ONE TOMATO, TWO TOMATOES...
Have you ever been skeptical about a movie that just hit theaters, but went to see it anyway after seeing that it scored over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes? How about seeing something different after you find out Rotten Tomatoes called that one flick you were planning to see a 'Rotten Tomato'? Virtually every movie produced is criticized by this infamous website prior to coming to the theaters, and more than a few movie-goers base their choices on these often overly-critical ratings. A decent movie is lucky to score over 70%, and a great movie is lucky yo score over 80. Aren't you glad your grade school wasn't that harsh?
In light of the recent film "Get Out," which was the first movie in quite a while to score an almost perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, I thought we'd dig into what it takes to grow a not-so-rotten tomato, and what movies you might know that have done so in the past. Let's get started.
Let's start by taking a look at what Rotten Tomatoes considers "Certified Fresh," its highest scoring category:
To receive a Certified Fresh rating a movie must have a steady Tomatometer rating of 75% or better. Movies opening in wide release need at least 80 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics). Movies opening in limited release need at least 40 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics). A TV show must have a Tomatometer Score of 75% or better with 20 or more reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics). If the Tomatometer score drops below 70%, then the movie or TV show loses its Certified Fresh status. In some cases, the Certified Fresh designation may be held at the discretion of the Rotten Tomatoes editorial team.
It's a pretty tough system if you ask me. However, like this description says, a Certified Fresh rating does not mean that the movie got a perfect score--quite the opposite actually. Only a few Certified Fresh movies actually get a 100%...or 99%...or 94%...
Here are some movies that you might now that have gotten perfect or close to perfect scores:
- The Wizard of Oz (99%)
- Inside Out (98%)
- The Godfather (99%)
- Singing' In the Rain (100%)
- Casablanca (97%)
- E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (98%)
- Selma (99%)
- Moonlight (97%)
- Finding Nemo (99%)
- 12 Years A Slave (96%)
*The list does go on, but compared to the number of rotten tomatoes out there, there are very few high scores. Read Rotten Tomatoes' Top 100 movies of all time here.
BREAKING IT DOWN...OR SLICING IT UP :D
So what do these movies have in common (besides the fact that they're all some of my personal favorites)? Here's what I think are some elements of a not-so-rotten tomato:
- Glorious amounts of imagination- Like yellow brick road levels...like turning human emotions into characters levels...you get the idea. A perfect score is going to be creative.
- A deeper plot line that your average flick- There are always multiple perspectives and storylines throughout the film.
- A profound societal or political statement- This often comes in the way of deeply metaphorical situations or pictures of our past that are still ever so relevant.
- A plethora of emotions resulting in a dynamic viewing experience- Did you laugh during Finding Nemo? Did you cry? Enough said.
- No unnecessary elements- A good movie doesn't need to be heavily coated in overly stimulating special effects. The effects used are necessary and make sense with the plot, they're not there to cover up garbage.
These characteristics are some of the elements that I personally see in some of Rotten Tomatoes' top-scoring movies, but the fact is everyone sees movies differently. While scales and lists like this are interesting, you should always view a movie with an open mind, and see if you can find value and entertainment in it without that being over shadowed by a critic's opinion. That's what makes this industry so unique.
P.S. Anybody else craving tomatoes now?
Written by Katherine White / March 10, 2017