5 Unsung Heroes Who Made Your Favorite Movie Fight Scenes

Not unlike any given trip to IKEA, action movies are chock-full of fights, the difference being that someone has to choreograph all those epic punches and spin-kicks. And since most of us don’t sit through a film’s credits without the promise of, say, Captain America staggering in front of a green screen to advertise a movie that won’t be out for three years, we’d like to take a moment to highlight a few of the cinematic artists who crafted some of our favorite movie fight scenes. Such as …

5

Thank Jonathan Eusebio For John Wick, Black Panther, The Avengers, And More

Loosely based on the story of everyone who watched Marley & Me and then angrily punched a hole in their drywall, John Wick (aka Scruffy Matrix) finds Keanu Reeves hitting and shooting his way to get to the baddies who offed his puppy dog. The fantastic action scenes were choreographed by Filipino American martial artist Jonathan Eusebio, who also worked on the sequel (titled John Wick: Chapter 2, perhaps in an effort to make literature seem more action-filled and exciting).


Summit EntertainmentThis time, he’s killing people for ruining all his shirts in the last movie.


Eusebio has done lots of great work, even in movies hardly anyone saw. Like Hitman: Agent 47, an adaptation of the successful video game series in which Mr. Clean has a midlife crisis, becomes a contract killer, and ransacks Donald Trump’s suit closet. Take this scene, wherein the titular Mr. 47 gets knocked onto a subway train, then rolls onto the tracks …


20th Century Fox“Aw, that was my tra-” “Don’t worry, I’ll help you catch it!”


… leading to a deadly bout of hand-to-hand combat that also involves navigating speeding trains and puddles of urine.


20th Century Fox



20th Century FoxAt least, we hope that’s only urine …


Eusebio has also worked extensively as either a stunt or fight coordinator in Marvel movies such as Deadpool 2, The Avengers, Doctor Strange, The Wolverine, and the cultural juggernaut that is Black Panther. The latter featured giant battles, an extended car chase, and the only casino brawl in history not caused by booze, money, or Celine Dion tickets.


Marvel StudiosPlus the deadliest use of a wig in a non-Steven-Seagal fight scene.


He also worked on the Expendables series, which is presumably the usual process, albeit with more Metamucil breaks. Perhaps most impressively, he was the uncredited fight coordinator in the obligatory “that escalated quickly” sequence in Anchorman 2. Give this dude his Lifetime Achievement Award already.

4

The Guy Who Did They Live Also Turned Matt Damon Into A Badass In The Bourne Series

They Live is John Carpenter’s classic 1988 film about a pair of shades that allow a drifter to see the secret skeleton-faced alien overlords controlling our planet, and until they make a biopic about Bono or David Caruso, no pair of sunglasses will be so damn important in a movie. Perhaps the most memorable part of They Live is an extended fight scene between star and professional wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David, in which they punch each other in a filthy alley for roughly the length of The Eagles’ “Hotel California.”


Universal PicturesThis is your periodic reminder that Piper thought all of this happened for real.


Carpenter delegated the choreography of the scene to his frequent collaborator Jeff Imada, with only the request that “three specific wrestling moves” be a part of it. He doesn’t say which ones, but they probably didn’t involve slamming your opponent into concrete littered with candy wrappers and used condoms.


Universal PicturesIf you go frame by frame, you can see a full pack of bubble gum falling out of his pocket.


But Imada didn’t dissolve into a puddle of water like the aliens at the end of that movie (we think, it’s been a while). His name is on a ton of classic films before and after They Live, including Lethal Weapon, Rambo, Blade Runner, and Charlie Sheen’s magnum opus Hot Shots! Part Deux. More recently, he was the fight choreographer on The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum — two of the ones starring Matt Damon, not his understudy Jeremy Renner.


Universal PicturesAlthough it’s hard to tell who it is with that camerawork.


Imada even did stellar work on otherwise-forgettable movies, such as this epic fight in The Book Of Eli, in which a post-apocalyptic Denzel Washington battles a horde of chainsaw-wielding madmen …


Warner Bros. Pictures


… or the critically panned but occasionally kickass Green Hornet remake, featuring scenes seemingly meant to gaslight audiences into thinking their popcorn was laced with PCP.


Columbia PicturesOr something else, considering Seth Rogen is in this movie.


A way better fight coordinator than a script picker, Imada has also worked in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, After Earth, the Total Recall remake, a couple of Fast & Furious movies, and the Twilight franchise. So if you notice any especially skillful angst-filled werewolf-on-vampire punches, that’s probably due to his expertise.

3

The Transporter‘s Corey Yuen Has Been Kicking Asses For Almost 50 Years

The Transporter sounds like a Star Trek spinoff about the exciting lives of those poor saps who spend eight hours a day standing in a windowless room waiting for someone to decide to beam somewhere. But no, it’s a 2002 action movie starring Jason Statham, Qi Shu, and Jason Statham’s bare chest.


20th Century FoxAnd bare head.


Statham stars as Frank Martin, a guy who transports packages somehow even too shady for UPS. Of course, this allows for a multitude of scenes wherein he kicks the crap out of bad guys, and by metaphorical extension, male pattern baldness as a whole.


20th Century FoxThe famous scene where he interrupts a breakdance competition.


The Transporter was co-directed and choreographed by Corey Yuen, who has a laundry list of martial arts movie credits. Or rather, the laundry list of a hotel hosting a bedwetter’s convention, because this guy’s been making movies since the late ’60s, working with luminaries such as Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Sammo Hung. Yuen’s American directorial debut was No Retreat, No Surrender, which was also the first movie starring Jean Claude Van Damme (unless you count his performance as “Gay Karate Man” a few years earlier).

Behind the scenes, Van Damme was apparently straight up knocking the other actors unconscious. When Yuen chastised him for breaking character to check whether his scene partner was, you know, still alive, they shot a second take … whereupon Van Damme proceeded to knock him out yet again.

Also in Yuen’s filmography are the ’70s kung-fu flick 7 Grandmasters, featuring glorious swordplay like this …


Tokyo Shock


… and the friggin’ nuts Badges Of Fury from 2013. Sadly, it isn’t about anthropomorphic badges (or badgers) that are super angry.


Easternlight Films



Easternlight FilmsThough that wouldn’t be any less believable than the other scientific laws that govern this movie’s universe.


2

Yayan Ruhian And Iko Uwais From The Raid Also Popped Up In Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Like the frustrated daydreams of your apartment building’s super, the Indonesian action hit The Raid (subtitled “Redemption” in the U.S. so audiences wouldn’t think it was about bug spray) found a cop ass-kicking his way through a filthy high-rise — like Die Hard, if John McClane wasn’t a middle-aged former sitcom star. The movie concluded in a monumental fight scene only made better by grabbing a Nintendo controller and hurriedly mashing the buttons.


Sony Pictures Classics*play for full effect*


Written and directed by Gareth Evans, the fight choreography was done by stars Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian — who were so unknown at the time that Uwais was working as a “delivery guy for a phone company” when he met Evans. Of course, after the movie’s success, they soon followed it up with The Raid 2 (Re-Redemption?). It too was full of one insane action scene …


Sony Pictures Classics


… after another …


Sony Pictures ClassicsThose walls were originally white.


The pair’s post-Raid careers haven’t been as plentiful as you might think. While both of them appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, they disappointingly merely showed up to verbally threaten Han Solo, presumably because Harrison Ford is far too old to get kicked in the face.

Lucasfilm“Hi, we’re here to deliver your space phone book.”

But it turns out that wasn’t the only highly-anticipated sci-fi sequel the Raid guys worked on. They also showed up in Beyond Skyline! You know, the sequel to that alien invasion movie so low-budget that it was filmed in the director’s apartment. But with Uwais and Ruhian on board as actors as well as choreographers, Beyond Skyline has some surprisingly badass scenes …


Vertical Entertainment


… including one where Ruhian gets his arm ripped off by a damn alien and keeps fighting.


Vertical Entertainment“What’s the sound of one hand hacking?”


1

Road House Was Authentically Nuts Thanks To Benny “The Jet” Urquidez

Road House is a bonkers ’80s action movie starring Patrick Swayze as a bouncer who works to clean up a corrupt town while also roundhouse-kicking anyone under 21. In one of the most memorable fight scenes in any movie, Swayze has a beachside brawl that ends with him ripping out the other guy’s throat with his bare hands. Warning: The following clip is NSFW, unless you work as a bouncer in Missouri, in which case we have to assume this is business as usual.


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer“Come again!”


This cinematic gem was partly the work of fight coordinator Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, a champion kickboxer who somehow managed to forge a career as a tough guy even with an Elton-John-inspired nickname. Urquidez once claimed that he was challenged to a fight to the death in a Hong Kong warehouse. He also claims to have won the fight, but refused to kill, leading to an audience riot. Those deathmatch patrons can be real jerks.

Urquidez did the choreography for many more Hollywood movies, even managing to make Lou Diamond Phillips and Marky Mark seem like martial arts masters in The Big Hit, which concludes — in the most ’90s of fashions — in a fight inside a giant video store.


TriStar PicturesThe fight ends with Wahlberg using AOL disks as ninja stars.


Urquidez also performed in some movies. Here he is tussling with Jackie Chan:


Golden Harvest



Golden HarvestHow many of you can say you’ve had your nipples twisted by Jackie Chan? No more than 20.


And you might recognize him from Grosse Pointe Blank as rival hitman Felix La PuBelle, who tries to murder John Cusack at his high school reunion.


Touchstone PicturesWhich, if you’ve ever been to one of those things, would frankly come as a sweet release.


Urquidez landed that gig because he’s John Cusack’s kickboxing teacher, which is apparently a thing John Cusack does to say in shape so he can carry around all his boomboxes.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter, or check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Get to writing your own fight scenes with a beginner’s guide to Celtx.

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For more unsung heroes in the entertainment industry, check out 5 Big-Time Players In Your Fav Movies (Who Got NO CREDIT) and 5 Unknown People Who Secretly Made All Your Favorite Music.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25561_5-unsung-heroes-who-made-your-favorite-movie-fight-scenes.html

Scots are loving this kebab shop sign in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Thanos could use a deep fried kebab.
Image: marvel studios

Kebabs are good, but it’s a deep fried version that has got people talking.

If you haven’t seen the new Avengers: Infinity War, there happens to be a scene set in Edinburgh, Scotland where Elizabeth Olsen (who plays Wanda) and Paul Bettany (Vision) have a conversation front of a kebab shop.

But it’s not the conversation people are obsessing over. It’s the damn sign that says “WE WILL DEEP FRY YOUR KEBAB,” complete with a Scottish Saltire flag under it.

Yes, the sign actually says that.

So yeah, people think it’s pretty damn awesome. And by people, we’re pretty sure they’re just Scots, or at least Scots at heart.

OK, you’re probably wondering by now: Do people in Scotland actually deep fry kebabs? 

Well, the Scots deep fry a lot of things (hello, pizza crunch and deep-fried Mars bars), but it seems to be more of a joke about Scottish cuisine. 

But it wouldn’t be surprising if there was a chippy (a fish and chip shop) out there doing it. There was Glasgow’s Stonner Kebab from a few years back, which was a pork sausage wrapped in doner kebab meat, battered then fried. 

It’s also worth noting that the kebab shop in the movie, Hüsnü, was unfortunately only a film set. In real life, it’s a vintage jewellry store called Miss Katie Cupcake.

Being Scotland though, they’re probably hiding a deep fryer out back.

[h/t Junkee]

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/05/01/deep-fry-kebab-avengers/

Something Poked Holes In The Arctic, And We Can’t Figure Out What

Another week, another “strange sighting” in the Arctic ice. If it was one of those sites that constantly spot space mice, floating spoons, and Batman’s signal on Mars or pyramids in the Antarctic, then we’d obviously be raising a skeptical eyebrow right now. But it was NASA who spotted these unusual holes in the Arctic ice, so color us intrigued.

Operation IceBridge, despite sounding like something Jon Snow is planning for GoT’s final season, is NASA’s airborne mission that has been running for nine years, flying over both the Arctic and the Antarctic, photographing, mapping, and documenting the regions’ changing sea levels, land, and sea ice. 

On April 14, IceBridge mission scientist John Sonntag saw something he’d never seen before – and this is the guy who gave us the incredible photos of the cracks in the ice before the Larson C ice shelf broke off last summer – so he’s no stranger to the mysterious frozen landscape.

While flying over the eastern Beaufort Sea, Sonntag and the team spotted the curious shapes – circles with what looked like holes in the middle. “We saw these sorta-circular features only for a few minutes today,” Sonntag said. “I don’t recall seeing this sort of thing elsewhere.”

The image snapped was so curious it qualified as Earth Observatory’s April “puzzler”; each month they share curiosities with the public with the challenge to help identify or shed light on the subject and the chance to win NASA recognition, “credit and glory”.

The project scientists themselves have a few theories for what could have made these circles as some aspects are recognizable, but in all honesty, they’re still a little stumped.

content-1524479697-holes-annotated.jpg
John Sonntag/Operation IceBridge

“It’s definitely an area of thin ice, as you can see finger rafting near the holes and the color is gray enough to indicate little snow cover,” said IceBridge member Nathan Kurtz. However, “I’m not sure what kind of dynamics could lead to the semi-circle shaped features surrounding the holes. I have never seen anything like that before.”

One suggestion is the central holes are created by marine mammals like seals gnawing through the ice to create air holes as they appear similar to documented breathing holes created by ring and harp seals.

“The encircling features may be due to waves of water washing out over the snow and ice when the seals surface,” offered Walt Meier, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “Or it could be a sort of drainage feature that results from when the hole is made in the ice.”

Other suggestions include warm springs made from groundwater flowing from the mountains, or the warmer currents of the Beaufort Sea or the nearby Mackenzie River reaching the surface. The truth is, currently no one knows. We told you, intriguing!

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/nasa-cant-figure-out-whats-making-these-strange-circles-in-the-arctic-ice/

10 high schoolers who had cardboard cutout prom dates

Happy prom season to people everywhere and inanimate objects that look like people! 

Taking a date to prom isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, your date bails last minute. Sometimes, over the top promposals just aren’t for you. And sometimes, your celebrity crush/unrequited love stays unrequited. 

But no worries! If you’re stressing about not having a (human) date for prom this year, here are 10 people who found love in the form of a cardboard cutout.

1. The girl determined to meet Killmonger

Twitter user @uhdeevuh brought a cardboard cutout of Michael B. Jordan to prom this year after she couldn’t get a date. 

“Now I need to MEET my man,” she tweeted, with photos of a friend crouched behind the cutout to hold it up. 

We hope she finds him!

2. The junior who coordinated outfits with Justin Bieber 

Poor @lowhangingfruit couldn’t find a date to prom, but she was determined to not attend the dance alone.

She decided to bring a cardboard cutout of young Justin Bieber — bowl cut and everything — and even coordinated her dress with her date’s bright red pants. 

3. The kid who took his pre-prom photos with Michelle Obama

Shafe Selvidge loves the former first lady. He has a cardboard cutout of Mrs. Obama and he’s even taken Christmas photos with it. In January, Selvidge wished Michelle Obama happy birthday with a prom photo.

“I would love to get a picture with the real you someday,” he tweeted. 

4. The high schooler whose date ditched her for golfing

When @carrrieplain’s prom date ditched her to go golfing, she decided that taking photos alone just wasn’t for her. Instead of photos with her date, she took her prom photos with a cardboard cutout of Cody Simpson. 

5. The student who thinks her (lack of) romantic life was because of Nick Jonas

Twitter user @shannon__fields posted two photos from her high school prom, captioning it, “Do you think me going to prom with a cardboard cutout of @nickjonas had anything to do with why boys never liked me?” She even had the classic foot-popping kiss with her paper date.

6. The girl who brought Danny DeVito to prom

Good thing there’s no troll toll for high school. Hannah Gladwell brought a cardboard cutout of Danny DeVito — who was at least wearing a blazer — to her prom. 

7. The senior who went to prom with Batman

“Incase you’re having a bad day,” @Asivrs tweeted, “Remember that I went to prom with a cardboard cutout.” She even matched her superhero date, accessorizing her dress with a Batman belt, fingerless gloves, and a bat mask. It’s a lot.

8. The girl whose date got hit by a car

When Avinnash was hit by a car, he couldn’t make it to his senior prom. Instead of going to prom with him, Amanda brought a cardboard cutout of his face and had someone stand in as Avinnash for her prom photos. 

According to their friend Zahra, Avinnash was OK, even if he was left for a cardboard version of himself. 

9. The high schooler who brought tech daddy Elon Musk

Elon Musk: billionaire, innovator, and most recently, prom date. @thesmelloftea brought a cutout of the Tesla CEO as her date.

“I’m sorry Elon I just really look up to you and watching the falcon heavy launch in person made me tear up,” she tweeted, “Honestly I only think it’s fair that Elon gets a cardboard cutout of ME.”

10. The young voter who felt the Bern at prom

On the cusp of graduation, @chloxraynaud took a political stance at prom and brought a cardboard cutout of then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. She captioned her prom photos with #Bernie2016 and #FeelTheBern, posing with her democratic socialist date. Even if Bernie didn’t win the primary, @chloxraynaud definitely won prom. 

If you’re dateless for prom this year, just know that there are a lot of options out there.

WATCH: Here are 5 more truly original movies

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/04/18/cardboard-cutout-prom-dates/

5 Stupid Things We Need To Stop Clicking On

We are living through the final gasps of the Information Age. Experts estimate that 62 percent of all information we now receive is deliberately false, and that includes the percentage and experts I made up at the start of this sentence. The sad truth is, most of you will never have the critical thinking or research skills to know what’s real, and that will only make you more sure about the wrong things your stupid ass believes. The good news is that this article isn’t about that shit. The fake news fight is over, and stupid won. No, this article is about the dumb things we all keep falling for — even you, the genius who chose the right political side and religion.

5

Pointlessly Insane Products Are Not That At All

Last year, Tiffany & Co. started selling the Sterling Silver Tin Can, an empty can that costs $1,000. You’ll notice that this is far more than you’d normally pay for soupless garbage. To be clear, this wasn’t some tin can that once held Prince’s final green beans. It’s only a can. As an artistic statement, it was 50 years stale, and as a money-making scheme, it was somewhere between a portable diarrhea box and that same product without a lid. It’s the kind of idea that would make the other Saved By The Bell writers say, “Look, if you’re not ready to come back to work, take more time off to deal with the death of your son.” The point I’m making is that it’s hard not to comment on Tiffany’s silly can, and that’s more appealing to Tiffany & Co. than when we comment on how the people who mined their products all died of slavery.

“Darling, I was part of many souls transcending penetration to transform a utilitarian men’s room into an installment of signature Tiffany oeuvre.” — this Tiffany copywriter explaining to his wife why there are seven colors of pubic hair in his underpants

And it’s not only tin cans and Wu-Tang albums that are marketed in intentionally strange ways. Food advertisers have figured out that they can get more attention by being ridiculous than by being delicious. Remember when KFC used fried chicken as sandwich bread in the Double Down? Or when Chick-Fil-A announced that their fried chicken hated gay people with the Cajun Titty Jiggler? We all made fun of them, but they absolutely did not care. These are people turning pigeon meat and “deported” foreign nationals into nugget shapes. They’ll take any press they can get.

We need to stop doing this. It’s very possible the only conversation any of us had or will ever have about Dr. Pepper came when they released a special version of their soda for men only. We all went on Twitter to say things like, “Forbidding women from tasting Dr. Pepper Ten will only delay the discovery that it’s made from semen, not stop it completely.” We asked questions like, “Why would you make a soda for men only? Are you trying to find the perfect drink to pair with losing custody of your kids?” Or maybe you simply speculated, “Dr. Pepper Ten sounds like the refreshing treat you reach for when defending an accused rapist you haven’t met.”

SORRY LADIES, OUR CREATIVE DIRECTOR IS STILL DEALING WITH SOME CHILDHOOD TRAUMA INVOLVING PENISES.

Products should make the customer happy, not be so deliberately dumb that the customer hears about them during a Jimmy Kimmel monologue. You shouldn’t make every tenth new Oreo out of cat suppository in the desperate hope that cookie influencers tweet about it. And pizza, you especially need to get your shit together.

In 2012, a Pizza Hut employee happened upon the idea of a hot-dog-stuffed crust, quite by accident, when his manager caught him fucking a pizza and demanded an explanation. This marked the last time there would ever be a non-insane pizza invention. Today, pizza marketing is a series of deranged innovations, like a serial killer’s journey toward becoming the Minotaur. For instance, Pizza Hut created “smart” shoes that place an order for you. Aside from getting the elderly to wonder what they’re going to come up with next, what the fuck good do pizza shoes do anyone? If you have a use for ordering Pizza Hut via shoe, your foot is going to fall off from diabetes long before you get to do it a second time.

And did you know that Domino’s spent millions of dollars promoting something called “carryout insurance?” It’s what it sounds like — a financial guarantee that when your sloppy ass drops a pizza, they give you another one. Aside from getting us to mention how dumb that is, what’s the point? Was there a community of fat idiots eating pizza off the ground and demanding their representatives do something? Let’s say it’s just to set your mind at ease. Let’s pretend you’re thinking about ordering Domino’s, but decide against it because you’re always dropping pizza. Will this convince you? Of course not. You’re not even here. You were taken in the night by mad scientists, and now you’re a lump of brain tissue labelled “HISTORY’S SADDEST FUCK.”

“CARRYOUT INSURANCE!? Hey, boss? Yeah, I just found a loophole that gives me unlimited floor pizza. So what I’m saying is you can kiss my ass.

4

All Things “Of The Year” Are Arbitrary Decisions Made By Small Teams Of Random Assholes

We are living in the darkest of times. Our current sexiest man alive looks like a rectangle who makes its living hustling milk-drinking contests.

“I’m digesting four gallons of Half & Half. Hi, I’m Blake Shelton, your sexiest man alive.”

When People magazine announced hoedown music standout Blake Shelton as the sexiest man alive while Casper Van Dien was still not dead, it hit like a bomb. Every Twitter account and Safeway express lane had a hot take on it. It wasn’t merely controversial; it was a direct challenge to what vaginal lubrication even meant. What will it do to society if passably handsome NASCAR dads are the new standard of sexy? Do we need to stop doing sit-ups? Will there be enough denim?

What will Casper Van Dien do with this boner?

You know what we should have been doing that whole time? Not giving a shit about how handsome Blake Shelton is. Don’t get me wrong, Blake Shelton is alright. His condoms probably don’t expire, and if he was arrested for sodomizing a dairy cow, you’d think “Him?” But let’s not play games. He’s not the sexiest man alive. At best, he’s “Oklahoma’s Hottest Mostly Ham DNA.” But we should remember that this isn’t some great honor decided by measuring the gonad stimulation of test subjects. “Sexiest Man Alive” is picked by four or five editors desperately trying to hang onto print media jobs, and every now and then one of them is smart enough to say, “What if we trolled everyone?” With all respect to Blake Shelton’s fuckability, if you died trying to teach a prosthetic arm how to give a handjob, the People staff would write your name up on the “Sexiest Man Alive MAYBES” board.

It’s important to keep in mind how meaningless these titles are before we get outraged. Before Donald Trump, Time gave its 2006 “Person of the Year” title to You, as in the second-person pronoun. And in 1938 they gave it to Hitler, the Donald Trump of 1938. These are meaningless choices meant to inspire terrible conversations between uninteresting people. Did you think LaTonya from Fayetteville was chosen as Jet ‘s “Beauty of the Week” because of her winning tits and smile? Wake up. It’s because her face tattoo says “Abortion is Bae.” Please, all of us, we have to stop getting outsmarted by the Jet magazines of the world.

3

It’s Not An Event When Fictional Characters Die

In 1992, DC Comics killed Superman — an invincible ventriloquist with laser eyes, frost breath, and chronosphere-bending flight speed — with a rock monster who was pretty good at punching. Despite it being the third time he had died, the country went into mourning and the story was picked up by the actual news. Which was weird, because if the media wanted to cover upsetting Superman stories, where were they when his girlfriend got turned into a pony and fucked his horse?

I think about this every day. Every day.

Why are we so obsessed with fictional deaths? Most of the time, they’re not even real in the make-believe universe in which they happen. Captain America and Batman die around 20 times a year, each in different combinations of fake-outs, resurrections, and universe reboots. If a dead guy’s best friends own a time machine and the Eye of Agamotto, you can probably hold off on making funeral plans. And if your favorite character dies on The Walking Dead, maybe don’t waste an hour watching Chris Hardwick cry until you see the body.

It should help you relax knowing that most fictional deaths are only abusive pranks, but the “real” ones are about as meaningless.

I mean, you knew there wasn’t going to be any more Firefly. This death cost us maybe two wisecracks.

Remember when Han Solo died? He was a 73-year-old laser gun fighter scheduled to get his own movie in three years. His death was both long overdue and completely inconsequential to the amount of Han Solo you will continue to see on your TV. His father-in-law, Darth Vader, was on screen for about 36 minutes before he died in 1983, and since his death, there have been more Anakin Skywalker stories than anyone could ever want. Anakin Skywalker is the Nicolas Cage of outer space. He stopped making good movies three decades ago, yet he’s still everywhere and radiating inexplicable cosmic energy.

If George R. R. Martin went on TV to announce that a meteor hit Westeros between books and everyone in A Song Of Ice And Fire is gone, how is that different from the world you’re living in now? The guy has clearly wanted to focus more on snacks for about four books. You know what’s sadder than seeing Ned Stark get his head chopped off? Watching some fragile-hearted slob go through the stages of grief in a YouTube video afterwards. Parents, if your child is filming themselves weep over a make-believe death, that’s a bigger failure than if your child is filming themselves pee into a tube sock for Patreon supporters. I mean, you can do whatever you want, but when you cry over fake people whom you can still see every day for as long as you want, you’re only sending a message to the people around you that you’re a dramatic piece of shit. But I know something that will cheer you up!

2

Being Special Is Free

That’s right, I said it.

You’re welcome.

It’s pretty easy to sell someone nothing more than the idea that they’re special or important for actual money. For example, somewhere right now, a Todd is looking through a rack of keychains to see if they have one with his name on it. “I hope they have a Todd,” he might announce as he thumbs through dusty garbage. “They do! And it’s spelled right!” So Todd will buy it, a cute reminder of the worst store in the least interesting part of a city he once visited, and it will never occur to him that an Indonesian factory gambled and won that a completely shitty Todd would one day pay money to remind himself of his own name. This next part is way off-topic, but not even the Indonesians could have foreseen that this keychain would one day be used to frame Todd …

… for Toddslaughter.

Back to the point I was trying to make: We are all susceptible to this crap. Coke had its first sales increase in more than a decade when it introduced the idea of adding the customers’ stupid fucking names to their cans and bottles. And the internet has been haunted by ego-stroking personality quizzes and IQ tests since before we used it to pay girls peeing into tube socks. We are so desperate to be told we’re special that we will suspend all disbelief and critical thinking to hear it. You should know that answering a few simple personality questions does not make you the coolest ninja turtle, and you shouldn’t trust the scores of an IQ test that you watched yourself cheat on which also advertises free Slavic women and four new pounds of dick girth.

One of my favorite examples of this, and favorite things in general, is an online community called Intertel — “An International Society of the Intellectually Gifted.” It’s very difficult to get in. You can only join if you score in the top 1 percent of any self-administered intelligence test and mail in a $10 application fee. You may have considered that this in fact checks to see whether you’re stupid enough to mail in a test with a 98 percent score or less and nothing else. If you get accepted, you then pay a $39 annual fee to be a part of a genius club for people who are very specifically not. What do you get? I’m so glad you asked. For the annual fee, you get unlimited pity and the right to post a photo and bio about your unusually gullible self. It has created an avalanche of unearned ego that looks like a late ’90s Casper Van Dien fan page whose webmaster went mysteriously missing.

Image courtesy of the estate of the Casper Van Dien Fan Page & Genius Community webmaster.

OK, no, but seriously, this next image is a real screenshot from the Inertel (An International Society of the Intellectually Gifted) website. This is a real person who really thinks he’s in the 1 percent of intellectual elites, and this is his real profile.

I didn’t doctor this. This is what an actual genius named BigJim369 pays $39 a year to display. Fuck! This world is magic and you get to live in it!

Another business that exploits your love of yourself on a massive, sprawling scale is the pop-up museum industry. The name implies that there are things to do or learn inside them, but they’re more like oversized photo booths than art galleries. For instance, if you take a trip to the zany, world-famous Museum of Ice Cream, you will learn zero to one things about ice cream and eat ice cream worth $45 less than the entry ticket. What you will do is wait in line to take photos of yourself next to what you’d describe in any other context as “nothing of interest.” So to be clear, we are so self-obsessed that it’s now an effective business model to charge us money to take pictures of ourselves so we can promote you online.

You didn’t fool ME, Museum of Ice Cream. But my family loved it. Five stars.

1

Stop Making It Seem Like There Are Nazis

OK, so the world has enough idiot racists to elect Donald Trump president, but not all of those voters were full white supremacists. Some of them were simply too religious to know when someone is lying or too old to change their mind about politics. And yes, a troubling number of them were Nazis. But in a lot of ways, most things are fine and the world isn’t as awful as you think.

You’re welcome again.

Impossibly shitty people, like the Trump supporters who took that Garfield mug personally, seem like they’re everywhere. A lot of that is our fault — the decent people making fun of them. They use us to amplify their voices, like Han Solo (R.I.P.) convincing a hallway of Stormtroopers that he’s way more people than he actually is. Every few minutes, a website publishes a variation on the article “These Miserable Fucks Said Something Racist About A Thing And Got Annihilated By Twitter.” They’re fun and vaguely heroic, but if you read more than one, you’ll start to see that they all share the same content. It’s the same three or four racist tweets quoted in every article, tweeted by the same three or four racists who “attacked” the Star Wars with the Asian girl and “staged boycotts” of the all-lady Ghostbusters. We need to stop treating these three or four people like they’re a threat to anything other than skewing PornHub’s algorithm to favor mother-son incest.

BREAKING NEWS: Local high school’s least-likable prick still making quite a spectacle out his irrelevant awfulness.

Here’s a reassuring fact: A study of Reddit found that 1 percent of communities were responsible for 74 percent of all conflict. We are taking the intentionally ignorant comments of a Kia’s worth of debate club hobbyists and pretending they’re a tidal wave of hate we must stand together against. The “alt-right” movement is 30 boys too cranky to date and too slow to learn Dungeons & Dragons. Their supporters are a toxic group of gamers who will disappear once they turn 17, and their media outlet is a cable network whose entire audience will be dead in two more flu seasons. All these people want is for the other side to get upset, so if we stop writing thinkpieces about the rise of dapper white nationalism and focus more on how liberals hate suicide cults, we can be rid of them almost immediately.

BREAKING NEWS: C-word who only tweets C-wordy antisemitic things DOES!

Ann Coulter is a good example. She’s the skeletal remains of antique intolerance, and she has about as much cultural influence as Corey Feldman’s band, Oral Thrush and the Yeast 2000s. Has she ever done anything other than hiss wrong things at impatient TV personalities or pretend that clinical antisemitism is antisemitic comedy? She only seems like she is a thing because 10,000 of us dunk on the bitch every time she blames her oral thrush on the Jews. Without all of us explaining to each other how wrong she is, Coulter would just be wandering through Home Depot to see if there are any white employees she can ask about the toilet safety rails. And soon she would be hatching spider eggs in her mouth while her parakeet watched her body rot. “Rawk! The Jews are at it again!” it would repeat to her undiscovered corpse. “The Jews are at it again!”

We all seem to get how dumb it is when the news says “teens” are doing a comically apeshit thing like human centipede parties or detergent eating. Why can’t we use those same giant brains to figure out how one Nazi nerd looking for attention isn’t “the Right”? I know it’s tough to resist trolls, but Kim Kardashian owning all the world’s money should have taught you that there is virtue in shutting the fuck up about some things. We need to stay strong not in the battle against the “alt-right,” but in the battle to ignore them. The next time you see another column about how women won’t date conservative men, leave it alone. Let those dickless Nazis keep writing versions of that article into the empty void until they learn evil causes women to dry up. And the next time someone on your Facebook thread defends their Second Amendment rights after a school shooting, don’t validate their child murder fandom with attention. Move your cursor to the left and click on their mother’s profile. Pose as Blake Shelton, win her moist trust, and quietly destroy that child-murderer’s family. Every one of us can shut up and make a difference.

Seanbaby invented being funny on the Internet. You can follow him on Twitter, or play his hit mobile game Calculords.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-stupid-things-we-need-to-stop-clicking-on/

Inside the Heated Race for the Best Picture Oscar

Marlow: We are finally (almost) here. The 90th Academy Awards. Weve screamed to the heavens over who should have been nominated, debated the years biggest controversies (ugh, Ryan Seacrest), pondered whether the Oscarswith its lagging ratingseven matters anymore, and put our best feet forward in the snooze-worthy acting categories, where we definitely dont see eye to eye with the Academy (#Chalamaniacs).

Kevin: Is than an actual fan-army name? If not, it should be.

Marlow: We can be the co-founders. Anyway, weve arrived at the two biggest awards of the night: Best Director and Best Picture. Lets start with director. Not a lot of drama here: Guillermo del Toro has it in the bag, right? He won the DGA, and the DGA winner has gone on to win the Best Director Oscar 62 times in its 69-year history.

Kevin:Ive learned never to bring a bag to the Oscars. I have been wrong about Best Picture each of the last three years. I have a better track record with Best Director, and do think del Toro will win. I wouldliketo say that Christopher Nolan stands a chance of surprising for putting so much muscle into the most technically-challenging-and-making-it-look-seamless work withDunkirkand hed deserve it, toobut theres something so simultaneously wondrous and classic about the way del Toro put togetherShape of Water. A throwback to Old Hollywood romance starring a monster that was as necessarily familiar as it was bizarrely thrilling.

Marlow: I enjoyed The Shape of Water and it is beautifully shotparticularly that throwback song-and-dance number toward the end of the film, and the bathroom-lovemaking sequence (although it would have been fun to see how much heat this sea monster was packing).

Kevin:I am both horrified and delighted to inform you that you are not the only one to wonder that. Behold theShape of Waterdildo.

Marlow: Dios mio. Dildos notwithstanding, Del Toro is such a charming, gentle guy, and imbues his films with an irresistible childlike whimsy. And like you, I was impressed by Nolans technical mastery in crafting Dunkirk, whose frenetic battle sequences were on a par with the opening moments of Saving Private Ryan. But if I were a member of the Academy, Id vote for Paul Thomas Anderson, perhaps our greatest living director, for Phantom Thread. That movie completely floored me. The guy wasnt nominated for Boogie Nights, didnt win for perhaps the greatest movie of the 21st century in There Will Be Blood, and there is no one better.

Kevin:Its an interesting race. The frontrunners are three of our finest directors, all overdue, and each specializing in wildly different kinds of filmmaking.

Marlow: [Hugh Grant voice] Wouuuuld we say Guillermo del Toro is one of our finest directors? His last two films were Crimson Peak and Pacific Rimboth eh. And he directed Mimic, although Harvey Scissorhands may be to blame for that monstrosity. Anyway

Kevin: Then theres Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig, both historic nominations in terms of representation, but also becausetheir filmsa horror movie commenting on race in America and a female-centric coming-of-age movierepresentcinematic voices that the Academy almost never recognizes in this category. These stats are starting to matter less and less, but like you said, the Oscars Best Director pick has matched with the DGA winner 13 of the last 15 years, and this year the DGA went to del Toro.

Marlow: Del Toro FTW, and a del Toro win would mean that all three of the Three AmigosCuaron, Inarritu and del Torowill be Best Director Oscar winners. Gerwig became only the fifth woman to ever be nominated for Best Director (insane), while Peele is the fifth black person to ever be nominated for Best Director (insane). Though the Academy has increased its POC membership from 8 percent to 13 percent over the past two years it still has a lot of work to do, so this years nominees were a good start. Lets talk Best Picturewhich, in a strange twist, is maybe the most hotly-contested category this year. I hope Three Billboards and The Post dont come away with the hardware, because I found both those movies to be mediocre for very different reasons.

Kevin:I lovedThe Post.

Marlow: Its so terribly saccharine! And the ending is one of the worst of not only the Best Picture nominees, but any movie this year.

Kevin: Call me Merylin a kaftan, because weve gone toe-to-toe on this one before (youre a harrumphing Hanks-as-Bradlee in this scenario) and my voice will not be silenced! But as for the race in general, whether or not its actually an open race, theres at least this feeling that it is, which is rare and exciting. I guess the idea is thatThe Shape of Water, Get Out, Dunkirk,andThree Billboardsall have feasible shots. But I think its definitelyThree Billboardsthat wins. Its won SO MANY other awards at this point.

Marlow: Ugh, I think youre right. That movie is a B-/C+ and a total mess.

Kevin: The racial messiness and backlash has completely whirred by so many other award voters heads, and I see no reason to believe that the Oscars will be any different. Its a film that purports to loudly say big things about race, gender, sexual assault, andthe heartland, but doesnt articulate any of those things with any discernible punctuation. Thats arguably not a good thing, but its also the reason I think it will win. Voters can feel satisfied that theyre voting for an issue-y movie, and its kind of a Choose Your Own Issue situation, where each person can point to the part of the movie that they think spoke to them. But, my god, save me from the think pieces when this win happens. (And, again, I think it will.)

Marlow: Sam Rockwell character arc aside, heres my issue with the film: its utterly convinced of its status as a blistering deconstruction of present-day American-heartland misogyny, underpolicing, and racism, when it is nothing more than a fantasy; a funhouse-mirror view of these not-so-United States by an outsider that feels like a series of strung-together monologues from different films. That McDormand rant at a priest is nicely done, butwhy was it in this movie? It feels like something McDonagh (who is Irish, naturally) had intended for a different project and decided to shoehorn-in. I think the Three Billboards backlash has been pretty overblown, however. Its just not a good movie!

Kevin: Backlash to the backlash is when you know that the award seasons been too long.

Marlow: So, so long. Now, I ranked Phantom Thread as my No. 1 movie of the year but think Get Out deserves to win Best Picture, if that makes sense. When people look back on 2017 in film, Peeles will be the movie that they remember the most; that is the most culturally significant.

Kevin:Yeah. Its hardly novel to point out that the movies that win Best Picture are rarely the ones that stand the test of time.

Marlow: Who still fucks with Argo? Ben Affleck doesnt even fuck with Argo.

Kevin: Get Outwill be remembered as the years most significant movie among the nominees.Call Me by Your Namewill last because of the emotional impact it had. And my friend Joe Reid wrote agood piece for Deciderarguing thatLady Birdis actually the movie well still be watching in 20 years. Cant you already see yourself lazing on the couch on a Sunday afternoon catching it on whatever version of cable we have then, or overhearing the next generation of teens gushing about how much they relate to Lady Bird? That said, none of those three are going to win. Do you think anything can take it fromThree Billboards?

Marlow: Love Lady Bird. I think Get Out has a legitimate shot with the Academys new bloodthey gave it to an emotionally-wrought drama tackling issues of blackness, homosexuality and masculinity in Moonlight ($27.8M domestic) last year over the crowd-pleasing La La Land ($151M domestic), after all. So Im hoping the situation gets fuckin handled.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/three-billboards-or-get-out-inside-the-close-race-for-the-best-picture-oscar

Ripe for a kicking: Hollywoods love-hate relationship with Rotten Tomatoes

Twenty years after its launch, the movie-review aggregators verdict is now seen as vital to a films success or failure. Is the site too influential for its own good?

Twenty years ago, the internet was a very different place. Google was a fresh rival to Alta Vista and Lycos. Apple computers looked like boiled sweets, and we dialled up to surf the net, having installed the software via CD-Rom. The movie world of 1998 was also somewhat different: the box office was ruled by meteorite movies and Adam Sandler; Harvey Weinstein was an Oscar winner; and The Avengers was a lame, retro spy comedy with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman. It was into this climate that Senh Duong launched Rotten Tomatoes known in the business as RT a site that has transformed both worlds, although nobody seems quite sure if it has done so for better or worse.

Duongs idea was simple to compile movie reviews and it still drives Rotten Tomatoes. He was inspired by his love of Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies and would scour the internet looking for reviews of them. So why not put them in one place? Duong already had a full-time job, he says. Rotten Tomatoes was a side project I worked on in the evenings. He single-handedly designed and coded the site in just two weeks. It was very laborious. Every page was manually assembled using HTML. Every review was manually searched for, read and quoted.

In the same way that, say, lastminute.com and Expedia compare plane ticket prices, Rotten Tomatoes review aggregation has turned out to be super-useful, particularly as it boils all those reviews down to a single, convenient percentage score. It then boils down that score even further, to a simple graphic of a tomato. In the same way that Siskel and Ebert gave a thumbs up or a thumbs down, or the man from Del Monte tasted a pineapple and said yes or no, so Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer separates movies into fresh or rotten. If at least 60% of a movies reviews are positive, it is graded fresh, signified by a ripe, red tomato. Less than 60% and it is rotten, signified by a green splat. Over 75% gets you a certified fresh logo, like a sticker on a quality piece of fruit. (The 1998 Avengers movie, if you were wondering, scored a supremely rotten 5%.)

Lady
Lady Bird a hit with critics and Rotten Tomatoes. Photograph: Allstar/A24

Today, movies supposedly live or die by the ripeness of that virtual fruit. Rotten Tomatoes has become the one movie site to aggregate them all. The Tomatometer appears not only on Rotten Tomatoes site but also on ticketing sites such as AMC cinemas and Fandango (which has owned Rotten Tomatoes since 2016). It comes up on Google searches, iTunes, SoundCloud, in Twitter and chatroom discussions and (as long as the rating is fresh) in movie studios marketing campaigns. It is a news item when a movie achieves a 100% fresh rating, as recently happened with Paddington 2 and, before that, Greta Gerwigs Lady Bird.

With its dominance and prominence, Rotten Tomatoes is becoming the story and not always in a good way. After Lady Bird got its 100% score, for example, one critic opted to lob a green splat into the mix, not because he hated the movie, but because everyone else liked it so much. I had to consider whether to cast Lady Bird as fresh or rotten in the context of a perfect score that people were using to trumpet Lady Bird as the all-time best-reviewed movie on RT, Cole Smithey tweeted. In other words, Rotten Tomatoes status as a neutral measure of critics opinions comes into question when it starts to influence those opinions.

The possible gaming of Rotten Tomatoes scores has taken on more sinister aspects lately. Earlier this month, Facebook announced it had taken down the page of a group called Down With Disneys Treatment of Franchises and Its Fanboys, which was attempting to orchestrate a mass troll assault on the Rotten Tomatoes score of the superhero movie Black Panther. Alongside the critic-designated Tomatometer score, Rotten Tomatoes also gives each movie an audience score, determined by registered users and represented by a popcorn bucket: red and full for positive; green and tipped-over for negative. The anti-Black Panther group sought to lower the movies audience score by bombarding the site with negative reviews. It claimed to have programmed bots to create fake user accounts. It also said it was acting in the name of DC comics, the main rival to Black Panthers (Disney-owned) Marvel, but suspicions of far-right motivations persist, particularly because the same group had previously targeted Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also Disney-owned) on account of its supposed social justice warrior concepts.

Rotten Tomatoes has denied the attacks succeeded, but at present The Last Jedis Tomatometer score is 91% (a critical Yay!) while its audience score is 48% (a public Meh). Was this discrepancy the result of far-right bots or genuine audience division? Either way, it didnt matter much: The Last Jedi is now the ninth-highest-grossing movie in history. Black Panther is likely to be a billion-dollar movie, too.

Paddington
Paddington 2 perfect score.

When movies bomb, however, the studios have been quick to blame Rotten Tomatoes. Last summer, Hollywood resorted to tomato-shaming to spare its own blushes over colossal failures such as Baywatch (Tomatometer score: 18%), The Mummy (16%), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (29%) and Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (30%). The critic aggregation site increasingly is slowing down the potential business of popcorn movies, complained the website Deadline. Director Brett Ratner called Rotten Tomatoes the worst thing we have in todays movie culture and the destruction of our business. He may have been stung by the fate of Warner Bros blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which Ratners company co-produced; it earned a malodorous 27%.

The situation came to the boil with Batman v Supermans 2017 follow-up: Justice League. For Warner Bros, the movie was a big deal: a superhero team-up with an estimated $300m budget. So, eyebrows were raised when Justice Leagues Rotten Tomatoes score did not appear on the site as expected, once an embargo on critics reviews lifted. Even when those reviews were available on other sites and the movie was previewing in cinemas, Rotten Tomatoes webpage for Justice League was blank. Instead, the excuse ran, Justice Leagues score was to be announced on Rotten Tomatoes new web show, See It Or Skip It, in which presenters provide context and conversation around the movie of the week before revealing its all-important Tomatometer score. For Justice League, that score was a decidedly unripe 43%. By the time it appeared on the website, it had dropped to 40%.

Some observers smelled a conspiracy, since Warner Bros holds a 30% stake in Rotten Tomatoes parent company, Fandango (Universal owns the other 70%). Rotten Tomatoes, however, denied Warner Bros had anything to do with the decision: We are absolutely autonomous, like any news organisation, it said. There is no outside influence on anything we put on the site. If the studio was secretly trying to bury bad news, it didnt work. The incident ultimately generated negative publicity for Justice League, Warner Bros and Rotten Tomatoes.

Duong left Rotten Tomatoes in 2007 to pursue other digital media projects. When I started it, he recalls, I was only thinking of its positive impact that it could be really useful to film fans. And to studios: they could use the Tomatometer to promote their good films. I wasnt thinking at all about how they would react to the poorly reviewed ones. He notes that Warner Bros didnt complain about Wonder Womans 92% rating, which it used in its own promotion.

Star
Star Wars: The Last Jedi targeted. Photograph: Allstar/Lucasfilm

Often, though, studios find subtle ways to control Rotten Tomatoes message, or, if necessary, stop it getting through at all. They may screen a movie before its release to a receptive crowd a fan-filled festival screening, say, or a cherrypicked selection of sympathetic critics to get a decent Tomatometer score on the board early and hopefully set the tone.

The biggest blockbusters are withheld from critics, or their reviews are embargoed, until very close to the movies release date. Occasionally (when the studio knows its got a real stinker on its hands) they are not screened for critics at all. As a result, no Tomatometer score appears until the very last minute. Last summer, for example, Sony embargoed reviews of The Emoji Movie in the US until just a few hours before its release. Critics gave the movie an RT score of just 6%, but it achieved a healthy opening weekend of $24.5m (17.5m) in the US. Family movies are generally less susceptible to the power of the tomato, anyway: few parents ever dissuaded an eager six-year-old by arguing the data.

Can Rotten Tomatoes really make or break a movie? It definitely has an impact, says Ethan Titelman, a senior vice-president at the Hollywood market research firm National Research Group (NRG). According to NRGs annual survey, 50% of regular moviegoers frequently check the site, often immediately before buying their cinema tickets. And 82% are more interested in seeing a movie if it has a high Tomatometer score, while two-thirds are deterred by a low score. Furthermore, Titelman adds, its influence is growing and broadening out. Once it would have been for your tech-savvy early adopters, but it has actually doubled its influence over moviegoers aged over 45 in the last couple of years alone.

Then again, a study by University of Southern Californias Entertainment Technology Center crunched the data on box office returns v Tomatometer scores for the biggest 150 movies of 2017 and found the correlation to be pretty much zero meaning that, in general, Rotten Tomatoes doesnt affect movies positively or negatively. Despite anomalies such as The Last Jedi, it also found a high correlation between critics scores and audience scores, which suggests that everyone tends to agree when a movie sucks. When Hollywood executives complain about Rotten Tomatoes scores, the researcher concluded, theyre really complaining about their audiences tastes because its basically the same thing.

Steven Gaydos, the executive editor of Variety, dismisses the studios complaints out of hand: Its really a case of shoot the messenger, he says. If Rotten Tomatoes reflects the consensus of opinion on a movie and the movie is bad and therefore doesnt do well, what part of that is Rotten Tomatoes doing something nefarious or terrible? Studios today bank on fewer, bigger movies, each of which can represent an investment of half a billion dollars in production and marketing costs, Gaydos points out. Also, a movies opening weekend typically accounts for one-third of its total box office. So, you can imagine how much pressure there is to get an opening weekend that has not been damaged or diminished by a bad Rotten Tomatoes score. Everything is at stake.

Rotten Tomatoes may not be killing movies, but it could well be killing movie criticism. Not only by attempting to bypass professionals and build buzz with the fans, but also by its inherent premise. Rotten Tomatoes only registers if each review is positive or negative (its rival Metacritic, by contrast, assigns a percentage score to each individual review, then calculates the average). A movie that everyone agrees is simply quite good could therefore be 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, while movies that are more challenging, controversial or experimental are more likely to divide critics and get a lower score. The system favours safety and consensus. As well as movies, Rotten Tomatoes is grading the critics: if a reviewer goes against the grain, the Tomatometer score is proof that they are wrong.

Its self-censorship, says Varietys Gaydos. Critics have trained themselves to [pretend to] take seriously movies that they dont take seriously because the danger is not having a job and not being relevant, being aged out of the discussion. The numbers bear out this trend. The median Tomatometer score for movies grossing more than $2m was 51% during the 2000s and 53% during the 2010s. In 2017, though, the year of crashes such as Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean 5, the median was 71%. Either critics are enjoying movies more or movies are better than ever.

Warner
Warner Bros didnt complain about Wonder Womans 92% rating, says RTs founder. Photograph: Clay Enos/AP

Gaydoss fear is that Rotten Tomatoes is replacing nuanced, thoughtful film writing. We used to read Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael arguing, and now were looking at a picture of a green tomato or a red tomato. We have to see what weve lost here, people!

Film-makers have expressed similar sentiments. Martin Scorsese complained that sites such as Rotten Tomatoes have absolutely nothing to do with real film criticism. They rate a picture the way youd rate a household appliance in Consumer Reports The film-maker is reduced to a content manufacturer and the viewer to an unadventurous consumer.

Others disagree. The New Yorker critic Richard Brody argued that Rotten Tomatoes has the merit of putting reviews by critics who write for smaller outlets alongside those who write for more prominent ones, which is all to the good. Duong also defends his brainchild: In regards to this fear that people would only look at the score and not read the reviews, its not supported by data. When I was there, 85% to 90% of users who went to a movie page on Rotten Tomatoes clicked on a review and left the site. Its not surprising when you think about it: its a page full of links with enticing quotes.

When Duong created Rotten Tomatoes in 1998, Hollywood released many more titles than it does now, and they were reviewed by a handful of significant critics: major newspapers and magazines, syndicated critics such as Siskel and Ebert. The media elite, you could say. Today, the situation has flipped. Hollywood releases fewer movies and they are reviewed by hundreds, possibly thousands, of critics. You could see this as democratisation and diversity of the media, or the emergence of a cacophony of critical voices. However, the proliferation created an opportunity at the top to simplify and aggregate the multitude into one overarching meta-entity: essentially, a new media elite. Depending on how you look at it, Rotten Tomatoes either showcases organic, heirloom varieties like an upmarket grocery store, or it blends all difference into one homogeneous, easily digestible puree. The fruit is either half-ripe or half-rotten; its all a matter of taste.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/feb/26/rotten-tomatoes-hollywood-love-hate-relationship