Film reviews salvage, not taint the theater experience
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a big fan of Tom Long, the film critic for The Detroit News.
Every weekend, I look forward to pulling out the entertainment section of The Detroit News and reading his reviews on the latest movies. Not only do I think he’s funny and entertaining, but I also take his opinions fully into consideration when deciding what movie to see that weekend. And for this, my friends give me a lot of sass.
My best friend is probably the person who is most annoyed with me. She complains that by relying on the opinions of another person, I’m missing out on having a true moviegoing experience. I wholeheartedly disagree.
When I first saw the trailer for “The Devil Inside” the night of the “Paranormal Activity 3” premiere, the horror fan in me could not have been more excited. I vowed to see the movie in theaters as soon as I could and looked forward to it for months. But when opening weekend rolled around and I looked up the film on film review website Rotten Tomatoes, I saw critics had given it a rating of just 5 percent, and I knew I would not be seeing it after all. But my friend told me I was being silly and that I shouldn’t have read the review before seeing the movie.
Do I regret reading the review? Not at all. I know I would have lamented the loss of my time and money had I seen such a terrible movie.
Contrary to what one might think, reviews don’t give away the entire plot of a film or spoil endings. They simply are meant to give viewers an idea about what to expect when they see a movie and whether or not it’s worth seeing.
I know sometimes opinions are going to be different. Even I didn’t agree with the plethora of positive reviews of “Greenberg,” which is probably one of my least favorite movies of all time. But for the most part, critics can tell the difference between a good and bad movie, which can be really helpful in making decisions about whether or not to see a film.
Not everyone feels this way. And honestly, I’m not trying to be difficult. When my three friends insisted we see “One Day” this summer, I agreed, even though I knew Long had given it a “C” and the movie probably wouldn’t be as good as the trailer made it appear, because I figured it was a sappy, chick flick kind of day. But when the four of us left the theater feeling less than satisfied with Anne Hathaway’s British accent and the awkward artificiality of the film, I couldn’t help but think, “I told you so.”
Plus, not only does reading movie reviews help me to avoid the truly awful films out there, it also helps me find the truly great ones. Without Long’s recommendation, I never would have seen one of the best films of the year, “The Artist.” Nor would I have seen one of my favorite foreign films, “In a Better World.”
Sometimes I understand my friends’ frustration with my nitpicking about movies, but I’m never going to stop reading reviews. I feel content knowing I don’t waste my time seeing horrible movies because I’m spending my time seeing some of the real quality ones instead.