Chapter 6. Reviews and Ratings

In the olden days (1990 or so), film, food, music, and literary critics had the stage (or the page) to themselves. A negative review from the New York Times theater critic could close a Broadway show overnight. There wasn’t much room—or any forum—for dissenting opinions, let alone a critical mass of them.

The Web changes all that. Some of the most insightful and useful critiques online are on ratings and reviews sites where regular folks say what they think.

This simple twist changes everything because now you, as a potential customer of that movie/restaurant/band/book, can read the accumulated comments of hundreds of people. There will always be oddballs who rip apart Gone with the Wind or declare Catwoman to be the century’s greatest artistic achievement. But because the laymen’s reviews are all in one place, you’ll be able to see what most people think—and you’ll be able to ignore the freaks at the fringes.

This chapter shows you where to find reliable reviewers online—and how to find your own voice.


If you take the opportunity to submit your review of a movie, book, product, or whatever in a public forum, be sure to follow the site’s posting guidelines. Above all, remember that millions of people may read anything you say online.


Alfred Hitchcock once said, “A good film is when the price of a dinner, the theatre admission, and the babysitter were worth it.” Your standards may be a little higher, especially when the price of a movie ticket ...

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