Irish actress Saoirse Ronan was the star of the top-rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes, for a while. Perhaps you've heard some of the buzz around the coming-of-age classic Lady Bird? If you haven't, I hope the rock you live under is nice this time of year. To get you up to speed, for example, Vulture.com says the movie is the frontrunner for Best Picture at the 2018 Academy Awards.
The reviewer called Lady Bird 'a lightweight contender'
Now, some of the shimmer is gone because of one man, a film critic named Cole Smithey. Smithey writes reviews for his own site, ColeSmithey.com. Smithey wrote in his review, "But to be clear, "Lady Bird" is far from a perfect film, it's just not the mumblecore disaster you'd expect from Greta Gerwig — one of the mumblecore movement's prime progenitors. There are dozens of coming-of-age films that far outweigh this lightweight contender." At the end of the review, Smithey gives the movie a "C+," despite originally giving it a "B-.">
Rotten Tomatoes classes the new review as a "rotten" review as opposed to "fresh."
Smithey addressed the controversy in a tweet:
Context is everything. I had to consider whether to cast “Lady Bird” as Fresh or Rotten in the context of a perfect score that people were using to trumpet “Lady Bird” as the all-time best reviewed movie on RT. A "B-" does not an "A+" make. @RottenTomatoes @LadyBirdMovie pic.twitter.com/fR7PJ5GfZD— Cole Smithey (@colesmithey) December 13, 2017
One tweeter, Zonger Sinaps, had a problem with Smithey's logic saying, "To me this just hurts the credibility of Rotten Tomatoes. That’s the equivalent of rating a movie 1/10 on IMDb because you don’t think it deserves the rating it has."
Smithey has previous with this kind of thing
A quick Google of Smithey's name reveals that he has previous with this kind of thing. One of the first returns is an IGN message board titled, "Who the hell is Cole Smithey? First rotten review for Toy Story 3." While on his website, Smithey humbly refers to himself as "The Smartest Film Critic in the World." According to his LinkedIn page, Smithey has run his website since 1997. Smithey graduated from San Diego State University in 1984. Other popular movies that Smithey has disagreed with recently include the wildly popular Dunkirk and Logan.
Saoirse Ronan is the third favorite to win an Oscar for her role
Oddschecker shows that Ronan is the third favorite to win the Best Actress gong behind Frances McDormand in Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water. While Lady Bird sits as the fourth favorite for the Best Picture award. That kind of buzz is certainly at odds with Smithey's review.
Ronan seems as down-to-earth as ever despite her recent Golden Globe nomination. The actress told People Magazine in a recent interview that she was hiking in Glendalough, County Wicklow, when she got the news, "I actually forgot about it today because I was just on a different time zone and I was up and out of the house. I had a friend over and we went to this beautiful site called Glendalough, which is a monastic site and there’s a beautiful lake and mountains. My bag just started to vibrate nonstop and I was like ‘What’s going on?’ And then I saw a bunch of missed calls from my publicist and I was like, ‘Oh s—, they’re out today!'"