The Power of Reviews

posted by Michael Zoldessy on January 5, 2007 at 7:15 am

I used to be wooed by trailers, voluntarily sucked into the theater with just a glimpse of excitement. I used to give credence to word of mouth and make it over to the theater purely based on what other people said. Recently though however, specifically the last five years, I’ve thrown that all away and now base which movies I go out and see entirely on reviews.

Maybe it’s the cost of movies. As evidence by our recent CT poll and comments made on the pages, it seems like all of us are getting a little fed up with the skyrocketing price of first run films these days. I’ve learned to get over it by simply choosing films more wisely. That way, if I’m going to spend that money on the movie, the parking and possibly concessions, at least I feel like I’m guaranteed to get something in return.

It becomes obsessive though. I check sites like Rotten Tomatoes so often to see what everyone is saying that by the time the movie comes out, I’m a little sick of hearing about it. I just have to know the opinions though; the random opinions, the consensus opinion and of course the thoughts of my personal favorite journalists.

There’s more at stake too by living this kind of life. How about compromising friendships? Frequently, I’ll receive enthusiastic recommendations from a peer urging me to see a certain picture but I’ll have to turn them down because of something I read. They’ll be in shock and think I’m kidding. Eventually, they’ll just be plain insulted.

I can’t say I follow this mentality 100% of the time though. I’ll have a soft spot for a few genres and directors that will draw me to the theaters no matter what the ratings say. One example is time travel movies. I don’t know why, but any film that even remotely involves it, I’m there. We all have our guilty pleasures I guess.

How we choose which movies we go see is an integral part of our personal moviegoing experience. With so much talk in the news about box office receipts going up and down, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at how the general public makes these decisions. For me though, at least for the foreseeable future, I analyze the thoughts of others possibly a little too much, but that’s what define my choices.

(Thanks to Genista for providing the photo.)

We encourage you to share your thoughts on the subject. For comments on the article or the blog itself, feel free to email me.

Comments (2)

TreasureMe on January 5, 2007 at 8:21 am

Rachel Tookes


Happy New Year!!

Thank you for making it easy for me to shop and eat and not only that,the place is not to far from where I live and also, it is down the street from my church. Congratulations!!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 7, 2007 at 10:08 am

Not sure what that first response has to do with this blog… In any event…

Like you, Michael, I used to choose the movies I saw based purely on their trailers or newspaper ads (and in the case of films I saw on 42nd Street, the posters and stills in the outer lobby display cases)… In fact, I still have that same impulse in theaters today when a particularly intriguing trailer is shown (“Man, I have to see that film!”). But, also like you, these days I find myself more easily being dissuaded from many new releases by negative reviews, and probably for the same reasons – at these prices, I have to be more discerning about how I spend my movie-going bucks each year.

I will eventually see whatever it is I want to see on DVD or cable, but unless I strike during opening weekend, when my drive to see a particular film might be stronger than my willingness to allow negative critical reaction to steer me away, I do become a bit slavish to the consensus of professional reviewers – particularly those in the NY Times, whose opinions are at least better articulated and elaborated upon than in most of the tabloids.

I kind of miss those pell-mell days when I would charge out to the cinema every weekend to see whatever I deemed of interest despite whatever negative or positive press the film provoked.

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