Sunday, September 14, 2014

How Does IMDB Influence Your Choice In Movie Watching?

I know that when I look at the rating system on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes or even the Metacritic aggregate, I understand that I am looking at biased opinions of others who may or may not understand the genre, the context of the film or even what I like when I go see a film. Cinema is art and is subjective, yet I also know that many people who love to go to the movies, find the cost prohibiting, and therefore, must make relatively sound financial investment on the time they sit in a theater. Watching trailers is always a good idea, but one must be forewarned, the trailer is an advertisement showing off some of the best scenes in the film. Unfortunately that leaves the rest of the film with less than the best scenes.  Even that statement is subjective. Looking at the score on IMDB is also a risk because as noted before, there is no real standard for why a user votes for how many stars a film should get.  

We live in a world where the technology of the internet allows everyone to have a vote on a subject.  The real intent for Amazon and IMDB is to allow the user a sense of participation. This is the century of Web 2.0 and as much as IMDB serves the populace, the goal for Amazon (owners of IMDB and Box Office Mojo) is to help influence the sales of digital downloads, Blu-rays and DVDs. Keep that in mind. 

So, where does that leave us? Do we turn to critic reviews from major newspapers?  Even then it is still a crap shoot. Although some of the folks that become critics are educated in film aesthetics, it doesn't necessarily mean they understand what is necessarily entertaining. Also, genre films usually take a beating because these critics typically review for the average mainstream person. They don't really understand horror, or any of the many sub-genres of Science Fiction. Like anything in this world that we invest our money in, and have a passion about, one probably can use these rating systems as a gauge. I think finding a film critic or reviewer for each genre (comedy, drama, sci-fi, and horror) who understands and is passionate about those genres, is also a way to judge perhaps not the quality of a film, but whether it is entertaining for someone like you. If you find that reviewer and follow their advice, must still understand that as a viewer, you are ultimately accountable for your choice. IMDB also offers 'external reviews' on their site and in many cases; the reviews are geared mostly toward that genre.

Overall, when it comes to any form of artistic expression, one cannot say that the book, film, or painting is good or bad. One can only say that they liked it or not. Talk to friends about a film, look at the ratings from the various sites, look up the film reviews with the genre as the keyword, and get a feel for what people are saying. Ultimately, you decide to see a film and you like it, tell others. If you found the film enjoyable, tell other people why you enjoyed it. If you hated the film, say why you didn’t care for it. Be specific if you can, it just helps others in making their own decisions. Either way, I think it is better to be a participant in the cinematic discussion, than just being a bystander.