But we are interested in the outliers -- the ones who disagreed with the overall rating -- for these movies. Who were the critics who found themselves on the losing side, so to speak, the most often? So we went through all 180 movies that got the most extreme ratings over the last three years and then tallied how often the Rotten Tomatoes-designated "Top Critics" found themselves in the minority of these best and worst films. At right is our top 20 (actually, top 29 when you include the ties) most cantankerous critics, and the winner is...
America's Most Cantankerous Critic: Kyle Smith of The New York Post.
Smith blew away the competition. Between 2009 and 2011, he disliked 13 of the 90 best-reviewed movies and liked nine of the 90 worst-reviewed ones. While some critics showed a tendency toward either being overly tough on good movies or overly forgiving of terrible ones, Smith is notable for being both. He's undoubtedly America's most cantankerous (he'd probably prefer "independent") critic.
Notable films: Smith did not like Hugo (which came in at 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), The Fighter (91 percent), and Food, Inc. (96 percent). He did, however, enjoy I Love You Beth Cooper (14 percent), Atlas Shrugged (11 percent) and W.E. (13 percent.)
Representative quote: "Two-thirds of The Fighter is a slog through the bleak and the ugly -- poverty porn meant to reassure us that our social inferiors never say anything witty or achieve a moment of grace. Still, they might provide intermittent entertainment by beating each other up."
(Update: In response to those who wondered where notoriously cantankerous Armond White ranked on the list, we've got an explanation for his conspicuous absence from our little contest.)
... and there were some other patterns emerged in our survey of the ratings. When critics (aside from Smith) diverged from the pack, it was generally in one direction, either giving mostly bad reviews to the best-reviewed films or good reviews to the worst-reviewed. So we decided to look at the critics who were the most heavily weighted one way or the other. Introducing...
The Most Forgiving Critic: Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
While Gleiberman came in second overall, there was a definite pattern for when he disagreed with his colleagues: he gave 12 good reviews to the worst-reviewed movies and only one bad review of the movies on the best-reviewed list. If you're gonna give Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (20 percent) or Zookeeper (14 percent) a good review, as Gleiberman did, you've got to see this coming.
Notable films: Gleiberman gave a positive review to New Year's Eve (8 percent), Zookeeper (14 percent) and Grown Ups (10 percent).
Representative quote: "When he takes the gorilla (Nick Nolte) out for a night at T.G.I. Friday's, the film briefly soars."