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2011 critics scores in the rearview mirror

As we watch the remainder of the critics groups weigh in with their year-end honors, we’ll take one last look back at how the major contenders stacked up with the weight of their reviews.  AD reader Andrew Sidhom has helpfully compiled these pretty spreadsheet charts to give us handy At-A-Glance access to the metrics of Rotten Tomato, Box-Office and other relevant data.  The charts are large so the best way to share them is with links to the images. (Thanks for all the hard work, Andrew!)

US and UK Productions
International Productions
2010 Productions (for comparison)

Preview of the international chart after the cut.

58 Comments on this Post

  1. As sad as it might be, that Harry Potter wont be nominated for BP, fans can surely find comfort in the fact that, it was a fantastic series, contributed so much to cinema, and will go down in history. Something, Twilight fans will never be able to say.

  2. That’s a pretty crude chart compared to he ones I’ve seen in the past…not to mention it’s wrong. Why is Potter listed third when it’s got the highest RT score and averae, box office, Metacritic score (tied with Moneyball), BFCA score, etc

  3. Markie27

    It’s really great to see Weekend this high. love that film!!!!

  4. i know what the tomatometer is, but why not also include metacritic? also, exactly what does ‘AVG’ refer to? these aren’t the metacritic scores … so this is an average of what? and what are the means of distinguishing exceptional from great from almost great, etc? is this his own personal opinion?

  5. I don’t know who you’re kidding but for WAR HORSE not to make any list is atrocious. You marginal types who think indie films are classics are moronic. I’ll bet the Statue of Liberty that WAR HORSE is nominated for BEST PICTURE. Who was so goofy to leave it off this list? A few days ago some list on this site had WAR HORSE most likely to win BEST PICTURE. Duh!

  6. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Who was so goofy to leave it off this list?

    The critics left War Horse off. This is data. We don’t screw with the numbers to try to satisfy every grump.

  7. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    i know what the tomatometer is, but why not also include metacritic?

    we have another reader — Ziyad — who sometimes compiles a more expansive chart for us (including Metacritic, BFCA, IMDb, and RT.) If Ziyad wants to that for us again this year, I’ll be glad to post it.

    These guys put a lot of time and effort into these charts to share with the site — I don’t question their format or methodology. Every chart has its own slant and reflects the focus of the person who made it.

    (Just like every review, every article, every reader’s comment reflects each of our interests.)

    Anyone who wants to complain looks petty and lazy to me.

  8. Unless there is other data that is not displayed in the chart, shouldn’t Harry Potter be number one? It ranks highest in every category.

    If not, I’m curious as to what “the other relevant data” is that is not displayed on the chart.

  9. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    ^
    I went back to check Andrew’s notes to me:

    Titles are ranked according to their RT average rating. When two movies have the same average rating, I place the one with the smallest Tomatometer score first, because: a lesser Tomatometer means more negative reviews, but if the average rating manages to stay the same and not drop (by much) despite the additional negative reviews, that means that the positive reviews were more positive, and that’s more valuable to a movie than wider consensus. Example: The Tree of Life (8.2/10, 85%) precedes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (8.4/10, 96%) because the former, while considerably more divisive (11% more negative reviews), managed to maintain an average rating close to Harry Potter’s (only 0.2 less), which indicates that its positive reviews were more positive. Generally, I use a 5% Tomatometer margin decrease to correspond to a 0.1 average rating decrease.

  10. Hmmmm, not sure I buy using that correlation as a metric in a chart like this, but it does seem to make qualitative sense. Thanks for checking, Ryan.

  11. hmmm, i hate this ´post it just reminds me how weird are critics overall, Claim in their reviews but fall in their voting

  12. I still think that with raw data, Potter is still the #1 movie of the year, agreeably, on all terms (how many times did this happen? Return of the King and Schindler’s List, maybe?) and it’s going to be a travesty it ain’t nominated for a sh+tload of Oscars. Objectively speaking… I DO understand why it ain’t being nominated: being the second half of the 7th installment of a series, no matter how good it may be, plus also several big biases, as being considered “kiddie” movies, not deep enough, blockbuster material, fantasy… wrong on all terms, even if you haven’t read the books, the satirical elements of the Potterverse are obvious and not in your face, it has several values that will transfer to any serious film school on how to properly mix art and bussiness successfully.

    Once more, Potter doesn’t need the Oscar nor any kind of awards… it always was the contrary, Potter would do more for Oscar than Oscar can possibly do for Potter. Its status is already stablished on film history and the industry and most audiences worldwide. Naysayers are in the minority and basically – obviously – haven’t even peered on the subtext and themes of the series beyond the adventure/fantasy elements. Xenophobia, homophobia, classism, the changes of your view of life as you become adult, the relativity of the point of view (one of the recurring themes of the series, capable of turning the whole universe upside-down several times) and so on, and on. It’s an amazing work of production, casting and adaptation of a much beloved book, walking the tightrope constantly, shot through a decade with the final blow already present at the first minutes of the first installment.

    So, no worries for Potter. How many beloved masterpieces haven’t even been nominated? I write these words with the photo of the most beloved movie icon with her only important award, the always bashed Golden Globe, Marilyn Monroe.

    Back to the real contenders, The Descendants is having the same vibe that I had with Sideways (movie I never ended, BORED ME to death) that it will go (almost) emptyhanded. I still root for Midnight in Paris, not my fave film of the year, but the one I see out of the competitors that probably I would think it would make a really memorable winner without many questions asked. Plus, Woody hasn’t won BP in 35 years. High time, isn’t it? Of the rest, I am dying to see Hugo.

  13. Prince, what are you on about? Marginal types? Moronic for thinking indie films are classics? Did you make that comment purely to provoke, or are you actually that narrow-minded?

  14. Tero Heikkinen

    I still don’t get it. Somehow it just feels like HP should be higher here.

    Or at least Le Havre with 7,9 / 98. How are the films on positions 7,8,10 and 11 able to beat it?

    I was never good at math.

  15. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I was never good at math.

    We’re at the mercy of those who can cleverly juggle numbers. And that’s how Bush became president in 2000.

  16. Tero Heikkinen

    And how does Oscar need Potter and not vice versa? Academy members couldn’t care any less if the television show is watched by 5-10 million people more in the USA. They know it’s still being watched by a billion people. A quite small percentage are American. Only ABC cares, and if Academy let them do what they wanted, they would destroy all the remaining prestige (and that’s very little).

    The good thing about the show airing at night in Europe: they can’t really sell commercials. We have film experts talking during your commercial breaks. Sometimes they show a film trailer or something, but nothing that breaks the concentration on movies.

  17. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    We have film experts talking during your commercial breaks.

    Envious now.
    Makes me want to schedule a trip abroad for Oscar Night.

  18. This is a great list, it’s unbelievable to me how close my top 6 is turning out compared to this top 6 lol Eerily similar, makes me feel confident.

  19. Andrew Sidhom

    exactly what does ‘AVG’ refer to? these aren’t the metacritic scores … so this is an average of what?

    why not also include metacritic?

    “Avg.” is the Rottentomatoes average rating. It works the same way as metacritic except that it takes into account many more reviews and doesn’t guess the score for reviews originally published with no ratings (they’re left off the count, but about 80% of reviews are rated anyway so it doesn’t make a big difference). Some people prefer metacritic because it limits itself to critics of top publications, but I prefer RT’s inclusion of more opinions which makes for more accurate numbers.

  20. Andrew Sidhom

    what are the means of distinguishing exceptional from great from almost great, etc? is this his own personal opinion?

    It’s not my opinion. It’s just a way of grouping films starting from best reviewed and going down from there. “Exceptional” just means “exceptional reviews”, “great” = “great reviews” …

    Usually the blue and the green groups are all serious contenders for BP noms, unless there’s a good reason for them not to be, like being a small indie (WNTTAK, Weekend and Take Shelter) or a tricky genre (HP and The Muppets). You can see this was true in the 2010 chart where all the nominees were from these 2 groups. In 2009, 8 of the 10 nominees were from these 2 groups. The next two groups (“very good” and “solid”) are usually not contenders unless there’s a good reason for them to be, like being Academy-friendly or having impressive box office (War Horse and The Help this year).

    And then beyond awards talk, I personally use these charts just to keep track of movies I should try to see each year.

  21. Ryan Adams says:
    January 10, 2012 at 10:55 am
    ^
    I went back to check Andrew’s notes to me:

    Titles are ranked according to their RT average rating. When two movies have the same average rating, I place the one with the smallest Tomatometer score first, because: a lesser Tomatometer means more negative reviews, but if the average rating manages to stay the same and not drop (by much) despite the additional negative reviews, that means that the positive reviews were more positive, and that’s more valuable to a movie than wider consensus. Example: The Tree of Life (8.2/10, 85%) precedes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (8.4/10, 96%) because the former, while considerably more divisive (11% more negative reviews), managed to maintain an average rating close to Harry Potter’s (only 0.2 less), which indicates that its positive reviews were more positive. Generally, I use a 5% Tomatometer margin decrease to correspond to a 0.1 average rating decrease.

    Jesus that’s screwy…

  22. Andrew Sidhom

    hmmm, i hate this ´post it just reminds me how weird are critics overall, Claim in their reviews but fall in their voting

    I know. While great reviews more often than not mean end-of-year recognition by the critics, there are always some bewildering cases, like with Potter this year. I personally can’t understand critics who give a movie like HP 5/5 in July, then include a bunch of drama movies they rated 4/5 in their end of year list instead…

  23. Andrew Sidhom

    Scott, it might make you happy to know that a few negative reviews for The Descendants and The Tree of Life were added after I sent Ryan this chart and they both fell by 0.1 which makes Potter the number one again. But they’re all really close anyway, there’s little point in strictly saying one is above the other.

  24. Yes, but The Three of Life is more devisive.

  25. Along similar lines as Metacritic, RT has a VIP measure known as a Top Critics section, and it also can’t be ignored that Potter has 100% Top Critic approval.

  26. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    it also can’t be ignored that Potter has 100% Top Critic approval.

    Guess what. Nobody’s ignoring it.

    You know what you win for being the best reviewed movie on RT?
    You win the lovely Golden Rotten Tomato Trophy or something.

    The Oscars are not based on RT. (For proof of this, please note the Oscars were around for 70 years before RT was born.)

  27. Yes, and it could be argued that the Golden Tomato is more relevant and more of an honor then what the AMPAS voters decide.

  28. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Yes, but The Three of Life is more devisive.

    Yes it is. Its biggest problem is having a non-traditional story, no plot, etc. Still might get in but I’m going to bet that it’s a smaller group that votes in that movie as number 1.

  29. I think many critics, not all, but many, rate different types of movies by different criteria. Some critics rate movies on whether they accomplished what they meant to do: was the horror movie scary? was the comedy funny? was the animated movie fun? was the Harry Potter wildly entertaining and somewhat moving to boot? I’m not going to say which practice is right or wrong only that it’s clear that many critics judge ‘serious’ movies harder than genre films or blockbusters. That’s why I think in many ways metacritic and RT are misleading and why year end top 10 lists are a much better way to look at a critics view of the films of the year. When the critics are reviewing each movie as it comes out they can’t compare it to the rest of the movies of the year, but the year end lists gives them time for reflection and comparison. I think it’s erroneous to assume that critics change how they feel about movies at the end of the year to seem more esoteric or astute or anything.

    ps I really like harry potter

  30. Matthew D.

    http://www.metacritic.com/feature/movie-critic-best-of-2011-top-ten-lists

    A much better barometer.

    You’ll notice that Tree of Life utterly destroyed everything, much like The Social Network did last year:

    http://www.metacritic.com/feature/film-critic-top-ten-lists

    Of course no one’s talking about TOL being a major contender, though, since it’s ohhhhh-so-divisive…

  31. then scott feel proud the your movie hp won a golden tomato. Because it will be the one that you’ll see as award for harry potter.

    Nobody wants golden tomatoes, everybody wants AMPAS. And that is the truth.

  32. @Matthew D
    I really like that Metric, but what’s weird is if you look at the placement of the films that were nominated for BP last year and then look at the likeliest BP candidates this year it would indicate that Drive and Tree of Life could not both be ignored. But then again we’re looking at a metric that’s only one year old and the sample size is 1 so it’s probably meaningless. That being said, I recently decided that I almost hope that Tree of Life doesn’t make the cut for BP because we’ll be talking about it for years. It will be like a badge of honor. (in reality what I desperately want is for AMPAS to correct the ship and I don’t mean agree with me all the time but I don’t think I’m the only one that finds them infuriating some times.)

  33. @Ryan Adams shouldn’t Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 be at #1 cause it had a higher grade and average?

  34. I agree with Jesus Alonso, I mean I don’t know how Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 wasn’t nominated for Best Picture at every critic award ceremony, Satellite, BFCA, Golden Globe, and maybe even the Oscars. I mean no offense to the Descendants, War Horse, The Artist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball.

  35. Nate, probably not…the one they’ll be talking about for years for being snubbed is the Potter finale. I’d say expect a Dark Knight sort of firestorm.

  36. Tero Heikkinen

    You’ve said this before, Scott. I believe only you will be talking about HP snub next year here. You are pretty much the only one speaking about it THIS year. Yet The Tree of Life will be talked about in every single year until something surpasses that in its own “genre” (whatever that is, do we have a name for it yet? “Philosophical autobiography”).

    Books will be written about this film. Someone called it a Sistine Chapel of a Film. Well put.

  37. Andrew Sidhom

    Nate,
    I think that this reasoning of some critics that you described is – I hate to say – pretty absurd (from their part I mean). I don’t think a critic should go into any movie thinking “Ok I’m gonna rate/review this one as a comedy”
    Movies don’t need to wear labels that reduce what they are to simplistic terms such as “fantasy”, “romance”, etc… A movie is a combination of many elements that are supposed to form a rich, layered experience, and work (or not) on a number of levels. I think a critic’s job is to review his/her experience of the final product as a film, period.

    You could argue that every movie out there tried to do exactly what it did. For example, should Cloverfield get a perfect score because it succeeded in being a claustrophobic POV shaky cam mockumentary (which is clearly what it was meant to be)? Shouldn’t the question for a critic rather be how much he/she appreciated that specific thing that the film did, or that mix of things, and why? Shouldn’t their rating reflect the degree of love/indifference/dislike they felt for the film?

  38. I really don’t think so, but only time will tell… (and we may not live beyond this year! ahh, lol)

  39. Alexandra

    Being the OSCARS so “irrelevant”,maybe we should be posting
    at ROTTEN TOMATOES…

  40. I’m going to quote someone from another thread because I think he/she explained it better than I did. It’s his first point about metacritic below. (Everything below this line in this post is a quote)

    rufussondheim says:
    January 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm
    I think using Metacritic as a basis for what critics think is in error. Here’s three quick reasons.

    1) The reviewers don’t assign the numbers. Some employee at Metacritic reviews the review and then assigns a numerical value. Some are easy because the reviewer gives it a score or a grade, but the most influential of critics, like the New York Times, often don’t give easily translatable scores.

    Similarly, some critics used different scales for different films. Everyone can recall Ebert give Speed 2 three stars. He justified that by saying that he grades each film for how well he thinks it will satisfy the people who will be its audience. In other words, Ebert’s scores for two different movies might be the same, but his lasting impressions of the two might be completely different.

    2) A film’s review is usually written fairly quickly after it was seen. First impressions are the base of most film reviews. I think most of us will agree that while first impressions are important, the highest quality films don’t reveal themselves until they viewed a second, third or even fourth time. (It took me three viewings and six years to come to completely reverse my opinion of Schindler’s List.)

    Metacritic uses these first scores. It doesn’t make an attempt to alter the scores after the reviewer has had time to reflect and perhaps see the films a second time.

    Academy members, who probably take film as seriously as anyone (it is their livelihood), have time to reflect on the films. Even if they are getting to films late (like they probably did with Dragon Tattoo and War Horse) they’ve had time to comtemplate over most of the films they’ve seen over the course of the year. So the immediate score that Metacritc gives isn’t really applicable in most cases.

    3) Metacritic uses an average, it doesn’t measure the passion level. Perhaps if Metacritic chopped off the lowest ten percent of the reviews from their average the number might be more valuable.

    The case against using averages is very simple, any truly groundbreaking or risky film is going to have detractors, and probably passionate detractors. Those scores will bring down the whole score.

    The academy doesn’t allow “negative” votes. You can’t on a ballot say “I wish to erase one vote from such and such a film.” So, in terms of voting, a voter will be forced to treat a B+ movie the same way they treat a D- movie, they will simply leave it off the ballot. Metacritic doesn’t operate this way.

  41. @Andrew, theoretically I don’t know if I condone what we’re talking about, but part of me understands it. I personally find it very hard to compare some of my favorite films because they are so disparate. I think also sometimes that favorite and best are different, even for critics because while I think opinions about favorites and bests are certainly subjective there are possibly elements that are objective and there are certainly critics that think that there is an objective component to film review. That doesn’t predicate snobbishness, pretension, groupthink, or superiority. It may be caused by some of those things, but not necessarily. Remember that for many of these critics, watching movies is their job, and they have seen many many many more films than most of us and also some of them undoubtably study film theory and (real) criticism, so if some critics think there is an objective component to reviewing and grading films or if they feel like grading films based on different criteria, maybe there is something to that. Maybe not, but I don’t watch movies for a living, I don’t get paid for my opinion.

  42. Alexandra, the Oscars kinda are irrelevant seeing as the AMPAS voting body is not really made up of “experts” like Ebert, Roeper, Turan, Phillips, Travers, Corliss, McCarthy, etc

  43. Instead it’s made up of names like Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Jennifer Hudson, and Michael Sheen. LOL. To make an analogy to baseball, The Oscars is more like the Player’s Choice awards then the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year awards.

  44. which if you aren’t aware are voted on by the Baseball Writers of America Association.

  45. excuse me, that should be Association of America not of America Association, lol

  46. Hmm, are there no other baseball fans here that can comprehend? lol

  47. @Ryan Adams how come The Artist is doing so good critically but not financially?

  48. rufussondheim

    It’s funny that you include Ryan Gosling in your list of celebrities, Scott, implying they will offer up substandard choices.

    Have you seen any of Gosling’s more risky projects such as Half Nelson and Blue Valentine? Something tells me that Gosling isn’t weeping uncontrollably during War Horse and voting for it willy nilly.

  49. rufus, I didn’t put any thought into the list. I simply did a google search for AMPAS voting members and those were the names in an article that popped up. Nevertheless, as you can see the AMPAS is largely more like The Player’s Choice Awards.

  50. *Oscars

  51. Perhaps I should post this here, where it’s more relevant to the article…

    Scott says:
    January 11, 2012 at 5:36 am
    http://www.imdb.com/oscars/year-in-review/top-user-rated-movies-of-2011#10

    1. A Seperation
    2. Hugo
    3. Warrior
    4. Drive
    5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
    6. 50/50
    7. The Muppets
    8. The Help
    9. Moneyball
    10. X Men: First Class

    Scott says:
    January 11, 2012 at 5:40 am
    I don’t understand that list though. I wonder if it’s out of date because going by the user ratings for 2011 films I get this…

    1. 8.5 A Separation (2011) 24,450
    2. 8.4 The Artist (2011) 7,064
    3. 8.2 Warrior (2011) 44,611
    4. 8.2 Hugo (2011/II) 16,334
    5. 8.2 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) 24,438
    6. 8.1 Drive (2011) 97,380
    7. 8.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) 144,472
    8. 8.0 50/50 (2011) 31,499
    9. 8.0 The Muppets (2011) 12,002
    10. 8.0 The Descendants (2011) 6,765

    11. 8.0 The Help (2011) 36,151
    12. 7.8 X-Men: First Class (2011) 145,141
    13. 7.8 Midnight in Paris (2011) 59,066
    14. 7.8 Moneyball (2011) 34,034
    15. 7.8 We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) 5,760
    16. 7.7 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) 48,968
    17. 7.7 The Adventures of Tintin (2011) 31,922
    18. 7.7 Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) 114,493
    19. 7.7 The Skin I Live In (2011) 15,689
    20. 7.6 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) 12,155

    So the generally more discerning of the general public moviegoers also seems to believe the Potter finale is worthy. It’s not just People’s Choice Awards or MTV Awards voters.

    And it’s interesting that the critics and cinephilic general public now agree on the Best Film of the Year. I may really have to see this film A Seperation. I know foreign films rarely crack the Best Picture category but why is that Artist has all the buzz? Is it not possible A Seperation may also get in?

  52. That last paragraph should actually read “But it’s interesting…”

    Sorry, I’m a perfectionist and not having an edit feature drives me crazy.

  53. “I don’t question their format or methodology. Every chart has its own slant and reflects the focus of the person who made it.”

    Um, Ryan, a good editor DOES question the format and methodology, AND attempts to clear the piece from any bias.

    I honestly can’t make heads or tails of these charts and what they’re supposed to be saying. Useless.

  54. Andrew Sidhom

    Um, Ryan, a good editor DOES question the format and methodology, AND attempts to clear the piece from any bias.

    Why don’t you go ahead and tell us where’s the bias you saw which Ryan missed? Then we can reply to your points. Sounds like a good idea?

    I honestly can’t make heads or tails of these charts and what they’re supposed to be saying. Useless

    Have you read the explanation that Ryan posted in the comments? If you can’t understand it, then you’re in no position to question anything. If you do understand it, then surely you have a specific argument against the methodology? But then you would have already laid it out, so it doesn’t seem that you do.

  55. Proves that the Academy have somthing against HP:Deathly Hallows 2

  56. in the BP race

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