People grouse a lot about how many bad films there are out there, but in all honestly, they bring it upon themselves.
You can see this when you look at box office totals vs. the quality of the film (quality being an aggregate compiled from anonymous internet users.) “The Cat in the Hat” is a prime example of this. As of this writing, this movie has taken in $77 million US. When you look at the ratings for the film on IMDb – www.imdb.com you will see that it is ranked as the 35th worst movie or all time. Why is it making so much money then? Basically, I’d warrant that it’s due to the market demographic (childrens’ film) that it is targeted at. But, regardless, people are obviously watching this film in droves. No doubt, it will all taper off in the next week or so when a lot of other good films are going to be released, such as “21 Grams”, which is stupendous.
What’s good and what’s bad will always be relative terms, since opinion is a subjective entity, but it’s funny how public perception can change things. “Gigli” was a film that was torn apart by both critics and moviegoers alike and probably rightfully so. I don’t know since I don’t watch Affleck or Lopez films and one with the two of them in it would be like drinking Draino to me.
So, how can you avoid a bad film, since people may or may not go and see it and thus, the box office total will tell you nothing as to the actual cinematic worth of it? You might turn to the critics, but uh oh, they’re no good. I think that Roger Ebert must be paid off these days, since he will give a thumbs up to some of the worst movies there are. Then there’s the San Francisco Chronicle, which is actually very useful for me, since I will most likely feel the exact reverse on any film they review. In general though, you can’t rely on critics, because even if they’re completely legitimate, they’re still human and will have varying and subjective tastes to films.
For my money, I find that the aforementioned IMDb.com is the best source. Their rating system, while not foolproof, generally, when it hits 1,000 ratings or so, will be pretty accurate as to a film’s worth. So, the next time you want to go watch something and don’t want to support the dearth of terrible films that get put forth in this day and age, give that site a try and see if it’s something you want to see, but only use that as a starting point.