Rating System (Movies)

Hi! Thanks for visiting the site and for giving your time to read what’s here. I’m just a guy with opinions, like anybody else; I hope you find something useful here. If there’s anything you’d like me to review, please let me know!

On this page, I’ve explained my rating system for movies. This way, you can gauge just how far off base my values are from yours, and you’ll have a solid foundation for ignoring my advice.

I love movies, although I don’t get to watch them nearly as often as I’d like to or used to. Did I mention I have kids? I’m probably going to die before I get to see even a fraction of the ones I want to. Or I’ll end up like Burgess Meredith in that Twilight Zone episode, “Time Enough at Last.”

My movie-rating system is much more wholistic than my game-rating system, but I have two different scales: a “drama” scale and a “comedy” scale. I don’t know what to do with “dramedies.” Frankly they trouble me on an emotional level and they make me sweat through my eyes. See Judd Apatow’s This is 40. For purposes of evaluation, most films use the “drama” scale. The “comedy” scale is for stuff that’s obviously meant to be goofy and ridiculous, like most things with Adam Sandler, or Star Wars Episode I.  Please also take note of my caveat regarding adaptations.

Regarding Adaptations
When I rate a movie, I rate the movie based on its merits AS A MOVIE.  Any source material on which that movie might have been based, such as novels, comic books, or video games, has no bearing whatsoever on my evaluation.  I do not care how faithful a movie is to its source material, and frankly, neither should you.  Even if I did care, it is all-too-often that I am not familiar enough with the source material to know whether or not the film adaptation has successfully represented all the minutiae.  That being stated, what’s most important for the enjoyment and peace-of-mind of all involved, is to treat film adaptations and source material as the separate entities they are.  When I play a board game based on a movie, I don’t evaluate how fun the game is based on how much detail from the movie did or did not translate.  A board game is not a movie.  It is a board game, and its function and purpose are different.  Likewise, a movie is not a book or a comic book or a video game.  It is a movie, and its function and purpose are different.

Drama Scale
The “drama” scale is a five-point scale, each level of which means the following for me:

super mario starsuper mario starsuper mario starsuper mario starsuper mario star 5-Stars. Mind-blowing. The film has great acting, high-quality production, captivating cinematography and music, and it provokes the audience with profound or philosophical contemplations. It may or may not be a high-budget project.

super mario starsuper mario starsuper mario starsuper mario star 4-Stars. Outstanding. The film has great acting, high-quality production, solid cinematography and music, and very good writing. It’s most likely a high-budget project.

super mario starsuper mario starsuper mario star 3-Stars. Typical. The film delivers what was offered and expected; not much more or less. Decent or better acting, average production, basically formulaic plotting.

super mario starsuper mario star 2-Stars. Weak. The film doesn’t even deliver what the previews promised. The acting is poor, the production is weak, the dialog is trite, the plot is more than predictable and probably full of holes.

super mario bobomb 1 BOMB. Awful. Just awful. The film should probably not have been made, but since it’s here now, it needs to be rushed to the Mystery Science Theater people as quickly as possible. The film’s only redeeming quality is its susceptibility to ridicule.

Comedy Scale
The “comedy” scale is only a 3-point scale. This is because, by nature of the genre, a comedy cannot become a “mind-blowing” film as described above. That’s not what comedies are for. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be REALLY good, as compared to other comedies. Here’s the breakdown:

guy fawkesguy fawkesguy fawkes 3 Masks. Hysterical. The film had me laughing incessantly and consistently for the duration. Sometimes it literally hurt to laugh. The jokes were fresh and smart, the delivery was expert, and the punch-lines relied extremely little or not at all on toilet humor. Very rare in my book is a comedy this funny and sharp.

guy fawkesguy fawkes 2 Masks. Typical. I laughed. I cried. The crying was from the 12 bucks it cost me to see the movie, but at least I laughed. Probably some toilet humor. Nothing to write home about, but enough one-liners to relive the movie with your buddies for the next 20 years until they reboot it. The overwhelming majority of comedies in my book end up with this rating.

guy fawkes 1 Mask. Tragic. I didn’t laugh, but I still cried. The jokes were forced and/or totally derivative, and there was probably a lot of toilet humor. These are the kinds of films where you know it’s SUPPOSED to be funny, and since you’re a good person, you’re REALLY TRYING to make it feel funny in your heart, but it’s just not. If there was anything funny in the film to begin with, it’s already been spoiled in the previews, and even those were different takes from the editing room, so the actual scene wasn’t even as funny as that.