The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
The treatment of J.D. Salinger's writing in this overwrought documentary is so inflated and pompous it comes as a relief when Judd Apatow shows up to describe The Catcher in the Rye as a funny book filled with great lines.
Cataloging what's missing from Salerno's movie -- for instance, why "The Catcher in the Rye" worked, or didn't, and what it meant and still means to the American novel -- would run into the sports section.
One of those documentaries where a lot of fancy people who never met the guy use the word "must" a lot. Oh, well, he must have thought this, they say, waving their hands around. Oh, this must be why he did this. It's all kind of annoying, actually.
Even if the documentary's climactic revelation amounts to a commercial plug, it's an unquestionably enthralling one, as Salerno's two hour-plus account of Salinger's complexities covers virtually every aspect of his life story.
Salinger fans will see it through a frown of disdain, emitting occasional whimpers of protest, but see it they will for its revelations, dropped at cunningly dispersed at intervals throughout an otherwise wearying 2-hour-and-15-minute running time.
This documentary is, perhaps, a lengthy advertisement for those upcoming books as well as the new biography, but it certainly stands on its own as a revealing glimpse at the genius and the misanthropy of a legendary man of letters.
You wonder why Salerno thought the man who created Holden Caulfield would be best served by an abundance of sentimentalism, a stock sap-tastic score and some genuinely cheesy dramatizations on a black stage (the director is no Hollywood phony, but still).
What the movie gets hilariously, howlingly wrong is the idea that a life like Salinger's-so extraordinary, yet so willfully humdrum-could somehow be captured by the most shopworn of cinematic techniques.