s how I got back into blogging after leaving it behind. I didn’t come here to start a movie reviewing business site, I came here out of necessity to record and share this adventure known as the world of movie reviews. There are some TV series reviews here too, as there are too many crossovers from TV to movie that to exclude TV seems like a disservice. The primary focus here is sharing and talking about movies, however.

Whenever anybody asks me why I started this blog, I’m going to link them here. Can cross that off the list. Whew.

Blogs without readers are likes boats without any propulsion

Face it, if you have a blog, you need readers or what’s the point? You can post reviews all day long, but why not just make it a private blog and only invite your family and friends? Why even make your blog accessible to the public if you don’t want to have readers.

I want to have readers for this blog. Lots and lots of readers! The more, very much the merrier.

Now that I’m here, sharing these reviews, I thought to myself: wow, there are so many good — some freaking outstanding — movie bloggers sharing reviews out there, and too many have fewer readers than they deserve.

That’s a shame. A moviegoer sees a movie and then writes this great review and then … what? Just leaves it buried in the constipated bowels of the internet?

I want to help.

My thinking: let’s do something a little different than others are doing. Let me pull together and highlight quotes from other movie reviews. I pull quote from those blogs reviewing movies. I have collected so far 1,500+ movie review sites as of this writing and keep adding new sites.

No, I have not sought permission to pull quotes from any of these 1,500+ movie review sites. That would be far too time-consuming a practice for something I don’t do as a business and the reading and gathering of these quotes isn’t done by any machine, it’s done by one human being — me.

It can take over an hour or more to manually select and link these quotes for a single movie review post. These are hand selected quotes that I’m hoping will encourage readers here to click through and go to the movie site and continue reading.

BTW, I’m also a programmer and could write a script to scrape quotes from these sites in a fraction of time that it takes to manually pull them. If it’s automated it’s not human-curated, which misses the point and value.

Scaling any sort of manual system like this is problematic, however. So, eventually, I’ll need to either hire or acquire volunteers to help assemble these or automate at least some of the process. Only so many hours in the day, you know?

As for which movies make it to this process? Usually only new releases, since those are the ones that most everybody tries to get out in a timely manner so that movie fans can decide by reading them if it’s something s/he wants to see.

Also, my goal is that if the pull quote is interesting enough readers will travel to these other great movie review blogs and read more of their (your) reviews. Bingo! I’ve added a helpful service.

It sounds great in theory, but in practice there will always be one in the crowd who cries foul. Some very tiny movie blog (less than 20 followers) complained that he didn’t want me using any quotes and questioned my practice of using pull quotes from review sites without permission.

It only took like five months for some movie review blogger to complain about not wanting to be pull quoted or linked. I removed his link, blocked his site and will never, ever, per his request, quote or link to him again. It’s a bummer too, because I enjoy reading his reviews and would like to share with others, but will respect the request. I don’t mean this as a slight, but if you don’t want readers at your blog, then private publish the site. Put it all behind a paywall or something and by default you’ll severely limit your audience. Don’t leave it out there for anybody to sign up to, read and — gasp — help promote.

It’s that simple. If you don’t want your movie review ever quoted and linked here: just say so. Done.

I’d rather do this and then if someone complains, remove them from the list so it doesn’t ever happen again.

Is this a blogger-friendly practice? Good question. I think any related traffic one can receive is usually a positive thing. More readers for your blog is helpful. If one were to take me to court and cry copyright infringement over a small related pull quote, I’m not sure it would be successful, based on the benefit it provides and Fair Use, but am claiming no legal standing on the practice.

What am I gaining from pulling your quote and linking to it? I’m aggregating movie review quotes as part of my original commentary to support and help other moviegoers decide whether or not they should want to see a movie based on multiple, often differing opinion, reviews. This means people can come here to read these compiled and human-curated selection of reviews.

Nobody else on the internet will ever have this same curated list unless they copy ours. I realize Rotten Tomatoes does this with their professional review sources, but again, not every movie blogger can be on that list. You have to be accepted as an approved critic and that requires meeting multiple criteria (see this post for details on how to become an approved critic: 8 Days to Terminator: Dark Fate – Rotten Tomatoes 61% Fresh Initially, Critics Opinions are Mixed)

Some reviews agree with me, some disagree. I think it’s a worthwhile service for potential moviegoers.

This leads to my newest idea which does seek to have permission for this process: a Preferred Pull Quote List.

What I’m planning to do is first go to this list of blogs for pull quotes and links before linking from my growing reading list. I’ll see if these movie review blogs have posted reviews to the movie or TV show I’ve reviewed and include pull quotes from that list as a priority. If the blog has a site search it will make it easier to manually find related reviews, but I’m finding some sites don’t have site searches (TIP: get them and make them prominent!)

Would you like your movie review blog included?

How to get your movie review blog on this Preferred Pull Quote List

It’s easy and FREE. Wow, does anybody ever do anything for FREE on the web any more without some gimmick or catch? Not very often. It’s usually some kind of spam or scam.

Not the case here.

You can see what we’re doing. Look at our domain name: moviereviewsbyUS.com. If you are a movie blogger then you are part of “us” simply because your blog exists.

If you don’t want to be quoted or linked to by this site, that’s cool, you don’t have to be. I’ll happily exclude any blog that doesn’t want to be included, but by default every blog that shares reviews is included with a small few exceptions (IE. we try not to link to sites that list torrent sites for downloading movies illegally).

How is that for being anti-discriminatory?

More to the little bit of fine print. It’s not really every movie review blog, because not every blog is creating original material. I’m not interested in spam blogs or other mostly aggregated blogs. Those are crap quality and ripoffs, not real websites. Those won’t be included in the list either.

Also, your blog cannot be an adult XXX movie review blog. Only blogs that primarily review movies up to NC-17 rating. If you are mostly a porn movie blogger, that’s cool and all, but we don’t plan on reviewing those movies on this site so this wouldn’t be useful to your site, anyway. If you only post a few reviews of a few historically noteworthy porn movies like say Deep Throat and the bulk of your reviews are Rated R and below, sure, you’re welcome and encouraged to be on the list. I’m not saying there aren’t any porn movies that crossover to mainstream, but I think it’s pretty clear that this site is about mainstream movies and TV shows, not porn. It’s not an adult site or intended to be, even if the content here sometimes is adult-oriented.

Again, I’m not trying to exclude, I’m trying to include. But the movie review sites included need to fit the list or it won’t be useful for either of us.

So, to clarify, I’m providing this free service to any legitimate movie blogger that wants to be involved, whether you are brand new (0 followers) or have 10,000+ followers. Note: that if a blog is primarily an x-rated or spam site that only aggregates other blogger’s work and doesn’t provide any original reviews or content, I reserve full right to reject and/or remove from this list at any time without notice.

It’s our compiled list, after all. And I’m the one doing the virtual legwork visiting these sites, reading reviews, selecting the quote and linking back. Sometimes I leave comments and interact with these blogs, as several linked up will attest to, so there is an additional activity benefit on your site to being on this list. More traffic in here, leads to more traffic back out to other sites.

So here’s how to become involved, if you want to, anyway:

Just leave a comment below or mention me on Twitter (@Todd_Russell) or DM me if you want to stay stealth about the interest.

We might proactively contact some blogs to include on this list and ask permission. I won’t contact everybody on my reading list because again that would be way too time consuming, but there are certain movie review bloggers that are very good at what they do and I would like to include them in this list, if s/he/they are interested and willing.

Really only need about 100-200 very active movie review sources for this list, but they need to come from movie review sites that post their reviews in a timely manner in/around the date of release of the movie. If it’s a site that only reviews older movies, I will add to my reading list, but likely will rarely pull any quotes from those. As a general practice I don’t compile reviews involving older movies, only newer ones released in theaters and/or on streaming services, including VOD.

Don’t Want To Be Pull Quoted or Linked? Here’s How To Be Removed

The converse is true: if anybody is reading this does not want me ever to pull quotes from your blog, then you use one of the same methods above: leave a comment here, mention or DM me on Twitter. Easy peasy. You’ll be removed and no future pull quotes will ever be used and linked to your site again.

It’s simple, I’m a good blogger netizen and seek to follow the personal and professional requests of others. I do have to be notified, however, in order to comply. Otherwise I’ll keep pull quoting and linking because good bloggers share. Benefit to your site? You’ll get more readers that like reading movie reviews. Quid pro quo.

I think this is a pretty good deal, what do you think?

Happy movie watching to you!

Sundance Film Festival Enforces More Diversity with Travel Stipend for Movie Critics – Will This Make Reviews More Diverse?

The popular annual Sundance Film Festival runs from January 23 – February 2, 2020

Some year, maybe, but not this one.

Since being in that majority, that is the white, non-minority male, I’ll likely have to pay my own way someday to the Sundance Film Festival.

Am OK with that.

Once you start accepting money, gifts, etc, even if only to cover a completely legitimate business expense, your opinion about said event becomes subject to more scrutiny by others.

Tax write-off, should this hobby ever become a business, but in the world of professional critics, travel stipend programs might not be in your favor if you’re not part of a minority group, disabled or female.

For this year’s festival, 51 journalists were selected out of a pool of 319 applicants to receive travel stipends provided in the program, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. The chosen writers are women (61%), LGBTQ (49%), minorities (84%) and people with disabilities (25%).

Sundance Film Festival aims for more movie critic diversity – StarTribune.com

No, I didn’t sign up for this stipend program and get rejected, so this isn’t sour grapes. Admittedly am puzzled a bit by the intended purpose.

After all, if two-thirds of all movie critics are white males, then presumably two-thirds of movie critic attendees — whether travel is by stipend or not — will be represented at this festival, yes/no? How will only paying stipends for travel to non-minorities increase the overall diversity of reviews for the business as a whole?

We’re talking about 51 people in an event that will have how many overall film critics there? Hundreds? Thousands? Don’t know the exact number but 51 people seems like a small splash in the pond. Dollar-wise I’m sure the travel stipends will be huge for that many people, but what exactly will be the impact?

Are they suggesting that because two-thirds of movie critics are white males, that they need more women, people with disabilities and LGBTQ to make sure movies get reviewed more diversely?

Excuse me. If I’m in a wheelchair, or otherwise disabled, that makes me how much more diverse in my opinion toward a movie? If I was a transgender white male, or gay, lesbian, bisexual, just how would my opinion be different on whether or not a movie is entertaining or not? I suppose if the movie was about being gay, I could not identify with it as well as someone who is … maybe, that’s what is being said about diversity?

Yes, please help me cut through the confusion.

It makes sense women having different opinions, life perspective and views on movies than men. Let’s face it, biologically there are major differences between men and women. Men can’t bear children, that’s a big one, so movies involving children are apt to draw different psychological feelings between men and women. Men have penises, women have vaginas. We are biologically different. We get it.

Current population on earth by sex – male and female

But are we really different from a psychological standpoint?

…statistical analysis of 122 different characteristics involving 13,301 individuals shows that men and women, by and large, do not fall into different groups. In other words, no matter how strange and inscrutable your partner may seem, their gender is probably only a small part of the problem.

Men are from … Earth, women are from … Earth, 2013 study says

Whether or not someone is disabled, gay or transgender has what difference on whether or not Joker is a good movie worth seeing or not? Maybe a gay white man will identify more with Joaquin’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck than a straight white man? A lesbian will see this movie differently than a hetero woman?

Somebody help me here.

Women? Yes, I get that. Women probably do look at (some/most?) movies differently than men (although research might indicate there is no difference, see above quote). I can see having a 50/50 rule with women and men because, guess what, there are about that many percentage-wise on the planet. Women statistically live longer, which means if you’re a guy reading, we have something to hold against them.

(that’s a joke, people!)

I would also be in favor of race based on population as criteria for making a stipend program as proposed more diverse. In other words, if the world is 30% black (I don’t know the actual numbers and didn’t research for this post), then let’s make the stipend program have 30% black men and women. Again, stay with the population distribution as the primary metric. This should give a more equal distribution based on moviegoers. Even better if they have statistics on race and sex of who is watching movies.

Doctor, this is getting complex.

From there, it gets really murky as to how to be diverse in a movie critic stipend program.

It’s Sundance’s program, so more power to them how they want to run it, but what I am questioning is the mere concept that somebody that is a minority, disabled or LBGTQ is going to have a dramatically different method of reviewing a movie than a straight white non-minority male/female?

Diversity makes sense if we’re talking about cooking ethnic foods. I’m about 60% Hispanic, and greatly prefer Mexican food cooked by Hispanic people. My great grandmother rolled tortillas with her bare hands, pounding out the flour, singing to a bird friend in Spanish. No Americanized Mexican restaurant food has ever tasted the same — as good — as her authentic cuisine. You got me on minorities making a huge difference when it comes to cooking.

When watching a movie you’re a passive participant in the experience. Not like cooking, where you are active, choosing ingredients, spices, etc. Huge difference in the finished product, yes?

No? Maybe the finished product in a review isn’t passive, because it involves the perspective of the movie critic. I would like to think movie critics show their biases — the ones they aren’t supposed to have — over time in their non-subjective, subjective reviews.

Genres. We all have our favorites and least favorites.

Have talked about this before here: Ranking Movie Genres – What are YOUR Favorite Genres?

Fair argument that the reviewer bases his/her view on life experiences. Where s/he comes from, political beliefs, economic status, background, etc. Perhaps the wider range of people to attend the festival and leave reviews will result in a wider swath of diverse opinions. I believe that’s the goal for the Sundance Film Festival stipend program, I just question how singling out percentages of these different groups of people will result in more diverse review results.

Of course I could be wrong and it will make a huge difference.

Despite the narrative, I’m not sticking up for straight white guys. Just saying, sooner or later if too many other non straight white guys are included, these people will become the minority.

Then, presumably, straight white guys will be eligible for stipend programs like this.

At the end of the day, anybody can attend the Sundance Film Festival. Just pay for airfare and lodging, unless you live in the area of course, tickets to the event and the movies and review until your heart’s content.

What do you think?

You’ve now read my opinion, and it’s your turn, so speak up. Please use the comments and give me your take. Especially if you’re in one of these under represented groups, do you think your reviews are in any way altered because you are disabled, gay or in a minority? If so, then how and why? I’m agreeing on race and sex, not so much on the others, but open to non-trollish discussion on the topic below. Let’s rock and roll.

Bohemian Rhapsody Movie Reviewers Under Fire By Queen’s Roger Taylor – Is He Right?

Rotten Tomatoes critics (just barely) certified fresh the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody

Absolutely love when people fight back against the film critic culture. Queen’s Roger Taylor isn’t happy with how some critics — movie reviewers — slayed Bohemian Rhapsody when it was released:

While Taylor was put off by the negative response from movie reviewers, he was also emboldened by the many positive comments he received from moviegoers. “I think people know a lot more than film critics,” the drummer opined. “And the word of mouth via social media is so much more powerful than [a] review from a guy who probably watches 40 movies a week and has probably lost the essence of the joy of a movie.”

Roger Taylor’s Message to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Critics: ‘F— You’

This might sound ironic that I like what Roger Taylor is saying. Despite being a movie reviewer and having a website with the words “movie reviews” in the domain and being a person who does watch, rate and review a lot of movies every week (not quite the volume of 40+ per week) I still consider myself first and foremost a moviegoer. I am proud to be someone who pays to go see movies for the entertainment experience.

I don’t go to movies to rate and review them for a job. My day job has literally nothing to do with movies.

Speaking for myself, I don’t watch movies to dislike or be critical of any of them. In fact, it gives me much greater pleasure to be entertained by movies than not to be. Who would want to pay to be miserable?

My wish is to love every movie seen, but sometimes am letdown by movies that have terrible acting, completely unrealistic dialogue, lame special effects, blurry and shaky camerawork, cliched stories seen dozens or (gasp) hundreds of times and just aren’t a fun experience. When that happens, my ticket enables me the right to share my disappointing experience with others — so I do. But that’s not done out of any personal or professional agenda.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic, and I personally like biopics. Haven’t rated or reviewed that one yet as of this writing, but did see it in the theater last year on release and enjoyed it. Thought Freddy Mercury was portrayed well. That the film celebrated the band, Queen and their music. When I do get around to rewatching, rating and reviewing, my review will be positive and recommend to others to watch the movie (that means it will be at least 3 out of 5 stars, using our review criteria).

But what if I didn’t like the movie? Would I be part of Roger Taylor’s scornful commentary? Probably so. It’s unfortunate, but yes. Negative reviews are what draw the ire of people making movies, not positive ones. Other fans or reviewers will challenge positive reviews. Just read the comment exchange on our Air Force One ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ review. Initially, I gave it too many stars and another reviewer — who disliked the movie — challenged that I gave it too high a rating compared to the lower rating given to Hustlers⭐️½ (which I am standing by that negative review, regardless of how much money it has made). I don’t want to get off track, but the number of stars a movie has can be adjusted after more deep, critical thinking and successive rewatches. Some movies I never want to even try to watch again, so those will never change.

(If you hate Air Force One and love Hustlers and think that somehow disqualifies me to write any reviews, so be it)

Actors, directors, producers, the people paying money. Of course they want positive reviews, I get it, but you can’t pay me to say something entertained me that didn’t. You could pay me to visit a movie theater and watch a movie — although nobody ever has as of this writing — but you can’t pay me for my opinion.

In the music world, I go to concerts to enjoy hearing songs I like by the band/artist played live. A good concert to me has a setlist of songs that entertains. Hopefully they don’t play it completely safe and mix in at least a few deeper cuts (songs not as “popular”), so that I might explore deeper into the band/artist’s discography.

When I go see a movie I’m hoping to love it. That it will become part of my “until I die” rewatch list. That list is my own. I don’t care if that movie is loved or hated by virtually everybody else. If I loved it, that is all that matters to me.

My reviews are personal to me. So, when I share a review. I’m sharing my personal taste — or distaste. I realize that’s counter to the way that most/all professional critics work their craft. They are doing it because it is their job. They are paid to be objective.

But we all know that’s BS. Most of them aren’t.

Most film critics are not intellectually honest about their personal tastes and biases. It’s uncommon reading any pro critic’s review and seeing the reviewer list his/her personal biases and how these impacted the review. Why not? It’s because journalistic integrity tells them they can’t do that. They aren’t supposed to interject themselves into the objective review process.

That’s what we do differently here at this blog, in our video reviews and through every review shared.

We’re not the only ones that review movies this way, so I’m not claiming some huge originality or moral high ground or anything. I’m just sharing how movie reviews by us are “the audience” that Roger Taylor from Queen is talking about.

I haven’t been comped to see a bunch of movies and write a review. I’ve spent over a thousand dollars of my own money watching movies in the last 90 days alone. Where do I get these figures from? See August and September how much our expenses were for going to the movies + the cost of streaming channels we subscribe to and my internet connection which is $100/month. That adds up to over $1,000 in the last three months. That’s out of our pockets.

Nobody has paid me to go see any movies. I paid my own way 100%. Paid for popcorn and soda at a huge concession markup cost. I’m clearly part of the “audience” that Roger Taylor looks fondly toward.

(Unless I leave a negative review of Bohemian Rhapsody, perhaps)

Will I always have to pay my way in? Don’t know. If I was offered to go see and review a movie then I would disclose that in the review. That’s something else that really bothers me when a review doesn’t indicate if the reviewer had to pay to see the movie or were comped to see it in exchange for a review. That should always be disclosed!

I have never seen one advanced screening. Not one. I’ve seen thousands, perhaps 10,000+ movies in my life, and have never, ever been to an advance screening. Professional critics see them every week! This is how they can write reviews on movies the rest of us don’t get to see until they open in the theater.

Disney’s sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is “rotten” so far according to 94 pro film critics

EXAMPLE (pictured above). Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil already has 94 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes and the movie doesn’t have any public screenings until later today.

This will dissuade some people in the “audience” from paying to see this movie. It doesn’t matter to me, even if it was 0% score (meaning every reviewer who saw the movie disliked it). But I believe this is Roger Taylor’s concern. That some people saw negative reviews for Bohemian Rhapsody and chose not to see the movie.

Sure, that’s reasonable. I’d encourage others to only base whether or not they see movies based on critics that they trust best match their tastes. Even so, there will always be differences of opinions. For this reason, if you want to be absolutely certain how you will feel about a movie, always go yourself and find out. Don’t listen to any movie review, including the movie reviews by us.

(Someday in the future, I would like to attend a film festival and see movies ahead of official release. They are open to movie fans, not just professionals. That sounds like fun)

Back to Queen and Roger Taylor and why I loved his venting. He is vindicated, you know. Bohemian Rhapsody is the most popular and financially successful biopic ever. The audience overwhelmingly loved the movie.

Queen was involved in the making of the biopic and is clearly taking the reviews personally, so you can see why Taylor is mad, but this man has been performing for dozens of years in front of fans at concerts. If those fans didn’t like the music, they wouldn’t be at their concerts or buy so many of their albums.

Movie reviewers are a necessary and valuable part of the process. The reviewers need to be honest with their opinions and not have their opinions paid for. I would argue that some in the process are not being 100% honest and that’s what Roger Taylor is rightfully calling out.

What do you think of what Roger Taylor said? Is he right?