My Rating System

January 1, 2011

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.