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See! Critics Do Matter

By Dustin Rowles | Comment Diversions | June 16, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Comment Diversions | June 16, 2010 |

I see a lot of films. I see a lot of very bad films I see because I’m reviewing them. I also see quite a few great films that I’m not assigned to review. There is also the occasional bad film that I’ll watch even though I’m not reviewing it because I want to see how bad it really is. Those are usually the critic-proof movies, although I find that I watch fewer and fewer of those where I’m not meant to review them. After you’ve seen enough train wrecks, you begin to lose interest in rubbernecking.

However, there is a whole other subset of films where a review from a trusted critic will definitely determine whether or not I see that movie. I saw three movies just last week, in fact, that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen were it not for the solid reviews those films received from my colleagues, here. On all three counts, I’m glad that I did, too. Those three films, in general, fell under the category of films that I’d only see because of a review: A movie that looks stupid in trailers but gets a surprisingly strong review (The A-Team), a movie that sort of flies under the radar or is ignored because of bigger movies coming out that weekend (Splice), and of course, small independent films you’d probably only even know about because of a review.

The point I’m trying to make, and one I hope I’m making without coming off as self-indulgent, is this: Despite what the press might have you believe, critics do matter. Maybe not in every case — Sex and the City still managed $50 million in the first five days — but for a certain kind of film, a good review is the best advertising out there. It’s how we find small indies or discover otherwise overlooked films.

So today’s comment diversion asks this: What’s the last movie you saw because of a review? It doesn’t have to be one of our reviews — a review from any outlet will be fine. And were you glad you listened to that asshole critic?

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.