It’s important to understand the way I rate movies. Some people give 4 stars or 5, or rate on a scale of 1 to 10 as on the IMDb. I use the IMDb system with a minor twist. I have always rated movies from 1 to 1o, but because I believe a 10 is perfection I have only rated seven movies with that score. This causes some confusion. Since the overwhelming majority of films have no chance of receiving a 10 I shouldn’t rate them as if they can. With my old system a 6 out of 10 (6/10) is actually pretty high since it’s really a 6 out of 9 (6/9).
My resolution for the new year is to end this confusion (which I’m sure exists only in my mind). Beginning today, my ratings (see Twitter @MovieAnarchist) will be on a scale of 1 to 9.** The extremely rare film that I feel deserves a 10 will simply be rated as a 10. I have already revealed two of them, so I don’t intend to mention another in this post.
As you’re reading this I’m sure you think I’m fucking nuts for taking the time to write about such a seemingly inconsequential point. Movies are my passion so I feel the need to be clear with the manner in which I rate them. Of course movie ratings are subjective and the difference between giving a 6, 7 or 8 is sometimes difficult for me to determine. In addition, I frequently change my rating of a movie after seeing it several times. However, in order for it to remain meaningful to me, a 10 must be reserved for the very best of the best.
In 1976, Nadia Comaneci (Co-men-eech) was the first Olympic gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10. In fact she received several 10s that summer. Subsequently, it was not so uncommon for a gymnast to receive a 10. The “10″ became less meaningful and a few years ago the scoring system was changed so there is no longer an upper limit; no longer a perfect score. Well that’s just as bad as giving them out like they were “candy in your pocket.” [A partial quote from the Postman (1997), not intended to denigrate one of my favorite movies. It just popped into my mind]
There can’t be an upper limit on the high jump, but there must be an upper limit when rating or scoring something. One cannot get better than 100% on a test. If the “perfect” score becomes too common, change the standards or make the test more difficult.
I understand why most reviewers give their highest rating to many movies. I suppose for their purposes it’s necessary. I just tend to over-analyze things (duh!). They should continue to do what they do and I’ll keep doing it my way.
Since I’ve already spent a few hours writing this post, I’ll leave it where it is. Just spread the word that there’s a lunatic out there who believes a perfect score regarding movie ratings is nearly impossible to attain; therefore, it rarely should be given.
BTW, on the uncommon occasion that I have the energy to write a movie review longer than 140 characters I’ll write it here and link you to it.
I welcome your comments.
Anon E. Muss
** Footnote added 1/4/2011: A film that deserves a 9 will be denoted as 9/10 to avoid being misconstrued as perfect.