Author Topic: Of Grading Movies  (Read 4251 times)

DarkeningHumour

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Of Grading Movies
« on: May 18, 2015, 11:16:25 AM »
In a word : How do you grade movies ?

Is there an adjective that describes each grade in your mind ? A 10/10 would be one of the all-time essentials while a 6/10 would be an «adequate» or «slightly amusing» movie and so forth. Do you use a points based system ?

I ask because I have recently started ranking the movies I have watched on IMDB and I sometimes find myself correcting grades I gave a few days ago. Of course, no one is saying that this should be an exact science and many people review how they graded a movie after some time or another watch. But many of you have blogs or otherwise keep track of what you watch and give some sort of grade to the movie, be it in out-of-ten form or as a colour or with a star system.

How do you do it ? How do you determine with confidence what grade to give a movie until the next time you decide to think about it ?
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pixote

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 07:33:02 PM »
I know I've written this up before, but I can't find it....

A+
Synonyms: 10/10, Perfect
Reaction: Want to watch it again right away.
Notes: More a less a useless rating, because no film is perfect. But I reserve A+ for great, great films which are always a thrill for me to view, regardless of mood or any other circumstance. Right now, that's just two films: It's a Wonderful Life and Children of Men.

A
Synonyms: 10/10, Great
Reaction: Want to watch it again right away.
Notes: Generally a movie that held me from start to finish and moved me emotionally or intellectually or artistically or comically, or all of the above. Few real missteps, if any.

A-
Synonyms: 9/10, Near Great
Reaction: Ready to watch it again within a week.
Notes: A few missteps can separate a Great movie from a Near Great movie, but it can also just be a lack of connection — e.g., a movie that I admire more than I like.

B+
Synonyms: 8/10, Very Good
Reaction: Ready to watch it again within a month.
Notes: Movies that work all the way around and are highly recommendable but are still maybe missing that extra something (originality, technical skill, ambition, connection) to really elevate them.

B
Synonyms: 7/10, Good, Solid, Worthwhile
Reaction: Glad I saw it once and wouldn't mind seeing it again, but not a necessity.
Notes: A grade of B is sort of my damn-with-faint-praise rating. I liked the movie, I'm glad I saw it, end of story. These are the hardest movies to review.

B-
Synonyms: 6/10, Okay, Decent, Watchable, Not Bad
Reaction: I can recommend this movie, but with caveats.
Notes: B- represents the borderline between movies that succeed overall and movies that don't. Sometimes they're appealing failures. Sometimes they're middling films that still have a certain charm to them. Or crap movies that are weirdly watchable and engaging.

C+
Synonyms: 5/10, Not Quite Successful
Reaction: I can't quite recommend this movie, unless it's something that's usually up your alley.
Notes: Often a mediocre movie with flashes or greatness; or a solid movie with a self-destructive aspect to it.

C
Synonyms: 4/10, Mediocre, Middling, Harmless
Reaction: No strong reaction either way. I didn't hate it, I guess.
Notes: Movies start with a grade of C and earn or lose points from there. A movie that does nothing for me stays a C all the way through.

C-
Synonyms: 3/10, Frustrating, Tedious
Reaction: I wish I'd watched something else.
Notes: I find redeeming qualities in most movies, so grades of C- or lower are about as rare as As. C movies earn the minus by having stretches that are actively painful to watch, whether from boredom or poor technical filmmaking or whatever.

D+
Synonyms: 2/10, Bad
Reaction: Ugh.
Notes: We're in the depths now, with movies that are actively off-putting but still have maybe one semi-redeeming aspect.

D/D-/F
Synonyms: 1/10, Awful
Reaction: Grr.
Notes: Life is too short to distinguish between these ratings. These movies have almost nothing gong for them, other than the fact that they exist and someone took the effort to make them.



I assign a grade to a movie within an hour of watching it and I almost never waver from that grade without a rewatch. I trust my initial reaction far more than a processed, remembered reaction. I've lost some of my decisiveness lately, often grading movies between grades (e.g., C+/B-) and hoping I magically land on the right one once it comes time to lock it in. This hasn't worked at all. I miss being decisive. Then again, I miss watching movies in general.

pixote
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 07:36:23 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

StudentOFilm

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 10:15:34 PM »
I'm so simple...

Thumbs Up/Good
-I liked it. Sometimes a few things wrong, generally good.

Thumbs To The Side/Okay
-Mixed bag. Had some good, had some bad, but clearly just a mix of redeemable and poorly made decisions.

Thumbs Down/Bad
-Didn't like it. Maybe a few good things, but mostly crap.

The reason I do this is simply because when I try to do letter grades/numbers it gets too complicated. If I were to take all the movies I've seen it would get confusing. "Wait I gave this an B-, but gave this a C+"? I know opinions change over time but good, okay, bad is pretty much how I start to line up my yearly rankings for example and then I go from there.
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valmz

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2015, 01:14:35 AM »
1 = I don't want to watch it again. How bad was it? Well, I'll never find out. "Hey, I didn't think x was as bad as y, but you gave them both 0s!" "Yeah, I agree, but as long as I know to avoid them both then that's all I need to know."

10 = Deeply fulfilling, and to lower the rating of such a film would simply be to misstate how meaningful the experience was, and hopefully will be again and again.

Everything else is deckchairs. Don't be sad, 2's, I still have affection for you!

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2015, 03:51:43 AM »
Pixote wow, that is incredibly specific and complete, thank you. You seem to manage to better use the lower end of the spectrum than me.
I'm curious, what movies have you graded below C ?
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1SO

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2015, 09:40:43 AM »
This is the system I developed in college. It's based on how strongly I recommend the film to others.

My Star Ratings. What They Mean.
* * * * *   = The Greatest Films Ever Made. (Only 27 titles have earned a full 5 stars)
* * * *     = You Must See It
* * * 1/2 = You Should See It
* * *       = A Good Film
* * 1/2   = You Might Like It
* *         = Disappointed
* 1/2    = Bad Film. Pretty Forgettable
*           = Laughably Bad
1/2      = So Bad it's Not Funny
0 stars = Insultingly or Offensively Bad


Recently, I sub-divided my 3-star category, which was always a very large group of films for a given year, into Very Good, Good and Okay. Still a recommendation, but with different levels of enthusiasm.

Below is a list of those 27 5-star titles. I have lengthy reviews for all of them on the Boards.

Alien
Aliens
Brazil
Charade
City Of God
A Clockwork Orange
Dawn Of The Dead
The Day Of The Jackal
Die Hard
The Godfather
Goodfellas
The Graduate
The Incredibles
L.A. Confidential
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Prep & Landing (SHORT)
Pulp Fiction
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Requiem For A Dream
Se7en
The Silence Of The Lambs
Sunset Blvd.
The Terminator
Toy Story
Toy Story 2
United 93
Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Jared

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2015, 10:09:35 AM »
iphone emojis mostly. Smiley faces, poop, fire, etc.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2015, 10:14:06 AM »
I notice that The Silence of the Lambs is on that list... ;D

I also notice how there seem to be none of those «essential» classical films that are the staples of all the top 100 lists out there like Vertigo, Kane, 2001 and so forth. I'm pretty sure you have seen at least some (if not most) of them, so do you just not agree they are good/great or are they just not to your liking (which would make yours a more subjective ranking) ?
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1SO

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2015, 10:37:54 AM »
5 Years ago I did a Marathon to rebuild my Top 100. I started with some blind spots, followed by rewatches of classic films I've always been lukewarm on. My Top 100 has staples like Casablanca and Seven Samurai. I expected Citizen Kane to be there, but it just missed the cut. I wrote opinions against 8 1/2 and The Apartment. (I'm sure there were others.) For the most part, I don't think some Great films are as Great as their reputation, and I always try to give my reasons why, just like you will find a very persuasive review for Dawn of the Dead's inclusion on that list. (My Silence of the Lambs review from that Marathon happens to be a personal favorite.)

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Of Grading Movies
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2015, 11:29:01 AM »
I would agree many of those movies are overrated (I am especially underwhelmed by The Apartment) but I will have to read some of those reviews out of sheer curiosity to see how you manage to put Die Hard above all of Kurosawa.
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