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How do students evaluate movies?

by jmaloni
Sun, May 4th 2014 08:40 pm

by Aubrey Petrone

Teenagers, specifically college students with a lot of free time, account for a large number of people frequently going to movie theaters. Students are always searching for a movie to see on the weekends.

The question is, how do these students chose which movies to go to, and spend the little money they have? Do they actually read movie critiques and professional views? Or do they just go by word of mouth?

When speaking with students around the Niagara University campus about how they evaluate which movies are worth seeing, their answers generally varied, but some websites were popular amongst a majority of the students.

"Usually, I have specific genres that I like to watch, so when I hear from a friend that a movie came out that fits these genres - such as romantic comedies, or thrillers - I watch the trailers to get a gist of the movie," said Donna Raimondi, a Niagara student and avid movie goer.

A site that I found where most students get their information from is IMDb, which stands for Internet Movie Database. This site includes almost every movie you can think of, gives each movie a rating, provides a brief summary and includes a picture and description of each character in the movie.

NU student Jordan Cooper gave me her opinion of this popular website.

 "I immediately go on IMDB when I hear about a movie, just to see if it has a good rating or if there are any of my favorite celebrities in it," she said. "IMDb is also perfect when I can't remember what other movies certain celebrities have starred in. Other than IMDb, I usually only hear about new movies by what my friends think if they've already seen it."

Many students claim they go to see a movie simply based on word of mouth, or because of what their friends have said about a movie. Not many students say they read what actual movie critics thought about movies prior to seeing them. Also, numerous students stated they will often go see a movie just because it has celebrities they like in it, not even needing any actual knowledge on what it is about, or if it has good ratings.

Nicole Maier was one student who told me she often searches what critics said about a movie. Rotten Tomatoes is the site she uses to get a professional rating and to see what new movies are coming out.

"I use Rotten Tomatoes a lot - I even have an app on my phone! It's helpful to see what movie critics have to say about a movie before I spend my money and go to see it," she said.

Lauren Zaleski informed me about another popular website where students get their movie information - one I was unaware of, titled "Fandango." The website describes movies coming out and includes their release dates. One can also buy tickets to a particular movie theater on this website, and it incorporates a series of quotes from critics and fans about their opinions on the movie.

"Sometimes I go on Fandango and read the reviews that other people have written," Zaleski said. "There is a section where it tells you what fans thought about the movie and what critics said about them, and that usually helps me decide if a movie is worth seeing."

For the most part, Shannon Walsh, put into words what most students felt about the difference between talking to friends about a movie and reading what critics have said about it. She told me, "I would rather talk to my friends about a movie than look up what critics have to say, because I like hearing the opinions of someone my age that has already seen a movie and tend to agree with them rather than professionals."

Personally, I go to see movies more often than the average college student. I have always been interested in seeing good movies, no matter what the genre, and giving my own judgments to friends and family. Although word of mouth is very useful in hearing what new movies are out, I need more than just my peers opinions before I spend my money to see a movie.

I also frequently use IMDb in order to find out more information on a movie. For the most part, I have always agreed with the ratings they give each movie and find it helpful to watch all the new trailers on the site.

When searching what professional critics have to say about movies, I notice they usually judge a movie harsher than an average teenager would, and therefore give it a bad rating. So, even if I do check what critics have said prior to seeing a movie, it does not always influence my decision.

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