Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Interrogation Room: How to Interpret the Stars

What exactly do those asterisks at the end of each of my reviews mean? How are they to be interpreted?

At the closing of each review, I supply an overall ranking of how much I liked or disliked the film. This ranking, which ranges from zero to four stars (including half-star intervals), is given to note both what I personally thought of the film and how strongly I would recommend it to others. If you agree with the majority of my critiques, then you and I most likely have similar interests and disinterests when it comes to entertainment—take my recommendations for what they are worth. If you disagree with the majority of my opinions of films…well then, I am sorry for our differences, but then again, all reviews are subjective; movies feed different critics on different levels.

How do I arrive at a ranking that I feel is deserving and justifiable?

Here is a list of every rating possible and how each category is basically defined. – This is a slightly adapted version of my personal favorite online film critic’s grading system.

4.0 stars: A must see. Do not go through life without experiencing this pinnacle of a picture.

3.5 stars: Highly recommended. Make time to see this movie.

3.0 stars: Recommended. Worth your time and money.

2.5 stars: Recommended with certain restrictions. Only worth seeing if you have a particular liking to a specific cast member or the subject matter. This near recommendation is a more likely choice as a rental rather than a theatrical viewing.

2.0 stars: Recommended for home viewing only (when you are bored and basically have nothing else to do). Not worth your average multiplex ticket price.

1.5 stars: Not recommended (unless intoxicated).

1.0 stars: Not recommended (even if intoxicated).

0.5 stars: Not recommended. A painful experience that should be avoided.

0.0 stars: Ugh. An absolutely afflicting experience not to be wished upon anyone. So torturous that watching oil and water separate can be more enlightening and enjoyable. Avoid at all costs.

I hope this first interrogation room has been helpful, and I hope you now have an enhanced grasp on both why and how I arrive at a decision on how many times to press shift-8 at the conclusion of every commentary.