Is it time to trash RottenTomatoes?
And what happened to John Travolta's career
What to know
The decomposition of RottenTomatoes… Vulture has a must-read piece about RottenTomatoes and its place in the industry. First off, it tells the story of a PR firm that allegedly paid a select number of critics to review a movie so it could get a better score. Not a good look for the site. It’s unclear how standard this is in the industry, but it will certainly feed the narrative of critics and RT being corrupt.
Then Vulture goes on to explain all the ways RT is nonsense. Scores are based off how many positive vs negative reviews a movie has with no accounting for enthusiasm, meaning if all critics think a movie is just good not great, it still gets a 100. Which is why it’s good to look at the average critic rating or check Metascore. Likewise, RT starts to calculate scores before all reviews are in and the studios manipulate what an initial score is vs a final score by showing the movie to favorable critics earlier. This why Ant-Man 3 went from a 79% to a 46%.
There’s a lot more unpacked in the article, but to me the bottom line is RT scores are not always what they appear to be and while a handy quick reference, should not be viewers’ sole indicator of a movie or show’s quality. Upon reflection, I will still report on RT scores because while problematic they remain an industry standard, but more cautiously, and will be switching to Metascores (which are an average of reviews, rather than a good-bad binary) in the “what’s new” section below. 🍅
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Jimmy Fallon declines to comment on report of toxic Tonight Show conditions… Rolling Stone spoke to 16 current and former Tonight Show employees who allege mistreatment by Fallon and the revolving door of showrunners. Staffers were allegedly subject to erratic outbursts, verbal mistreatment in front of colleagues, passive-aggressive notes, and combative emails. 8 staffers “suggest that Fallon’s mood was dependent on whether he was hungover,” and some say he came to work with alcohol on his breath. NBC defended the show in a statement. Sadly this doesn’t seem all that surprising based on the showrunner issue and past rumors about Fallon. Let’s keep an eye on this. 🦚
Disney says Charter dispute driving 60% increase in Hulu + Live TV sign ups… Have you been following this Disney-Charter story? The short version is Disney’s TV channels are currently dark on Charter Spectrum cable because the latter doesn’t want to pay more for the channels. Normally, the cable companies cave in disputes like these because they need the content, but the linear TV business is heading off a cliff right now and nothing is business as usual. As a result, the Mouse says it’s seeing more sign ups for its live TV offering via Hulu. 📺
John Travolta’s new movie made $171 in the UK… That’s not a typo. One hundred seventy one dollars and zero cents. As World of Reel writes, it seemed for a second there with The People v. O.J. Simpson, Travolta might have been on the precipice of a comeback. Apparently not so. There’s always T-Mobile commercials, I guess? 💣
Disney+ Goosebumps series gets trailer and Oct. 13 release date… It will also stream on Hulu and the first 2 episodes will play on Freeform. Disney is really pulling every lever possible to get people to watch this thing. 🎃
Real Thanksgiving trailer promotes actual movie based on a fake trailer… You might not remember Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving trailer that was part of 2007’s Grindhouse, but it’s a real horror movie now. 🦃
Spider-Man and The Thing celebrate Rosh Hashanah on Disney’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends… It warms my heart that children’s shows are still acknowledging the Jewish holidays. ✡️
Bluebird cafe stage musical in the works… From one of the co-creators of Something Rotten! This could either be really cool and good, or absolutely corny and trash. 🎸
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The Changeling — Sept 8 | Apple TV+ horror fantasy series
Dreaming Whilst Black — Sept 8 | Paramount+ comedy series
The Nun II — Sept 8 | Horror film in theaters | Ⓜ️ 52
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 — Sept 8 | Comedy film in theaters | Ⓜ️
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon — Sept 10 | AMC zombie series | Ⓜ️ 71
Returning: I Am Groot s2, Star Trek: Lower Decks s4
What to watch
What happens when two charming goofballs grow up? And not like the idealistic, post-adolescence version of growing up we saw in comedies all throughout the 2000s and 2010s that posited getting married and having kids was growing up — but the real middle age shit. I’m talking the growing up that comes after being a decade plus into marriage and having three kids, after realizing you never fulfilled the dreams of your younger self, or after divorce. As Platonic proves, Judd Apatow’s man children still have a lot of growing up to do.
Creators Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Francesca Delbanco have created a spiritual sequel to the aforementioned Apatow-led comedy era and went as far as casting two of its stalwarts, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne. While we’ve never seen these exact characters before, we kind of have, and the series uses our familiarity with them to explore what happens a decade and a half after happily ever after. It’s a bit like a more comedic version of Fleishman Is In Trouble, in fact if you liked that show, you’ll probably like this. Don’t worry though, this Apple TV+ series is as funny and zany as the film genre it’s updating. It’s also as thoughtful and emotive as the best of those movies were.
Platonic, as the name suggests, also has a fascinating and novel hook. The series hinges around a sometimes-toxic friendship between a grown man and a grown woman (Rogen and Byrne). This isn’t a dynamic often seen in these types of comedies and Stoller and Delbanco find a lot of rich material in it. They smartly avoid cliché and approach the relationship from a realer and more authentic place. Likewise, Rogen and Byrne prove two actors can create fireworks without any romantic or sexual connotation.
As the entertainment industry continues to rely heavily on nostalgia plays, I’d take this version over a legacy sequel or a reboot any day. We don’t really need Knocked Up 2 or Neighbors 3. We need more movies and shows like this that use our nostalgia and fondness for certain genres, tropes, and actors to tell new stories — ones that meet an audience, who is also growing up, where they are.