Backlash Proof: Boyhood Maintains High Score of 99, with 30 Critics Ringing In

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I keep reading people on Facebook marveling at the high score Boyhood is maintaining. This is inspiring people to want the movie not to be THAT good, ripe for backlash. The thing about it is that it is backlash proof. This movie is every bit as good, and maybe even better, than even the critics are saying it is. It seems to be melting the coldest of hearts.

While it true that many of the critic on Metacrtic I’ve never heard of – like, who are they? Where did they come from? Is their opinion more valuable than yours? Is any critic’s? They have the power to expand your experience of a film, perhaps, along with the conversation of film overall. They can help to elevate a filmmaker’s place in history, or else do more harm than good until enough time passes to render that critic’s voice a laugh riot. But in the end, their enthusiaism for Boyhood should do one thing and one thing only: motivate YOU to see it.

So you can’t really measure today’s Metacritic by the collection of voice from, say, five years ago. But what you can see from this score is that Boyhood has broad appeal and makes a profound impact on audiences.

19 Comments on this Post

  1. Al Robinson

    I think it’s either a feeling of jealousy, OR, they just can’t believe that a new film can already been THAT great that soon.

  2. Al Robinson

    Plus, I always feel like a new movie should be given the benefit of the doubt, until each person sees it, and decides for themselves how they feel about it.

    It tires me to constantly be reading about criticism for a movie I haven’t seen yet. This time, it’s nice to see it going the other way.

  3. Bob Burns

    I think you are interpreting the reviews correctly. It isn’t that the Academy is influenced by critics – it’s that they are generally similar samples with generally similar tastes. BP nominees have very good reviews most of the time and BP is a choice among favorites.

  4. Natasha

    Haven’t seen it, but the only “complaint” I might have about all this is that the Oscar Race may have already been called in July! Then again, maybe not—-but this response looks formidable–and it has an “Oscar story.”

  5. The backlash will set in six months from now, when it is revealed that Ellar Coltrane is actually computer-generated and the whole film was shot over a weekend last summer.

  6. Winston

    Ok, I’m going to predict this to WIN BEST PICTURE!! There’s no other movie like this out there to have the vision to create a memorable film like this!!

    Plus, Linklater has been consistent delivering quality movies over the years. This is the one!! The other films /directors will play bridesmaids.

  7. Winston

    Plus it’s refreshing to have a film of this quality to come out in the summer!! I’m all for it!!

  8. Sounds like it’ll sweep all the critics awards…but Oscar? We’ll just have to wait and see…The Oscar Race just gets longer….and longer…and longer…but bravo to Richard Linklater! A nice guy AND a genius who has never really had THIS kind over-the-moon reaction before…I saw something like this many years ago when a Russian-language “War and Peace” was filmed over many, many years…It’s pretty powerful…I remember it still…

  9. PaulContinuum

    Still a gimmick film like The Artist. The most banal of subject matter. And it won’t make in its run what Frozen did in its first weekend. The quintessential arthouse film. If it wins any major stuff, it will only reflect just how great god almighty bad 2014 has been, movie quality-wise. Maybe worse than 2011.

  10. Travis

    “And it won’t make in its run what Frozen did in its first weekend. The quintessential arthouse film. ”

    When Frozen opened in 2013 it was in a single theater and made $243,390.
    Boyhood opened in five theaters its opening weekend and made $387,618.

    So technically it did make more than what Frozen did in its first weekend.

  11. Sasha, in order to make themselves more relevant, the MC average has risen over the last 15 years, while the averages for RT and BFCA have, more or less, been up and down with no definitive trajectory like MC. Therefore, it opens itself up for criticism.

  12. the averages for RT and BFCA have, more or less, been up and down with no definitive trajectory

    Cinesnatch, All depends on whether we want to read the opinions of 40 seasoned critics who’ve been around for years and have distinguished themselves enough to write for major publications, or else trust the opinions of 500 little Caligulas throwing tomatoes and giving us scores based on the black-and-white all-or-nothing blunt-instrument nuance of a YES/NO system. Naturally a mob of 500 “critics” on tumblr whose reviews are ranked and compiled according to STOP/GO, YAY/HISS, TRASH/TREASURE is going to be more randomized and yet consistently continually meaningless.

    So Metacritic has made adjustments to its numerical assessments of reviews? Good. Thank god. That demonstrates an ability to realize their system was broken and shows they want to fix it. The Metacritic system badly needed an overhaul. If they’re making refinements, that’s called progress. Their numbers made no sense mathematically, as I’ve been saying for years.

    But who the hell decides what a movie is worth by looking a number, anyway? Metacritic serves only one good purpose, and that’s as a link hub — links to reviews with words people can read.

    Movies are not a problem to be solved with a fucking math formula, so all these number scores ever do is make me sick of some people’s lazy reliance on them.

    All the same. it’s cool to see a score of 99 — because, at a glance, it indicates that there are no major critics who have any major problems with Boyhood. It also means that an interesting low-budget movie has now become one of the films Academy voters will feel they “need to see” (because, you know, watching movies for some of those people is like a torture, apparently. Unless they’re being spoon-fed by the machine.)

    Any “score” between 60 and 90 on metacritic means nothing to me. It only motivates me to look deeper to see where the only dozen critics I admire stand among their peers. In fact, sometimes an aggregate score of 75 tells me nothing more than which critics were happy that day and which ones were feeling bitchy.

    If I trusted all the caution signs warning me away from movies with scores in the 60s I’d be missing a lot of fine films. Likewise if I only got excited about movies scoring 85 or more I’d be stuck in the sort of consensus rut of “worthy movies” that I often find laughable.

    But this is the just sort of whine I expect from you, Cinesnatch. It would be a shock if you ever showed up here with a positive upbeat comment about anything. Fun for you to come piss on good news about Boyhood, is it?

    ===

    But hang on, let’s drill down to see if we can figure out if you have a valid point. So you’re here to tell us Metacritic is discredited? So that Metacritic score of 99 is unreliable? You want us to know that RT and the BFCA give us a number that’s more “honest”? Because you have proof that Metacritic is artificially jacking up its numbers?

    Terrific. Boyhood is currently the year’s highest-ranked movie by the BFCA, and Boyhood has a score of 99 on RT.

    I see your point. We have to be skeptical of Metacritic’s 99. But RT’s score of 99 is honorable. ok, thanks.

  13. Richard B

    I’ll have to wait another month to see this at least.

  14. Thiago

    Have you ever checked the score? How do they calculate it? Is it simple arithmetic mean? Because performing that, it results lower than 98. What am I missing?

  15. Gravity sits at 96 with 49 reviews…27 perfect 100s
    12 Years a Slave sits at 97 with 48 reviews…34 perfect 100s
    Boyhood (for now) sits at 99 with 38 critics…31 perfect 100s

    That’s something to behold. There are still, roughly, 10 more reviews metacritic will post. Of those 10, at least 5 will most likely be perfect scores (I’m being safe, I really think at least 8 more). That might give Boyhood the most perfect scores of a movie to grace metacritic. I know it’s not the end all, be all of sites for an aggregate of critics but, Ryan’s right, it’s great to see a 99 and for something that seemingly deserves it. I remember seeing that number, or close to it, for the last season of Breaking Bad and the 4th season of The Wire and I thought to myself, “The critics have it right and they’re all uniformly noticing excellence.”

  16. “Cinesnatch. It would be a shock if you ever showed up here with a positive upbeat comment about anything.” Then you don’t read/ recall my comment history here.

    I’d be weary of a system that is showing signs of succumbing to hyperbolic scores. The point of bringing up RT/BFCA was as a control group. And when I say “RT” I should have specified “weighted scores” not “fresh rating.” It didn’t seem like I should have had to considering the latter makes less sense than the former as a comparison. The best scores on BFCA/RT (weighted) any given year stray less from the general pack on their sites than what has been happening on MC. It seems worthy of intelligent discussion, not your dismissiveness towards the bigger picture, so to speak. If a point system is becoming more inflated than other systems, it starts to become less reliable.

    But I’m happy for Boyhood’s success. Great film.

  17. “whether we want to read the opinions of 40 seasoned critics who’ve been around for years and have distinguished themselves enough to write for major publications”

    Actually, Ryan, a lot of publications represented on MC have a rotation of critics, as I learned last year. If you take 15 or so major oscar-type releases in any given year, for example, there are maybe 12 – 15 critics (20 tops) who rate every single movie out of that pool and whose MC scores are taken into consideration.

  18. “Metacritic serves only one good purpose, and that’s as a link hub — links to reviews with words people can read.”

    Yet, a high score will bring one movie to people’s attention, while a low score can kill another’s chances at additional attention.

    “Movies are not a problem to be solved with a fucking math formula, so all these number scores ever do is make me sick of some people’s lazy reliance on them.”

    Yet, the 99/100 is being used as lazy reliance.

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