Ratings Explained

Sometimes I feel like my entire life has been nothin' more'n one long marathon session of bein' forced to explain myself, occasionally interspersed with misdemeanors an greasy food. First it was my parents, then teachers, and on to cops, judges, and the most dreaded of all - the Chickawalka "Beautify the Community" Nazis who drive around town in Buick Skylarks makin' sure your garden gnome is an acceptable distance from the lawn flamingos. I've also learned over time that when people ask "how'd you get that crawdad trap stuck to your face?", or "why did you feel it necessary to cover your house in aluminum foil?", they don't really wanna hear the answer. I think these are known as "rhetorical" questions.

But when it comes to movie ratins, the thought process involved is actually pretty important. Some folks, they'll rate a flick entirely on technical execution, and others'll ignore it completely and give you a figure based entirely on how much they liked it. The latter works alright if you're a highly respected professional, like a Joe Bob Briggs or a Rex Reed, but my popularity has yet to become such that I gotta carry around a tire iron to subdue even the occasional backseat B-movie groupie. So, for that reason, I use a hybrid system. This system makes it possible for "bad" movies to pass, and "good" movies to fail, under certain circumstances. A bad movie that's a lotta fun can still pass, as long as it's not *completely* devoid of technical proficiency, while a very well produced title that I find excruciatingly boring can still fail. In other words, each metric requires *some* help from the other to achieve a passing score, which is your standard 60%.

So, to summarize, 50% of each movie's score comes from its technical merits (based upon the plot, acting, special effects, shooting locations/sets, and soundtrack), while the other 50% disregards all that jazz and is awarded based upon nothing more than what I thought of it. This does tend to make for a bell curve, but I refuse to give a movie an 8% OR a 92% unless they're exceptionally bad, or good. And I will, from time to time, as I watch more flicks, tweak the ratings of titles if I feel I was too hard or soft on them. Naturally, the more flicks you see, the less terrible some previous titles seem by comparison, and other times, a new title might make it clear that you've rated something similar too generously based on outside influences, such as nostalgia.

Now, I'm not gonna break every single movie I've ever seen out by these aspects, but I will do so for two sample titles that have similar ratings (albeit for completely different reasons) to illustrate. Observe:

The Being (1983):

Plot: 5/10
Acting: 4/10
Special Effects: 3/10
Shooting Locations/Sets: 7/10
Soundtrack: 5/10

Technical Total: 24%
Personal Opinion: 41%
Grand Total: 65%

The Wolf Man (1946):

Plot: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Special Effects: 7/10
Shooting Locations/Sets: 10/10
Soundtrack: 7/10

Technical Total: 40%
Personal Opinion: 27%
Grand Total: 67%

As you can see, The Wolf Man, despite being vastly superior technically, doesn't end up with a total rating that reflects this, because I find movies of that era stuffy and slow. So, I want to give credit where credit is due for its excellent production values, while still registering my personal dissatisfaction about what I feel is its powerful boredom factor. Likewise, on The Being, I like the movie a lot, but it'd be asinine to disregard all of its technical shortcomings and slap an 82% rating on it. That'd be irresponsible and more importantly, misleading. So hopefully, between a movie's score and my quantifying remarks, everyone will see why a movie is rated the way it is. Thus giving you all the facts you need to determine whether or not to see it. Still, at the end of the day, if a movie has an 80% rating on it, it's safe to assume that it scored well on both fronts, and that if a flick has a sub 30% rating, it's gonna be painful to watch. As for everything in between, well, those are probably the titles that brought you here in the first place, and those are the calls you'll have to make for yourself. Hopefully this helps to explain my methodology, and more importantly, I hope the explanation helps everyone find something new to check out, so keep watching the screens.