Getting 100% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer means a lot to people. It's a very coveted rating for any movie to get, and very few have been successful. Though a few classics have managed to get there, some have only gotten close. Maybe off by a percent or two. But that still makes them nearly perfect in the eyes of the audience. And that is what we are celebrating today, movies that got 100% on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes. Or movies that got extremely, extremely close.
The Tomatometer, ever heard of it? That little percent meter that people now use to decide if they should or shouldn't see a movie, all according to its rotten score. This so called 'rotten rating' has gotten me in a lot of trouble. How you ask? Lets just say that when I suggest a movie to see and somebody says, "It only got FILL IN THE BLANK percent on Rotten Tomatoes," my response is usually that said person should learn to think for themselves.
This is in no way a dig on Rotten Tomatoes. That site has a done a splendid job at aggregating reviews no matter how rotten or fresh they may be. And, to quote the late, great Muhammad Ali, "It ain't bragging if you can back it up." I don't think I've seen a movie that scored highly on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer that I didn't think was good.
At the same time, what makes movies good or bad? Aren't we ultimately just discussing subjective opinions? Whatever we are doing, Rotten Tomatoes appears to be documenting it, and in the process creating a catalogue of titles that people can use to find out important information about almost any movie.
And what it is that information? Probably the most important thing that we as consumers have. We might not have a lot of control over how our tax monies are spent, but we sure can decide where we're gonna spend our hard earned duckets at the box office. That Rotten Tomatoes succinctly cuts to the heart of that discussion (for most people) is where its real power seems to lie.
So how do movies achieve certified fresh status? What is the magic bullet that almost uniformly seems to align critics and the moviegoing public at large? Not to be coy, but this isn't something you can quantify. However, if you look at well received movies, you will start seeing patterns. It is in those patterns that successful films lie and it's what we attempt to highlight with '21 Movies With a 100% Rotten Tomatoes Score.'
Toy Story (100%)
It should come as no surprise that most Pixar movies rest in the upper echelon of Rotten Tomatoes movies and their rotten scores. But Toy Story is the first and best. We've all had a favorite toys. If we're lucky we've all had best friends or been best friends with someone. There always comes a time when we feel as if our position on the friendship totem pole is threatened. If we're lucky we come to understand that all we need to do is love ourselves and everything else will fall into place. So powerful is Toy Story, it has managed to garner a coveted 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer.
The Terminator (100%)
So original is this story that it seems like a crime if this film didn't earn 100% from Rotten Tomatoes. Making The Terminator shine even more is the fact that its story (and storytelling) is even certified fresh today. This time traveling tale about a man coming to the present (or past), to save the life of the woman who gives birth to the world's savior in the future never gets old. Audiences seem to appreciate when something familiar is shaken up a bit. When it is turned on its head and spun every which way, it makes something like the Tomatometer stand up and take notice of a genre busting film like this.
North By Northwest (100%)
Alfred Hitchcock's hand is all over this adventure crime story. That Rotten Tomatoes gives this film 100% seems to have been a forgone conclusion more than anything. Who wouldn't be caught up in seeing Cary Grant being mistaken for being government agent by a bunch of foreign spies? The great fun of this film is seeing how Grant gets out of situation after situation to ultimately triumph. One thing the Tomatometer has taught us is that audiences and critics love seeing people they love surviving perilous situations.
Citizen Kane (100%)
With its still impressive use of camera angles, deep focus photography, and just about every other important cinema trope, Citizen Kane is still the gold standard by which a lot of films are measured. Some call it the best movie of all time. So if it got anything lower than a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, it would be considered blasphemous. This films follows the exploits of Charles Foster Kane. However, everything we see in the movie is all to put that character's last word, "Rosebud," into context. There is something to be said for a film that is still beloved by all who see it and Rotten Tomatoes score reflects that.
Bet you didn't think you'd see Mud rank so high on Rotten Tomatoes, did you? Mud mainly got the attention it got because Matthew McConaughey was in it. However, this arty, incredibly well done, coming of age film is actually more about the two boys who encounter McConaughey's character than the character itself. Essentially, he is on the run and the boys help hide him. We've seen this on screen before. However, what we haven't seen are characters that resonate the way that these ones do. This simple story is breathtaking and when it ends you're a happier moviegoer for having seen it. A hundred percent on Rotten Tomatoes? Does the Tomatometer go even higher?
The Last Picture Show (100%)
Peter Bogdanovich's tale of youth ending in a town that also seems to be going away is in many respects a perfect film, and it has the Rotten Tomatoes score to prove it. It is that rare mix of right director, right project and right tone that all makes for a sensational viewing experience. Lensed in magnificent black and white, it is no surprise that Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 100% once all the critics notices were tallied.
Finding Nemo (99%)
Here is the second Pixar movie to make our Rotten Tomatoes fresh score list. Have you ever met anybody that didn't like this movie? Truthfully, it is surprising that Finding Nemo hasn't garnered a 100% on the Tomatometer. That said, maybe this film not getting an perfect score is what adds to it's perfect charm? Who doesn't love a good adventure? Especially, when that adventure centers around a father searching for his lost son. Finding Nemo will live on forever because it's universal themes resonate with just about everyone.
The Wizard of Oz (99%)
Is it any surprise that this tale of Dorothy, her red shoes, her dog Toto and the interesting people she takes on her journey is rated so highly? Filled with more layers of subtext than a pastrami sandwich at Cantors, The Wizard of Oz still captivates audiences. If it didn't how would you explain Wicked's success? Rotten Tomatoes high score is testament that if you make a film with something for everyone (and we mean everyone), people will come.
The Godfather (99%)
Films that stand the test of time are generally those that reshape a genre in some way. Well, not only does The Godfather turn the gangster drama on its head, it essentially re-invented cinema. With a dark look that had some studio executives wondering if they were watching the film with sunglasses on, a career resurrecting performance for Marlon Brando, and a subtext that examined the Nixon administration, it's no surprise that Rotten Tomatoes rates this film so highly.
Rosemary's Baby (99%)
Rosemary's Baby is still a shocking movie. This probably explains why it rates so highly on Rotten Tomatoes. First off, as the title states, this film centers around childbirth. So right away its getting an instant audience. The fact that the father of the child happens to be the Prince of Darkness, is what makes the proceedings highly unusual and appealing. Let us also not forget what happens once the maternal instinct kicks in!
Rotten Tomatoes loves its biopics. Biopics, when done well, have a way of resonating with everyone. It could be the shared sense of history. It could be because of the historical importance being put up on screen. Or, in the case of Selma, it could be a great movie filled with incredible performances that captivates viewers and reviewers alike. At 99%, the Tomatometer don't lie.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (98%)
It's almost shocking that E.T. doesn't have a perfect 100% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. But there always has to be someone who hates it, no matter how good it is. 985 fresh is nothing to be ashamed of, though. As we all feel like an outsider at one point or another, ET The Extra-Terrestrial seems to resonate with just about everyone. This tale of youths banding together to save an alien they love was Stranger Things before there was Stranger Things. With a 98% rating, that score underlines humanity's desire to ultimately accept everyone. Rotten Tomatoes aggregation of that kind of data seems to be further proof of this.
Should we be surprised to see yet another Pixar movie rank so high on Rotten Tomatoes? This tale of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen heading on the trip of a lifetime is Hollywood filmmaking at its finest. We all have hopes and dreams for how our lives are going to go. Sometimes things pan out that way, oftentimes they don't, but you still have to enjoy life and experience it to its fullest. Rotten Tomatoes makes it clear that movies espousing universal truths, as long as they are legitimate, are most likely going to resonate with critics, audiences and by proxy, the Tomatometer.
King Kong (98%)
With a fresh score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, one thing is clear, audiences and critics are suckers for movies about true love. How else to explain this tale of what ultimately amounts to a giant gorilla falling for a blonde beauty? Yes, the effects in the film are legendary and groundbreaking, but even more impressive is the fact that Rotten Tomatoes, by virtue of it's percentage process, breaks all this down. That makes the public's love affair with King Kong make even more sense.
The people that get this movie get it. Those that don't, if the Rotten Tomatoes' score is any indication, don't... and they are (according to Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer) in the minority. This tale is so incredible because it is so simple yet so grand. To follow a young person through all the pivotal periods leading up to manhood seems easy enough. However, to see it executed the way Richard Linklater and Co. did is really a sight to behold.
The Wrestler (98%)
So great is The Wrestler, so well executed is its presentation, that we are able to forget (in fact we never even think about) how many times we have seen this story before. Most don't even bother to point that out in their Rotten Tomatoes reviews. The tale of a former great athlete suddenly no longer able to practice their craft has been told a million times. However, Mickey Rourke makes it all his own and director Darren Aronofsky fuels it with a fury that is always simmering beneath the surface.
The Hurt Locker (98%)
The title for this champion of Rotten Tomatoes is darn near perfect. The Hurt Locker is so tightly wound that when it finally ends we aren't able to feel anything but relief for having gotten through it. The reason for this films adulation from audiences and critics seems to be our amazement at what we are seeing. For over two hours we treated to some of the most intense bomb diffusion scenes ever lensed. Many of the people watching this movie will never handle a bomb. Yet, this film lets us understand a little bit about what a bomb squad goes through. And at the same time, it will give us an appreciation for why they do a job we never could.
This near byzantine whodunit, from director Roman Polanski and screenwriter Robert Towne, is a moody tale of smoke, mirrors and murder. Why does a film that seems so inaccessible access so much of our love and attention? Well, there is no one right answer, espeically when looking at the Rotten Tomatoes reviews. However, we've all seen detective stories that don't pay off. Or, when they pay off we don't feel like we got very much for our investment. Chinatown pays off all the way through, regardless of the circuitous route it takes to get there.
The Babadook (98%)
Low budget movies often tend to fare quite well on Rotten Tomatoes, though the occasional low budet stinker lands with a very rotten score. Made for $2 million this unusually bold horror movie didn't even crack one million dollars at the US box office. No matter, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a firm 98%, it's apparent that this movie has something special. There are a myriad of reasons for this. A single mother trying to hold the house together after her husband's death. The fact that her son seems to require special attention and mom seems unable to provide it. This doesn't say anything about the evil presence that appears to always be lurking around the two. The Babadook is about as universal as film gets.
Let the Right One In (98%)
Rotten Tomatoes is a great place to discover small foriegn indie movies. And that's what happened here. While this movie subverts just about everything in the horror movie genre, it's high mark on Rotten Tomatoes really shouldn't surprise anybody. A story about a boy who has a hard time in life and then ultimately finds love in the arms of an "interesting" girl has been a movie trope for years. So palpable is the connection between these two characters that it's not surprising that viewers and critics both got wrapped up in this film. Most vampire movies land with a very low rotten score. Not this one! It's so-called rotten rating is through the roof, and there is a very good reason for that.
Hell or High Water (98%)
Most movies this summer have garnered a rotten rating. A lot of films released in 2016 are just plain bad. However, Hell or High Water is a movie that really taps into the zeitgeist. Sure, this film is presented as a neo-western shoot-em-up about two brothers trying to save their family's ranch. What it ends up doing in the process is showing how much America has and hasn't changed. In a year where we have an election that taps into many of this film's themes, it should surprise nobody that Rotten Tomatoes rates it "certified fresh."
The French Connection (98%)
William Friedkin's tale of New York City cops happening into a drug triangle is truly one of the best films ever made, so there is no wonder why it lands at the top of the heap when it comes to Roten Tomatoes. It isn't the slick, real, mood enhancing dialogue. It isn't the action scenes which (to this day) have never been topped. It isn't even this films "fight the man" ethos of the early 1970s, that are coursing through this movies veins. It is all of that and a unique sense of storytelling that sees critics and audiences still marveling at Friedkin's 45 year old creation.
Rotten Tomatoes didn't exist back in 1986, but we're sure if it did, it would have gotten 100% back in the day. Watching this movie in the 1980s, audiences had never been treated to anything like it. The original Alien was a slow burn with a payoff that exceeded every expectation. This film was a glorified art film that was shrouded in action. It probably explains why its Tomatometer score is as high as it is. Where else can people go and see a good, engaging film with three dimensional characters, and also get incredible visual effects that are still amazing to behold?