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There are so many reasons people do or do not go to the movies. However, as much as people want to say they have their own opinions, we all spend our time consuming social media. This means that we get a healthy dose of see this/don’t see that.

A Wealth of Opinions

We live in a world of information. It flies at us every moment of every day. This was true before the internet and it is truer now that every person has the entire world in their pocket. This information comes at us from friends, family, strangers, signs, menus, newspapers, and even from the fact that Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays for religious reasons. It all means something. But we derive our opinions based on all the information we take in.

When this is the case, our minds are in a constant state of sifting through what we think is right, wrong, and unnecessary. We often forget more than we remember. Because of this, the idea that there are people out there who can help us is extremely appealing.

The problem is who we choose to elevate to these positions of informative power. The people we place our trust in and turn to that do our sifting for us. We call them the news, personal blogs, listicles, and critics. In every single case we are hearing one side of the opinion coin. We are reading or listening or watching someone wholeheartedly give their opinion based on their information which is often based on the information of others. Opinions are often like jokes, we like them but nobody really knows where they started.

How to Become a Critic

It’s not hard to become one. It is hard to become a trusted one. It takes consistency of thought, consideration of facts, and the ability to coalesce the vapor of human experience into… no, that’s a line from History of the World Part I. See that? I know movies so I must be able to be trusted! Quoting doesn’t make you an expert. It makes you someone who can retain information.

But people who become professional critics are different… right? These are people with platforms. They found a mountain to stand on and a megaphone to yell through and are prepared to tell everyone whether they enjoy the landscape. And because we have to look up to them we assume that their opinion on it is the “right” one.

But, and I apologize for the shoddy metaphor, what if they are looking at a colorful garden without us knowing they are colorblind? They are seeing things through a lens of their own that the rest of us don’t really have access to. A lens that may be flawed by past experience, issues with specific directors, or ties to certain brands.

What happens when these individuals throw their personal opinions out based on spurious facts and other people blindly believe them? They end up tanking movies.

The Danger of Other People’s Opinions

Critics don’t often print retractions. They live in a world where they can claim opinion until they are called out for being wrong in which case they once again claim opinion. It is only when they are faced with true charges of defamation that they are called on to retract.

But let’s look for a minute at how some critics are approaching films at the moment. They are seeing things they may not completely enjoy and telling people to wait until it hits streaming services. This keeps people out of theaters which in turn tells studios that people weren’t really that interested in the first place.

We are seeing this right now with Disney and Pixar’s new Elemental. Critics are viciously divided over whether it is the best or if it will be a flop. Now, there is a very interesting divide there because it isn’t about whether it is good or bad. One half is saying it is the best film Pixar has created since Coco and others are saying that it probably will not make money at the box office.

Enjoyment VS numbers. We have become a society obsessed with box office receipts. But why? Who actually cares how much money Avengers Endgame made? Was it any good? Do we care that it made billions of dollars? If we do, we better be working for Marvel because otherwise none of us are seeing a bigger paycheck because of it.

And by telling people before the film comes out that the box office will be low, they are saying that nobody is going to go and that therefore the movie is bad and THEREFORE you shouldn’t go see it because you aren’t different from everyone else, are you? Different is often a bad thing and therefore you would feel weird sitting in a somewhat empty theater enjoying yourself. You have to walk out of there afterward and past the judging eyes of kids that work at movie theaters like some kind of pariah.

I’ll give you a personal example. I decided to go see Avatar: The Way of Water when it came out in theaters. I figured that the first one was a visual treat and that I’d give this one a chance. I stepped into the theater, fully ready to give it a go when the ticket-taker said, “Theater four. Good luck.” It was a bit shocking. I didn’t ask for his f*&king opinion (pardon my wingdings) and it started me out on the wrong foot. Did I enjoy the movie? Parts of it. Would I recommend it? Probably not. But I also wouldn’t slam it the moment someone expressed that they were going to literally step into a theater to give it a whirl.

We all think people want to hear our opinions and that ours is obviously the right one. Take a stand and never flip-flop. We boo politicians that change their minds, get angry when baseball players switch teams, and can’t understand when people go vegetarian or switch back. So when someone is a critic and takes a stand against a movie, director, or actor, they almost never change their minds. You didn’t like Thor: The Dark World? Then you must think that Marvel is crumbling and never coming back.

In the end, trust your own gut. Allow yourself to have your own opinions, and when you listen to critics, take each and every one with a grain of salt. Remember, movies are there to enjoy. So go enjoy.

But that’s just my opinion.


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