Arts & Entertainment

Martin Scorsese Thinks Rotten Tomatoes Is Killing the Movie Business

"The great 20th-century art form, the American art form, is reduced to 'content'."

Martin Scorsese is very annoyed at the internet.

Specifically, he hates the way that, as he sees it, films are being treated as just another blip of shareable content to be chopped up into supercuts and GIFs.

He went in-depth on the theme during his acceptance speech for the TCM Classic Film Festival's inaugural Robert Osborne Award at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood last Thursday, in which he railed at the debasement of "the great American art form".

"It can all be summed up in the word that’s being used now: content," he said.

“All movie images are lumped together. You’ve got a picture, you’ve got a TV episode, a new trailer, you’ve got a how-to video on a coffee-maker, you’ve got a Super Bowl commercial, you’ve got Lawrence of Arabia, it’s all the same.”

“They can also turn a picture off and go straight to the next piece of content. If there’s no sense of value tied to a given movie, of course, it can be sampled in bits and pieces and just forgotten.”

Review aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes got a kicking too, with Scorsese blaming them for a narrowing of casual audience members' tastes.

"The horrible idea they reinforce [is] that every picture, every image is there to be instantly judged and dismissed without giving audiences time to see it," Scorsese said.

"Time to see it, maybe ruminate and maybe make a decision for themselves. So the great 20th-century art form, the American art form, is reduced to content."

He did give a big thumbs up to dedicated film fans, though.

“You know the difference between a YouTube video and the great American art form,” he said.

“You react against the devaluation of cinema and movies by showing up.”


So, next time you size up a film's IMDb rating before giving it a chance, imagine Martin Scorsese and his massive, angry eyebrows looming out of the dark in disapproval, and think again.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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