When attempting to summarize, categorize, and rank films, it is important to identify a set of criteria by which one ranks. This is likely to change for each individual; no one watches from a neutral plane, and each person has their own tastes. This is a short overview of my attempt to create a workable system to rate and review the films I see. Some important points to note before I detail the system:
First, I work on a scale from 1 – 10, rather than the traditional ★ – ★★★★★ rankings commonly found in periodicals, newspapers, and critical websites. I have found this gives me a bit more freedom to distinguish films from one another.
Second, I am often more kind than many critics; this is partially due to the additional room I have given myself with my 1-10 system, and partially due to my desire to give as much credit to the filmmaker as possible. Creating any film in our present world is a difficult undertaking, and even the creation of a flawed film can be worth recognizing to some degree.
Third, my rankings seek to be as objective as possible, but ultimately no one is foolproof. Just because I believe a movie is excellent does not mean that you will enjoy it, and just because I believe a movie fails does not mean you will dislike it. My hope is that I am encouraging a more full viewing experience with my reviews, opening readers up to watching movies differently (i.e. looking for meaning, deepening experience, expanding horizons, etc.). If I have helped one person deepen their spiritual, emotional, and intellectual experience through my work, then I have succeeded in this endeavor.
Fourth, I have found many a helpful resource in my reading on the subject. I think perhaps the best practical framework for improving your critical eye when watching movies can be found in Jon Boorstin’s book, Making Movies Work. Though it is a bit dated, it is both comprehensive and approachable for the layman. I describe his paradigm in a quick and accessible presentation here, if you are interested in learning more.
I hope this helps provide some additional reasoning for my rankings and reviews here. If you would like more clarity, have suggestions, or are simply interested in hearing more, don’t hesitate to get in touch!