Return To: Board Index | General Discussion

On what basis do you rate films ?

Introduce yourself to the community or chat with other users about whatever is on your mind
livelove
Posts: 193
66 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:36 pm

On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby livelove » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:05 pm

Hello everyone.

The old rule "garbage in, garbage out" also applies to criticker.
Criticker only works correctly for a user, if his/her votes are correct.

But what does "correct" really mean ?

I want to rate films correctly.
Because I want criticker to work and also because I want to find out - by way of critically questioning myself - how much I really like a given film.

Therefore I am from time to time pondering questions about how I should rate films.

I wanted to share my thoughts, expecting or hoping to find like-minded souls here on criticker, given that this is a rating platform, no less. In hopes of triggering a discussion that would enlighten me, I posted 2 threads on that subject:


But the reaction mostly varied between non-existent and indifferent (with a few exceptions maybe).
Or at least I didn't quite have the impression that responders cared all that much about this type of questions.

Nevertheless, I'd like to try one more time.

This time, I want to ask for your opinion on the following question:
On what basis do you rate films ?
        On the basis of how much you liked the film ?
Or on the basis of how "good" you find a film ?

... or on another basis altogether ?


For lots of films this distinction (likeability vs goodness/quality) might be moot.

But there are films, for which I really grapple with this distinction.
For example, I consider the film "Eine verhängnisvolle Nacht" nearly "perfect" in the sense that it perfectly captures the terror of a woman stalked by an obsessive man. I think if you want to make a film about this subject, it's almost impossible to do any better than that. So as far as film-making craftsmanship is concerned, I would rate the film 10/10.

Now, how much did I like/enjoy the film ?
I think it's hard to enjoy a film full of such misery as much as you would enjoy a good comedy.

If I purely had to rate the film on the basis of "how much did I like the film", I would rate it 6/10.

Up until now, I forced myself to solely vote on how much I liked a given film, regardless of how "well" it was made. And in many cases, these 2 criteria align anyway.
But when I see a film like the example above, it gives me heartache to rate a film in the vicinity of e.g. 6/10 when it is a fine piece of cinematic art, especially when I think of the idea, that I will very probably not like/enjoy *any* film on that subject. After all, the subject on its own should not determine a film's rating ...
... or should it ?

A simpler example:
How should someone deal with a film of a particular genre, he/she generally dislikes (e.g. horror movie), when he/she recognizes that this particular film is of very good quality or even flawless (except only for the "wrong" genre) ? When he/she dislikes the horror genre generally, should he/she rate an otherwise flawless movie at a score of 0-2 /10 ?

Or maybe an even better example:
What about a heartbroken person, who after his/her relationship of 10 years just broke apart, suffers from lovesickness and temporarily hates romantic films, although this is normally his/her favourite genre ? Tastes can change/fluctuate, sometimes only temporarily, sometimes for forever ...
So maybe he/she hates a film, he/she would otherwise like ...
... should he/she now give this film a dismal score ?

The reverse might also occur, by the way.
There are some bad films, I enjoy watching.
So should I give a bad score, or a good one ?
For example I find 3 coeurs a bad film (incredibly stupid story [spoilers ahead!]: man encounters completely unknown female in a big town, misses next RDV, then - out of pure chance - encounters her sister and marries her unbeknownly [if that's the right word]) ... I kept thinking "oh, what an awful story" while simultaneously wanting to know how the story unfolds/ends.


Rating is not all that easy, when you really think about it a bit more in depth.

Maybe you will find better examples than me. I am not the best in picking examples.
By picking those examples, I just want to show that IMO how much I like/enjoy a film does not necessarily correspond with "how good" I find it ...
... which makes me unsure what the basis for my vote really should be.

What about "artsy" films, which I (myself) recognize as artistic, but when I can't find any pleasure in watching the film. Should I give 0 points ?

Or what about films, that are excellently made, but are extremely hard to watch, e.g. films which spend a good amount of time showing physical/sexual abuse, torture or sheer terror (like the stalker victim mentioned above feels). Examples are aplenty.

I also don't know how to rate excellent films, which trigger a strong flow of emotions inside me, but which make me feel depressed, e.g. Requiem for a dream. Since it makes me feel bad, I somehow "dislike" the film (0/10) but at the very same time, I think it's a good film (7/10) ... what gives? Should I thus choose the average of 3,5 ?

I don't always find it difficult to rate films.
But some films I find very difficult to rate ...

What are your thoughts (generally speaking as well as on these specific examples) ?

What are your guidelines when you rate films ?

BadCosmonaut
Posts: 108
2572 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:08 am

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby BadCosmonaut » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:54 am

livelove wrote:Hello everyone...I want to rate films correctly. Because I want criticker to work and also because I want to find out - by way of critically questioning myself - how much I really like a given film. Therefore I am from time to time pondering questions about how I should rate films.

I wanted to share my thoughts, expecting or hoping to find like-minded souls here on criticker, given that this is a rating platform, no less. In hopes of triggering a discussion that would enlighten me, I posted 2 threads on that subject...

But the reaction mostly varied between non-existent and indifferent (with a few exceptions maybe).
Or at least I didn't quite have the impression that responders cared all that much about this type of questions.

Nevertheless, I'd like to try one more time.

This time, I want to ask for your opinion on the following question:
On what basis do you rate films ?
        On the basis of how much you liked the film ?
Or on the basis of how "good" you find a film ?

... or on another basis altogether ?


For lots of films this distinction (likeability vs goodness/quality) might be moot.


I think this is an interesting topic and something I think about probably more often than I should. I wrote about my personal rating system here, and that system is pretty much what I still use now and will probably continue to use.

What I didn't mention in that post is that my default score for a movie is 5 out of 10. I don't rate a movie unless I watch it to the end. If I watch a movie and it doesn't earn or lose any points from me, I would probably rate it a 5 which is just decent. Some genres have a default score of 4 though, like love stories, musicals, most common types of horror and thrillers, and b movies. Since I don't like most love stories, most will lose at least one point during the viewing, if not more. Same with musicals and horror. I generally like b movies despite them sucking, which is why it's pretty easy for them to stay at a 4.

This is all purely based on how much I liked it, and not based on how "good" I recognize it as. The reason being is that recognizing how good it is is already built into my rating. For your example below (which I haven't seen) that you said you'd give a 6/10, if I watched it and had the same opinion of it as you did, I would rate it a 6/10. The reason is because if that movie is the best of its kind, then any others like it I see will be a 5 or 4 or 3 etc. In this case, 6 would be the top score for that type of movie.

If you say, "well what if another movie of that type comes along that is somehow actually better than the 6/10 was? What if this new movie is a 7/10?" Then I was wrong about 6/10 being the ceiling, and the ceiling is actually 7. So recognizing "good" movies despite not liking them is built into my system. I don't care for most "thriller movies with a more modern horror tone" like It Follows, but I think It Follows is about as good as it gets for that type of movie (so good that I actually loved it), so I'd rate it 8/10. Horror in general isn't something I think is all that great, so 8 is probably the ceiling. Previously I thought 7 was the horror ceiling, which is what I rated the original Nightmare on Elm Street due to its great pacing, great practical effects, length, character decisions that weren't super dumb like most horror, and mostly likeable characters. I don't like horror (I bet most horror movies get a 3 from me, or else a 2 or 4), but I thought it hit all the high notes so I gave it a 7 which is way higher than I give to most horror. That's how recognizing it's "goodness" is built in. Now 8 is the ceiling with It Follows.

livelove wrote:But there are films, for which I really grapple with this distinction.
For example, I consider the film "Eine verhängnisvolle Nacht" nearly "perfect" in the sense that it perfectly captures the terror of a woman stalked by an obsessive man. I think if you want to make a film about this subject, it's almost impossible to do any better than that. So as far as film-making craftsmanship is concerned, I would rate the film 10/10.

Now, how much did I like/enjoy the film ?
I think it's hard to enjoy a film full of such misery as much as you would enjoy a good comedy.

If I purely had to rate the film on the basis of "how much did I like the film", I would rate it 6/10.

Up until now, I forced myself to solely vote on how much I liked a given film, regardless of how "well" it was made. And in many cases, these 2 criteria align anyway.
But when I see a film like the example above, it gives me heartache to rate a film in the vicinity of e.g. 6/10 when it is a fine piece of cinematic art, especially when I think of the idea, that I will very probably not like/enjoy *any* film on that subject. After all, the subject on its own should not determine a film's rating ...
... or should it ?

A simpler example:
How should someone deal with a film of a particular genre, he/she generally dislikes (e.g. horror movie), when he/she recognizes that this particular film is of very good quality or even flawless (except only for the "wrong" genre) ? When he/she dislikes the horror genre generally, should he/she rate an otherwise flawless movie at a score of 0-2 /10 ?


If it's a flawless horror movie is it really a 2/10? I mean what's flawless about it? I have a hard time believing there is a horror movie you think is flawless but liked it only as much as 2/10. Do you have any specific examples that are so extreme? If not, what's the most extreme example you can think of?

livelove wrote:Or maybe an even better example:
What about a heartbroken person, who after his/her relationship of 10 years just broke apart, suffers from lovesickness and temporarily hates romantic films, although this is normally his/her favourite genre ? Tastes can change/fluctuate, sometimes only temporarily, sometimes for forever ...
So maybe he/she hates a film, he/she would otherwise like ...
... should he/she now give this film a dismal score ?


Hard for me to respond to this part since I am about as emotionally stable as is possible. Best guess is that I'd try to guess how much I would have liked it despite whatever emotional instability I'm experiencing at the time. If that doesn't work, I'd rate it then just make a note to rerate it in a few months.

Doing anything else would seem like just accepting an inaccurate score, right?

livelove wrote:The reverse might also occur, by the way.
There are some bad films, I enjoy watching.
So should I give a bad score, or a good one ?
For example I find 3 coeurs a bad film (incredibly stupid story [spoilers ahead!]: man encounters completely unknown female in a big town, misses next RDV, then - out of pure chance - encounters her sister and marries her unbeknownly [if that's the right word]) ... I kept thinking "oh, what an awful story" while simultaneously wanting to know how the story unfolds/ends.


B movies start off as a default of 4 to me. Some actually do earn higher. For example, you hear all the time someone calling a movie so bad it's good. For the longest time I never found a movie I genuinely thought it was so bad it's good. Then I saw Miami Connection. For me, it's the absolute best so bad it's good movie I've ever seen. It knocks everything else out of the park. To be clear, the movie sucks hard. If I were to rate it "more objectively" then it's like a 2/10 at best, maybe even a 1. But I love it for what it is so I rated it a 7. It's the best there is at what it is, an unintentionally hilariously badly made movie. I just really enjoy it. There are many B movies that are just enjoyable and deserve a good score, like Hard Ticket to Hawaii and Samurai Cop. Objectively they are completely shit, but I want to watch more that are as good-in-a-bad-way as they are.

I haven't seen 3 Coeurs, but I have an example of a TV show I didn't like but that I wanted to keep watching - Breaking Bad. Everything about it was great (production, dialogue, exciting cliff hangers, realism for the most part, etc) except I hated the characters. They just weren't likeable characters, and likeable characters are important to me. I can't enjoy most 2 hour movies if they don't have likeable characters, much less a 48 hour long TV series. Someone might argue, "But that's the point, just like Tony Montana - you're not supposed to like him!" Okay, sure, and maybe a 2 hour movie can get away with me not liking the main character(s) since it's only 2 hours. But 48 hours long? I better like them. But I watched the whole show for all the reasons I mentioned above plus I didn't know if I was going to begin to like the characters in later seasons, and it's a popular show many have seen so now I can talk about it, plus I hate spoilers and didn't want it to be ruined for me. I didn't like the show but I watched the whole thing, and I'd still rate it poorly compared to other TV shows because of how much I hate unlikable characters.

livelove wrote:Rating is not all that easy, when you really think about it a bit more in depth.

Maybe you will find better examples than me. I am not the best in picking examples.
By picking those examples, I just want to show that IMO how much I like/enjoy a film does not necessarily correspond with "how good" I find it ...
... which makes me unsure what the basis for my vote really should be.

What about "artsy" films, which I (myself) recognize as artistic, but when I can't find any pleasure in watching the film. Should I give 0 points ?


I do recognize a few exceptions to everything I wrote above, where I will rate a movie highly even though I didn't technically enjoy it, when it's justified. The best example I can think of is the movie Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom. This is a movie that was not made for entertainment in any traditional sense of the word. It's not there to enjoy. It's a story with a message. It delivers the message regardless of how hard a pill it is to swallow. The message for most people will provoke a negative response, such as feeling depressed or sick to your stomach or further desensitized to all the harsh realities of the world. If I would rate it on entertainmen/enjoyment alone I would give it a low score. But it's an exception. I rated it based on what it was trying to accomplish (eg how valuable is the message to me? to society?), how well it succeeded in that, and how well produced the movie was from a technical standpoint. For Salo, I feel like what I got out of it was valuable to my development as a person and to my perspective on the world, so therefore the movie accomplished it's goal, and it was well produced at the same time. It did all this in what I would call a masterful way. I haven't seen many similar movies come close to doing what it did so masterfully, so because of all that I think it deserves a high score. It's not a movie that can be liked in any traditional sense, but I did like what it was trying to be and say and accomplish and I liked the production, and so it got an 8 out of 10 from me.

A second example of exceptions would be art house movies that also aren't trying to be purely enjoyable or entertainment but that have a purpose I like as well. These would be movies that aren't necessarily unpleasant like Salo, but just don't go out of their way to provide pure uncut entertainment like most Hollywood movies. Like Andrei Rublev. Great movie, but long and kind of slow.

I'm sure there are other types of exceptions I could think of, but the running theme here is that I like for some reason or another all movies I rate highly. I may not have been entertained, I may not have enjoyed the movie in a normal way, but I liked it somehow. If I don't like it in some worthwhile way, then I rate it poorly, no matter how much I can recognize it being a good movie otherwise.

livelove wrote:Or what about films, that are excellently made, but are extremely hard to watch, e.g. films which spend a good amount of time showing physical/sexual abuse, torture or sheer terror (like the stalker victim mentioned above feels). Examples are aplenty.

I also don't know how to rate excellent films, which trigger a strong flow of emotions inside me, but which make me feel depressed, e.g. Requiem for a dream. Since it makes me feel bad, I somehow "dislike" the film (0/10) but at the very same time, I think it's a good film (7/10) ... what gives? Should I thus choose the average of 3,5 ?


If I shared your opinion of Requiem for a Dream, I'd start at my default score of 5 then probably give it 1 or 2 points for being technically well made then minus a ton of points (like 5 points) for disliking it so much, resulting in a very low score. 5+2-5=final score 2. I don't see how the average would be accurate. Either you liked it or you didn't. It's quite possible to dislike well made movies. There are plenty of good movies I don't like. I don't like the Godfather movies that much. La La Land is a another great example for me...well made but I don't like love stories, musicals, or Hollywood circlejerks, so I'd give it a 4/10 despite it having a generally very high quality production.

If I want Criticker to give accurate recommendations, I have to rate them based on how well I liked them, otherwise I'll be getting recommendations for "good movies" I may not like rather than getting recommendations for just movies I should like. How "good" they are is irrelevant to me. I want to watch movies I'm most likely to like. This is what the engine is designed for.

livelove wrote:I don't always find it difficult to rate films.
But some films I find very difficult to rate ...

What are your thoughts (generally speaking as well as on these specific examples) ?

What are your guidelines when you rate films ?


Thanks for the topic.

ehk2
Posts: 99
5997 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:00 pm

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby ehk2 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:18 am

"Like" and "Good" categories should work in combination. As suggested, it is hard to separate. To claim that they can be dissected and to say that one can like an obviously "bad" film, would be an affront to viewer's own taste. "Like/Enjoy" cannot override "Good" alone. They should work together. Just because I enjoy a solid, harmless comedy does not make it place among my favourites.

I guess everyone rates by "Like" [while trying not to much diverging from conventional "good" criteria (critics, peers, kumpels...)] Subjective is formed in consideration of the so-called "objective" outside.

First: emotions, affects. Then comes the cognition and rationalization.
My favourite films have been the ones that have created very remarkable emotions for me.

Overall criteria: ideology or worldview (a rather politicised one). I can say that I watch films very "politically" -but not with a decided effort. If the film attacks my personal political sensibilities (take politics as a broader term), no matter how it is technically good or flawless, I rate it low. And in that case, I even rate it lower, because it turns into a bigger threat, an hate object. I do not refrain from voting low for the badly-done films even if they're in line with my views

I may think myself rather consistent on "content", but not on "form". I could not arrive an established set of rules myself on movies: One day I can be for strict social realism, another for experimentalism; or one day for boring, depressing minimalism, another day advocating films trying to catch viewer's attention, etc. In short, I have no strict aesthetic opinion. I am an opportunist, or rather an eclectic in terms of the "form".

Many times I cannot decide on films -either I don't understand, cannot weigh ups and downs or when I think I appreciate the value of it, I don't care much about it. These get a 5/10. That might distort my ratings, as I often give mediocre films the same rating.

I am biased against blockbusters -especially action or family movies. If I had to watch them, I would rate them very low.
I recognize myself that I am rating literary "adaptations" higher. I guess, intellectually I find them more satisfactory (& self-congratulatory) or the original source gives more credit to the screen adaptation.

Local versus foreign. I am more likely to understand the significance of local pictures. Comparison of rating between them and well-produced Hollywood films may be tricky. The usual case is the well-known "Turkish mafia" criticisms on IMDB. We rate some Turkish movies very high because they resonate with our nostalgic cultural senses. But even if I liked some, I don't give the highest scores to them, as they don't meet the best "production"/"good" criteria in most cases.

I pretty much vote the short films, so I have to say that:
I have a somehow weird idea that short productions do not compete on the level of feature-length movies. In most cases, I rate them relatively lower: best shorts get rarely 6-7/10 from me.
I also observe that cartoons have very high ratings on these websites. Rarely I rate them above 5-6/10.
Aside from a few ones that I really enjoy or value for their historical importance; I also rate early silent shorts (before 1910s) very low.
And commercial shorts: If it is a commercial short or a short with too-obvious commercial signs, I try to rate it lowest.
Adult movies do not deserve much rating. This can be a very interesting discussion. Certainly some can turn into very enjoyable experiences... But you do not consider them art objects. 1/2 or 3 at best. On the other hand, I love Emmanuelle or some other soft Italian stuff -70s & Tinto. They may get higher over 5, but they are exceptions.

Fascist propaganda does not deserve over 0. I hate people voting 10/10 for Triumph of Will. Another different case for discussion.

Finally, I'll add that I also rate hundreds of non-sense stuff: music videos, youtube amateur shorts, funnyordie parodies, documentaries. Most of these are temporary pop phenomena, not worth attention. Aside from a few clips like of Björk's, I rate music videos 3-4/10 if they are alright. funnyordie like parodies rarely get 3/10 even if you liked the point of it. I am obsessively rating everything. That's my partial solution.
Last edited by ehk2 on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:10 am, edited 3 times in total.

zoPZ!
Posts: 42
2600 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:28 pm

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby zoPZ! » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:30 am

I don't rate a film I have not seen in its entirety. I've so often revised my feelings about a film based on the last 10 or 20 minutes that I can't presume to assign a rating if I haven't seen the whole thing. I actually find it kind of nasty in a way, in poor taste.

I don't rate films I saw so long ago I can remember nothing. If I saw it that long ago how the hell could I figure out a score that would be useful to me now.

I want as accurate a reflection of my personal views as possible, which both contributes to making the criticker recommendations more accurate, and serves me then as a document for reference with regard to certain attributes as 'rewatchability' or 'recommendability' or 'worthwhileness'.

I don't care much for offering good scores on the basis of technical proficiency. If it resonates positively with me, it gets a good score (I watch a lot of 'crap' which is enjoyable). In fact, if you're trying to gauge the quality of a film in such terms, you're going to find yourself in theory hell. There's little in the way of criteria that cinema needs to conform to, except insofar as the medium necessiates in the most concrete sense (to remain cinema, as opposed to strawberry pie). So it seems best to be concerned with your own enjoyment principally. That will help criticker's algorithm and you'll love your life more.

td888
Posts: 784
3434 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:44 am

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby td888 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:16 am

In general I rate a movie based on how much I liked it. I use Criticker as a tool to find other movies I like, so I expect the PSI's from other movies to be based on how much other users liked it as well. Nonetheless, if I don't like a movie because of it's genre or I am not in its intended audience, I tend to write something about this fact in my review. Even a negative review can be very helpful for finding movies I do like as long as I know why a user didn't like it.

90sCoffee
Posts: 109
1080 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:15 pm

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby 90sCoffee » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:04 pm

I agree with not rating a film if you didn't finish it or have too vague a recollection of it.

Also I think it's a really bad idea to rate a movie based on how well made of a movie it was instead of rating it based on how much you like it. The whole point of the PSI thing is to get people with a similar taste to yours so it's counter-productive to rate movies you think you're supposed to like because they're well made but you didn't actually enjoy.

When you start overrating movies just because they were made well despite not personally liking them then you end up with a lot of worship for movies in the canon and you might as well just use top 100 or whatever lists to get film recommendations at that point instead of Criticker PSI's. If you thought Vertigo for example was a bore then don't give it a high rating just because you think it was well-made based on what others say.

Mentaculus
Posts: 168
2747 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 2:17 am

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby Mentaculus » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:35 pm

I determined long ago that I come into every movie at 100. I want to like films (or any other created art, for that matter). This often leaves me pleasantly surprised, but also sometimes, deeply disappointed if a film fails in various ways. But this attitude has really helped my overall assessment of works, and not to be caught up in others' opinions that have come to me before viewing.

Another criteria I try to use is intent. If the intent of the filmmakers is to create a Blockbuster entertainment, and they do it well, freaking a! indeed, because that's harder than it looks. If the intent is to meditate on the nature of the universe or God or reincarnation or whatever, then I judge it on that standard. While I am often wrong, it's often fairly easy to tell what a film's intent is. John Wick 2 and Manchester By the Sea are naturally very different films, but they have different intents or goals for where they want to lead the audience. Technique and tone naturally follow the creators' intent in the best films, and flail in the worst. This is a consideration.

These two concepts, being "invitational" in my positivity and recognizing intent - only somewhat - helps me navigate the "I don't like it" VS "It's exceptionally well-made" dichotomy that is going on in the thread. I think if you see enough films, eventually you start to see what is derivative and what is innovative - or, what has and can stand the test of time and what will not. Film is both art and business, yes, but also a reflection of the culture it comes out of - and this third component continues to become a larger part of how I view, understand, and rate films. ehk2's mention of Triumph of the Will is a great case: Its intent is reprehensible. But does the content innovatively arrive at the point, speak to the time and condition when it was made, and inspire, even in its darkest moments (poached for good by Jewish filmmakers for A New Hope)? I don't think there is a right answer, there.

This is where human experience comes in. It's why I like Criticker - admittedly I love fucking up my TSI by saying Knowing is a fantastically underrated film, while people need to get over Fantastic Mr. Fox. But I also like seeing why people like/love/hate something I disagree with. Each of us comes to a single manufactured item (film) and come out with infinite, parallel, equally valid experiences. It's a fucking miracle. On that note, I can change, too - I use Criticker as a gauge for how I feel about a film when I see it, and I often come back to a film and change my mind, based on my maturing over time (or lack thereof). The Grand Illusion and Casablanca come to mind here - once dislike, now love. Unless my review is starred I'll go back and change my ranking to reflect my latest interaction/experience with the film. In that case the film has not changed, I have, and I use the above criteria to somehow approximate a numerical value of supposed worth. Anything above a 60 is actually pretty good in my book. Films in the 70's stick with me, 80's I feel I can own, 90's are masterpieces I can revisit and discover something about myself in the process. 40's and 50's are flawed in some fashion in their communication of intent; anything lower is a variation on failure to communicate with me. It's more of a crapshoot than an exact science, though. And good communication means that despite all I know and read and understand about film, if I'm lost in it and forget I'm watching a film, that is a magical film experience - and it is rated in the high 80's-100.

ribcage
Posts: 86
3543 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:13 pm

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby ribcage » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:15 pm

Gut reaction to how much i liked it, deciding on a score before i see a psi most times (i mostly use the database to track down work from actors/directors Im interested in and only look to psi if the synopsis doesn't immediately tell me if I'll like it or not, or if i think I'll like it but feel iffy bc of a director or so on) so Im not swayed into going higher or lower. Rarely, as i write a minireview putting to words my thoughts on a movie may make that initial score slide. My rule of thumb is below 50 is varying degrees of bad, 50-60 if it's worth watching for some niche such as genre fans or director completists etc but not memorably bad or good, 60-70 for mostly competant yet not fully entertaining films, 70 and above is varying degrees of good with 90+ being movies i could easily rewatch at any time.

I seldom wander from my preferred genres but im not afraid to rate something low if its from a genre i know i hate and i watched the movie and predictably hated it. Im not rating movies on a basis of being fair to them or their fans, this is entirely subjective to me and my erratic tastes.

I won't rate movies out of my preferred genres that i don't finish ( that's you andrei rublev) but if they do fall within my sphere i will give them 0s if i give up after the halfway point.


In short i don't really use my brain at all and my scores almost are just random keyboard slaps.

hellboy76
Posts: 426
5720 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:53 am

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby hellboy76 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:42 pm

As someone who rates a LOT of movies, I had to go with gut instinct on how well I liked a film. That sounds easy, but its hard to put a finger on it and put it into words. I am pretty easily entertained as well, so the vast majority of my rankings fall into my middle tiers. I think I agree with using intent along with gut likability. That being said, if you stick to your ratings and are consistent, my PSI is typically within four or five points on a hundred scale. I can purchase films that I haven't seen, based on the probability and rarely feel ripped off.

PetrosTser
Posts: 65
1484 Rankings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:29 am

Re: On what basis do you rate films ?

Postby PetrosTser » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:55 am

On the two questions from the other threads, my answers are:
- I never rate a film I haven't completed, even if for some reason I only missed the last 5 minutes. Only exception is if walked into the theatre a couple of minutes late. Otherwise no, simply because, if the film is 93 minutes long, well maybe the director wanted it to be that long. Even if you think it's redundant or shitty, you don't have enough data to rate. As zopz mentioned, the finale of a movie can be critical. I usually have a 'potential' rating in mind before the film reaches the end and I've often caught myself thinking stuff like "well if I don't get an inventive ending, this film doesn't get any more than 60". An ending can give my potential rating a boost, or detract a few points if it was a disappointment. So no rating for incomplete films, that's a rule of mine,
- every time I have been confronted with rating a film I'd seen a long time ago I go with gut feeling, the memory I have of how much I liked it. If you are afraid of the inaccuracy, then I suggest you just don't rate those films (although I suppose that kinda sucks), and maybe watch some of them again if you find them of interest.

For me the burning question is, what about films I've seen and rated a long time ago. I was born in '95 and have been watching films for most of my life. As a child I would even get my scores down in notebooks... you know, pen and paper. And that's why I had no problem with ranking my films when I created my account here in dear ole Criticker back in '10 (although I did lower some of them a little bit if they looked inflated due to the 'child' factor). But I'm now 21 and my list includes ratings I gave as a kid, teen and young adult. We all change a lot during those few years, don't we? And I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be the same person in 10 years either. We constantly change, to a big extent due to our - cinematic and non-cinematic - experiences, and, even if we suppose that the older we get the more we know ourselves and our tastes, it's still pretty fair to assume that we will drastically change our minds on certain films over the decades. Re-watching a film you are likely to have changed your mind about some years after the first watch is crucial if you want the recommendations you get from Criticker to be 'up-to-date'.

After all that, maybe I should finally give my view on your current question. The main thing for me is how much I liked the film. But, as ehk2, pointed out, that doesn't work in a vacuum. If I see a 'classic' film (@90sCoffee I gotta tell you, I raised my fist over your mention of "Vertigo" as a bore) and don't have a great time, there's no way it's gonna get a high rating from me. It's probably not gonna get a low rating either if I can appreciate certain aspects of it, but my enjoyment, or lack thereof, of a film is the crucial factor. "Citizen Kane" gets a mere 50 from me. And let's be clear: it's not 20 for the enjoyment and 80 for the historicity, or anything of that sort. Everything is aggregated into one number that is exactly that: one number and not a sum of parts. Right after a film ends I give it a rating in my head, based on how much I liked what I saw, trying to take into consideration both the fun I had and the more 'objective' qualities of it. I will probably think about what I saw for a few minutes, or discuss it if I am with other people, and there is a chance I might change my score slightly after that process. I then come into Criticker in an attempt to crystallize my thoughts in a concise review. At this point I have to mention that I rate out of 100 and in groups of ten (that's 0, 10, 20 and so on). That makes it usually easier to pick a rating because what the fuck does 73 mean. But in truth I have sometimes felt the need for a 5, for instance when a film is more than 70 but not exactly 80 (eg. "I, Daniel Blake"), but I have reasoned that having 5s is overall more of a fuss so I will just accept the occasional flaw of my rating system instead.

Intent is indeed important, as Mentaculus pointed out. And there's no shame if a film aims lower than another. Since when are our high ratings reserved for the elite of cinema? In truth, if I watch a blockbuster, or a not-particularly-deep comedy, and have a great time, it will probably not get a perfect rating because maybe it didn't engage me emotionally that much as other films, but I think it would be pretentious of me to give it an average rating just because "it's nothing deep". Looking back on my ratings, I do seem to have ceiling ratings like BadCosmonaut, for instance I have never given a (live action based on comic book) superhero film a rating higher than 70 - apart from "The Dark Knight" which has received a mighty 90 from me every time I've seen it - but that's not because I think they're a guilty pleasure. If you say a film is great for its genre, thus it's a 100, you don't take your own taste into consideration. I love me a good superhero film but in the end the 'big ones' for me are rarely blockbusters. I find I'm a little more generous with comedies: "Date Night" got a 70, "Easy A" 80, "Crazy, Stupid, Love." 90. How much I enjoyed them mattered more than how 'serious' or artsy they were and their high rewatchability has proven them as reliably successful in my eyes.

Then there's films that I enjoy mildly but at the same time appreciate, like "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens". I found it creepy but I wasn't scared at all and, frankly, I don't care if I judge it with 21st century eyes because that's who I am. I'm no movie critic. I'm just a dude who loves films. Does "Nosferatu" matter to me, in my here and now? And how much? And it turns out that yes it matters quite a bit, but not all that much: the gothic imagery is amazing but I thought Murnau handled the script in a rather problematic way that failed to engage me enough. So that's a 60. It's good, fullstop. Artsy-fartsy stuff, be it modern ("Carol") or 'classic' ("Zerkalo"), usually get a 50 or lower. They usually have elements in them to appreciate but since both the 'entertainment' and the 'engagement' factor are low, because I don't care about the characters or don't know what the fuck's going on or whatever, the rating is decidedly looking downwards.

If a film made you feel uneasy but you still thought it was great, chances are that that was the filmmaker's intention. "The Sweet Hereafter" is a beautiful yet devastating film that had received a 100 from me upon first viewing, but was then reduced to 80 after a second watch due to the limited pleasure it offers. When I get to see it again, I might end up giving it a 90 or something. The point is, you can detract some points if a film made you really uncomfortable, but that can be part of its greatness too. "Prisoners" would have been shitty if it wasn't uncomfortable. I can like a film with all my heart even if the director didn't pluck my heart-strings and just went for a two-hour, massive punch in the stomach. I walk out of the theatre going "wow that was powerful". Film, or art in general, isn't just about nice and cuddly stuff. Misery, distress and pure shock have to be expressed too, right? Enjoyment for me isn't just 'ha-ha' or a smile on my face. It can be that, if it's a comedy or a fun film or a daft b-movie, but if you go watch a film like "Heavenly Creatures" or "The Life of David Gale", well you should have known better. Most films are honest with you. You know it's gonna be a downer. And then you get a film like "The Lion King" and your childhood has been brutally fucked in the blink of an eye. But you're still in awe at the balls of Disney for pulling that off. Shouldn't I applaud that with a high rating, especially since, well, it's a pretty good film overall?

The part about disliked genres, I can't say I have much experience with, because I generally don't have any disliked genres, and I usually avoid watching films from my least favourite ones. And if I do, I take each film for what it is: how much did I like it. I'm not judging the entire genre, just this one cinematic experience. One type of film I'm having a difficult time with is the really sick horror films. I have seen stuff like "Saw" and "Martyrs" and given them variably low ratings. But then I see something like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and have a fucking blast. It's not about the genre, it's about that one film. If you find 'all' films of a genre shitty, then each and every one of them is shitty for you. If you saw "The Birds" or "Jaws" and can't go near a creature of the air or sea again but still appreciate the mastery of those films, I think deep down you know they're not shitty. They've genuinely made you crap your pants, they've scarred you for life, they deserve your respect. When people were running in the cinema corridors during "Psycho", their lives were profoundly altered. When I saw "Psycho" all those years later I enjoyed the atmosphere and then went on with my life without having to check my house for the killer for the rest of the week. That's a 70. If it was 1960 it would have probably been higher.

- Tastes can indeed change. Rewatch.

- No feelings of guilt for liking some shitty films.

- Really low ratings reserved for extremely awfully made films. Even if I had a good time laughing at a god-awfully terrible picture, like "Zombie Nation" or the Turkish Batman film, chances are the rating will still be in the 'red' (which for me is 0-30). Red zone also honours films that, although they were not objectively badly made (eg. good production values and so on), they had me bored to tears or even infuriated, like "Alexander" or "Le mépris". In this case, 30 and lower means the experience was decidedly negative and this film isn't worthy of my time even if I have nothing better to do.

- Really high ratings definitely not reserved for 'objectively' great, canon-type films. They are reserved for the films that mean a lot to me. And that includes the original "Pink Panther" series of films with Peter Sellers. They're not particularly serious. They're not even the 'serious' type of comedy of Chaplin's best years ("Modern Times", "The Great Dictator"). But I find them brilliant in an extremely reliable way, after having watched them dozens upon dozens of times. I know them by heart and I still laugh my ass off like the first time. Same with the "Blackadder" series, especially seasons 2, 3 and 4. The really high ratings are for films that have spoken to me in a rare, profound way. They can be devastating like "Requiem for a Dream". They can be poignant like "La vita è bella". They can be grandiose like "C'era una volta il West". They can be guilty pleasures like "The Cassandra Crossing". Riveting subject films, like "Entre les murs", or all-around soul- and mind-benders like my soft spot, "Donnie Darko". It's not about the canon, it's not about what others think, it's not about what I 'should' think. It's about what speaks to me, directly, without much overthinking. What strikes a chord with me. What goes 'click'.

One final memory to close this fucking Godzilla of a post that few will read and all of them will regret having done so. I remember going to "Finding Nemo" at the theatre in 2003 and loving every minute of it. I gave it a 100/100 here in 2010. I watched it again in 2016 and that 100 remained intact. It's one of the most perfectly executed films I have watched but also a film that carried me away as a child and as an adult, immersed me in it completely and generated a ton of emotions. That's what the higher tiers are about. They are reserved for what cinema means to you. Those films that remind you why this art fascinates us that much. Why settle for anything less? The perfectly executed films that left me cold, the classics that made me wanna die of boredom, and all the rest, will have to make way for my - each and everyone's - special films. What's the point otherwise?
Last edited by PetrosTser on Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Return to “General Discussion”