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Friday, November 28, 2008

Meaning of the Stars

By John C.

One Movie, Five Views rates out of four stars. Stars are probably the most used method of rating a film, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best. I personally find they’re one of the worst. The iconic Thumbs-Up or Thumbs-Down, that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel used, the brilliant idea of a Fresh Tomato or a Rotten Tomato, used by review tracking website Rotten Tomatoes, or even the idea of the See-It, Skip-It or Rent-It system, that they use on the new At The Movies, are some of the best ways of rating a movie. Even though there can be varying degrees to those three rating systems, they are still pretty much one or the other, there isn’t a grey zone where it gets confusing.

If I could change having stars, I would. They appear to be easy to the reader, but they are actually quite difficult to the reviewer. After much thought, here are my personal opinions on how I use the stars*:

**** Should be reserved for groundbreaking films, ones that have blown me away, something that exceeds in every aspect.

***1/2 This rating is practically the same as ****. It’s only difference is, it would be given to a great film, that is not really groundbreaking. This rating is, for me, pretty much the same as ****.

*** This can mean two different things, Really good, but not quite ***1/2, or good, but just above **1/2. It can also be right in the middle, so it needs to be taken in conjunction with the whole review.

**1/2 I consider this rating to mean it’s worth seeing, but not necessarily in theaters, on DVD. In other words, it’s worth a rental. This can also be used for a sequel that is worth going to see, but doesn’t really live up to high standards set by the first.

** This means you can pretty much skip it. Although, it can also be used for movies that are so bad, they're good. ** Movies may still have some redeeming qualities, so are sometimes worth a rental.

*1/2 This is reserved for movies that are not at all worth seeing, and just downright bad.

* Just plain awful. Stay away at all costs.

* Reviews are meant to be an artistic analysis of film, not a star rating. No star rating should be taken out of context of the review. This could result in serious misuse of someone's thoughts.

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