Opinion: My Movie Rating System (Because people keep bugging me)

A blog post was promised and will now be delivered. The category of this post is somewhat undetermined, which means it’ll be labeled opinion. I think that’s fitting anyway, considering it concerns my rating system for movies, and those are nothing, if not my opinion.

People also need to keep in mind that the majority of the movies I rate are not major theatrical releases (though, of course, some will be) but B and C movie titles that are straight to video or had a fleeting glimpse of theatre time in their day. I say that because most people, in my experience, want to compare a B movie about dwarves and dragons with no budget against say “The Hobbit,” which is wholly unfair. I believe each movie has to be examined in the proper context, which means looking at all parts of the film, not just its failures. So, without further ado, this is what I’ve been getting:

“You talked about this movie like it was horrible, but you gave it a 2 rating?” or “You gave this a 3 rating but said it was awesome. What’s up with that?”

I’ll tell you what’s up with that.

Let’s take a few examples. On 02/23, I wrote on my FB page “I don’t want to talk about last night’s movie. Seriously.” in regards to the movie “The Thirst: Blood War.” I didn’t attach a rating to the post (which I should have done) but it’s a 2 out of 5.

As a comparison, I rated “In the Spider’s Web” a 1 on January 9th. In this movie, the plotline was bad, the acting was bad, the CGI was bad, the horror was bad, just everything about it was bad. Unlike “The Thirst: Blood War,” which was coherent from start to finish, didn’t rely on bad FX to cover poor plotting, and in my opinion, was decently made. It just wasn’t anything special. And for those reasons, it deserves to not be shit on by getting a 1 rating.

So for anyone keeping score, a 1 is a definite skip. There’s nothing redeemable about the movie at all. When I rate a movie a 2, it’s not really worth watching, but it didn’t hurt me to do so. I wasn’t shaking my head throughout the whole thing saying, “I could be picking lint out of my dryer right now” or something similar. If you’re a hardcore movie guy like me, a 2 might be worth watching just to say you did.

So how can I rate a movie a 2 when I can’t even talk about it? Easy. As a writer, I know what it’s like when someone pans your work. It hurts you, emotionally, and it hurts sales, views, and everything else. I’m not all about being a dick to any artist, so it gets a rating and I move on, not focusing on the negatives I found. Sometimes I’ll throw in a few positives, such as with the “Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness” movies, but usually not.

A 1 rating is rare, but you know, some shit just deserves it, and the public should be warned.

So, with the low ratings out of the way, let’s get into the middle ground, the 3. This is my “okay” rating, despite it being more than halfway to the perfect mark. Most movies fall into the 2-3 range for me. These are the movies we’re not going to be talking about six months from now, but have enough decency in them that you go, “Yeah, it wasn’t bad. You should check that out. On Netflix.” Or Redbox, or whatever your preferred movie watching happens to be. I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time after watching a 3 movie and I usually come away with something, however small. A good example of a 3 for me was “The Tall Man” with Jessica Biel. The movie itself was okay; I enjoyed the twist, but more so than that, I enjoyed the reason for the twist. Many people bitched about it, said it ridiculous, stupid, offensive, etc. I’m not invalidating their opinion (they are entitled to them) but it’s another of the reasons why it gets a 3. So, decent acting, decent storytelling, FX (if needed), all add up to a 3.

When I give a movie a 4, it has a heaping of awesome in it. These movies have many redeemable qualities that far outweigh the movie’s problems. A good plot coupled with good acting, good CGI and/or FX (if needed), and it’s also either very fun, or it tackles a tough problem in either a positive or interesting manner, or reinvents/reuses a trope in some excellent way. My most recent 4 star movie was “Pontypool” with Stephen McHattie. It’s a zombie movie, which are a dime a dozen (if not cheaper) but, it spun the trope on its axis, gave us a zombie virus that was relevant and allegorical all at once. These are just all around excellent movies that are well worth watching. Like a 1 rating, these are rare.

I’d tell you what constitutes a 5 rating for me, but I’ve never given one, so I don’t even know. Go figure, right? However, it’d have to be better than a 4. That’s a genius observation, I tell you, and I’m happy to have made it.

So far in 2013, I’ve watched 25 movies and here’s my current breakdown per rating:

1 star: 2 movies
2 star: 9 movies
3 star: 11 movies
4 star: 3 movies
5 star: 0 movies

And there you have it, the basis of how the rating system works. It’s mine and believe me, people disagree with it all the time. You very well may, too, but that’s cool. I enjoy a good discussion as much as the next person on just about any topic of interest. So, as usual, comments will be open. Hit me with your best shot.

2 responses to “Opinion: My Movie Rating System (Because people keep bugging me)

  1. Pingback: 2013: The Parting Glass | C. Bryan Brown

  2. Pingback: 2015: Movies and Books Edition | C. Bryan Brown

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