If you check the front page of Metacritic - a site which compiles reviews of of movies, albums, TV shows and video games, and creates an aggregate score for each one - you'll notice than that most of the current movies in theaters are getting slaughtered by critics. No movie on the main page has a higher score than a 58, and some of them are really low, like the 19 for Movie 43, or the 22 for Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters. Now, to be fair, both of those movies seemed like pieces of crap when their trailers came out, but it's interesting that so many movies are getting killed, while most albums have reasonably good scores. Only one album on Metacritic's main page is rated lower than a 64. This is hardly an anomaly. Albums always seem to be reviewed fairly generously, while movie critics have no problem telling us how wretched the latest hacky Hollywood blockbuster is.
So, why does this discrepancy exist? Why do movies get reviewed with such a harsher critical eye than albums? Some of it has to do with selectivity. Film critics have no choice but to review every new mainstream movie, no matter how awful the trailer makes it look. You can bet that a lot of people in that profession had no genuine interest it sitting through Movie 43, but after two months of previews they owed it to their audience to let us all know just how bad it is. This isn't really a problem for music critics. Music magazines and websites can happily review the albums they want to review, while ignoring the ones they have no interest in. You aren't going to see the latest from Theory Of A Deadman appear on Pitchfork's front page, because it's already well-established that they don't care for that sort of music, and there's no point in seeing Pitchfork give a 0.0 to an album that obviously wasn't intended for their readership. Movie reviewers lack that freedom. I'm guessing plenty of critics would love to ignore the films they know are going to be crap, and just focus on ones that have a relative shot at being decent, but generally speaking, it doesn't work that way. Everything that hits theaters must be reviewed, and the consequence of that is a lot of bitter uber-negative reviews.
That's only part of it, however. Let's face it, an album can have a ton of stuff wrong with it, and you can still enjoy it. The musicianship doesn't have to be strong, nor do the lyrics, as long as whatever you're listening to connects with you. It doesn't work that way in film. One plot whole, or poor performance, or silly ending can take the viewer right out of an otherwise good movie. When you review an album you're basically just discussing whether or not you enjoyed listening to it. While the lyrics and the musicianship are certainly part of that, they tend to be secondary to the question of enjoyment. Lyrics can be completely simplistic and still feel right because they hit you the right way. And as anyone who ever listened to the Sex Pistols would point out, musicianship can be as amateurish as possible, and as long as there's some power behind it, it won't really matter. Music can get make a ton of mistakes and still be successful simply by being fun. For movies, if technical issues are not worked out, it can ruin the entire film.
So, from a critical perspective, the world of music lucks out considerably. Critics tend to be much kinder to albums than they are to films, partly because music can fail at the little things and still be great, and partly because movie reviewers get really, really tired of having to sift through of every piece of crap that Hollywood puts out, while music reviewers have the ability to be more selective. The same goes for us here at buffaBLOG, we tend to review the things that interest us, and that will interest our readers. It seems unfair that filmmakers might have to work a bit harder to get a well-received product, but that's just how the system works. It's one of the few ways in modern society where the music industry has the edge.