Recently, IMDb released a list of the most popular Indian movies and TV shows, which included the likes of The Kashmir Files, RRR, Gangubai Kathiawadi and Panchayat. While most of the names got fans excited, a few have been less popular, to say the least. Considering that IMDb relies on a user-based voting system, the inclusion of some names has been contested since they could have been influenced by political, social or pop-culture trends, rather than the filmmaking. Which doesn’t necessarily shed light on how “good” any of them are.

The best example of this is that of documentaries, which may be objectively better than a popular show like Game of Thrones or Chernobyl. But since not many have seen them, they might be piling at the lower end of the list. 

IMDb’s voting system has been subject to many controversies, with multiple threads across Reddit and Twitter suggesting that the website should be avoided because it doesn’t help gauge the legitimacy of a movie or TV show. 

One of the threads we found on r/movies explained this perfectly, with the OP (original poster) writing, “IMDB used to be my go-to site before watching any movies. Users left genuine reviews that I trusted (most of the time), good or bad. Now, it’s littered with 10 or 1 coming from days-old accounts for new/recent movies and has become impossible to know what to take seriously. As a movie lover, it’s really sad and frustrating…”

Other users shared similar frustrations, with one user commenting, “Yeah, user reviews are extremely unreliable since it’s so easy to set up bots to post fake votes with copy/pasted reviews that can spam 10 or 0 (usually the latter). Sadly, as it stands user reviews on a site like Metacritic or RT are only good in conjunction with the critical score. If a movie has a 75/100 critically and, say, 72/100 from fans, then it’s very clear that most agree it’s a 7/10 movie. But if one has a 95/100 critically and a 28/100 with fans then something would smell fishy.”

A similar thread on the same subject matter read, “I am no movie expert and I don’t work in the field of it. In my mid-40s now I have seen a lot of movies and TV shows in my life. I was often checking IMDB to get a feel if I should watch a movie or not. When there are many votes, it surely is a decent indicator if a movie is worth it or not. But I noticed a lot that more recently users seem to give extreme ratings in their reviews. I liked reading those to get a feel. So many movies get a maximum of 10 that are objectively not even close to it. Same with rating well-produced movies with great actors a 1. It’s just silly and I wish folks would give more informed ratings than just emotional spit-outs resulting in unbalanced ratings.”

To which replies ranged from complaints and praises for the website. The one that stood out to us read something like, “Because when aggregated, anything else is guaranteed not to affect the score. Also, clickbait opinions get attention, so reviewers go all in on an extreme position for attention. The whole industry is bunk at this point.”

There you have it, folks! The conclusion is to take everything with a grain of salt. 

(Image credits: Warner Bros, Columbia Pictures, Vishesh Films, Zee Studios, Pen India Limited)