The System

A brief word on my rating system:

I find that the 5 and 10 star systems tend to make things needlessly complicated. They are done seemingly with the intent of creating a more precise system for ranking movies. If the reviewer is capable of that, I applaud them. However, it is difficult to avoid the problem of an absolute hierarchy developing over time, wherein two films receiving the same rating are compared with each other, and one is found clearly superior. Siskel and Ebert solved this problem, after a fashion, with their “thumbs up, thumbs down” system, wherein they narrowed their criticism to one basic question: is the movie worth watching, or not?

I endeavor to do something similar, with one significant caveat. Here is what the system, at its most basic, means:

1 star: Thumbs down. Waste of time. Not worth seeing.

2 stars: Thumbs up. At its most basic, a movie that is worth watching. There is no distinction beyond this, other than

3 stars: A truly excellent movie. Something worth buying, either for its rewatchability, or its power and impact. Schindler’s List would belong here, though it is a movie nobody should see more than once.

One thought on “The System

  1. I would argue that it is more than valuable to view Shindler’s List a few times–not regularly, not in rapid succession, and perhaps not even without deleting one of the most brutal scenes at least. No one should NEED to see it more than once; that once is enough to haunt you down the years. But every 5-10 years? The sheer power of the reminder from time to time is a tonic to the psyche and to the soul. An enjoyable movie it is not. It is so much more than that. It transcends with a power capable of moving hearts and changing minds. And that is an understatement.

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