It’s the mega musical your mom can’t stop re-watching with the songs you can’t stop belting out in the shower – but, for critics, 2017’s The Greatest Showman hit some off notes.
The story of P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), his circus, and its stars sat uncomfortably for many of those tasked with reviewing it; they took issue not just with all the on-screen cheese, but with film’s glorification of a man who used and abused the performers who made him money. (Google it: the guy had flaws). Audiences, on the other hand, fell hard for a movie jam-packed with spine-tingling moments, good old-fashioned romance, and a trove of earwormy bangers courtesy of La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
So it is that Showman’s Audience Score sits Fresh at 86%, while its Tomatometer score is Rotten at 57% – a divide wide enough for an elephant to dance through. But who got it right?
Joining hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis for the last episode of our podcast Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong for 2020 is John Rocha, creator and host of The Outlaw Nation, Schmoedown legend, and Showman obsessive. Will he be able to convince Coley that this Rotten film is more than simply “the musical McDonald’s”? Tune in and find out.
Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”
If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.