When it comes to seeing, reviewing and cataloging movies, I’m not afraid to say that I am incredibly anal. One of the deepest pleasures that I’ve ever had is ranking, rating, listing and grading every movie that I see from here till next Sunday, and that passion always filters its way into how I review films.
I have 3 primary methods of grading a film: a star rating, numerical scale and a letter grade. At this point, most people think that I’m out of my mind. Not many critics have one rating system (if any) and don’t dare revert from that small corner of the reviewing community. I find it literally impossible to rank films using such a limited system of categorization. I need more, and I think with such a wide, diverse array of films in the world, I cannot narrow them into any smaller groupings than I have to.
5 Star System
The first, and perhaps broadest system is my star system. It occurs in the form of * through ***** using 1/2’s. The following are few examples of films that I would grade using the star system. Some examples:
“Righteous Kill” * * out of * * * * *
“Malcolm X” * * * out of * * * * *
“Kramer vs Kramer” * * * * 1/2 out of * * * * *
The second form of ranking is perhaps the most complex. It is a 1 to 10 numerical scale using decimal increments of 2 tenths. This system is closely related to the star rating, for up and down it can be rounded to the closest interval. For example, the 3 star rating of “Malcolm X” is equivalent to a 6 out of 10 in the numerical scale. However, it could actually be anywhere from a 5.6 to a 6.4 and be rounded to a 3 star rating, as well.
This grading scale is most useful when ranking films on my all-time list, for it works as a tiered system for ranking every film I’ve ever seen. That list is a whole other bag of psychotic tricks that will be available soon on this blog for public consumption.
The final system of classifying films for their quality is one of a simple A through F report card-style grade. Why I use this ranking as well is so that I can use a verbal system of describing a film based on the categorization of them in terms of grade. Here is a list of the letter grades with their equivalent verbal description
A+ = Perfect (or as close to perfect as a film can come)
A = Amazing
A- = Excellent / Great
B+ = Very Good
B = Good
B- = Fairly Good
C+ = Average
C = Fairly Bad
C- = Bad
D+ = Very Bad
D = Horrible
D- = Atrocious
F = Perfectly Bad (None if hardly any redeeming qualities)
Now this system does have a method of matching each grade to its equivalent star and number, but explaining it would be one more headache for you readers, as if all of this wasn’t insane enough. Yet, trust me, it all pays off in the end.
Stay tuned for the many reviews that are now yet to come…