August 9, 2006

Movie Ratings

Posted in Movies at 12:46 pm by Calico Jack

Yesterday, I was asked by a reader why our movie ratings seem to be skewed. We’ve reviewed six movies in the past couple of months (not a lot, admittedly), but none of them have received anything lower than a B-. If we’re supposed to be critics, why are our ratings only on the high end of the scale?

My first impulse was to tell him that we are called Ignorant Critics, after all. Perhaps that could explain why we seem to like everything that we review — we simply don’t know how to look critically at what we watch. But that isn’t the real reason. We love movies, but we’re also amateur movie reviewers. And unlike those who are paid to go see all kinds of films, none of us have the means to see everything that comes out in theaters. We have to pick and choose what movies we’re going to spend our money on.

Because of that, we’re more likely to see movies that we think are going to be good. That doesn’t mean that we’re less judgmental because we’re looking forward to a film’s release. But given a choice between going to see The Descent or John Tucker Must Die, I’ll pick the former every single time. Marketing has become such a well-oiled machine that moviegoers can find out a treasure trove of information before a movie comes out, from plot spoilers to clips to early reviews to trailers that give away the entire plot in two minutes (Superman Returns, anyone?) In a way, it’s become much easier for us to spot movies that are mediocre or simply bad without having to actually go see them.

So much of what Hollywood produces today is crap, as I wrote earlier here. And we don’t like to pay to see crap; I think we’d rather keep our money. So those movies that we do see are ones that pique our interest. And if we like them, we’ll give them a good rating. I’ve seen many movies that are boring, bad, or bloody awful. But I didn’t pay to see them in the theater; I’ve watched them on television or borrowed them from my local library.

A few days ago I decided to watch Swimfan because I’d heard a quote from the director, who said that his film “respected the audience’s intelligence.” This movie had come and gone in theaters several years ago, but I figured there could be a reason why it was pretty much overlooked by everyone. After viewing it, I think director John Polson was right, in a way: this movie does respect the intelligence level of the audience. It just assumes that the audience has no intelligence to begin with. Horrible pacing, inane dialogue (which is a problem with most “teen” movies), telegraphed plot twists and a lack of anything resembling suspense all combine to create a movie that should never be seen again. Swimfan would get a horrible rating from me if I reviewed it; but I’d rather review movies that are currently in theaters, rather than little-remembered DVDs no one cares about. And I can’t justify spending seven or eight bucks to see a film that I know is going to be crap.

As this blog matures and we review more films that are released, I’m sure there are going to be disappointments along the way. But we’ll always give our honest opinion about what we choose to see. Besides, it’s just an opinion. We do this because we love movies, and we love talking about them. And isn’t that the most important thing?


1 Comment »

  1. vargas said,

    Most certainly!

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