The movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes will soon have an all-female competitor called CherryPicks.
Announced on Tuesday at the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, the site will aggregate movie, music and video game reviews from female critics.
While Rotten Tomatoes assigns a film a "Tomatometer" score — either "Fresh" (60% positive reviews or higher) or "Rotten" (below 60%) — the CherryPicks scale will be a bit more nuanced:
- Bowl of Cherries: Great. Must see.
- Pair of Cherries: Good. Recommended.
- Single Cherry: Mixed. You might like it, you might not.
- The Pits: Self-explanatory.
Filmmaker and producer Miranda Bailey, whose credits include “Diary of a Teenage Girl” and “Don’t Think Twice," and entrepreneur Rebecca Odes are the founders of the site. Bailey spoke with The Frame's John Horn about CherryPicks from SxSW.
On whether there's a "male gaze" in film criticism:
Well, yes. I think that everyone has a different opinion. Not all men have the same male gaze. Growing up, I loved watching Siskel and Ebert. And I love reading film reviews. I love the art of film criticism and taking a piece of art and dissecting it to its core pieces. And with social media and the way that everything has happened with Rotten Tomatoes, I feel like we've lost some of that art. And part of this is also a way to bring that back and encourage more journalists that are younger women to get into the job of critical thinking when it comes to media.
On whether CherryPicks will be inclusive of trans women and women from other minority groups:
That's one of the main goals. We are going to be a site for people who identify as women. I mean, granted, men can go to the site as well. But in terms of aggregating reviews, it'll be from people who identify as women. We want to be able to open up the narrow guidelines that Rotten Tomatoes has. In order to be a certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes, it is very, very narrow in order to qualify, especially as a top critic. 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.
On how she hopes CherryPicks will change the entertainment industry:
It's hard to change the way things work internally in Hollywood without changing the way the consumers are consuming. And if the consumers are listening to a gatekeeping system that consists of primarily older, Caucasian males, and has been for years, then what they're told is worth buying and spending money on is put through that lens. And so I hope that with CherryPicks, and with females talking about movies ... that hopefully people will be able to see that there are more consumers out there [who] are open to product that has to deal with female stories and female leads.