“Don’t pay any attention to the critics – don’t even ignore them”*…
It is no surprise that critics and viewers alike agree that The Godfather is the “best film” among the ~2600 films considered on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 100% score among professional reviewers and a 98% score from the audience. It is perhaps somewhat more surprising to learn which films divide those two groups; thanks to Benjamin Moore, we can contemplate that…
“Overrated” and “underrated” are slippery terms to try to quantify. An interesting way of looking at this, I thought, would be to compare the reviews of film critics with those of Joe Public, reasoning that a film which is roundly-lauded by the Hollywood press but proved disappointing for the real audience would be “overrated” and vice versa.
To get some data for this I turned to the most prominent review aggregator: Rotten Tomatoes…
On the whole it should be noted that critics and audience agree most of the time, as shown by the Pearson correlation coefficient between the two scores (0.71 across >1200 films). [But] using our earlier definition it’s easy to build a table of those films where the audience ending up really liking a film that was panned by critics:
Here we’re looking at those films which the critics loved, but paying audiences were then less enthused:
* Samuel Goldwyn
As we think for ourselves, we might recall that it was on this date in 1932 that New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker”s “We Want Beer” parade was held. Prohibition was in it 12th year; and while that abstemious regime intended to end alcohol consumption, it had succeeded simply in pushing into speakeasies and other illegal settings. Government officials like Walker watched as gangsters got rich, while city and state tax coffers shrank. (The blow had been softened at the Federal level by the introduction of an income tax.)
Walker positioned his “legalize and tax beer” pitch as a stimulus package: increased tax revenue would mean more jobs. And in the depressed economy of the times, the argument resonated : an estimated crowd of 100,000 marched, pining not only for a cold one but also for for employment and an end to the violence and corruption borne of Prohibition. Similarly large crowds protested in Chicago and other major cities– all rallying behind a “Beer for Prosperity” battle cry. Soon the voices of the unemployed drowned out the buzz-and-revenue killing voices of the “drys.” Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election later that same year paved the way for The 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition; it was passed the following year.
[A portion of this post first appeared on Boing Boing, where your correspondent is a contributor]