Movie Summaries Should Be Informative and Impartial

Since 2014, we’ve been actively chronicling TV metadata mistakes and mishaps from various vendors. An issue that surfaces time and time again is a disturbing bias in movie summaries – writers from some metadata services appear to be keen to insert their own personal opinions, often with a highly negative perspective.

Please see Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 and Part 5 for what’s been documented thus far.

It is these partisan “reviews” that interfere with the end-user’s EPG experience. When searching for something to watch, viewers do not wish to be inundated with the opinions of a nameless, faceless writer.

Instead, a neutral summary is useful in providing information about program content.

Below, see examples from metadata companies that show editorializing within film synopses.

The Rules of Attraction

The romantic exploits of a drug-dealing student (James Van Der Beek) and his friends at a prestigious college. Weak adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis’s novel further marred by Roger Avary’s excessively flashy direction.

The Astronaut’s Wife

A woman grows suspicious of her astronaut husband, who acts strangely after a space mission. The film suffers from a slow pace and stiff dialogue.


A rich teen (Kirsten Dunst) falls for a poor student. Dunst shows range; the script is ordinary.

The Hammer

Adam Carolla proves as adept at throwing punches as he is delivering punchlines in this charming “Rocky-esque” romantic comedy.

Proof of Life

A ruthless mercenary (Russell Crowe) tries to rescue a kidnapped engineer, and ends up falling for the man’s wife (Meg Ryan). The action sequences sizzle, but the romance is underdeveloped.

Broadway Melody of 1940

Entertaining backstage romance. Superb dancing by Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, George Murphy; lavish production numbers; Cole Porter songs.

Here, check out two final examples that demonstrate the “right way” and the “wrong way” for movie descriptions.

National Treasure


A modern-day treasure hunter follows clues on historic, American documents and landmarks as he races to find a treasure left behind by the Founding Fathers.


Pulse-pounding action and a topflight cast drive this exciting adventure from producer Jerry Bruckheimer.



A man raised by elves at the North Pole is sent to New York to find his father, who is on Santa’s naughty list for being heartless.


Will Ferrell is utterly charming in this amiable holiday fantasy. He plays Buddy, an overgrown and inept human who was raised by Santa’s helpers.

It’s abundantly clear that there’s a correct and incorrect methodology when it comes to writing a film or movie summary for an EPG. Make sure your metadata provider isn’t providing unwanted opinions.

Author: Brian Cameron

Image via Shutterstock.


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