Rotten Tomatoes is Hostile to Filmmakers, Says Legendary Director Martin Scorsese

Posted 2017/10/10 0 0

The legendary filmmaker just dumped three tons of bricks on Rotten Tomatoes!


In a lengthy and well-written essay over at THR, the Oscar winner rails against the current obsession with "grading" movies on an objective critical basis, claiming that our current technological era is hurting creativity and putting too much of a focus on the "business" of the movie business:

"It began back in the ‘80s when the “box office” started to mushroom into the obsession it is today. When I was young, box office reports were confined to industry journals like The Hollywood Reporter. Now, I’m afraid that they’ve become…everything. Box office is the undercurrent in almost all discussions of cinema, and frequently it’s more than just an undercurrent. The brutal judgmentalism that has made opening weekend grosses into a bloodthirsty spectator sport seems to have encouraged an even more brutal approach to film reviewing. I’m talking about market research firms like Cinemascore, which started in the late ‘70s, and online “aggregators” like Rotten Tomatoes, which have absolutely nothing to do with real film criticism. They rate a picture the way you’d rate a horse at the racetrack, a restaurant in a Zagat’s guide, or a household appliance in Consumer Reports. They have everything to do with the movie business and absolutely nothing to do with either the creation or the intelligent viewing of film. The filmmaker is reduced to a content manufacturer and the viewer to an unadventurous consumer."

Scorsese also accused the site of setting a unhelpful tone, pinpointing the response to Darren Aronofsky's "Mother!" as one example of this. He writes:

These firms and aggregators have set a tone that is hostile to serious filmmakers, even the actual name Rotten Tomatoes is insulting. And as film criticism written by passionately engaged people with actual knowledge of film history has gradually faded from the scene, it seems like there are more and more voices out there engaged in pure judgmentalism, people who seem to take pleasure in seeing films and filmmakers rejected, dismissed and in some cases ripped to shreds. Not unlike the increasingly desperate and bloodthirsty crowd near the end of Darren Aronofsky’s "Mother!"

It’s hard not to be worried by Scorsese’s statements. He’s one of the masters of modern cinema, and if he’s got a problem with the state of the discourse around film, there’s every chance that he’s right. But given how popular Rotten Tomatoes has become, it’s hard to foresee how anything will change.