Can someone explain to me what's up with The Fountain?

How is it that critics hate the fountain but the general public loves it?

On Rotten Tomatoes:

RT Community: 78%
Critics: 51%
Cream of the Crop: 26%

On Metacritic:
User score: 8.0/10
Critics: 51/100

On imdb:
Under 18: 8.2
Over 45: 6.4

General Public: 7.5
Top 1000 Voters: 6.6
IMDB Staff: 5.5

These are not just tiny disparities, the difference between 26% and 78% is huge. Generally, when you find movies that the public loves but the critics hate, they’re the ones chock full of boobs and explosions and The Fountain is the diametric opposite of that.

Personally, I didn’t care for it, but I’m baffled as to why it holds such broad appeal to the masses.

I just got off the phone with my friend, wherein part of the conversation was me telling him he HAD to see The Fountain. I loved it, I bought it on DVD, and I’d say it was one of the last movies I saw that truly impressed me. I don’t know why critics don’t like it. I really spoke to me, but then, people struggling to accept death is a theme that has always resonated with me. It was rendered so poignantly in this movie. Aronofsky is a pretty quirky storyteller, and not for everyone.

The masses haven’t seen it. All the people you’re looking at are artsy types and critics.

I suspect that it’s not so much a matter as artsy fartsies liking it and critics disliking it as that the two groups are small and opinionated enough that the averages will end up semi-random.

I’m pretty sure that’s not it. It has more than 60,000 votes on IMDB with a 7.5 average, so that’s not exactly what I would call a small sample size.

Because critics love to tear things apart? That’s their reason to get up in the morning?

I don’t know. I wouldn’t read a review of it because I absolutely loved this movie, it’s one of my favorite movies, it has everything I want in a movie.

It’d make a great double-feature with the movie Perfume. :wink:

Very few movies are spiritually uplifting in the way this movie is. Very few can really get us to emotionally and intellectually confront death.

I’ve always been a big fan of parallel story-telling where it takes different paradigms and shows the universality of it.

And Darren Aronofsky would have to fuck up REAL bad to make me hate anything he did. I didn’t LOVE the Wrestler, which makes it the worst movie he’s done by far as I’ve loved all of his others. But I liked it.

The IMDB crowd is nearly exclusively the artsy fartsy crowd.

Hah, right. And they’re not true scotsmen either, I’ll bet…

So you have a film that is disliked by many critics, ignored by most of the public, and has a small but vocal group of devoted followers. Know what that makes it?

A cult movie. Which is what *the Fountain *is. In fact, it’s a near-textbook example of the genre.

Box Office Results:
The Fountain - $10,144,010
Little Man - $58,645,052

IMDB scores:
The Fountain - 7.5
Little Man - 3.4

Five times the number of people went to see Little Man as the Fountain. So I’ll guarantee you that the IMDB top rated movies bear little to no relation to the top box office list, which is really the only measure of what the general public likes.

ETA: The trailer for Little Man -

Actually, it’s the measure of what the general public decided to see in a movie theater on a certain weekend.

Like, don’t like, the ticket costs the same.

I think the public is a lot more likely then critics to forgive a films weaknesses if they like it in general. I enjoyed watching The Fountain, it was original and had a moving story (and I really liked the soundtrack), but it also had a lot of kind of technical problems, the ending especially was a mess. I could see where if I had to grade it with a more analytic eye, I might have to give it a poor score.

Indeed, I think my exact words to my gf when we left the theater was that it was: “bad, but bad in new and interesting ways so I liked it”.

Interesting question.

I think it’s partly critics being more critical about overall cohesiveness, and not weighing the redeeming factors, such as themes and visuals, as highly.

Also I think it’s partly a sort of cultural bandwagon effect. If a group of people (in this case, artsy-fartsy / intellectuals) start liking a certain movie, then the rest of that group will hear positive things about it, and go into it with a very positive viewpoint.

I think a similar thing happened with Stranger than Fiction. A movie that seems clever, but in fact wasn’t.

I think this is close. Critics see – what – 300+ movies per year? So they not only see all the Hollywood trash, they see all the artsy-fartsy trash too.

The average filmgoer (and I’m basing this entirely on my experience, YMMV) sees maybe 10-20 films per year, and most of them are Hollywood films. So the one film that isn’t completely predictable stands out as being different – and better. But if you saw all the artsy-fartsy films, you wouldn’t place such a premium on difference.

For the record, I liked The Fountain too.

I think it also had a lot to do with critics being more privy to all of the particular challenges that this production faced: Arronofsky had to continually cut/scale back/change all sorts of things, so the film wasn’t exactly the full vision that he was going for. Most critics would’ve known about that going into the theatre, and thus be expecting a hacked-up mishmash mess of a film. If that’s what you’re expecting to see, you will definitely see it in “The Fountain.”

Whereas, for me, I just knew that it came highly recommended by friends and had great visuals. So I went in expecting a thematically ambitious, sweeping, lovely movie, and that’s exactly what I got.

Ms. Rand said you can go to the Fountain to get Head.

Do you mean this Perfume?
I really, really, really hated that movie. Should I avoid The Fountain?

Shalmanese, I think the most likely explanation lies within your IMDB data: the under-18 score is much higher than the over-45, indicating to me that this film is probably the kind that teens and twenty-somethings describe as “Oh wow this movie is so deep!” but the older viewers aren’t nearly so impressed with. I haven’t seen it yet; the only thing I’ve heard about it is from friends who are slightly older than me (I think they’re 22 and 24 now, but not 100% sure on that) who absolutely loved it.

I’m guessing you might not ever scroll down far enough to see the message board topics on the pages of many popular or cult films or actors, because my view of the IMDB crowd is diametrically opposed to yours and is heavily influenced by the inanity of the message boards. Wretched hives of wank and idiocy.

I’m 37 and I loved it. I think it is deep, actually, not just “Wow man, this is so deep!” Maybe its non-linear format and allegorical style did not appeal to people who are used to more traditional forms of storytelling, which maybe would alienate older viewers.

Not sure why the critics disliked it. Roger Ebert’s review is mixed, and I agree with him that I’d love to see the Director’s Cut, though I thought the movie was successful, where he did not. This reviewer liked it, and said it was hard to review because it required a second viewing and some time to absorb it, which I also agree with. When I watched it, I immediately watching it over again, and thought about it for days afterwards.

Thats my view of the IMDB crowd as well. I vote on a lot of movies and I am definitely not artsy-fartsy.

Don’t a lot of people bitch about the IMDB user ratings because the Top 250 is made up of a lot of blockbusters that most critics hate?