Last week Slate ran a story about the "Hollywood Career-o-Matic," which claimed to use data from Rotten Tomatoes to chart the trajectories of Hollywood careers. Interactive feature: Just enter the name of an actor or director and it will instantly generate a graph showing that person's critical ups and downs.
For example, here's one for M. Night Shyamalan, with each dot representing the Tomatometer score for the features he has directed:
Slate concludes that, according to Rotten Tomatoes data, the Best Actor in movies is Daniel Auteuil, with John Ratzenberger the best American actor, since he's voiced a character in every Pixar movie. Best Actress: Arsinée Khanjian. Worst Actress: Jennifer Love Hewitt. Best Director: Mike Leigh. Worst Director: Dennis Dugan (veteran of Adam Sandler movies such as "Happy Gilmore," "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" and "Grown Ups").
Yes, this is all so silly that the mind boggles, but let's start with the premise itself: What is the correlation between reviews and careers in Hollywood? Adam Sandler and Michael Bay wouldn't look much more impressive than Shyamalan if you looked only at reviews. And the Slate piece is riddled with misconceptions about the Tomatometer:
Q. The original trailer for "Series 7: The Contenders" was most disturbing. It seemed to be a serious movie about people killing each other as a game. Then I saw a different trailer. The tone had changed. Perhaps because I'd read about the movie being a dark comedy about the "survival"-type shows on TV, I knew more of what it was about. It's interesting that the new trailer came out just after the recent high school shootings. It's also interesting because one of the stars has been on TV talking about how this movie is NOT for children but only for adults. But the ads are clearly aimed at kids. (Carol Iwata, Chicago)