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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why I stopped reviewing movies

Everyone's top 10 is different.

On December 20th 2011, I officially reviewed my final film. Since then, I have been asked multiple times why I quit. After 2½ years, 401 top-ten articles, and 943 attention-span-sensitive movie reviews, how can I just stop? The answer is simple: my opinion doesn't matter.

Think about how many times you've disagreed with the critics. Now think about how many times you've disagreed with your friends. How can anyone know if you'll like something -- especially some stranger who's never met you?

The truth of the matter is no one person's opinion matters, not even an expert's. My opinion doesn't matter. Richard Roeper's opinion doesn't matter. And neither does the opinion of the person sitting next to you on the couch or in the theater.

Consensus reviews and social suggestions are the future of critic recommendations. 

There's a reason why The Academy Awards have been giving out Oscars for 84 years. And it's the same reason RottenTomatoes.com has over two million visitors per month. The consensus opinion is the only way to fairly judge what's best and truly make a recommendation of value.

But now, in today's highly connected world of social networks and technology, not only are the reviews of those experts more easily collected and quantified into meaningful rankings, but so can the reviews from your friends. And like everything else in life, the opinions of those closest to you are the only ones that really matter.

It's why Facebook's "Like" button is so meaningful, and why those posts with the most "likes" appear at the top of your homepage. It's also why the most tweeted and retweeted topics appear on the new #Discover tab of Twitter.

Don't get me wrong, expert opinions still have their place. The experts have the time to narrow the field for us. They can see everything, find the diamonds in the rough, and direct us down the path towards the "likable." Without the experts -- plural -- we'd have no guide. But only our "friends" -- those with similar interests and opinions -- can possibly predict what we will actually "like." 

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