Getting a zero critical rating on respected movie site Rotten Tomatoes is a rare and wonderful thing for any film, an honour bestowed upon on the truly wretched likes of Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol, The Ridiculous 6 and Return To The Blue Lagoon. And, of course, the timeless Jaws: The Revenge – aka Jaws 4: The One Where The Shark Roars For Some Reason.
A zero critical rating means that not one professional review was positive and is a pretty decent clue that the film in question is not just bad but a tragic waste of everyone’s time and effort.
A new title has been added to this epic pantheon: the biopic Gotti, starring John Travolta as the legendary New York crime boss Jon Gotti. It’s been a troubled production, with multiple directors leaving the project and the distributors pulling out days before the original release date.
And the reviews for the much-overdue film have been unforgiving. “He may have been a murderer, but even Gotti deserved better than this,” summed up Brian Tallerico at RogerEgbert.com, the New York Post described Travolta as “a leather-faced freak show”, and Newsday described Pitbull’s score as “a Casio keyboard on the funk-porn setting”.
And yet… the audience votes currently show over 70 per cent of viewers loved it.
I'm also covering this on today's Charting, but I think this is really interesting (THREAD). Here's the head of marketing for Gotti defending the movie by citing its high user rating on Rotten Tomatoes. He's right – the rating is very high. But it's a very suspicious number. pic.twitter.com/bYElktvJfK
— Dan Murrell (@MurrellDan) June 19, 2018
The producers of the film have based their marketing around the idea that the critics are out-of-touch fuddy-duddies and that it’s the real people, the cinemagoing public, who have made their zeal for Gotti known.
And this rather bold claim led Mashable to do a bit of investigating, and they found that the supposed audience for Gotti are really, really motivated.
“Despite only opening in roughly 500 theaters, Gotti has received more than 6,900 audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes,” they point out, “while Incredibles 2, which opened in about 4,400 theaters (and made about 180 times more money), has received just over 7,600.”
Also, “The majority of users who scored the movie a full five stars created their accounts in June and only reviewed Gotti and maybe one other movie. Interestingly, a whole bunch of accounts that gave Gotti five stars are private.”
Obviously we would never suggest that the folks behind the film would create a bunch of fake accounts and attempt to game the reviews for their terrible film. Although given that the film didn’t even crack $2 million in its opening weekend it would appear that every single person who saw it was inspired to pen a review for Rotten Tomatoes.
We just think it’s great that this film is really connecting with its audience.
Which totally exists.