You’ve been waiting for this moment for months. If you’re a serious fan, you might have even bought advanced tickets or stood in line for a midnight showing. The lights go out, the crowd quiets, and the pre-movie credits begin. You sit, popcorn in hand, ready for the best IMAX 3-D experience of your life… and it’s a flop.
Did I really just waste my money and lose two hours of my life for that?
I’ve experienced this more than once – at least enough times to learn that major motion-picture releases don’t always live up to my expectations. The worst part of the disappointment isn’t even the show. Sitting in the privacy of my living room, I’d just queue up another movie in Netflix or pop in an old, reliable favorite on blue-ray. But after you’ve (1) set aside time to get gussied up and drive to the theater, (2) hired a babysitter for the night if you have kids, (3) gone out to a nice restaurant you would ordinarily consider too pricey if it weren’t conveniently located next to the theater, and (4) spent way too much on not only your premium tickets, but ridiculously priced concessions… it’s hard not to think about the money and time you just poured into a black hole.
This might be overly-dramatic, but you get the point. After a few of these experiences, I’ve learned not to rely on my own judgment no matter how many ‘good’ actors are in a movie, or how great the storyline is. Instead, the first thing I do when I’m feeling the need to see a movie in theater is check the reviews on my Flixter app.
Flixter & Rotten Tomatoes
Flixter is one of the many smartphone apps that provide movie descriptions/ratings, trailers and show times for your viewing convenience, but what makes it special is its partnership with the Rotten Tomatoes rating system (if you go to RT’s site, you’ll also find T.V. series ratings). Not only does RT provide a percentage rating based on “the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics,” it also gives movies a rating based on viewer feedback.
I pay attention to both the critic and viewer Rotten Tomatoes score. If a movie I’m leaning towards seeing on the big screen is rated “fresh” (more than 60%) or “certified fresh” (more than 75% based on the number of reviews) by both, I’m more inclined to consider watching it in theater. If it’s rated “rotten” by critics but “fresh” by viewers, I tend to think I’ll still appreciate it because I’m not as critical of cinematic effects, slight inconsistencies, or other elements beyond a good storyline and good acting. On the other hand, if a show (even one I think might be good, such as a sequel to one I’ve seen before) is rated “rotten” by both critics and viewers, well, I’ll probably wait for it to be released on DVD/blue-ray and streaming media.
Already, this simple system has saved my husband and I from a few disappointing and pricey theater experiences (Batman vs. Superman, anyone?). So far, the ratings rarely do me wrong, so I’ll keep using this system to save myself precious time and money on entertainment.
What about you? Do you have a tried and true method for avoiding wastes of money and/or time when it comes to entertainment?
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