Fanboys vs. Rotten Tomatoes - Really? AUTHOR: Joey Perotti
Date: August 5, 2016
EDITOR'S NOTE: The opinion's expressed by the author of this BOF op-ed does not necessarily reflect the opinion of BOF or Bill "Jett" Ramey -- unless it does. You can read Jett's review of SUICIDE SQUADHERE. Jett liked it, but wouldn't sign a stupid online petition even if he didn't.
Gather ‘round, fanboys. We need to have a serious talk here for a second.
You know those things are about as effective as a holy rubber, right? I really hope some of you signed that thing trying to be ironic. Congrats, Mr. Hipster, you succeeded…I guess.
But really guys, after a certain point, you need to swallow your adolescent, misplaced pride and accept that some movies are bad. Period. No conspiracy. No Disney pay-offs. None of that. Just, for whatever reason, shit didn’t click the way it was supposed to. It’s OK. It happens. Most movies out there suffer a similar fate. These just happen to be based on properties you hold near and dear. I get that.
But real talk for a second guys: What good is it to convince yourself to like something just because you’re predisposed to liking that thing already? I grew up Catholic so I understand self-loathing; but I don’t think this is quite that. I know how frustrating it can be when the guys across the street are crushing it. Yeah, maybe they never achieved the heights of “filmmaking” like His Grace, Christopher Nolan, but to deny the fact that Marvel consistently pumps out enjoyable, character-driven and mostly coherent movies is some serious denial. Personally, I’ve never understood choosing one company over the other. DC has Batman. Marvel has everybody else.
And no, I’m not ignorant to the fact that this movie will have some genuine fans. Every movie is somebody’s favorite. BUT, the fact that over 17,000 people signed a petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes - 17,000 people, may I add, who have YET to see SUICIDE SQUAD - claiming that this movie is getting the shaft from critics, is not only ridiculous, infantile and moronic, it also shows a complete lack of understanding of how Rotten Tomatoes actually works. You see, kids, Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t watch a movie and spit out a percentage. That would be dumb; and really, if this is how you think it works, what does that say about you and your mental state for caring so much over an arbitrary digit generator’s judgment over your fifth favorite DC property? No, see, Rotten Tomatoes collects reviews from reviewers (most critics judge a movie using a scale - out of 5, or 10, and so on) and RT then divides the reviews between fresh and rotten. That’s it. There are no schemes. No conspiracies. It’s plain numbers. And sadly, numbers don’t lie. They’d be so much more fun if they did.
But the data is there in the petition. Over 17,000 disgruntled fanboys (sorry, that’s sexist – “fanpeople”) believe Rotten Tomatoes works this way. And if they do understand and signed it anyway, they must be book-burners. This petition in a way is a direct violation of the1st Amendment to the U.S. CONSTITUTION, the freedom of speech (just got political, son). By silencing the negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (which, again, is just a collection of data - the reviews will still be out there and totally searchable) this petition is calling to silence a voice that informs the public. It’s Siskel & Ebert on the grandest scale imaginable! Like it or not (and clearly, it’s a “not” for these folks, right?), Rotten Tomatoes is valuable to the film industry. Studios definitely pay attention to the numbers (they put RT scores on DVD boxes and in trailers now for crissakes!), and it’s a useful tool for the public in determining if they’re going to spend their hard earned cash on some craptastic crowd pleaser.
Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t need to be shut down. Warner Bros. simply needs to start making better films. It’s as simple as that. They’re in a tight spot, it’s true. And I know you want to see them succeed and so do I. I love Batman d – like, borderline obsessed with him. But I’ve been spoiled by the Nolan films (which I have issues with and, should be noted, was championed by Rotten Tomatoes, which said DC fanboys totally threw in people’s faces!). The point is, I want a good movie. And I refuse to settle for less. I love these characters, and I believe they deserve the best treatment possible. Hell yes I’m going to get angry when they’re in subpar fare. With so much source material to pull from, virtually unlimited budgets and the best writers Hollywood can produce, you bet your ass I’m going to be pissed when they don’t deliver.
And that’s where the fan who loved BATMAN v SUPERMAN and the fan who hated it share common ground. Of course, this is a simplification – not an absolute – but bear with me. See, no matter where we fall on the BvS spectrum, we all love the characters and want to see them treated right. For the fan that loves BvS and claims it to be a near-perfect cinematic achievement, they see past the flaws – or ignore them. Comic book movies are where, by far, the majority of people consume superheroes. It’s where the casual and the hardcore fan share common ground. And when the movie is a letdown, fans don’t want to see their heroes mocked, or looked down upon (Christ, the played-out-ultra-serious-ultra-gritty-hyper-realistic-tone was born from this fear of embarrassment), and I get it.
However, I fall into the BvS hater camp. I love my heroes, but if they deserve to be mocked, let I throw the first stone. Why? Because we deserve better. In an age where ANT-MAN and the GURDIANS OF THE GALAXY (really?) have their own movies - and they’re not only good, but faithful - we, as comic book fans, deserve better out of DC and Warner Bros. But we have to tear down the condemned. We have to be ruthless and do away with what’s not working and start anew. We got off on the wrong foot and snapped some necks because we were playing catch-up. Scrap it and go back to the drawing board. Think about what’s best for these individual characters and their stories. Ask the tough questions. Would this character do this? Does adding this piece help this movie? Do we even need a shared cinematic universe for DC on film to be successful?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s OK to be mad at the thing you love. Because really, you just want what’s best for it. Accepting the shit with a grin and signing janky petitions only encourages bad filmmaking and fosters ignorance along with the absolute worst stereotypes of fanboy culture.
For those of you that genuinely love this stuff, right on man! I wish I could join you…someday.
But for the rest of us, can we at least wait until SUICIDE SQUAD comes out before freaking out and signing our name to a ridiculous petition? Thank you! - Joey Perotti
Joey Perotti: Teacher. Screenwriter. Husband. Lifelong fan of the Bat.
Follow him @JOEYPEROTTI.