Film critics have a tough line to walk–they see countless movies every year, and sometimes have to string together several hundred words about, say, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, which is no mean feat. But the fact that they’re constantly watching movies also makes them susceptible to novelty, which is how movies with titles like Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) end up with 93% Rotten Tomatoes scores and eventually Best Picture Oscars. So how do you know if a movie is actually good, or if it just appeals to critics who like stories about neurotic dudes struggling with existential questions? Fortunately, there’s now a surefire way to tell: The Pretentious-O-Meter.
The product of someone with too much time on their hands at Reddit (as are most things these days), the Pretentious-O-Meter–created by Niall Beard–calculates a film’s user-generated ratings on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb with its critical scores on those same sites. Thus, a movie like Sideways, which enjoys a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score from critics, but only a 78% audience score, gets reassessed and judged: 100% pretentious, where critics adore it and everybody else seems to think that it’s just okay, at best.
The Pretentious-O-Meter works the other way, too–a critically reviled, publicly tolerated film like Mrs. Doubtfire lands a 77% Mass Market score, proving that sometimes the critics should be trusted over your friends and neighbors. And, of course, if you want a movie on whose merits everyone can agree, there’s always Argo, which lands a 0% pretentious on the scale, as everybody likes it, but nobody thinks Ben Affleck deserved an Oscar nomination for it.