How Do You Use Rotten Tomatoes?

I think I may rely on Rotten Tomatoes too much.

In case you don’t know what Rotten Tomatoes is, it’s a movie review consolidator. Basically, if 67 reviewers rate a movie highly and 33 reviewers give it a low rating, the Rotten Tomatoes score is 67%.

I get the vast majority of my movie news and reviews from Slashfilm, because it’s the best (for television too). But over the last few years, I’ve also been checking Rotten Tomatoes at least once a week to see if upcoming releases are any good.

That’s the thing…”to see if upcoming releases are any good.” While I respect what Rotten Tomatoes is trying to do, is their system accurately represent quality? If a movie has an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, does that mean I’ll be more entertained by it than a movie with a 62% rating? I’m not so sure.

Case in point: Tonight I watched Office Christmas Party, a silly, funny, R-rated comedy. I laughed a lot. It made me happy. I’m glad I watched it.

Office Christmas Party has a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Only 41% of reviewers liked it. Which, when you think about it, is actually quite a few people.

But I don’t think about it. Back in December, I saw 41% and thought, “41%? That’s a failing grade. I’ll wait for the DVD.”

The thing is, Rotten Tomatoes could actually work great if I could see a rating from reviewers I consistently connect with. I’d rather know what those 10 reviewers think rather than 100 reviewers with vastly different tastes. Is there any service that provides that data?

How do you use Rotten Tomatoes (if at all)?