rotten tomatoes

Since the first movie reviews were published, film criticism has largely been dominated by men – specifically white men. But times are changing, and review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes is taking new steps to ensure that a variety of diverse voices will factor into its all-powerful Tomatometer rating system. Read about the site’s new changes below.

Rotten Tomatoes sent out a press release this morning announcing revamped criteria for accepting critics who can contribute to the Tomatometer rating for movies and television series.

Rotten Tomatoes’ revamped criteria have an increased focus on the critic’s individual qualifications and body of work, rather than basing Tomatometer approval primarily on their publication or employer. This strategy will allow for a wider and more diverse pool of critics’ perspectives to be included in the Tomatometer.

In addition, the criteria have expanded beyond the written review to include newer media platforms. Now individuals and outlets that produce reviews for podcasts and digital video series with a strong social media presence and audience engagement will be considered for the Tomatometer. Most recently, over 200 new Tomatometer- approved critics have been added with many more to come.

This new criteria sounds like it will benefit freelance writers who are published at a variety of locations, and it also reflects Rotten Tomatoes’ understanding that the world of criticism isn’t confined to print anymore. Written reviews no longer lord over every other type of criticism at Rotten Tomatoes – the site realizes that a consumer can get just as much insight, enlightenment, information, and entertainment from a podcast discussion as they can from a piece in print.

The Tomatometer is not a pure reflection of a film or show’s overall quality (entertainment is subjective, after all), but a collection of opinions measuring whether critics find a movie “fresh” or “rotten”. I have some personal gripes with Rotten Tomatoes and how it has empowered lazy audiences to judge a piece of entertainment without engaging with it in a meaningful way, but it’s unfair to blame Rotten Tomatoes alone. Their Tomatometer ratings are still very important for filmmakers and studios, which is why this change is a big step in the right direction.

We’ve written a lot about how representation matters in Hollywood, whether it’s in big movies like Black Panther or Crazy Rich Asians or in the voting bodies of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But representation is also extremely important to film criticism – otherwise, you just have voices with a very similar perspective amplified into the world. That’s not a great way to foster creativity, and it’s also boring. I want to read a huge swath of opinions about a movie from tons of different perspectives, because it can open my eyes to things I’d never considered before and teach me things about the world and its people that can impact my life moving forward.

New critics will be spotlighted on Tomatometer Critics home page, so if you have a minute, maybe head over there, read some reviews from names you don’t recognize, and see if you find a new critic to add to your regular rotation.

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