New Year, New Ratings

Hey there, dear readers! Here we are, fully immersed in 2016 and I think now is the perfect time to reveal to you my new rating scale.  Before I reveal what it will be, I want to give you a little background on why I’m changing my ratings.  I have always said this blog was written by a reviewer, not a critic.  The contents of my reviews are what I did or did not like, what I enjoyed the most, or was irritated by or any similar feelings about a film. They aren’t critiques. They aren’t in depth analysis about where the film might fall compared to similar films. They are me and my thoughts.

Regular readers may (or may not) have noticed my reviews have become more conversational, using “I” and phrases like “I think” and “I feel” and “to me” (you know, mushy feelings stuff).  This was the first step to making them more feel like something I would say if I were talking directly to you and less high-school-paper-y, otherwise known as formal. Now I’m at the next step with adjusting how I rate the movies I review here.

When I started writing reviews two and a half years ago, I was going through different scales I could use. A few ideas that I thought about included a binary scale, four-point and five-point “enjoyment” scales (which eventually was implemented in my Disney and a Beer reviews), and a six-point numeric scale.  In the end, I settled on my current five-point (ten if you count half points) system because I felt it allowed for the most variation, and eventually the best accuracy.  However, as I wrote more and more, I found it to actually be a limiting. As any movie maven will tell you, everyone has their favorite films but it’s really, really hard to rank those at the tops of your lists. I tried to do this but often found myself ranking movies different than ratings I had given them. It is kind of stupid but it got in my head and bothered me.

So not too long ago I came up with an alternate scale to do away with the confines of numbers that is also flexible. Without further ado, my new scale is as follows:

GREAT 😀
GOOD 🙂
OK 😐
BAD 😦

I tend to be a positive person and found myself rarely using lower numbered ratings in my reviews. By removing numbers I remove these unused parts of the scale. It also allows me to group movies together based on my enjoyment of them rather than feel restricted by a numbering system. My biggest deciding factor for this new scale is it is more in line with how I would talk about the movie in actual conversation, which is my ultimate goal for my reviews as mentioned on my About page.

To kick off this new era is the latest entry in my all-time favorite movie franchise: Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  Being the Star Wars fanboy that I am, I saw The Force Awakens at a Thursday preview.  However, I didn’t post my review until now for two reasons: 1) Everyone and their twin sister was posting their reviews for it so I wanted some space and 2) I needed some time (and more viewings) to collect my thoughts, process the film, and get my thoughts written down because *gasp* I’m not as ecstatic about it as everyone else seems to be.  Now before you start throwing pitchforks at me, read my review because I had a lot to say about it (It is my longest review to date, nearly twice as long as my previous longest review).

To accommodate the rating changes, my reviews will no longer have a “Rating” section. Instead, the final paragraph of my review will begin with the rating and act as an extended summary. Like any system, it will probably take some tweaking to get to where I’m completely satisfied, but this is a step in the direction that I think is right for me.  I haven’t decided how extensive I want to go through my old review and convert them to this new scale yet but I’ll worry about that later.

I hope you guys enjoy the new system as much as I do. You can check out my review of The Force Awakens, the first review with my new ratings scale, here.

Cheers!

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19 thoughts on “New Year, New Ratings

  1. Interesting ratings! And that’s kinda brave to not give yourself a neutral choice. When I started my blog, I felt the same way about rating movies which was why I developed the “greater than” method for rating the animated movies that I reviewed.

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    • Thanks! Not having a neutral choice is actually something I debated in the beginning. But like I said, I noticed that my ratings tend to be mostly positive, so I most of my reviews are rated “neutral” or higher anyway. The new system reflects that with really only one negative rating. OK can act as a neutral rating since it is like “this movie isn’t good, but it’s not bad either.”

      I like that unique system you have. I wouldn’t use it though because at the time of writing my reviews, I’m fairly decent at rating at the film objectively compared to similar movies. It’s just when I went to make a fave five list or something like that did I notice ratings would conflict.

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  2. It’s nice to read another person’s reviews who look at movies the way you do (and in turn the way I do). I try to be more of a reviewer than a critic because I want to be entertained by these movies. That is what they are made for and that’s what I spend so much money on. Looking forward to reading reviews with your new rating system.

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    • You’re exactly right, Jordan. I feel that if I try to be critical about a film, it will take away from my entertainment. So I just sit back, enjoy the ride, and process it when it’s all done. Glad to hear it!

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck with the simpler rating system. I like reviews that feel like hanging out and chatting. While I focus on traditional critique… cuz I’m super nerdy 😉 I enjoy reading both styles. I dont use “I” or “for me” since I assume reader knows they are reading what I think hehehe. You should consider pushing the 1st person approach even more. Take advantage of this freedom. Like, you can include personal memories that shape opinion. Also, maybe you can ask questions for the conversation to continue in comments section. Stuff like that. Good luck buddy. Looking forward to your evolution here.

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    • Thanks, Dan. I didn’t use first-person pronouns for the same reason but I like pushing the personal opinion aspect. Sometimes professional reviews lose that personal touch and I don’t want that to happen here. Like you said, I want it to sound like we are chilling and chatting about the film, maybe with a beer in our hands. I’ve included personal experiences before (a good example is my Aladdin review) but it’s not often. Thanks for the ideas. We’ll see where this new direction goes. I didn’t expect to receive so many comments on the matter. 🙂 I’m glad others are just as excited as I am!

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  4. This is a great idea. I redid my ratings on the blog at one point because it got confusing and started to make little sense. A simpler approach is good one.

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