We have all been guilty of criticizing films that make their way into the theater. Seeing a certain actor, story, or director immediately has us feeling turned on or off. In the same vein, sometimes online film critics can be overly harsh or overzealous in their comments about new movies.
One of the loudest voices in film commenting, is the aggregate movie rating site, Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes features so many unique critics, that sometimes scores can be a little wonky when compared to our personal taste.
This list will dive into some of Rotten Tomatoes scores that don’t necessarily match up with the content material. With many upcoming blockbusters to look forward to, let’s remember where we just came from. Here’s ten 2018 movies with the wrong Rotten Tomatoes scores.
1. The Happytime Murders
The Happytime Murders was directed by master puppeteer Jim Henson’s son, Brian Henson. The film was marketed as an adult puppet movie with the tag line, “No Sesame. All Street.” The juxtaposition of crude jokes and semi-nostalgic puppetry did not garner expected attention at the box office. While the opening weekend grossed $950,000 in the United States and Canada, the expected gross earnings were targeted at $15 million.
On top of that, Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a harsh score of 23% on the Tomatometer. This of course, was the rating given with a low review count of 228. Perhaps if more people saw the movie, it would have supplementary reviews leading to higher ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
While The Happytime Murders is no film classic, it certainly has more merit to it than its Rotten Tomatoes score would lead one to believe. In fact, the ratings for the film are higher on other websites. IMDB gives it a 5.3 out of 10, which I find more on par with the film.
Facebook graciously gives it a 4.5 out of 5, much higher than any other source. With a star-studded cast of Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks, The Happytime Murders deserves more than a measly 23%. Ignoring the cast, the film’s theme of acceptance should draw in a higher score given the current political climate alone.
2. The Meg
The Meg is the latest film venture by director Jon Turteltaub. It tells the story of a megalodon being accidently released from the depths of a trench after divers break through a layer of hydrogen sulfide in an attempt to study ocean life below. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a weak score of 45% on the Tomatometer. I think most audience members took the film too seriously and let that affect the rating online.
While the film stars action icon Jason Statham, it is not the typical testosterone driven exploit flick. The Meg was meant to be seen as a fun, science fiction film rather than a terrifying look at one of the water’s greatest beasts.
The title alone, “The Meg”, has a silly connotation to it. If one were selling the fear or action of the film, the title would have a beefier name like Deep Terror. Because the film was more of a campy science fiction film, evident by the addition of Rainn Wilson as the selfish billionaire, The Meg deserves a higher score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Directed by Jeff Tomsic, Tag is a 2018 comedy based on a true story about competitive friends. The premise revolves around five lifelong friends that play an annual game of tag to stay connected with each other. One of the friends, Jerry, has never been “it” in the game, and the other four friends use the 101-minute running time to tag their friend at his upcoming wedding. Rotten tomatoes gave the movie a 57% score on the Tomatometer.
The film stars trusty fan favorites like Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress, and Jake Johnson. The “untaggable” Jerry is even played by A list actor Jeremy Renner. While the film has an all-star comedy cast, the chemistry is stale between all parties involved.
The cast is also forced to play roles that don’t develop well throughout the movie, and thus heavily relies on the extreme behavior of the game to keep the audience entertained. The only saving grace of the film is Jeremy Renner, who plays the tongue-in-cheek action role with great comedic timing. Tag definitely deserves a lower score on the Tomatometer.
4. The Little Stranger
The Little Stranger was directed by Lenny Abrahamson, the man behind Room (2015) and Frank (2014). Going from directing a black comedy to a drama, it was natural for Abrahamson to try his hand at a dramatic horror film next. The Little Stranger tells the story of a doctor called to care for a patient at the haunted Hundred Hall. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 65% on the Tomatometer.
Despite the film being led by Domhnall Gleeson, a familiar face to Abrahamson fans, the slow delivery and lack of thrilling scenes in this gothic drama leaves The Little Stranger dry. The dialogue exchange in the movie is choppy at best, with no flow between characters. Each actor seems to be acting above the scene rather than in it.
The Little Stranger aims to achieve what The Woman in Black (2011) could not – a quiet, gothic horror that relies on mystery and atmosphere. However, the blank scenes left audience members desiring more. This film deserves a gold star for effort, but a lower score on the Tomatometer.
5. Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Directed by Stefano Sollima, Sicario: Day of the Soldado comes three years after the first film in the series. The story continues with tensions at the United States and Mexico border, and welcomes Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro back into the mix.
The character acting from both Brolin and Del Toro is unmatched by the rest of the cast, and heightened during intense scenes of brutality and violence. Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie a score of 63% on the Tomatometer.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado has moments of brilliance, but falls hard in comparison to its predecessor. With the absence of past director Denis Villeneuve, and a moral compass in Emily Blunt, the film’s grit seems overdone and unnecessary.
The typical explosive shots and aggressive characters ring true of any given action film from the past decade. Sicario: Day of the Soldado deserves a lower score on Rotten Tomatoes for its trite direction and failure to keep up the originality of Sicario (2015).