At the moment, 37 reviews of “The Dark Knight” have been linked at Rotten Tomatoes, most of them ecstatic. But four are negative, and this does not sit well with some of the movie’s most ardent supporters — most of whom, I should point out, have not actually seen the movie yet.
And since RT has a useless system that allows people to comment on reviews — or, more often, on the one-sentence excerpts from those reviews that are quoted on RT — we are able to peer into the dark, terrifying minds of some of the Internet’s most mentally unstable anonymous cowards.
You’re probably thinking that people’s reactions are along the lines of “You suck!” or “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” But no. It is worse than that. Feel free to have a quick look at the comments posted on any of these four reviews: David Denby, The New Yorker; David Edelstein, New York Magazine; David Fear, Time Out New York; Marshall Fine, Star Magazine.
(It is a curious coincidence that all four negative reviews are from New York critics, and that three of the critics are named David. However, other New York critics have written positive reviews, and so have other Davids.)
Here’s a sampling of people’s responses to these pans:
he’s not just gay, he’s piss-filled *** bag.
Look at his ugly *** face. Just by looking at it you can tell this guy has no life and craves attention
You do not deserve to live.
As Morgan Freeman would say, “Shoot this mother******”
go grow some balls then chop them off cuz you don’t deserve to be a man.
**** you David Denby. I hope you die.
**** this guy. They should take away his reviewing credentials. Thanks for ruining the 100% streak this film had going, douchebag.
Go eat penis you ****ing homo, I hope your boyfriend in New York gives you AIDS
These people will be sitting next to you when you go see “The Dark Knight” this weekend.
My friend Eugene Novikov summarized the phenomenon in a post at Cinemtical (aptly titled “What’s with the Psychopaths on Rotten Tomatoes?”) in which he asks this:
Who are these people? I know plenty of geeks, and none of them would ever go on the internet to yell “f*** you!” at David Edelstein — at least I don’t think so. Would they? Are these perfectly nice individuals who take advantage of internet anonymity to vent their spleen? Who gets this profanely, inarticulately angry at negative reviews of a movie they haven’t even seen yet?
This bears emphasizing. Getting upset over the mere existence of an opinion with which you disagree is a sign of emotional immaturity, plain and simple. But when you’re getting mad about a review of a movie that you haven’t even seen yet — that’s off the charts. That’s alarming. That’s something you need to have checked out by a professional.
The really fascinating part for me comes in the comments on Eugene’s post. Check out comment #6, where someone named Adrian Conlon — which appears to be his real name, so I’ll give him credit for that — tries to defend and justify himself as one of the angry Rotten Tomatoes posters:
I am one of thoses geeks you are refering to and I admit sometimes I do go too far like today when i read the first negative reviews of the Dark Knight i became very frustrated because i have seen the film and consider it to be a masterpiece and commented on impulse to let the reviewer know what i thought even though he most likely will never read it but I would never wish any ill will on him or anyone else but sometimes when you love something so much you want to fight for it. I know that sounds crazy but thats how passionate I and others feel although I do not condone threating people that takes it too far but i lie in the middle. I will let them know what I think
I mean It would be different if we were talking about a crap film like Batman and Robin you would not get this reaction because everyone hated it even the fanboys but if you were like me and others alike then you would know that this film was gonna be amazing long before it came out. I know thats hard for a lot of people to understand but we knew just like we knew Batman and Robin was gonna flop.
I mean one of the reviewers called Nolan a hack who could not shoot action I felt insulted and frustrated and know i shouldn’t because it’s aimed at Nolan not me but I can’t help it it felt like it was at me.
Also it seems as though a group of New York critics have banded together to bash the film fo no reason whats so ever other than it;s too dark and grim well maybe they should go watch Mamma Mia instead.
I know am such a big geek but guess what? You may think I’m a loser but look I have a great social life and party nightly in Soho in London, A beautiful girlfriend, and a great family I could not be happier so I think if you label us all geeks who never leave their room then you are never gonna understand.
So there you have it. By the way, here’s a sampling of what Adrian posted at Rotten Tomatoes:
You live in La La land my friend and have no place calling Nolan a hack you HACK SELL OUT.
I think your just pissed off because everyone who seen it loves it and everyone who has hasn’t knows they are gonna love it (well anyone with taste that is).
Sorry in my opinion that is not a reasonable review it’s like people have said he went in already with an opinion and came out with the same [Isn’t that what you did, too, though?] so to me that doesn’t sound like a fair review and yeah calling people names does take it to far but we are film fanatics who are passionate and feel the need to stand up to people like this. [“People like this” being “people who wrote negative reviews.”]
[He posted this one four times, on each of the four negative reviews:]
Look I have seen the film and it is a masterpiece period. I’m not a fanboy but I love cinema and think that these critics from New York have decided to band together and bash the film to see what kind of response they would get. In my opinion they are talking out of their ***’s and simply have no taste if thats what they really think but don’t pay any attention to these haters cuz thats what they want to do. Yes this film is dark and grim. So if thats too much for you maybe you should go see Mamma Mia instead.