And with films themselves: To prepare or not to prepare?

Posted August 2, 2011 6:35 pm  

Contrary to my approach to travel, I try never to read anything before seeing a movie.  I feel reviews and promotional articles may contaminate the experience of a film. Instead, I choose films through, a site that averages ratings from print and on-line reviewers, weighting for quality of publication. I look to see how particular reviewers rate a film, having discovered over the years those I tend to agree with. Conversely, when I feel strongly negative about a film, I note the reviewers who give it a passing grade and black list them!  Metacritic gives one sentence synopses of the reviews, so you can quickly gauge if the criticism strikes you as relevant. You can also look at the spread of grades: a few untrustworthy reviewers trashing an off-beat film can ruin its average (but indicate it is controversial). Most often, though, the straight numerical rating is meaningful. The grades are color coded: generally, anything not green, is not worth seeing. After I’ve seen a film, I may go back to read the reviews. Unfortunately, the site has recently been “improved” to its serious detriment.

There are, however, exceptions to my rule. Wouldn’t it be sad to see The Misfits and not know that Miller wrote the film for Marilyn, that it was her and Clark Gable’s last films, and that she was struggling with her demons all through the production? Now, how to get the facts—without the opinions?

By the way, I also don’t read prefaces to books unless they are written by the author, until after I’ve finished the book.


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