Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Rotten Tomatobots Come Out in Force to Protect Pixar's "Up" from the Nefarious Mechanations of Armond White

I'm kind of fascinated by the people who post on the "Rotten Tomatoes" site to come to the defense of films like Star Trek, and now Up, that have high "tomatometer" numbers. Up is currently at 98%, which means that 98% of the reviews collected by RT are positive. Two are negative. One of those negatives is by Armond White, who reviews movies for The New York Press.

Armond White is one of the few movie reviewers I read with any regularity, because he is one of the few reviewers I know of who has exacting and specific standards, and who sticks to those standards with determination, even if his opinion runs contrary to what is "popular." The "Up" review is obviously a case in point. He did not like it. You can read the review here.

I don't always agree with White. In fact, I rarely do. But that's another reason why I read his reviews. They are challenging. Whenever I read a movie review with which I disagree, it helps me to better understand what it was I liked or didn't like about the film. A good review (whether negative or positive) will help you to see something you might have missed, and White's reviews do that for me.

But, as we've seen in the past, when the Rotten Tomatobots came out in force to protect the dignity of poor little Star Trek (which sat at a pathetic 96% positive) there are some people who are simply scandalized to the point of hysteria by any review that in any way diverges from their own opinions. Especially if those opinions don't follow the "tomatometer." Somehow, if a movie is "certified fresh" by the majority, it's automatically a good movie, perhaps even a great one. Anyone who disagrees should just stop reviewing. They are "the village idiot." And those reviewers should simply die. Or start working as a janitor in a porn theater. Or, they're obviously just trying to be different for "shock value."

And it's still Thursday! The movie hasn't even opened yet- how many of these people who are calling White such silly names, telling him to "**** off," asking that he be banned from RT (no room for dissent on a web site devoted to opinions on film!- one of the commenters actually goes so far as to use the word "unique" as an insult), and suggesting that he should just "die," have even seen the movie?

Granted, it's Pixar, and I have enjoyed every movie Pixar's made. My suspicion is that "Up" is very good, but I won't know for sure until I actually see it.

And I can tell you that the fact that Armond White doesn't generally like Pixar movies does not threaten me in the least. In fact, it's interesting to me to read why he doesn't like movies that I do, and why he likes movies that I don't. It's actually more interesting to me to read reviews with which I disagree than those with which I do.

I can disagree with White, without wanting to see him dead. It's shocking, I know.

The comments on White's review are here. I also took some screenshots and I'm posting them below; they provide a rather depressing sampling of the comments on a movie review.

A movie review.

(By the way- a number of comments suggest that White is simply trying to draw attention to himself and his review, and generate traffic to The New York Press site. If those making comments genuinely feel that way, then why are they commenting on his review? As of right now he's at 168 comments, far more than any of the "positive" reviews with which these commenters presumably agree. Doesn't it make more sense to draw attention to reviewers you actually like, by commenting on those?)

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