Point, Counterpoint: Movie reviews are crucial


At their core, movie reviews are opinions. And, like any opinions, you can agree or disagree with them. Now, these specific opinions are written by people who have dedicated their professional lives to the study and analysis of film and who have watched literally thousands of movies. And, of course, you can disagree with their refined and studied opinion and say that “Transformers” is a good movie or that Kevin Hart is funny, but you are then missing the point of a movie review.

Reviews, in my opinion, are created to keep the industry of Hollywood and the people working for it in check. When they make a bad movie, they get a bad review, and this dissuades people from watching it because they read the review. And, thankfully, there are dozens of movie reviews for each movie, so you can read them all if you wish and choose among them the one that aligns with your ideals towards film. You can also choose to ignore all of the reviews and go see the “Emoji Movie,” but I would recommend you spare yourself the horror.

Reviews are ways of telling the elites of Hollywood that, if they make garbage, reviewers will tell the audiences to avoid it. But, when Hollywood gets it right “” which it does “” the reviewers will tell the audiences to see the movie. Reviews can and have helped movies gain hype and make money. Take “La La Land,” for example, a movie with dozens of high ratings from many respected and revered reviewers. Because of that, it gained considerable hype for its December release. And, when it did come out, it was a box office success and gained traction among a widespread audience. The “La La Land” hype train began with reviews and continued because of them.

Reviews are also meant to give movies validation and, hopefully, recognition. As much as our support of them matters, the public doesn’t vote in the Oscars or the Golden Globes, nor do they help put movies on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) “Top 100 Best Movies” list; reviewers and respected film critics do. The Oscars and AFI couldn’t honestly care less if “Furious 7″ made $1.5 billion and was voted “Movie of the Summer” by the Teen Choice Awards; they look at what the reviews said about it. They ask those respected, academic people what films they believe signified and pushed the boundaries of good film.

But reviews do not tell you what to like. They give you a refined opinion on the film for its artistic value and its place in the world of cinema. Anyone can like any movie as much as they want, but a critic and their review can also say what is “˜good’ or “˜bad’ and be backed by years of knowledge and experience. That’s something that should be respected and taken into account when choosing between watching “The Mummy” and “Baby Driver.