Posted by: ckckred | June 18, 2012

Editor’s Note: Rating a Movie

For my movie reviews, I don’t include a ratings scale.  The reason why I don’t is because I usually want to leave my reviews open-ended or it’s too hard for me to come up with a ratings.

But looking back on some of my old reviews, I was wondering if I should establish a ratings system.  The reason being is because I want my reviews to reflect my thought on it.

So if I did a star system (out of four), I could state my thoughts easily on a film.  For example, I would have given Moonrise Kingdom four stars and John Carter two stars (that’s probably the weakest film I saw all year so far).

The system, however, does have some faults.  For example, when I reexamine a movie, my opinion often changes.  War Horse is a film which I really liked coming out of the theater (it reminded me of All Quiet on the Western Front and Grapes of Wrath), but after a while it didn’t feel quite as memorable and I think I overrated it.  So when I originally would have given it four stars, now I would have given three and a half.

Sometimes, I have difficulty rating a film.  Prometheus is a good example of that.  The story held it back, but the rest of the movie really intrigued me.  So I was questioning whether it was a three star film or three and a half.

But the major reason why I haven’t made a ratings system is because of two and a half star films.  Technically, that’s a positive review and Metacritic counts that as a 62.5 out of 100.  I think of it as saying I enjoyed parts of the film, but ultimately can’t recommend it.  Some recent examples of films I would have given two and a half star reviews are Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseRed Tails, and The Three Stooges.  All of these films I enjoyed to a certain extent, but all had faults that prevent me from recommending them (ELAIC was too weepy, Red Tails had dialogue that sounded like a third grader wrote it, and The Three Stooges just repeated a bunch of jokes from the original shorts).

I’ll keep it in mind when writing future reviews.  In other news, I’m going to post some more reviews of some older movies, such as Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing and tomorrow I will have one of Borat.



  1. Man, I love The Killing…Classic.

    As for numerical review systems, I find it helps summarize my view of the film in a way that may not be clear from the body of my review. There are times when I can write something fairly critical and harsh about certain things a film does but the overall package redeems it. I just feel like the score helps clarify my thoughts and sometimes even keeps my reviews on track.
    But whatever works for you, obviously there is no correct way to do it.

    • It’s always hard for me to give a numerical score for a film, because my opinion almost always changes. When I first saw it, I didn’t like Citizen Kane, but it’s become one of my favorites of all time.

      I’m thinking maybe I should use numerical ratings for TV instead. I think that might be easier for me. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Rating films is hard work no doubt about it. It is especially hard when you end up enjoying a film or parts of a film and its not very good. I say put a bit of thought into developing a unique rating system, no reason to just follow the crowd. It is your blog afterall.

    • Thanks! Sometimes, I ignore parts of a film and enjoy the rest of it (War Horse is a good example). I might make a system, but I’m not to sure.

      • I think my brother summed up War Horse best when he called it Bore Horse in our review 😉

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