For the longest time, basically as long as I can remember knowing about it, Rotten Tomatoes has been my go-to for all of my movie recommendations.
If you don't know what Rotten Tomatoes (rottentomatoes.com) is, its Wikipedia page describes it as:
a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films – widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance.
So basically, the site pretty much does a good job at showing which way the winds are blowing. It does this by showing, out of all the "reputable" reviews they've received, what percent of those were positive reviews.
I used this forever, because I thought that in almost all cases, if a movie was reviewed by Rotten Tomatoes as "fresh," it meant that it was likely going to be a good movie. This much is true, at least in the sense that it's a quality movie.
The problem is the misconception that the percentages line up perfectly for how much critics actually like a film. If 96% of movie critics like Movie X, that doesn't mean that it's 30% better than Movie Y that only received 66%.
Either way, this was a smaller detail in my slowing-down of using the website, because over time, I found that Netflix was able to tell me what I'd like much, much better than the website was able. I knew that, in most cases, if Netflix said I'd give something five stars, I was bound to really like it.
Basically, Rotten Tomatoes became moot for me once I realized how solid Netflix suggestions were being for me. The reason I'm writing this blog post though, is because it's important to recognize the news that Rotten Tomatoes has been bought out by Warner Brothers. From the Atlantic Wire:
Interestingly, the deal also includes the Rotten Tomatoes website, the hub for aggregated movie news and curated critics reviews with 12 million unique visitors a month. Even though the studio has noted that the site will continue to operate "independently," there's an obvious conflict of interest in the acquisition. Namely, how the studio will respond after a big summer tentpole gets slapped with a "rotten" label from early critics reviews on the site.
There's also smaller details to watch on Tomatoes, like how the studio will roll out exclusive trailers, movie stills and interviews in advance of their titles."Will they suddenly have priority access to news and trailers and other goodies related to Warner Bros. films?" wondered Flick Filosopher blogger MaryAnn Johanson. "A major studio owning a movie critique website doesn’t sound like a 'win-win' scenario for movie goers," wrote one Deadline Hollywood commenter.
This is absolutely concerning if you're a big Rotten Tomatoes fan because this is a definite conflict of interest. In the coming months we'll see how this buy-out affects the overall quality of the site, but I simply see little reason to purchase the site and not affect anything. I really find the idea of the two continuing to work independently to be almost impossible.