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Everyone seems to have an opinion these days, everyone’s a critic … what is the best movie review site in the world?

You know what they say … opinions are like butts; everybody’s got one, and they all stink (well, that is the family-friendly version of the adage anyway). And, to some degree, this is true. We are living in unique times. Everyone thinks that they are an expert on everything. This likely has something to do with the rise of social media, which suddenly gave every single person, no matter how much they know about a given topic, a megaphone, and a podium to say whatever they want to say. I, too, have found myself annoyed by this fact.

But sometimes I wonder … did social media really create this sense of delusion and self-importance, or has it always been this way? If I were a betting man, my money would be on the latter. Haven’t people always thought that they knew what the best movies, music, TV shows, etc. were? The key difference: in the past, those conversations were kept private, between friends. Today, they are public, for all the world to see.

That being said, it still remains true as ever that there are, indeed, actual experts on subjects out there who publish their ideas for the public. They don’t occur in tweets or Instagram posts of outrage over a movie or an episode of a popular TV show, though. These more informed and tempered opinions of actual critics exist in very specific spaces on the internet. You might have to do some digging through the slush pile to find them, sure, but they are, in fact, there.

These opinions have found a home on credible film review websites – of which, believe it or not, there are many. On the flip side of the coin, though, there are just as many (actually, probably more if we’re being honest) garbage movies review sites on the web, too, many of which try to pass themselves off as legitimate ones.

What is one good way to tell the difference? Clickbait and ads. If a movies review site has tons of sketchy ads, to the point where it is seriously impeding your reading experience, I hate to break it to you, the reviews are probably not written by educated professionals. Likewise, if a movies review site utilizes headlines like “IS THE AVENGERS THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE?” again (objectively incorrect and misguided opinion aside), it is probably not a legitimate movies review site.

The best movies review sites are, as I have said, full of well-written, thoughtful, earnest, and educated critiques of movies, TV shows, and sometimes music, plays, and/or books. Of course, we all have different definitions of what makes a site “the best” in its field, and my opinion is likely to differ from yours, but that’s okay, it all really boils down to what you hope to get out of a particular site. I, for one, have a strong preference for high-quality writing. If the articles on a movies review site are not interesting, well-crafted, grammatically flawless, and original, I have no interest in it. I’ll take this over any other issue with a site.

Others, however, might just want to see a decent enough review or just a cumulative rating and prefer that the site be impeccably organized and easy to navigate. That’s fine! We all have opinions … that being said, my personal favorite when it comes to movies review sites is certainly not the most popular, but I do think that it has the best original content (more on that in a moment). The most popular movies review site, however, is easily IMDb. And it is certainly a good one.

Who is the best film critic of all time?

So, the answer to this question will actually loop back into what I was just saying, about what my personal favorite movies review site is. Because, well, my favorite review site and the best film critic of all time happen to share the same name (coincidence? I think not…). The answer to both these questions is … drum roll, please … Roger Ebert! My favorite movies review site, then, is Few sites have such quality reviews, elegant site design, and an archive of some of the greatest film critiques ever written.

Roger Ebert is probably a common answer to this question. I do not think I am an outlier in this case. I mean, you have probably heard of Roger Ebert before you read this review, am I right? Can you name any other famous film critics off the top of your head? … My point, exactly. His reviews were more than mere reviews. They were works of literature. And it is because his reviews did not talk strictly about the movie which they were critiquing. His reviews were about so much more – the political moment at the time, society, the human condition – while never losing sight of his duties as a film critic.

Ebert truly knew his stuff. He wasn’t just reacting to misinformed or half-baked feelings he had about the films that he reviewed. The man actually grasped the artistry behind making a quality film. He saw the medium for what it truly is, an art form. And he treated his reviews as such – they reflected the art about which they were. His reviews were artful because a good movie is also artful. There are not many film critics out there today who have been able to elevate the genre in quite the same way. Rest in peace, Roger Ebert … you are missed.

Is there anything other than just movie reviews that I can find on these sites?

Although a solid movies review site focuses primarily on, well, movie reviews. The best movie reviews sites do not stop at just that. They will often, as I touched on earlier, also contain TV reviews, op-ed pieces, think pieces, entertainment news, music reviews, book reviews, and even theater reviews (depending on the site). Most movies review sites will let you read their content to your hearts’ content.

Most movies review sites do not have paywalls or article limits, thankfully. That being said, most of these sites do have ads. To reiterate, though, the best movies review sites do not have too many ads. Too many invasive and dodgy ads are never a good sign when it comes to quality. Some of these sites do have premium memberships available, which will remove ads and offer some additional content, too.

You might be able to sign up for a newsletter, keeping you updated on everything going on, not only with the site but in the world of film writ large. Some will contain trailers. Some even offer original video content for you to enjoy between reviews. So, although the bulk of the content will be, understandably, reviews of movies and TV shows on these sites, there are a few other features and forms of entertainment here for you as well.

I saw the most amazing movie the other day … can I review it?

Hey, nobody’s stopping you. If you think that you have the chops to be a movie reviewer, by all means, give it a shot. I take every opportunity I can get to encourage people to write. Try it out! There is no guarantee that your review will get published on a site like Indie Wire or Shudder but send it out into the world and see what happens.

That being said, there are user review sections of some of these sites, too, like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes where anyone with an account can rate and review a film. If you do, in fact, dream of writing a professional movie review one day and you have never attempted one, these sites can be great places to practice. I know I was bashing the whole ‘everybody has an opinion these days’ thing earlier, like a grumpy old man, but, in truth, I do think it is a great thing that anyone can voice their opinions on movies, TV shows, and the like. Opinions are like butts, after all, everyone has one and (almost) all of them matter.

I have always wondered … what do an IMDb score and IMDb ranking actually mean, anyway?

IMDb has two different scores for its movies. There is the user score, which is an average of every user review. And then there is the official IMDb score, which is a composite of all professional reviews of a given title. The rankings, then, are just the highest to lowest scores of a movie (often within a given genre), based on all the major professional reviews available. Great question.

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