Rotten Tomatoes

In the days leading up to the release of The Dark Knight Rises, Rotten Tomatoes found itself the gravitational Bizarro-world center of the film’s anticipation. In the comments section of the site’s review blurbs, negative – or “rotten,” in the parlance of the site – reviews were met with hyperbolic rage, sexist dismissal, and even death threats. The comments feature on the site was subsequently disabled, accompanied with a message from the Editor-in-Chief detailing the entire affair. Fingers were pointed directly and exclusively (and justifiably) at the commenters themselves for such disruptive and hateful rhetoric (though it should be noted that there were also plenty of comments that were altogether unremarkable). The Internet’s usual suspects – the power of anonymity/avatars to protect the identity of hateful speakers; the unchallenged given that webspeak is somehow inherently hyperbolic; the understanding that there have always been stupid, angry reactionaries, but the Internet simply gives them a public voice – were on full display. But in retrospect, several weeks after the furor has died down, it’s clear that there’s one question seemingly nobody asked in response, one that has at various moments plagued those who love and appreciate the art of film criticism: does the design of Rotten Tomatoes itself not invite exactly the type of high-decibel, absolutist discussion that the site subsequently attempted to quiet? When Matt Atichy wrote “This Is Why We Can’t have Nice Things,” shouldn’t those who value film criticism question the assumption within this response that the services provided […]



For once, the merging of two online brands may actually benefit the end-user. That is, if they can come through on the great promise they’ve made.

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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