We’re about a quarter of the way into 2016 and I’m finally ready to finish up with 2015 (thanks a lot work ethic!). As I do every year I’ve put together a top ten list and a set of Golden Stake Awards, and I’ve finally gotten around to posting them in the special pages section. Both can be viewed here:
Now, on to the next announcement.
For the last nine years (wow, nine years of this) I’ve reviewed every movie I’ve seen in theaters (and a number I’ve seen on DVD/Blu-Ray/Streaming) and there’s been one constant throughout: the four star rating system. It’s a rating system I more or less stole from Roger Ebert and I’ve long thought that I understood it and it worked, but last year I became rather disillusioned by it. I’m not a professional critic and I don’t make a habit of seeing every movie that’s out there and because my viewing is so heavily curated most of the movies I opt to see are some shade of “good,” which makes them hard to fit into a four star scale. Because anything that’s two and a half or less is a “thumbs down” it means that a large majority of movies are going to be either a three, three and a half, or four star review and given that I’m stingy about giving out four star reviews that means that damn near everything has been a three or three and a half star review. Meanwhile, in the last year or two I’ve been in the habit of posting reviews and ratings on Letterboxd.com, a site that let’s you review and rate movies which works entirely on a five star scale. Doing my ratings there has given me a pretty good feel for how freeing the five star scale is over the four star scale. The movies I would have given two and a half or less to will still get those ratings, but for anything higher I have more freedom.
A three out of four can be converted into either a three or a three and a half out of five depending on how passionate I was and a three and a half out of four can either be relegated to three and a half out of five or be bumped up to a four out of five. And the movies that I normally would have given a four out of four can be converted into either a four and a half out of five or a full five out of five depending on how passionate I am. These ratings will be more robust and clear, and I want to be using them going forward starting in 2016. To make this transition more clear I’m going to be using these graphics to illustrate my star ratings rather than using the old asterisks.