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Old 02-10-05, 09:00 PM   #1
PopcornTreeCt
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Early bias ruins movie reviews

When someone gives a movie review and tell us straight from the beginning that "I was expecting this to be crap" or "I was really looking forward to this" It ruins the review. While I don't let it ruin a movie for me. I try to see a movie before I read the word of mouth or hype about it. Pre-conceived notions about films due ruin for a lot of people and I think they should be left out of reviews. Everyone on DVD Talk said Million Dollar Baby was great and I didn't let that sway me one way or the other. I saw it and yep it was great. Whereas a lot people read about a movie that everyone loves and then they in turn expect it to be great and it doesn't live up to their expectations.
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Old 02-10-05, 09:19 PM   #2
Dr. DVD
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I guess I see your point.

I have read some reviews that were not only "bad" reviews for the movie itself, but in the way they were written as well. The New Yorker had a review of Phantom of the Opera that bashed it relentlessly. While I didn't think much of the movie myself, I had already seen it when I read the review and didn't agree with the critic. The first paragraph was a rant against Andrew Lloyd Weber himself, which more or less meant that the writer had a pre-conceived notion and tipped me off that the movie wouldn't get a fair review.
In short, the review really didn't have much validity IMO. What's sad is that there are a lot of critics who feel the need to start their reviews with "I have never understood why this filmmaker always does this or that..." or "I am no fan of this person's work..." Once they say that, I know the review will not be one I can really count on to accurately critique the flick.
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Old 02-10-05, 09:19 PM   #3
Sessa17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
When someone gives a movie review and tell us straight from the beginning that "I was expecting this to be crap" or "I was really looking forward to this" It ruins the review.
I think lines like this only ruin the review sometimes, if it is honest, which of coarse there is no way of knowing, when someone starts a review "I was expecting this to be crap" & actually likes the movie, then I think that adds to the review, ephasizing how good the movie must have been. However any review that starts "I was expecting this to be crap" unless written by a 13 year old, already loses my interest for the lack of something more creative to say.
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Old 02-10-05, 09:36 PM   #4
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I was really looking forward to this thread, but I was very disappointed with the results.
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Old 02-10-05, 10:11 PM   #5
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Well, I'd prefer a reviewer be honest about his biases then not. Granted, hopefully a critic will be able to view a film as objectively as possible that a subjective analysis can get, but most important to me in a review is it being well written and clear in its reasoning of why or why not they enjoyed that film. While I don't care for rambling explanations of the state of the union like in Harry Knowles' review, I would hope that a critic, given a preconceived bias or notion that did influence their review, would make note of that. A critic's job is to best explain why they think the film was good or bad, not explain it as if it were some objective analysis where there is an obvious right or wrong. Giving some mention to overriding factors that may have influenced their opinion is not, in my opinion, a bad idea. When it comes to casual reviews, well, I don't put much stock into them anyway.
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Old 02-11-05, 11:22 AM   #6
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I like to hear that. Every movie that comes out I'm either looking forward to, indifferent toward, or don't think I'll like it.

So I like to see if the reviewer is in the same frame of mind as me going into it. I mean if the reviewer was looking forward to something I don't think I'll like, I still assume I probably won't like it even if he says it's great. But if he says he didn't think he'd like it but ended up loving it, I might be more likely to see it.
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Old 02-11-05, 11:30 AM   #7
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I would rather not see that opening line on a review, it really shows me that there's "a possibility" of a bias, and that kills the review for me.
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Old 02-11-05, 11:39 AM   #8
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I don't bother with reviews anymore. This forum declares whether a film will be good or bad just from early casting announcments.
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Old 02-11-05, 12:06 PM   #9
Dr. DVD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groucho
I don't bother with reviews anymore. This forum declares whether a film will be good or bad just from early casting announcments.

Casting announcements? Shit! We declare it from the moment it's in story development.
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Old 02-11-05, 12:17 PM   #10
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it definitely discredits the review (unless you agree with it ) but if the critic is biased, i'd prefer that they state it so that i can use that to "weigh" against the rest of the review.

Last edited by cygnet74; 02-11-05 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 02-11-05, 02:51 PM   #11
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When people wonder why TITANIC did so well although many snobs hate it, I'm just reminded of the "Negative pre-buzz" that was out before the movie even hit. So when the movie made tons of money and the public loved it in spite of critics, it was like the whole cast said "Fuck you" to the haters.

Anyway, what screws me up is POSITIVE MOVIE BIAS,as opposed to just good reviews, or "HYPE" that has my expectations so high that when I finally see a movie with this kinda bias I'm often let down. This happened to me with Ghostbusters and Million Dollar Baby. Both were great movies but IMHO, neither was as awesome as many believed them to be.
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Old 02-11-05, 02:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giantrobo
When people wonder why TITANIC did so well although many snobs hate it, I'm just reminded of the "Negative pre-buzz" that was out before the movie even hit. So when the movie made tons of money and the public loved it in spite of critics, it was like the whole cast said "Fuck you" to the haters.
I thought they did that at the Oscars.
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Old 02-11-05, 03:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilshalo
I thought they did that at the Oscars.

I don't do The Oscars.
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Old 02-11-05, 03:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giantrobo
When people wonder why TITANIC did so well although many snobs hate it, I'm just reminded of the "Negative pre-buzz" that was out before the movie even hit. So when the movie made tons of money and the public loved it in spite of critics, it was like the whole cast said "Fuck you" to the haters.
Well, in all fairness, Titanic did very well with the critics (and obviously the movie audiences) and also, of course, all those awards shows. I think you're confusing the very vocal negative backlash the film has received in the following years after its release by people on the internet who are not professional critics. When it came out though, critics in general were very impressed, and critical sentiment was very positive. Rottentomatos is a good way to see that...most of those reviews represent when it came out. But, the vocal hatred by some people on the net is not to be confused with actual working critics who in general praised Titanic upon its release.

This, of course, is interesting to note, as Titanic initially had terrible buzz before it came out. But good early word overcame that bad buzz about it being the next Waterworld. Which by the way was really a film hurt by negative buzz. It was hardly the disaster the press made it out to be, yet to this day people still call it things like Fishtar and biggest bomb of all time, even though it was profitable and far far away from a bomb and also, imo, a decent actioner.

Last edited by jaeufraser; 02-11-05 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 02-11-05, 03:29 PM   #15
Shannon Nutt
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ALL reviewers go into a film with certain biases. Being up front about them in your review is just a way of being honest with the reader. And it doesn't make the opinion given in the review any more or less valid - it just helps the reader put the reviewer's comments in a better perspective.
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Old 02-11-05, 03:32 PM   #16
Shannon Nutt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giantrobo
When people wonder why TITANIC did so well although many snobs hate it, I'm just reminded of the "Negative pre-buzz" that was out before the movie even hit. So when the movie made tons of money and the public loved it in spite of critics, it was like the whole cast said "Fuck you" to the haters.
TITANIC had negative "buzz" not because people had actually seen the film, but because it was the most expensive movie ever made, and the previous most expensive movie made (which also took place on the "Water"...hint, hint) was a distster - both critically and (at least in the US) financially.
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Old 02-11-05, 04:13 PM   #17
Gil Jawetz
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Clearly from this thread you can see that some readers like this sort of admission and some don't. Clearly you can't please everyone. What you can do, however, is be honest. As a reviewer that's the only weapon we have. WIth the availability of so many media sources via the internet, publications, cable, etc... people have gotten kind of savvy in the sense that they all think they can do better than those they read, or at least they think they can detail what it is that makes a good writer. There's no real formula. If someone who didn't like the reviews here (or anywhere else) decided they were going to take a stab at writing an in depth review they might discover that it's harder than they thought -- or not. Tough to say. Sometimes coming up with something fresh to say about the countless movies we review is a challenge. But if we can at least offer up our honest feelings, regardless of what the readers might be predicted to say, at least we've done that.

As for the question of bias, this comes up all the time. We're not reporters. This isn't the news. It's opinion writing. The whole point is a certain element of bias. (The obvious exception is the technical portion of the review, which you weren't talking about, but even there opinion is a huge part of the equation.)
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Old 02-11-05, 11:09 PM   #18
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I don't read movie reviews until after I've seen the movie.

I'd rather go intuitively on my instincts, based on cast, director, general feeling, and "star ratings" and risk seeing a lemon, than risk reading spoilers.
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