It's an old adage that everyone is a critic, but now that we have the newfangled internet, not only is everyone a critic, but everyone has a voice and a platform to share their criticism. But now things are spiraling out of control thanks to the anonymous critics in internet comments critiquing movie critics' critiques. What a headache!
The whole thing started yesterday when Rotten Tomatoes, everyone's favorite movie review aggregation website, posted two early negative reviews of the highly-anticipated blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, hitting theaters this Friday, July 20. (Since yesterday there have been more critics claiming the film ain't all that added to the site.) One was by Marshall Fine of the blog Hollywood and Fine and the other by Associated Press critic Christy Lemire. The commenters on the site reacted with such hatred and vitriol, hurling insults and misogynistic barbs, that Rotten Tomatoes responded by shutting off the comments on the whole site. The site's editor-in-chief explained his decision with a request that users "don't be a dick," a call that will most likely go unheeded by the churning masses of the internet.
Fine's website also seems to be under some sort of hacker attack or is just getting so much traffic thanks to this kerfuffle that it can't handle it all. You currently can't access his reviews and his slam has been taken off of Rotten Tomatoes (at his request so he doesn't have to deal with any more drama from his detractors). This is all because the collective unconscious of the internet has decided that DNR is the greatest movie ever and anyone who disagrees should be destroyed. Yes, now everyone with a keyboard and a WiFi connection is a caped crusader.
The plague seems like it's spreading too. On EW.com's review by veteran critic Lisa Schwarzbaum, users reacted to her middling "B" review with calls for her to be fired and saying that she has no idea what she's talking about or taste in movies. Here is what one nonsensical commenter wrote, "That was the wordiest review I've ever read...that told me absolutely nothing! I don't need this horribly written review to tell me what I already know...I will like this movie...it'll be good." If you already know this, anonymous internet troll, then why are you reading reviews in the first place? And are you such an mindless lemming that you will like this movie regardless of what is in it? This argument makes absolutely no sense. It's like saying you love driving a new car because you spotted it in the parking lot.
And just what are these people angry about? They seem to be disagreeing with critics about a movie they haven't even seen yet. How does the internet hive mind know that it's good or bad when the masses aren't allowed to see the flick until midnight on Thursday evening? They don't, which makes this reaction not only overblown but also based on absolutely nothing. Yes, everyone is a critic, but why can't they at least shut the hell up until after they've seen the damn movie, already? They might find that some of these movie reviewers might actually have a valid point or two.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan