ENTERTAINMENT

Fandango's Movie Ratings Are Full Of Crap, Says FiveThirtyEight

Sometimes the Internet lies.

The website Fandango is an NBCUniversal subsidiary that provides both information about movies and tickets to go see movies. In retrospect, it's not hard to see how the latter enterprise might influence the former, but we don't spend all day thinking about these things, so it's news to us, and, possibly, you. 

According to an investigation by FiveThirtyEight, all movie review aggregation sites should be taken with a grain of salt -- they can't be perfect. But none dupe us so much as Fandango.

The investigation's most damning finding is that, while sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes aren't afraid to dole out low scores, practically no movie is awarded fewer than three out of five stars on Fandango. "Ted 2," a film so terrible it prompted Mark Wahlberg to ask forgiveness from the pope, received four and a half stars. "The Last Airbender" got three and a half. Even "Bratz," a 2004 film about the bug-eyed children's dolls, has three stars.

How does that happen? In one word: rounding. Very generous rounding. In some cases, FiveThirtyEight could not figure out why a movie's overall rating was rounded up to the next half-star, based on all of its user ratings. One movie was bumped up a full star, for no apparent reason. 

The lesson is this: Trust no one. Trust nothing. Trust only your own bleeding opinion of Hollywood cinema, and, for god's sake, don't talk during the movie.

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