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Why You Shouldn’t Put Too Much Stock in Rotten Tomatoes Scores

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In a world where movie tickets are pricier than ever and endless content is available to stream online, viewers can be picky about which films they choose to see in theaters. Many also like saving time, which is why the review-compiling service Rotten Tomatoes is so appealing. At a glance, users can tell if a movie is one they should see (CertifiedFresh) or one they should skip in favor of a night home on the couch (Rotten). But as a new video from Vox explains, that system may be too simple for its own good.

A movie’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes reflects the percentage of positive reviews it receives from professional critics. In order to make this assessment, the site must place all the reviews it analyzes into one of two categories: good or bad. The problem with this method is that film criticism isn’t always so black and white. According to the current metrics, a film with rave reviews all around will receive the same CertifiedFresh badge as a movie with mostly average reviews that had slightly more positive than negative things to say about it.

This can be frustrating for film critics. All the thoughtfulness and nuance they put into a piece is automatically sanitized when it goes through the Rotten Tomatoes machine, and their review for a movie they didn’t love can end up contributing to a score they don’t agree with and vice-versa.

If you aren’t ready to commit to reading each review that goes into a Rotten Tomatoes rating individually, there’s another trick you can try. Instead of placing all your stock in a movie’s percentage of “positive” reviews, take a look at its average rating out of 10 according to the website. This should give you a better idea of just how good, bad, or mediocre it is.

[h/t Vox]

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Warner Bros.
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This Harry Potter Candle Melts to Reveal Your Hogwarts House—and Smells Amazing
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Warner Bros.

As it gets darker and colder outside, the thought of lighting a candle in your room and curling up with a good book becomes more appealing. A sorting hat candle from the Muggle Library Candles Etsy store makes the perfect companion to whatever Harry Potter book you happen to be re-reading for the hundredth time this season. According to the Cleveland news outlet WKYC, the candle slowly reveals your Hogwarts house as it burns.

From the outside, the item looks like a normal white candle. But when lit, the outer layer of plain wax melts away, allowing the colorful interior to poke through. The candles come in one of four concealed colors: red for Gryffindor, blue for Ravenclaw, yellow for Hufflepuff, and green for Slytherin. The only way to know which house you’re destined to match with is by purchasing a candle and putting it to use. According to the label, the scent evokes “excitement, fear, and nervousness.” The smell can also be described as lemon with sandalwood, vanilla, and patchouli.

Due to its viral popularity, the Fort Worth, Texas-based Etsy store has put all orders on hold while working to get its current batch of shipments out to customers. You can follow Muggle Library Candles on Instagram for updates on the sorting candle, as well as other Harry Potter-themed candles in their repertoire, like parseltongue and free elf.

[h/t WKYC]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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