Martin Scorsese hasn’t been pulling back any punches as of late as it relates to the state of cinema. In a video recorded for the dedication of the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies at the University of Illinois, Martin Scorsese gave a direct shaming of review aggregates like Rotten Tomatoes.
In the video, Martin Scorsese lays out what he suggests is a lack of respect for the art form, calling back to the late Roger Ebert. “Now, if [Ebert] had lived to see the current situation, which is really a devaluation of cinema on streaming platforms to the level of ‘content’–that’s what it’s become for the most part–the truly also really, really disgusting spectacle of Rotten Tomatoes and CinemaScore…I think he would’ve been railing against it and throwing the money changes out of the temple.”
Martin Scorsese elaborated a bit, saying the problem is much larger than a personal one. “It’s not just about us. It’s about the cinema and the fact that it not only merits our respect but demands it.” (The video was initially posted in November.)
Martin Scorsese has been quite open as of late regarding how films are perceived by both critics and the public. Also, last year, he called the focus on box office receipts “repulsive,” adding, “As a filmmaker, and as a person who can’t imagine life without cinema, I always find it really insulting.”
In addition to that, Martin Scorsese also said that modern movies are catering too much to audiences. “For so long now, so many of us see films that pretty much let us know where they’re going…I mean, they take us by the hand and, even if it’s disturbing at times, sort of comfort us along the way that it will be all okay by the end…leading those of us who’ve experienced cinema in the past–as much more than that–to become despairing of the future of the art form, especially for younger generations.”
For what it’s worth, Scorsese’s next, Killers of the Flower Moon, has a reported $200 million budget, which means it’ll have to be a smash at the box office to recoup its expenses. Not that he cares about that…
What do you think of Martin Scorsese’s comments about review aggregate websites? Does he have a good point? Let us know below!