Movie ratings revealed

Drive-in movie. Image courtesy of Life magazineLast year I watched 52 movies in 52 weeks and posted my ratings, and in some cases short reviews, of each film on the blog. This year I’m doing the same but I’ve modified the system I use to give each film its rating. After a period of deliberating whether I should reveal my rating system I decided it was time to open up and reveal how I score the movies I watch.

Movie rating systems

When I first set myself the task of watching 52 movies in 52 weeks I decided it would be a good idea to rate the movies so that at the end of the year I’d have a definitive list of the best films I’d watched. Putting strict rules in place meant I would approach each film the same and be as consistent as possible. And remember, the 52 movies had to be new in the sense that I’d not seen them before and not necessarily a new release.

At the beginning of 2010 I looked around the internet for inspiration on how other people rate the movies they’ve watched.

At the beginning of 2010 I looked around the internet for inspiration on how other people rate the movies they’ve watched. In many cases there’s no explanation of how a reviewer has settled on the rating of three out of five stars, I wanted something more tangible. Of the few rating systems I did discover, I found that of Little White Lies magazine to be the most transparent, scoring films against three criteria; anticipation, enjoyment and in retrospect. However for my needs, and to feed my Obsessive–compulsive disorder, I looked at creating something more detailed.

The 2010 rating system

The 2010 rating system scored movies against the following 10 criteria:

No. Criteria
1 Entertaining (held interest throughout)
2 Good acting (cast or exceptional individual performance)
3 Good storyline/script
4 Well directed/good cinematography
5 Good soundtrack (soundscape, effects or song choices)
6 Triggered an emotional response (cry, laugh, fear etc.)
7 Triggered a mental response (made you think)
8 Created a personal response (goose bumbs/hair stands up)
9 Good technical ability (special effects)
10 Overall an enjoyable watch

For each positive outcome, or successful application if you will, half a star is awarded. So the maximum any film can score, should all 10 criteria be met, is five out of five.

The 2011 rating system

After a year of rating movies I felt that the 2010 system had a few flaws. For example, only a film that displayed good technical ability (such as special effects) and scored positive for point nine could achieve a maximum score. I felt this was a little unfair to the great films that didn’t have any requirement for such visual trickery as they would score lower as a result.

I amended the rating system for 2011 to hopefully better represent a films’ achievements…

With those flaws in mind I amended the rating system for 2011 to hopefully better represent a films’ achievements, technical or not, by changing the focus of point nine. Other inclusions, I’m aware, are more likely to result in the 2011 movies achieving higher scores than those of 2010. But that will have to be something I investigate at the end of the year when I can calculate the average scores for both years.

No. Criteria
1 Good storyline/script
2 Well directed/good cinematography
3 Well produced (sets, special effects, costumes etc.)
4 Good acting (cast or exceptional individual performance)
5 Good soundtrack (soundscape, effects or song choices)
6 Triggered a mental response (made you think/interesting content)
7 Triggered an emotional response (cry, laugh, fear, goose bumps etc.)
8 Entertaining (held interest throughout/enjoyable watch)
9 For the type of film it is, does it succeed in what it sets out to do?
10 Would you recommend it to someone?

Any suggestions?

If you have any suggestions on how you would improve my movie rating system I’d be very interested in hearing them. Also, let me know if you’ve used my rating system to score a movie you’ve watched recently. I’d love to know how you found it.

Useful links

Little White Lies
2010: 52 weeks & 52 movies

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