Why I Don’t Trust IMDb’s Ratings & Reviews But Still Use It!
by Tejas Nair
There’s only 10% chance that you don’t know about IMDb. In that case, IMDb is a popular (and you still don’t know) online catalog of movies, TV shows and stuffs related to it from actors’ biography to box office updates. It is an acronym I believe should stand for International Movies Diced & biased. The easy-to-use online database, even though owned by the profit-centered Amazon Inc., is terrible when it comes to credibility because…
Consider the recently released bilingual action-thriller film, Vishwaroop(am). The film was banned in certain parts of the country before its release by right-wing godmen relating to some religious sentiments being hurt. Neither did I find any offending references nor any sense in the movie about terrorism. But, as soon as the movie released, both in the theaters & torrents, user ratings and reviews started popping up with a vehement pace in IMDb. Having an overall user rating of more than 8 or 9 is fathomable at the initial period, but something seemed impish, when the rating stayed above 9.5 (by 20K users) even after a month. Over that, 99% of the approx. hundred user reviews it had flashed a 10/10 rating praising the ullaganayagan i.e. hero of the world, Kamal Hassan. While I adore the phenomenal actor for his cheeky roles in Pushpak & Chachi 420, I abhor the vanity. The 1% constituted of my critique. As of May 31, it has an unbelievable rating of 9.2, while actually it shouldn’t be more than 3. Apparently, the reviewers are trolls and the co-incidence that all of them hail from Chennai, India cements my probe.
On the other hand, take your favorite movie, say Welcome (2007) which can be watched every other day on Indian TV channels – Zee TV, Filmy, Zee Cinema, UTV Movies, etc. With only about 3648 users, it has a weighted rating of 5.8. Too bad, the comparison is illogical, you may think. But as Einstein says, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” It is just a lucid example of how things work in IMDb. There are many elements working for and against these ratings like promotion, availability, cast & some other 87691 parameters. But, in a broader aspect, you can see that the database has no control of who can vote and who cannot neither can we, as helpless puppets, determine whose vote is actually considered. Same is with the immensely vague IMDb Top 250 chart. Since I found out about IMDb circa 2009, I have failed numerous times to find out how the hell they consider a film to be in that hugely followed chart. The editors are smart-ass NOT to reveal it, otherwise the public will now why the b stands for biased. Even though it follows a dramatically secret formula and a chain of gimmicks like the highly unpopular “Prolific Users,” who are users having more than 100 reviews in their kitties. These “Prolific Users” are bunch of people who think they are better than Roger Ebert. I find it ironic to say, I am one of them.
So, IMDb manifests folly in its core and lets common people analyse the anatomy of cinema; d stands for diced. That’s a brilliant & genuine thing. But, how the editors play a gigantic role in the ratings & reviews system is another thing to ponder before you trust any of those. One more personal example will shower light on why it cannot be considered transparent is…
Look at the below screenshot and tame yourself. My review was deleted for deriding the IMDb Boards in the summary line. Next, when I removed those two words, it stays intact… till now. Somebody must have reported it and whoosh, in a span of seconds, it gets deleted.
The movie was incredibly bad, for real. And everyone were bitching about how negative reviewers are wrong. I couldn’t stand that & an angry me wrote that review. This example could be seen as a thing to vent ire, but I can assure it is not.
So, should you continue using IMDb or create a new account (if you haven’t already)? Hell yes!
It is lack of imagination & interest to ask others to tell you what to watch. The media is crazy and will do anything to rake in the moolah. They don’t really care for the coverage. If you depend on others to tell you what movies to watch, then I am afraid, you need to take a reality check. Of course, everyone searches for reviews of newly released movies to decide if it is worth a ticket, but keep in mind… IMDb is different from the usual reviewing magazines & websites. It is sheer celluloid pleasure.
Because, IMDb is as bad as it is good. While you think what the previous statement means, I’ll be reviewing the Ranbir Kapoor starring Yah Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013). I love IMDb and can forget all these things it does to me time to time because it is a magnificent source of knowledge about the Tinseltown. And since I am a movie fanatic, which is evident from the extreme bottom-right corner of this blog, I have invested a lot of time in it and am thinking of continuing it with as much virility as it was when I first reviewed the Salman Khan starrer Dabangg 2. The movie sucks.
- IMDB’s Top 50 Movies, Arranged By Genre (fastcodesign.com)
- The Largest Entertainment Websites in the World (internet.answers.com)
- The ratings are a lie. (zenscribbles.wordpress.com)
- IMDB’s Greatest Movies Ever, Beautifully Organized By Genre [Infographic] (oddonion.com)
- Top 10 Best Comedy Movies Films of All Time (americanlivewire.com)
- Six degrees of IMDb founder Col Needham | Film | The Guardian (guardian.co.uk)
- IMDB or IMdebunk? (classpblog.wordpress.com)
- Actress Sues IMDb For Posting True Information (outsidethebeltway.com)