You can run a highly successful and acclaimed TV series, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can direct a great film.
“Mad Men” series creator Matthew Weiner learned that the hard way when he tried directing the 2014 feature “Are You Here,” a movie which ended up with a woeful 7% on Rotten Tomatoes and was effectively dumped direct-to-disc.
This week, “This is Us” series creator Dan Fogelman is learning that lesson as his new ensemble drama feature “Life Itself” has been utterly trashed by critics. With 71 reviews counted on the same review aggregate site it stands at a score of just 14%.
That’s a stark contrast to Fogelman’s pre-series directing debut “Danny Collins” which scored 77%. Nevertheless, Fogelman isn’t taking the rating lying down and has slammed the review score for bias. He tells TooFab:
“I think that something is inherently a little bit broken in our film criticism right now. I also think it’s somewhat broken in our television criticism, I think that the people with the widest reach are getting increasingly cynical and vitriolic and I think there are a couple of genres and a couple of ideas that they [attack, which] doesn’t speak to not just a mainstream audience, but also a sophisticated audience.
I think a couple of the early reviews that have come out about this movie [‘Life Itself’] feel so out of left field to everybody who’s a part of this movie and to people who have been screening this film for the better part of a year now to both fancy filmmakers, critics, and audiences. There’s a disconnect between something that is happening between our primarily white male critics who don’t like anything that has any emotion.”
The defensive comments have seemed odd considering Fogelman’s series “This Is Us” garnered eight Emmy nominations this year and is generally well-received by critics. The ‘white male’ critic disconnect claim, however, has already proven to be utter bull with 22 of the 25 female critics’ reviews negative (88% compared to 84% of males). In fact only 10 of the total 71 reviews are positive, and seven of those ten are white male critics.
“Life Itself” opens in cinemas today.