All ratings are on a 1 – 10 scale:
Greater than 0/10 less than 6/10 – Dear Film maker, whatever you were trying to achieve, you fucked up.
I wouldn’t watch this again unless it was a drinking game or to show someone just how bad it was.
Are you kidding? You spend this much on something and this is what you dish up? I would (and have) argue that it is harder to make a bad movie than it is to release crappy music, even when taking into account your target market. In my rating system anything less than a 6 is an unequivocal failure and is nothing less than reprehensible.
But before we start into what makes a movie a failure, each one of us needs to take some accountability for their own actions, we should each have some idea of what we are in for by the trailer or DVD blurb, hell even the poster should give you some clue. Therefore anyone walking out of the cinema complaining the new Lindsay Lohan movie wasn’t that hot should have taken their ticket money and purchased a chisel so that they could perform a backyard lobotomy. Similarly if you’ve seen one Rob Schneider movie and you watch a second, that is your fault.
You couldn’t pay me to watch a lot of the crap that passes through theatres, (Date Movie, Dukes Of Hazzard, Son Of The Mask etc) so expecting me to watch it to give my opinion is just insulting.
I have consulted the “worst movies” list on Metacritic.com and out of the 200 I have seen twenty-something, not perfect but given how many movies I have seen I am not unhappy with that ratio. We all make mistakes and occasionally will have to sit through a dud, but by doing 5 seconds of advance homework you can save yourself some real pain.
Note: I find it hard to separate a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5….. if a movie sucks it sucks. History will use the budget or the names involved when making their assessment, (which is why Hudson Hawk unfairly gets a bad rap).
Examples – The Medallion / Resident Evil: Apocalypse / Rocky 5 / Talladega Nights
How it would be put conversationally – “I wasted 100 minutes of my life the other day.”
6.0/10 – “OK, so you made a movie, do you want a medal?”
I wouldn’t watch this again unless I absolutely had to.
I’ve already said that there is a level of responsibility that should be considered before creating a motion picture, so I shouldn’t criticise unfairly when the creators achieve their goals, even when it is just barely.
Therefore this would be the bare minimum score expected as a movie maker to justify another shot at the big time.
Examples – Alien Vs Predator / Blade:Trinity / Lakeview Terrace / Star Wars Ep 1 / V For Vendetta
How it would be put conversationally – “I saw AVP last night”
“Nah.” (No-one would realistically recommend a 6!)
6.5/10 – “I like that one scene”, “At least it had boobies.”
I would only watch this if it was on TV and nothing better was on, I wouldn’t rent the DVD.
Only a tickle better than 6 (as you would expect), but one thing that differentiates itself from a bare 6, in honesty this is normally an act of violence or a particularly hot chick.
Example – Alien Vs Predator: Requiem / Bruce Almighty / Idiocracy / Prince of Darkness / The School Of Rock
How it would be put conversationally – “Had one cool bit where….. but not much else.”
7.0/10 – “This is alright, let’s see what you do next.”
An OK flick. If you are in the video shop and you have 4 weeklies but need a fifth for the special deal, this is the type of movie you might grab after 20 minutes of fruitlessly searching for something better.
If I go to the video shop and I grab 5 weeklies, I want them all to be at least a 7. Not much better than the minimum, but has enough to justify the $1 you spent on it.
Example – Con Air / Hellboy / Rambo 3 / Saw / Underworld / Wayne’s World
How it would be put conversationally – “?” (There is really nothing dramatically “out of the box” about these movies, they are simply OK and not worth much discussion.)
7.5/10 – “It was OK, but I didn’t get why……”
Maybe a second viewing would change my tune? This is the lowest rating where I might consider actually shelling out $ for the DVD.
These movies aren’t without flaws but at the very least are watchable. This normally means that if someone else has seen the same flick that more than an acknowledging nod might be warranted. Not many fans of cinema would argue about anything less than a 7.5.
Example – Constantine / Desperado / Face:Off / Ice Age 2 / Team America: World Police
How it would be put conversationally – “I thought Constantine was pretty good.” (And yes I would argue with those that disagree.)
8.0/10 “Now this is better.”
At last: This is why we choose to watch movies.
No-one seeks to deliberately waste their own private time, these are the flicks that we spend $16 per viewing in the hope that we can justify our outlay. If you know what you are in for (action/drama/rom-com, etc) you should be pleased.
Example – Brother (Japanese) / The Fifth Element / Pan’s Labyrinth / Shaun Of The Dead / Total Recall / Zoolander
How it would be put conversationally – “You’ll have to judge for yourself but I really liked it.” “If you’re into sci-fi you’ll like Total Recall.”
8.5/10 – “Now this is what I’m talking about.”
An 8.5 rating means I will introduce this film into conversations where we aren’t discussing films, and urge those that share my tastes to see this out.
You don’t blitz the targets each day at work, or put everything into cleaning up the house sometimes. Conversely other days things will just click and you ride a wave of momentum that allows you to outdo everything you’ve done for a while.
These are the films where everything went right, the moviemakers were all on the same page and the on set feng shui representative pointed the fishbowl in the appropriate direction.
Example – Enter The Dragon / Forgetting Sarah Marshall / High Fidelity / Predator
How it would be put conversationally – “You need to check this out.”
9.0/10 – “It’ll be hard for you to top this one.”
An instant “add” to my DVD collection, a 9.0 will be watched many times.
A 9.0 should indicate an outstanding film that achieves everything it set out to, might not be the best flick ever but a damn good 90 odd minutes that deserves a wide audience. These are the movies that you watch in the cinema, then rent again when it comes out on DVD, then buy the DVD as soon as it is on sale.
Example – Armour Of God / Batman Begins / The Exorcist / The Incredibles / Swingers / Three Kings
How it would be put conversationally – “Here, just take this DVD home and let me know what you think.”
9.5/10 “Absolutely lurrrrrve your work Sir (or Madam).”
Simply put, these are my favourite movies and I would rate each one of them as masterpieces in their respective genres.
I went through my DVD collection for this one, knowing that if I think enough of a movie to rate it a 9.5 or greater, I own it. After this exercise it I came up with 30 films in that category, 23 of them 9.5. More on the other 7 flicks below.
Again, these are my personal favourites and will likely differ at times from yours, but I think they make quite an imposing list. I have seen thousands of movies over the last 20 odd years, so these are the best of the best.
For the record the main characteristic of the 23 is that 5 of them are classic Jackie Chan martial arts flicks. In the 90’s I discovered JC and still think they all hold up to any scrutiny today and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of them in a heartbeat.
Example – Aliens / The Descent / Hot Fuzz / Police Story / Toy Story 2
How it would be put conversationally – “Watch Police Story and thank me later.”
10/10 “Watching Die Hard made my life better.”
There are 4 movies that I like enough to give the perfect score to, 4. You shouldn’t need to be told that they are each perfect specimens and if I were to bury a time capsule of me these would be the 4 I would include for the lucky finder.
They are: The Blues Brothers
Drunken Master 2
(If you read the 9.5 section and passed year 4 maths you will be wondering where the other three movies are, for some reason over the years I have elevated three movies to beyond 9.5 status but I refuse for some reason to allow them a 10. So to Army Of Darkness, Pulp Fiction and Tremors, I apologise, but you’re all still a hair away from greatness.)
That’s it, that’s how I make my movie decisions, hopefully this puts into context any ratings given to movies discussed on this site.