Martin Scorsese weighs in on Rotten Tomatoes & mother! reception

Movie grading sites and review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Cinemascore have increasingly come under fire by industry vets, who claim they in no way prove a movie’s quality and are purely marketing tools. Audiences look for the low number, the green splat, or the coveted “Certified Fresh” logo and base where to spend their money on what they see. According to film legend Martin Scorsese, this is a huge problem for movies, many of which need time to settle and find their place in our minds.

The director of countless classics recently took to The Hollywood Reporter to write an op-ed explaining how he feels about the popularity of review sites, and how audiences put so much faith into how a movie is received. He believes this can be poison for the creation and consumption of art, and that our culture has become one of “judgmentalism.”

Good films by real filmmakers aren’t made to be decoded, consumed or instantly comprehended. They’re not even made to be instantly liked. They’re just made, because the person behind the camera had to make them. And as anyone familiar with the history of movies knows all too well, there a very long list of titles—The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, Vertigo and Point Blank, to name just a few—that were rejected on first release and went on to become classics. Tomatometer ratings and Cinemascore grades will be gone soon enough. Maybe they’ll be muscled out by something even worse.”

Scorsese says he was inspired to write the piece after seeing Darren Aronofsky’s MOTHER!, which was met with horrid reception by audiences, and was given an F Cinemascore. The movie’s terrible reception (not from critics, the majority of whom gave it positive marks) was written about and commented on, which probably made things worse, with audiences avoiding what they're told is a controversial movie. Scorsese saw the movie and called it “so beautifully staged and acted” and went on to praise the camerawork and indescribability of it all. That last bit is what Scorsese believes is what caused so much animosity towards the movie, in that it cannot be labeled in two words, like “biblical drama” or “horror comedy.”

No matter what people think about the film, the movie has stayed with Scorsese, and he believes people will be talking about it long after RT and other sites are like dried up fruit themselves. The argument is a poignant one, and that asserts art needs time to properly digest, and that audiences shouldn't jump to label a film based on what a score says. Even movies like BATMAN V. SUPERMAN have fared better as time has passed, as the hype has subsided and people can view it through a less anxious lens. Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic are great sources for well-constructed reviews, but the score is, in of itself, pointless.  Sadly, arguing against RT and reviews is pointless, as we all flock to Google and Yelp to read reviews to help find everything from the best Thai restaurants to the best exterminators, but when it comes to art we must keep an open mind and judge only for ourselves. If we don't, why should anyone like Scorsese or Aronofsky even bother making movies?

Scorsese is currently working on THE IRISHMAN with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

Source: THR



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