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Toy Story 3 and the Pointless Idiocy of Rotten Tomatoes

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | June 21, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | June 21, 2010 |

Despite the harsh criticism our own Dan Carlson leveled at Toy Story 3 — insinuating that it wasn’t as good as other Pixar films (gasp!) and that it often felt “too pedestrian to have sprung from the creative well that’s made some of the best animated films of all time” (ouch!) — somehow the Disney/Pixar machine suffered the stinging rebukes and withering criticism to put up $109 million over the weekend. I’d have felt terrible if Dan’s review had somehow prevented Pixar from its biggest opening of all time. I think the next time a reviewer here suggests that a movie doesn’t quite live up to the unprecedented standards of its predecessors, we’ll probably have to just shoot that critic in the head and find someone more likely to agree with Roger Ebert, who suggested that Toy Story 3 lacked “the almost eerie humanity that infused the earlier Toy Story saga,” or The Philadelphia Inquirer, which wrote that “the glow of originality has dissipated.”

Oh, wait … doesn’t that approximate what Dan said? And aren’t Ebert and Steven Rea on RottenTomatoes? Oh, you mean: They had reservations about the film and their reviews still counted toward the 98 percent approval rating? Hmph. I guess I didn’t understand how Rotten Tomatoes worked. I thought if it had a 98 percent approval rating, then 98 percent of critics loved it unconditionally. You mean to tell me that some of the reviews that inform the Tomatometer have words? With thoughts and quibbles and reservations? Oh, that’s absurd! Why would anyone want to read the thoughts of a critic when a percentage number tells us all we need to know? I hate to think that Dan’s review, which so many of you disagreed with, might have provoked a thought or two or generated any sort of discussion. That’s why I prefer the Tomatometer: You can’t argue with percentage numbers, people! They’re infallible! It’s science. And who would want to have a thoughtful discussion when it’s so much easier to point to an RT number?

In fact, I think we should probably start assigning stars or grades to our reviews, too. So people don’t have to bother with the words … so many letters! Nuance is for pussies! What would you say, Dan? That about a two-and-a-half star review? So, a half star difference between yours and Ebert’s assessment, and Ebert is part of the 98 percent approval. How is it possible that only a half star separates Dan and Ebert, and yet Ebert is part of the 98 percent, while Dan would be part of the 2 percent? Oh, that makes my brain hurt, and obviously, I don’t like to put a lot of effort into thought, which is why I use the Tomatometer in the first place. Amirite?

Meanwhile, Jonah Hex tanked at the box office, debuting at number eight this week, amassing a paltry $5 million, making it one of the biggest bombs in box-office history. That’s obviously because the critics hated it because if the critics hate it, then it has no chance in hell (am I right, Transformers?) Hex only scored a 14 percent on the Tomatometer, which must mean it was only 14 percent good, based on my understanding of the Tomatometer. And yet, Prisco’s review suggested it was zero percent good. I guess we should probably fire him, too, since his opinion didn’t sync perfectly with the rest of the reviewing community.

In fact, from now on: New Pajiba Policy! We wait until all the other reviews are out, and then we write a review to suit the Tomatometer reading. And then we write a second one to sync with the Metacritic ratings. And then, a third one for all those people who disagree with RT and Metacritic. And then a fourth review as a rebuttal. And, because the burden is on the critic to demonstrate that it’s a bad movie and not on the movie to demonstrate that it’s good, only if the evidence that a movie is bad is beyond a reasonable doubt will we give it a bad review.

To infinity and beyond!