Sunday, March 26, 2017

Who's Setting Off The Irony-O-Meter This Week: Brett Ratner

This week film director Brett Ratner lashed out at aggregate movie review site Rotten Tomatoes, saying it was destroying Hollywood. Uh-oh. The Irony-O-Meter's starting to beep!

In an interview at the Sun Valley Film Festival, Ratner said that he had the utmost respect for traditional film critics, but complained that sites like Rotten Tomatoes reduce a film to nothing more than a score. 
Said Ratner:
"The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. I think it’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman V Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful.”
Ah. So there we have the reason for Mr. Ratner's outrage. His film company, RatPac Entertainment (oy gevalt!) co-financed the debacle that was Batman V Superman. The 2016 movie grossed almost $900 million worldwide, but only got a 27% "Fresh" score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Apparently Ratner's butt-hurt that the movie he helped finance made a huge profit, but wasn't universally beloved. Big deal! He made his money back and more, so what the hell does he care if people don't like it? He had nothing to do with making it, other than writing a check! The Irony-O-Meter's in the red!

Ratner went on to say:
"People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck."
Wait... is Ratner saying Batman V Superman was good because a lot of people but a ton of effort into making it? Jesus Christ! That doesn't mean anything! I could spend twenty years painting a canvas with my foot, but it would still look like crap when I was done. Having a large film crew doesn't automatically make a movie great.

And a few sentences ago he praised Pauline Kael and the art of movie criticism, which informed people whether a film was worth seeing or not. But then he denounces Rotten Tomatoes for doing the exact same thing. Sure, Kael and her ilk may have done it with more style and finesse, but they provided the same service.

I guess it's never occurred to Mr. Ratner that some movies are just bad, and it's OK to point it out.

I'm not sure Ratner is the best person to be speaking out against something ruining the movie business. Brett Ratner is the "visionary" filmmaker who gave us cinematic gems such as Money Talks, Rush Hour, The Family Man, Rush Hour 2, Red Dragon, After The Sunset, X-Men: The Last Stand (widely regarded as the worst film in the series), Rush Hour 3, Tower Heist, Movie 43 (the Happy Birthday segment) and Hercules (the one starring the Rock).

With an "impressive" resume like that, you can see why Brett Ratner accusing something of destroying Hollywood is the very definition of irony. It's like Donald Trump calling someone else a fat, bloated liar. Uh-oh! The Irony-O-Meter's gonna blow! Ratner just made it explode!

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