The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posted by Matt on July 8, 2010

An article analyzing Armond White’s controversial Toy Story 3 review.

I’ve only had White’s reviews relayed to me by others, and from that I can tell that I have no interest in reading his reviews. He seems to be like Michael Medved, only instead of souring his reviews with hardcore religious moralizing, he sours them with mediocrity. He’s no worse than the millions of talentless unknowns who get hired to review movies for small markets.

Of course, the reason anyone ever talks about this at all is because White’s opinions on popular movies are usually the exact opposite of what everyone else’s is. This is not a new phenomenon; there always seems to be one reviewer who seems to be the odd man out that the Internet finds and posts repeatedly for no reason other than pointless outrage (I seem to remember the one goober who hated Pan’s Labyrinth was the Armond White of his time). This seems to be exasperated by Rotten Tomatoes, which not only shows all the different reviews and how they generally skew, but also uses them to rank a movie. And once you bring in numbers and rank, people turn stupid fast.

There did seem to be a contingent of people who were mad at White because his one negative review kept Toy Story 3 from getting a 100% positive ranking on Rotten Tomatoes, which they all thought it deserved for some reason. Of course, the overall ratings on the site are pointless guff, created using an arbitrary selection of ‘choice’ critics and never actually reflecting the movie’s quality, but just how many people liked it to some degree (does Up‘s 98% make it better than No Country For Old Men with its 95%? Of course not.). It can be good to get a general gist of where the critical sway is going, but the next step is to actually go into the page and look at the reviews. Most people skip that last step because, hey, the numbers say it all, don’t they? Like the box office armchair analysis, it turns film into an oversimplified numbers game, and that is a far greater blot on the face of the medium than some random hack’s differing stance.

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