North Texas Daily

The disconnect between critics and audiences

The disconnect between critics and audiences

Warner Bros.

The disconnect between critics and audiences
August 24
22:59 2016

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a movie critic. Despite the pretentious tone of that sentence, I practically grew up dreaming of a career where I could watch free movies 24/7, getting paid just to write about what I had seen. And whenever I tell new friends that, majority of the time, I’m met with an obligatory “That’s awesome!” or “Wow, that’s not something you hear everyday!”

Then there’s the other side where someone says, “I hate critics” or “Y’all never like the movies I like!” Now, the problem with those statements isn’t necessarily that people disagree with critics; that’s unavoidable. Honestly, a critic’s purpose should never be to tell his readers what to think, but to encourage them to make their minds up for themselves. It’s fair since everyone has their own taste. So if those are the cases, why do moviegoers share such a passionate hatred for critics?

Quite frankly, each camp tends to watch movies differently. When general audience members pay for a ticket, they’re hoping that their $8 isn’t wasted on a bad movie. Even if it’s a movie like “Suicide Squad,” the eighth highest grossing movie of this year that still managed rake in terrible reviews. As much as many of us hoped that movie would work, the reality of the situation is that critics are paid to watch movies like that, gripe about how bad DC Comics adaptations are and wait to be impressed before the lights dim.

Even if “Suicide Squad” was good, and it’s definitely not, it didn’t stand much of a critical chance to begin with. Now the same could be said for great movies if you approach them with a negative mindset. In fact, nearly two years ago, I joined several other cinephiles to watch “John Wick” on its opening weekend. We were all practically foaming at the mouth just thinking about how awesome a Keanu Reeves revenge thriller would be.

All except one guy, who chastised us the whole night about paying for a movie that “looked stupid.” As a result, he was the only one that left the screening unamused while the rest of us gave birth to a modern cult classic.

This is the other reason for critic/audience disconnect: originality. While audiences mostly watch movies for pure leisure, critics are always on the hunt for something different, original or unique. Take “The Nice Guys” for example. Critics loved it, especially for being such a fresh rendition of noir detective stories. Unfortunately, it tanked at the box office and barely made its $50 million back. It didn’t help that the marketing only sold the film on its Raymond Chandler and Roman Polanski influences; two things that the average college student could care less about.

Therefore, while critics and audiences disagree sometimes, it’s very clear that no one ever perceives film in the same fashion. It’s the main reason why post-theater discussions are always fascinating, even if both of you enjoyed the film. Because all art is subjective, why should anyone hate the critics for it? They’re just audiences under a different label.

Featured Image: Warner Bros. | Courtesy

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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