The embargo is over and Rotten Tomatoes has aggregated scores of both the new Star Wars and Cats



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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34 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Huh. I thought the difference between a tomato and a splat was 50%. But it appears to be 60%.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

      A D- is not exactly a ringing endorsement.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        It doesn’t really make sense to analogize RT scores to grades. An RT score is just the percentage of reviews that are positive, with no accounting for how strongly positive or negative reviews are. So a mediocre movie that everyone gives 3/5 to can get a score of 100%, while a brilliant but highly polarizing movie that half of critics love and half hate will get a score of 50%.

        Of course, it works better than that in practice, because some reviewers are “easier graders” than others, and good reviewers will respect good filmmaking even if they don’t personally like the result, but the scoring system leaves a lot of room for heterogeneity in the quality of films with similar scores.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Having read the reviews, both movies are skips to me. Cats was never by bag. Star Wars got labeled as incoherent by critics I trust and admire. 1917 is looking good though.Report

    • At least once it’s released on DVD, I’ll watch The Rise of Skywalker. I was 22 when I watched the original; I want to see how things get tied up, even if it’s not the way I would do it. It’s in the same category with Game of Thrones and The Dresden Files. I have sufficient time invested to read the last two books if Martin ever finishes them, and to see what sort of demi-god Harry Dresden turns out to be.

      This seems to be a lifelong thing for me. I recall thoughts aimed at Zelazny during the first Amber series: “You’d best not die before you finish this.” Also the second Amber series. Weber’s Honor Harrington series, the ending of which was both rushed and turned the interesting parts over to Eric Flint. Flint hasn’t done anything on it for years, so I’m concerned. I’m not getting any younger, you know.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Well, I guess this answers the question raised in the 2004 classic Cats: This Kind of Thing Is By Bag, Maybe by Saul Degraw.Report

  3. Avatar Ozzzy! says:

    Am I supposed to believe the polls or not?

    Chip- well if your a white supremacist.

    Jaybird – I’m talking about tweets here. As a metaphorical simile, if a RT splat was a good thing last time, what would your priors tell me about your comment to me?

    inMD – ianal but I believe crab legs.are awesome

    George turner – in the sweep of..[3000 words]. Time will tell how absurd your point is.

    pillsy – I didn’t say that JayB!

    Will – for it’s era, this was some really good cartoon translations to the moving picture screens. Remember Claire was just winging it back then on tattooine.

    Ozzzy! – haha the only way to win is not to play! (not watching till I watch with my fam) Merry Xmas! (Happy new year all, hope you all the best this year)Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Cats could have been a lot less creepy if they went for full body make up rather than CGI like they did during the 1980s musical. Besides the fact that its’ available and was a big hit, I’m not sure why somebody green lit it. The book of poems that Cats is based on is very short, maybe not even twenty pages long, the musical wasn’t in the popular consciousness for a long time. Its vaguely reminiscent of the most recent Ben Hur remake in that nobody really cared about Ben Hur anymore but the Hollywood people thought they could capitalize off of something.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      It’s one of the most popular musicals of all time. The problem is that the people who made the movie asked “why is it one of the most popular musicals of all time?” and got the answer wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.Report

      • Avatar KenB in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’m not sure I know what the answer is either. I was just chatting last night with someone who saw the premiere in London several decades ago. He enjoyed it and so did everyone around him — they all came out of the theater humming the songs. The next day, it came up in a family conversation because the critics were all panning it — he knew they were all wrong, because (according to him) London theatergoers basically never came out of the theater humming the songs. So I guess that’s it, just as Stephen Sondheim complained.

        I’m more like the critics — i enjoyed it OK when I was a young teenager and had no taste, but when I saw it with my own family years later, I spent most of my time wondering how it managed to stay on Broadway all those years. I found myself thinking about one of the entries on David Letterman’s list of “top ten terrifying thoughts that come to you as you’re falling asleep” — “what if Cats really *is* now and forever?”Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to KenB says:

          It might be it’s just an American cultural tradition, like how you watch Die Hard at Christmas, you listen to Born In The USA on the 4th of July, and when you go to Broadway you see “Cats”.Report

          • Avatar KenB in reply to DensityDuck says:

            It certainly became that, which is why my wife insisted we go see it. The question is, why? There’s no plot, just catchy songs with words that don’t make much sense, and some fancy cat costumes. Maybe it’s just the fact that they’re all cats — this was the way we got our cat fix back in the dark days before internet cat videos.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KenB says:

          Well, my take is that the music is pleasant and delightful and, with the exception of the finale, completely forgettable. (I’d compare to the poetry.)

          So that is the absence of an easy strike against it.

          But what it *DID* have was makeup that was out of this world and costumes that were out of this world and since they weren’t limited to “make sure the leads are good looking” this time around, all of the “Dance 10, Looks 3” and “Voice 10, Looks 3” actors/actresses were *FINALLY* able to get lead roles and they took those pleasant little songs and proceeded to BURN THE HOUSE DOWN with them.

          And then, at the end? Memory.Report

          • Avatar KenB in reply to Jaybird says:

            Huh, that’s an interesting point about the makeup & options for talent. It also makes me realize that I was focusing on quality and didn’t really think about the cost side — maybe it has a good cost-quality ratio that made for a longer run.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

            Yep. All stuff that works so much better live than in any sort of recording. I was thinking the other day, though, that TVs have just about gotten big enough and with adequate resolution that a theater recording from a single camera might put a facsimile of the stage in your living room.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

              When I talk to people with class and shit, they all make fun of stuff like Cats and Les Misérables. But every time I’ve seen one of these live, I’ve been enraptured and was surrounded by people equally enraptured.

              Middlebrow kicks ass.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, personally I will admit to some Broadway snobbery, but it’s not like I won’t watch the more popular stuff — I’ve seen and reasonably enjoyed many of the top 10 longest-running shows. The presence of Cats on that list in particular just continues to be a head-scratcher for me, due to absence of plot, romance, & humor.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird says:

                I really like 20th-century Andrew Lloyd Webber’s. Dreamcoat, Superstar, Evita, Phantom, and Sunset Boulevard were all delightful. Aspects of Love was a total flop, IIRC, but it’s packed with great songs. Whistle Down the Wind was where things started going downhill, but it had its moments.

                But I don’t get Cats. It has “Memory,” and the main Jellicle Cats theme, and…I think there were one or two other songs that were decent, but mostly it seemed full of…filler.

                For me, Cats was the Broadway version of buying an album because you liked one of the singles and finding out that it was the only good song on there. Even Tell Me on a Sunday, which was only like 45 minutes long, had more good songs than Cats.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There was a story I saw that stated Lloyd Weber played the score for Hal Prince who then asked if the cats were allegorical stand in for the great 19th century British politicians like Gladstone and Disraeli. Weber responded that they were just cats.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Coworker saw it last night. Thursday night. I demanded a report.

    He said the theater was not full, not even close. He liked it. I made an analogy to a rock song that makes key changes and asked if this movie resolved the chords. He said it did.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:


  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s send up of Cats is top notch.Report