The Monday Question: Score!

Giving a score to a movie can be a difficult task, how do you decide what kind of “grade” you will give it and how much does it really mean? If you are reviewing movies as a blogger this is probably something you might wonder about as well from time to time and I’m interested on your views on it. This week’s question is:

How do your rate movies and what does a rating you give mean?

My own system has been the same for quite a long time. The scores I give basically stand for the amount I enjoyed a movie. If it’s a 10 it either moved me or gave me a “wow” feeling (which doesn’t happen a lot). If it’s a 1 it’s a movie I very much regret watching. During the last couple of months I’ve been trying to refine this process in order to make it clear to myself what those scores really mean. To do so I now decide after watching a movie if I liked it or not. If I did the score will be between 6 and 10, if I didn’t it will be between 1 and 5. Next I’ll decide on that smaller scales how much (or little) I enjoyed what I saw. So if I give a score of 5 it means I didn’t like it, but that it did have enough things I kind of liked seeing to come in at the top of that scale. In the end the number doesn’t say much as it is just my opinion, but if you meet people with a similar kind of taste in movies it usually works.

How do your rate movies and what does a rating you give mean?

40 thoughts on “The Monday Question: Score!

  1. Mine was originally going to be a simple “Good” or “Bad” rating system, but I realized sometimes I’d need a middle option, so I added “Okay”. My categories help readers know exactly what lowered the score on a particular film.

  2. When I started my blog I wanted to have a star or letter grade system but it was too difficult for me to figure out what each star or grade meant to me, in my mind, because it’s not always an apples-to-apples comparison, if that makes any sense. For instance, a sci-fi film and a historical drama. So now I just try to talk about why should you see it or not. I love when other people have them though, it lets you know right away….maybe I will try again.

  3. Interesting question, Nostra. Hmmm, I don’t know if I have a formula but I generally rate anything above 3 (out of 5) as recommended. 2.5 might still be worth a rent but 2 and below is definitely bad, not even worth seeing on a rental. I rarely give 4.5, let alone 5/5 as it would have to be thoroughly entertaining or make a huge impression on me, as well as excellent in terms of production quality. I try to be specific on my review though, so people won’t be surprised by a given rating.

  4. I don’t have a rating system. I keep thinking about trying to figure one out, but can seem to find one that I’m really comfortable with. There are some really cool methods out there that keep me interested in trying to work something out.

    I just try to make it clear what I thought about the film. I usually end putting an awkward last sentence or two where I try to sum up whether I thought it was good or not overall.

  5. I rate a movie on a grade scale: A, B, C, D, and F with +’s and -‘s. And I judge it on what it is trying to accomplish. If a movie wants nothing more than to be a “popcorn” movie and succeeds, then I’ll give it an A. If a movie wants to change your life and is well made but does not affect me, then I’ll give it a B.

  6. My rating system is simply how much I enjoyed the film but in its respected genre. So a comedy like Grandma’s Boy which obviously isn’t a great film but a classic comedy would get a rating of 7 because it made me laugh but also wasn’t a great film itself, obviously.

  7. I rate it using stars (from 0 to 5). I use my ratings as support for my review. You’ll find what I liked, what I didn’t, how it made me feel, etc. in the review and the stars are just there to complete it. For instance, sometimes I’ll rate a movie a 3 out of 5. Some people might consider it not a great grade but maybe in my review I say I liked it but it lacked a tighter script or a shorter running time.

  8. I don’t use ratings. I find it hard to score films that way. It’s such a subjective thing. I mean, some of the films I enjoy watching are what many would consider to be bad movies, and some of the so-called best films just leave me cold. And why do we feel the need to rank art anyway? Which of us is really qualified to do so? Maybe that’s another Monday question for you! I just state my case in the review itself.

  9. My rating scale has 5 steps: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, from worst to best. No decimals, no zeroes, no gold stars. It’s very much based on personal enjoyment rather than “objective quality”. If there is such a thing as objective quality, I’m not the one to spot it. I’ve only been really into film for 4-5 years or so, and I’ve never been to film school or anything, so who am I to decide what’s objectively good or bad? I stick simply to how much I like a movie.

    I give a rating of 1 to films that I actively hate or can find nothing to like about. 2 can best be summed up as “meh”. 3 is the passing grade, meaning that I found the film worth my time. 4 is better than 3. 5 is better than 4. 5 does not mean perfection, or even masterpiece. It’s simply the top 20% of my rating scale. Not that I give 20% of the films I see a score of 5, but I’m probably more generous with my top rating than most. When working with only 5 steps, it seems silly to restrict one of the steps to a miniscule subsection. There are many who has only ever given 10 films or so their top rating. Good on them, but it’s not how I roll.

    • I’m also in the personal enjoyment camp and I don’t think there is an objective way to rank something. I’m not as generous as you with my top rating, although I do give out 9’s quite regularly…

  10. Rating films is a lot trickier now than when I first started rating them on my blog. My ratings are quite personal though as I account for how much I personally enjoyed the film and how much it entertained me.

    They’re all now rated out of 5, no half points allowed.

    1/5 – Just awful. Piss poor.
    2/5 – Still bad. Has some points that make it slightly enjoyable/worth a look. Just one look.
    3/5 – Good to average film. Enjoyable, entertaining, some aspects that I look for in a good film to spend a couple of hours with.
    4/5 – Excellent film. Leaves me reeling after I’ve seen it.
    5/5 – AMAZEBALLS. A film I have loved to watch and I believe there’s something more to it. It might not necessarily be perfect, but I don’t think there’s ever really a perfect film out there.

  11. On my site the rating system is based on differing brands of beer, which I intended to be a somewhat lighthearted take on the traditional ‘star’ system I guess. There are 5 levels of ratings, with no halfway marks, but I don’t use it in the traditional 5 star manner. My reviews are geared toward a more personal view of whether I like or dislike the film, rather than attempting to assess how ‘great’ a film is. So marks of Longneck of Melbourne Bitter, the highest on my scale, are reserved for films that I absolutely love and which really impact on me personally. But a film can still be brilliant, and close to ‘perfect’ without necessary getting the highest grade. Hope that makes sense.

  12. When I started my blog, I decided to drop any ratings, and it’s been refreshing to not worry about it. I’ll still put one on letterboxd, but it’s not that important to me. This keeps me from just writing in a “see it” or “skip it” way and instead looking at the themes of the film and how well it’s executed for me.

    I’ll say that I do enjoy some of the more inventive ratings systems from other bloggers, which go way beyond letter grades or star ratings. Great stuff.

  13. I use a 1-10 scale with 5 being average. It’s rare for a film to receive a 10 from me, as it usually requires more than one viewing for me to fall in love with something. On the other side of the spectrum, I haven’t given out very many ones either. Guess I just haven’t seen enough outright terrible films πŸ™‚

  14. I use a 5-star system, with both my personal enjoyment and my estimation of its quality being factors (and the exact mix varying from movie to movie.) No half stars, nothing exceeds 5 stars, nothing gets a 0.

    3 usually means it didn’t make a strong impression on me either way — if I thought it was a bad film, I’d drop it to 2, and if I thought it was a good film I’d raise it to 4. I probably enjoyed a 3-star film on the whole, but I don’t expect to have a strong memory of it a month down the line. 2-star films are bad, 1-star films are painful; if they were meals, it’s the difference between something being overcooked and something being inedible. 4-star films are good, and don’t have significant flaws; 5-star films bring something additional to the table.

  15. I want to keep it simple. I use the 5-star scale and include 1/2 stars. 2.5 is an average movie and score go above or below that. It’s always worked for me. For me the scale is defined by the more movies that are reviewed by it. In other words, if anyone actually does read my reviews, hopefully they will see a fluidity to the way I review movies and the scale will define itself.

  16. I’ve always thought about doing a rating system but it’s always been hard for me to give it to my film. I know when I think a movie’s great or terrible but I can never seem to give it a solid rating.

  17. 1-5 basically boiling down to how often I could watch a movie regardless of mood. Something like:
    5 – could watch over and over, any time regardless of mood
    4 – could watch often, but may have to be in mood for it
    3 – would watch again, but would rather watch something else
    2 – would likely not watch again
    1 – not sure why I even watched this in the first place…

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