The Bias of Film Critics

Today on IMDb’s Studio Briefing, there was a post about how reluctant studios are these days to give press screenings for films feared to get a negative response from critics.

And, you know what, I don’t blame them.

As long time readers of this blog may know, I have long had a grudge against film critics, who seem to believe that their opinion is the ONLY opinion.

However, critics also seem to be biased.

I was looking at the Toronto Star’s archive of movie reviews from the past two months.  Of the 53 films reviewed in this time period, the average rating given was 2.5 out of 4 stars.

Now, that average is straight down the middle.  However, if you look closely at the reviews, you will find that not a single major Hollywood release has received a rating higher than the average.  With the rare exception, ratings of 3 stars or higher are given to limited release films that tend not to be seen by the general public.

I say that it’s not fair that critics assume that certain kinds of films are classified as “bad” movies.  If a film has a genre of action, comedy, sci-fi, or horror, they are already doomed to get an average to bad review from a film critic.   They seem to forget that there are people in this world that actually like these kinds of films.

In addition, if I can guess a rating a film is going to get before reading the review, that says a lot about how credible these film critics are.

The only film critics I currently give any ounce of trust to are Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper of Ebert and Roeper.  This would be primarily for the fact they explicitly show that different people can have different opinions about movies.

This Friday, you won’t see a review for the new movie “The Benchwarmers.”  Common sense would say that the studio thinks that the movie is bad.  Or maybe it’s just because film critics can’t comprehend between films that people want to see and films they want people to see.

That’s something to ponder, isn’t it?

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).