For years, Rotten Tomatoes has been one of the premiere movie critic aggregates, compiling reviews from a collective of hundreds of critics to determine whether a film is certified “fresh” (good) or “rotten” (bad).
But while the website and its collection of reviews are often used as selling points for top movies, the site has faced a lot of criticism for the lack of diversity among its critics, which are overwhelmingly male. In 2015, Meryl Streep even took Rotten Tomatoes to task for its lack of female voices, revealing she did a “deep dive” into the site’s critics and found that only a fraction of the nearly one thousand critics were women.
While it’s been a few years since Streep called the website out, things haven’t wildly improved in the years since.
But now, filmmaker Miranda Bailey is hoping to change things because she’s launching CherryPicks, a new movie review website consisting of solely female-identifying critics. Bailey, who announced her new site at South by Southwest, recently told The Frame’s John Horn that she was inspired to create CherryPicks because she was frustrated by the lack of women represented in film criticism.
She added that the requirements to be a critic featured on CherryPicks will soften the strict rules set by Rotten Tomatoes, which will hopefully allow for more diverse voices. “But there are so many blogs and bloggers out there [who] blog about film and music for a living. And they are often times in underrepresented communities. So we will be opening it up to some of those critics for sure.”
The website will also feature a more structured rating system, which will be more specific than sharing whether a movie is perceived as simply good or bad. The four tiered rating system will rank from a “bowl of cherries,” which is a must-see film to “the pits,” which is definite skip-it, with two middle ranks — two cherries and one cherry — to separate the “good” films from the “just okay.”
We all know that Rotten Tomatoes scores generally have to be taken with a grain of salt as they generally reflect a male perspective, so we’re definitely a bit excited so explore a site with reviews from people who identify as women.
Bailey said that CherryPicks is hoping to launch sometime in fall 2018.