The case of the disappearing film rating; or Why I’m adding ratings to reviews again

Film, TV

movie-critic-300dpi

What is my blog for? Who reads it? What do you want to know when I write about a film? What the hell do I know about films anyway?

Like many bloggers, and indeed writers in general, I have been grappling with the issue of why I write about films. Or more to the point, what you, the readers want from my reviews.

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that when I started out I didn’t give my reviews a score or grade, then started marking them out of five, then stopped again. More recently I have been dabbling with the school grade system, as being able to award plus or minuses to a grade seemed to give me more freedom. Why did I do it? What is going on?

Well, in short, I wasn’t really sure what I was rating. Was I rating as if I were a serious movie critic, rating the artistic merit of a film? Was I just letting you all know how much I enjoyed what I had watched? Or was I assessing it’s merits as a product, like grading the handling of a car or durability of a mop? Taking the ratings off seemed the simplest option to me, as then my words would, hopefully, get across what I wanted to say about the film, without reducing it down to a number.

The problem, I discovered, is people like numbers. “Yes, but what would you give it out of five?” came the comments on Facebook. People didn’t really seem to care what the five represented, they just wanted a number that could help them decide whether it was a film or TV show that was worth giving up their money and time for.

So, to satisfy the needs of people who just want to know whether to go and see a film or not, and to make me feel better about attaching an arbitrary grade to something, I have decided to do the following: give it a  grade out of ten. Yes, it’s reductive and annoying for anyone who had put their all into a creative piece, but it’s easy for readers.

Grades will broadly mean the following:

10- Practically perfect in every way, see it immediately

9- One extra shy of perfect

8- Solid and worthy of a trip to a real cinema

7- Entertaining, but wait for the blu-ray

6- Lacklustre, but has it’s moments so catch it on demand.

5- Wait until it’s on TV

4- Their mums probably still loved it

3- Their mums might still love them

2- Avoid like the plague

1- The plague was probably more pleasurable

I won’t be awarding zero as a score as ultimately someone, somewhere will have put their heart and soul into whatever is on the screen, even if it does turn out to be as awful as Only God Forgives.

I can then look at re-ordering my archived pages so I can group films by rating, making it easier for searching for something fun to watch.

Do let me know what you think of my new system, or indeed grading films in general.

Abbie

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