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What does this reviewer admiting he gives favourable reviews for personal reward mean for us all?

March 11th, 2019 by Marc Comments

Ok, so, I have debated if I should post this as I try to keep FTN neutral on all things in the nerdsphere.

I will, of course, be honest if I like or dislike something – but I leave the politics of it all out.

It’s not for me to comment on and I detest getting involved in the nonsense that revolves around so many movies nowadays.

I don’t believe not liking Ghostbusters 2016 necessarily makes you sexist (though, of course there are some sexists out there) just as I don’t believe thinking Idris Elba should not play James Bond makes you racist (again, I’m sure that those people DO exist).

I happen to hold both those opinions and I know for a fact I’m neither sexist nor racist.

I’ve seen division tearing fandoms apart over the last few year – Ghostbusters 2016/Black Panther/Doctor Who and even the untouchable Star Wars have all seen their fandoms torn apart over that last few years.

And it’s disgusting, devastating and saddening.

I’ve watched sites and news sources posting stories deliberately created to feed this division and I think it’s absolutely shameful and, as someone who trained as a journalist and outside of this site – which I do because I love, and make no real profit from – I work in newspapers for my 9-5, I fear this is the downfall of responsible journalism and reporting.

But one movie that has created more division and, dare I say it, hatred over the past few weeks is Captain Marvel.

In fact, no, I don’t believe that’s exactly true… most of the anger towards the movie is aimed not at the movie, but the actress in the role.

Now, there are, of course, two sides to every story but I have heard and seen the things that Brie Larson has said that has annoyed people. Are they right? That’s not for me to say, but for an actress to target a group of people several times in what could be interpreted as negative rhetoric, seems just, well, silly and inflammatory to me.

Especially when the target is provably the majority of the fans who will be paying to see your movie.

I’ll let you read between the lines on all this because, as I say, I don’t want to be political – I hate even writing about this on here.

But one thing that has become quite apparent is that the website Rotten tomatoes (RT) HAS been working to keep Disney happy with regards to Captain Marvel.

When Larson made the comments, fans – or trolls, if you prefer – flooded RT’s ‘want to see’ section with negative comments, making it clear they did not wish to see the movie.

Then, just this weekend past, the site’s user review section had the movie sitting at 33%, which is very poor for Marvel. Now, a lot of the reviews may well have been trolls or bots, but RT over the weekend erased some negative reviews.

No, not just some, they removed 54,000 reviews.

54,000.

And the best bit? It only raised the user score to 36% at the time. This would, to me, mean that on the whole, fans/viewers are not loving the movie. Which is fine… but it doesn’t mean it makes them all ‘women-hating man babies’.

Now, for the sake of fairness, our reviewer DID like the movie and gave it a 3 out of 5 score (here).

But one thing that has been noticeable – and, admittedly, not just with this movie but with many movies – is the there seems to be a massive disconnect between critics and fans these days.

Alita: Battle Angel, for example: Citics gave it 60% – fans gave it 94%.

Captain Marvel currently sits with fans at 56% (on the rise) and 80% with critics.

But there has long been rumours that RT favours certain movies – just look at The Last Jedi 91% with critics 44% with fans. And there’s only so many times you can hear these things until you start to believe there may be something to it.

And now SyFy Wire’s Dany Roth – one of the critics whose score contributes to the RT Critics score has revealed that yes, certain movies and studios get better reviews for reasons of personal gain.

Basically, the critics know that if they review a bad movie favourably, then they’ll get early reviews, interviews and all the good things that will get them out there first in the community they clearly have nothing but disdain for.

“Here’s the actual reality. Here’s where we actually are in the industry if you want to talk about quote access media. Every single person that wants to have access to things early, that wants to get access to things so that traffic is drawn to their site will on occasion. Everybody at this podcast, everybody in our industry occasionally has to play softball, occasionally has to look the other way a little bit. Everybody has to do it. In the sense that I hated a movie, but I won’t say that I hated a movie. Or an actor behaved a sort of way, and you don’t want to put it out there that that happened,” Roth says in the interview (below), “because you might not get the next review.

“To some degree everybody in our industry that is part of this quote on quote access media has to decide which battles they want to pick. Which of the ones where my voice is the one that has to get said.”

Now, I run this site and it’s a small, personal one.

I’m thankful for every reader, every comment on social media and every time – rare as it is – I meet someone who knows what Following the Nerd is, but I swear this… no matter how big or small my site gets, I will never comprise my opinion for a scoop, review or interview.

Anyone who does has no integrity. And I don’t care who reads this. Dany Roth, you should be ashamed… what you and all these others do feeds this division in our community. You’re toxic and I don’t care what you have to defend your stance.

And… just before I sign off, let me leave this with you: if all the anger over Captain Marvel came down to men threatened by strong females, would the same audience be praising Wonder Woman or Alita: Battle Angel?

No, of course not.

Fandoms are still good. Let’s not let studios, actors, sites, news, social media and all the other guilty parties divide us.

We are fans – Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek… all these things have good and bad, but let’s never forget we’re all in it together.

I love you all, I feel grateful for every person who reads this and I will never, ever compromise my position for personal gain.

Now, let’s hope others can do the same.

#StrongerTogether

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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….