Rating Criteria

I generally do not rate movies when I write about them, and instead let the written word speak for itself. After all, whatever I write may not be applicable to all readers, and opinions are ultimately subjective. My 4/5 may be a 2/5 for someone else. Film is a subjective experience, even for films that are objectively bad, someone may still find enjoyment from it. I mostly try to avoid recommendations like "this is a must-see" and so forth but admittedly it does creep in to my writing. I want people to see the film regardless of what I wrote and make their own conclusions.

However, when and if I make a rating on a movie, it is usually compared to similar films of its genre or type. On the other hand it's sometimes arbitrary and it depends on my personal enjoyment of the film. Also, none of these numerical scores are set in stone. Over a time a film may become better, or worse, in hindsight. (Personally, I sometimes feel kind of sad whenever I see a movie for the Nth time and my view doesn't change. That means (to me) I didn't glean anything new from the film. Then again, that could mean that the film is that good or bad.)

For the sake of standardization, I've officially adopted a 1-5 scale, 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, with 0.25 point intervals in between and a special 0 rating for really bad films. I try to be as fair as I can when giving a score, and perfect scores (either way) are very rare.

This scale is meant for assessing movies only; I haven't rated nearly enough of, say, theatrical productions, musicals or other media to be able to make a scale for them.

Instant Classic - Best of the best. Films of this quality usually bring about some sort of catharsis. They change the way I think about things. Usually among my personal top films of all time.

Outstanding - Classics that are worthy of a best of the decade list.

Excellent - Endlessly rewatchable and is probably one of the best movies of the year.

Remarkable - Rewatchable to an extent, definitely one of the top five movies of the year.

Very Good - I give this to technically proficient films with a good storyline. Probably one of the top ten movies of the year.

Decently Good - These won't break a lot of top ten lists (maybe one or two,) but is of very good quality either way.

Good - Movies I enjoyed to a certain extent, or are technically capable, but are otherwise just okay compared to higher tiers.

Slightly Above Average - these are films with a score of 3 but have something unique or interesting about them that elevates them slightly above the previous tier.

Above Average - This is the midpoint score for films that I am ambivalent about. They are neither too good or too bad, but I can agree that they are good enough to be more than your average mainstream or indie film.

Decent - Movies that exhibit some flaws, but are still watchable. Just turn your brain off.

Okay/Average - Movies that exhibit significant flaws, but are still watchable. This is the mathematical midpoint of the scoring system, and average, forgettable movies are often rated this.

Deficient - Movies that exhibit flaws, and are rendered unwatchable or cringeworthy because of them - unless viewed ironically. Worthy of a good MST3K episode.

Bad - Movies with significant flaws that render the work unwatchable - unless viewed ironically. This is the lowest a movie that is "so bad, it's good" can go.

Really Bad - Movies that are so bad, they're just bad. Could probably be watchable if you were drunk, but only to laugh at it.

Terrible - A complete waste of your time. Even if you are drunk, you'd still think it sucks. These are the films that make top ten worst of the year lists.

Stinker - Movies of such bad quality that they will probably be reviled as worst of the year.

This Movie Gave Me Cancer and AIDS - Movies of such legendary bad quality, they may be considered some of the worst of all time.

Reverse Instant Classic - These are movies so spectacularly bad, they have absolutely no redeeming value. Some can even make you want to stop watching movies.

So there you have it. I hope this helps somehow whenever you see a numerical rating of a film on this site.

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