I tried an experiment today. I had a day off - using up the last of my holiday - and I thought about going to the cinema. I've not read any film reviews for a while, so I had no idea what I wanted to watch.
Also, reading reviews often discourages me from going to see things that I actually end up liking. So, if the review includes terms such as 'sci-fi', 'horror' or 'RomCom', I skip over them quickly. Sometimes, I miss quite good films as a result. What's more, knowing what a film is about ruins it a bit. I try to avoid reading the cover-blurb from novels for the same reason, preferring brief recommendations from people I trust.
So today, I looked at my local cinemas and found all of the films that had more than four stars from the BBC film review page. The only thing I wanted to know was 'is it good?' or 'is it Drillbit Taylor?'
Now anyone who thinks that the range of offerings at local cinemas prove the virtues of the market in providing choice and diversity really does need to go and boil their stupid heads. But more of that another time. I had the usual choice of an almost exclusively American pile of shit from the nearby multiplex, and one film at the arthouse cinema a few miles away that had four stars from the Beeb.
I deliberately didn't read the critic's verdict, and went. And it was a good move. Go and see The Orphanage if you get the chance. But whatever you do, don't read the review.