In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish

What’s good or bad seems often to arrive from a very personal point of view. Take movies. Why is it that so often what critics proclaim to be a “bad” film makes mucho dinero at the box office, while what the pros laud as exceptional results in empty seats suggesting that a lot of people disagree with the critical potentates. Who’s right or wrong?

“Fast & Furious 6” is the latest in a high grossing series, and yet beginning with the 2001 original it has never risen much above the level of mediocrity by critical note. Why the discrepancy?

Rather than turn this into a lengthy probe, let’s instead make a game of this. Suppose we look at what’s soon coming to our mall theater. Most of the upcoming movies will be rated with negative critiques based on ineptness or stupidity or lack of originality, and yet they are being brought in with high box office aspirations – that more of the same sells, be it is loud and fast.

Go through these upcoming titles and become a personal critic. Would you ignore the predictably negative criticisms of professionals with lofty standards and plan to see these films anyway, based on your own criteria, or will you take reviews seriously in deciding whether or not you plan to see them?

–EPIC, an animated film in which a teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good & evil takes place. She bands together with a rag-tag group in order to save their world and ours.

“After Earth” – after a crash landing, a father & son explore a planet that was evacuated by humans a thousand years earlier.

“Pacific Rim” – reveals giant robots piloted by humans being deployed to save the Earth from attacking aliens.

“World War Z” – with a UN employee traversing the world in a race against time to save humanity.

“Man of Steel” – about a Clark Kent lookalike who tries to keep his extraterrestrial heritage a secret, until Earth is invaded by members of his race.

“The Lone Ranger” – with Tonto, recounting untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

“The Hangover Part III” this time without a wedding or bachelor party, but darker, when things go ugly as the Wolfpack hits the global road once again.

“This is the End” – while attending a party at James Franco’s house, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with a possible apocalypse.

“Grown Ups 2” – as Lenny (Adam Sandler) finds that old bullies, new bullies, schizo bus drivers, drunk cops on skis, and 400 costumed party crashers make life crazy.

“The Purge” – which asks if on one night each year you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do?

“Monsters University” – animated, with a look at the relationship between Mike & Sulley during their days at Monsters U.

“Despicable Me 2” – animated, finds Gru recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal.

“Now You See Me” – with FBI agents tracking a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances.

“The Heat” – as uptight FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn is paired with testy Boston cop Shannon Mulligan to take down a ruthless drug lord.

“The Conjuring” – paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

“R.I.P.D.” – finds a recently slain cop joining a team of undead police officers working for the Rest-In-Peace department, trying to find the man who murdered him.

“RED 2” – retired CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.

Questions: Will critical reviews affect your attending any of these movies? Do you prefer cardboard characters involved in action and violence to more serious exploration of character with depth? Does the amount of money spent on making a film affect your decision to see it or not?

The war between professional and amateur critics will never end. Which side will you take, that of professional judgments or personal opinions? Your response will affect the box office and, it follows, what we will be seeing soon on our local screens.

Check out the special spaghetti dinner at Little Brothers, with proceeds going toward World Horizon which sends us invaluable young German volunteers to aid our local L.B. and Sebastian Rhein, our most recent volunteer 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.

Rotten Tomato averages: “Fast & Furious 5,” B-; “Epic,” C+