How I Score Movies [Updated]

I have a system

I love movies. I have my entire life. A darkened theater is my happy place. I have seen a lot of movies. I have a strong opinion about what makes a good movie and what makes a bad movie. In my experience, most movies are have something good in them.

I don’t like horror movies or very violent movies. I just don’t see them.

Over the years, I have developed a scoring system to tell one movie from another. Based on the old “5 star” method, I rank films like this.

6-Star: Must-See
5.5-Star: Awesome
5-Star: Fantastic
4.5-Star: Super Good
4-Star: Good
3.5-Star: Decent
3-Star: Meh
2.5-Star: Not great
2-Star: Bad
1.5-Star: Super Icky
1-Star: Horrible
.5-Star: Just the Worst

I usually give 1-star ratings to any horror movie I am tricked into seeing. I do not like them, Sam I Am.

I start with this base score, and then I add different modifiers…

Modifying the Scores

Is it worth 3D, IMAX, or any other special viewing? Some movies were made for a huge screen. Others were made for 3D. 3D really shines where there are a lot of particles on the screen at one time. Dr. Strange was a good example of this.

But you have to spend more money to view in 3D, IMAX, or a special screen. For that reason, I only pony up the cash if I know it’s going to be good in that format. Or if the movie played really well in 2D and I’m going to see it again. “The Avengers: Endgame” was a good example of that.

Ultimately, movies are a 2D medium. I don’t hold it against a movie if it’s good or bad in 3D. I don’t give bonus points if it plays well in 3D. I don’t reward the rich, I just call it out.

Would I see it again? (+.5/-.5) This is a good test of a movie’s “strength.” If I want to see the movie again, it’s a keeper. I give a +.5 score adjustment to one of these. On the other end, there’s some movies I actively discourage others from seeing. For these, I will take away .5 points.

Good recent examples are “Spies In Disguise” (a Must-See) and “Midsommar”…. the latter was so horrific, I almost contemplated never seeing a movie again. I wondered, “Is this the current state of films?” I finally returned to the theater (it’s my happy place!), but I no longer make it a point to see every film.

Should I rent it? Buy it? This is another measure of a movie’s strength and staying power. It can also be a measure of a movie’s mediocrity. You might want to skip the large screen and dive into the small screen first. You could have a perfectly acceptable movie that just isn’t worth spending your hard-earned folding money on.

Maybe you should own a copy and add it to your own collection… This is especially true of really good movies or family-friendly movies (“Yes, kids, we can watch ‘Barney Goes to Jail’ one more time”).

Is it family safe? It’s hard to find a family safe movie nowadays. Movies are pushing PG-13 and R. It seems like everything wants to be “gritty” and “real.” Bleck.

What’s wrong with a PG movie? What’s wrong with a G movie? I applaud the family-friendly movies.

Did it have “the look?” I am an artist. I dabbled in film work. I can spot some dazzling camera work, costume design, and set design. Some movies just have a unique style and look to them.

Also watch for these films to perform well at the next Oscars.

Did it have “the feels?” (+.5) I can feel when a movie is good. It hits me right in the chest. If it’s particularly strong, it brings tears to my eyes–not because it’s sad. Because it’s awesome.

Usually, a triumphant moment where characters work together toward a common goal creates this feeling. It can elevate a movie from “pretty good” to “must-see.”

This one is hard to explain. A movie either “has it” or it does not. The first “Toy Story” movie made me cry because it was just so cool.

6-Star and .5-Star Movies

I start with 5 for the best films and 1 for the worst films.

Yes, it possible to have movies that have more than a perfect score or less than a horrible score. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. You have one movie that just has something special. You have another movie that’s many levels of horrible. That’s why we do these here movie reviews.

With an evening movie running $20, you should do a little research.

If you go to as many movies as I do, you should consider Regal Unlimited, but that’s a topic for another day.

What if I Don’t Agree with You?

My movie reviews are polarizing. I don’t know why. I just write what I feel.

Some people really agree with me.

Some people really do not agree with me.

I haven’t seen a lot of in-between.

What kind of person are you?

If you find that you love my reviews, my “Must-See” movies will be your “Must-See” movies.

If you hate my reviews, you’ll like all the movies I hate.

Perfect! Something for everyone!

Enjoy!

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