Seth Rogen had some stark words for film critics during a recent appearance on the podcast Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett.
Rogen has seen his share of harsh criticism from film critics and the public alike in the past, and he talked with Bartlett about how that has affected him as a person and as a filmmaker.
Rogen told Bartlett:
"I think if most critics knew how much it hurt the people that made the things that they are writing about, they would second-guess the way they write these things."
He wasn't just talking about his own feelings, either.
"It’s devastating. I know people who never recover from it, honestly — years, decades of being hurt by [film reviews]."
"That’s something that people carry with them literally their entire lives, and I get why. It f*cking sucks."
It's not that Rogen thinks all negative reviews are harmful.
He compared the reviews moviegoers and critics were giving his 2011 superhero movie The Green Hornet to the much less good-natured bashing from critics that 2014's The Interview—a comedy about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Of The Green Hornet, Rogen said:
"The reviews were coming out, and it was pretty bad. People just kind of like, hated it; it seemed like a thing people were taking joy in disliking a lot."
"But it opened to like $35 million, which was like, I think at the time, the biggest opening weekend I’d ever been associated with in any capacity."
In contrast, the reviews of The Interview were much worse.
"I honestly think things like 'The Interview' were more like, painful as far as like people really taking joy … and really kind of questioning the types of people that would want to make a movie like that in general."
You can view Rogen's conversation with Bartlett below:
Some critics responded to Rogen's comments since the podcast episode was released.
Podcaster and film critic William Bibbiani put his thoughts on Twitter, countering critics face a lot of negative backlash too.
Noah Gittell, film critic for Washington City Paper acknowledged Rogen had a point but offered further context.
"Seth Rogen is right that critics can be mean just for fun sometimes. I'm guilty of it myself. We should do better."
"But he's off the mark when he suggests critics don't know what it's like to be criticized. We are artists. We write books. We make films. And criticism is art."
Raven Brunner of The Decider largely agreed with Rogen, and offered film critics should aspire to offer constructive criticism to filmmakers.
"I’m always conflicted when creators/actors open up about negative reviews, but I think Seth Rogen made a good point."
"Critics should aspire to offer constructive criticism, rather than shoot the sh*t."
"Lots of heart, money, & labor goes into creating movies. We should respect that..
Film critics play an important role in people's media consumption, offering analyses of movies that help people decide what they want to watch and what they want to avoid.
While some people certainly seem to enjoy critics who lampoon films and filmmakers, that's not actually a required part of their job.