Monday, January 26, 2009

Movie Ratings: Two Thumbs Down, Critics Say.

DOES THE RATINGS SYSTEM make your life easier? Or does it treat you like an idiot?

Many critics - of movies, restaurants, music, whatever - have some sort of rating system that accompanies their full-length critiques of the work.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about the ratings phenomena today:

Even those critics who don't assign stars or grades find their carefully wrought opinions converted into numbers -- or a thumbs up or thumbs down -- and mashed together with other critics' opinions. Critics tend to loathe the system and succumb to it at the same time. It all makes for an odd scale that, under the veneer of objective numerical measurement, is really just an apples-to-oranges mess. On Metacritic, best-picture nominee "The Reader" is tied with the latest James Bond flick. On Rotten Tomatoes, the drama tied with the dog-man buddy comedy "Marley & Me."

Later in the article, the author quotes famed film reviewer Roger Ebert.

"I don't know where the stars come from, but they're absurd," he says.

One of the central arguments is that readers will just look at the grade or rating, and not delve into the subtleties of the article. That simple thumbs up, or three bells, or "B+" may not explain the complexities of the film or song or production.

What do you think? Do you like the ratings system? Do you continue on to read the full stories?


benjamin toledano said...

i dont realy read reviews anyway, but the systems they use are not the best way. the topic should be divided into 5 subdivisions, then each subdivision should be rated. that is what i would follow.

Geo said...

Subdivisions? Like what?

- George (the teacher who has never found a reviewer with similar tastes, so he ignores them all)

Anonymous said...

I read past the simple rating system because I appreciate that it does not allow for one to gain a true understanding of the merits or failings of a piece. However, many critics will rate multiple things at the same time. If I read their article, I like to know how each piece they are reviewing compares to the other. Short of saying, "Bond was slightly better than the Reader, and Underworld less etertaining than both," the rating system lets me compare them to each other quickly and efficiently with the understanding the ratings only apply to the author and his reviews that day.

Andrea Symonds said...

I don't need someone to tell me what I should like or shouldn't like. I pay for my ticket, so if I want to go see it, I'm going to see it. It doesn't matter what the critics say.

Anonymous said...

I think the rating system right now is terrible. It seems like the two star movies are always great and the four star movies are just alright. Though, I just look at the ratings and never continue to read on to the actual comments.

Christina Warrington

Stephanie Klock said...

When I read reviews, which isn't often, I don't look at the stars or numbers. I do read the reviews and take what they have to say into consideration. However, it becomes distracting because if they point out a flaw (in a movie) I look for that flaw instead of just watching the movie.

Patty Giron said...

the "grading" system for movies is pretty absurd, he movies they are giving 4,5 stars now are jokes, I mean some, movies like the breakup cannot compare to the boy in the striped pajamas.. why is everything such a shortcut in this country?

Amanda DiStefano said...

In a society with "guilty pleasures" are termed often, I don't see people being swayed by ratings. With the emergence of media forms narrowcasting, people will like what they like no matter who says what.

Amanda DiStefano
(current)Journalism and Society Student