Citizen Kane used to be 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now it's only at 99%.
How do you judge a perfect movie? I think a lot of it is subjective, but it helps when reviewers support your ruminations. Rotten Tomatoes is one of the sites I like to visit after I watch something to see if the smattering of reviewers agreed with what I felt. I'll even visit it some weekends to see if what's opening in theaters is meant to be good, as well.
There is a whole range of films on there, including some of the most famous and beloved of all time. You can sort by the highest-rated, and you'll see that there are a handful of titles scored perfectly at 100%, which means everyone loved them.
But now, one of the most heralded titles is no longer considered "perfect."
Sometime earlier this year, Rotten Tomatoes brought in an 80-year-old review of Citizen Kane that dropped it down from 100% to 99%. I know what you're thinking—Armond White wasn't around 80 years ago, was he?
The title of the review is "'Citizen Kane' Fails to Impress Critic as Greatest Ever Filmed" and it was written by Mae Tinée in the Chicago Tribune. Her name is surely an ode to "matinee" and was a popular nom-de-plume of critics who did not want to give their identity. Her review skewered the movie, saying "It's interesting. It's different."
It continues, "In fact, it's bizarre enough to become a museum piece. But its sacrifice of simplicity to eccentricity robs it of distinction and general entertainment value."
While I doubt the review will change how we view the movie in history, it is funny to hear detractors from another age. It's a good way to remember that we work in a subjective medium, and our art does not have to please everyone. Even the most heralded titles have people who hate them.
Just draw from what you want to say and make sure what hits the screen is the movie you'd want to see.
You can't make everyone happy—but hey, neither did Citizen Kane.