Monday, September 26, 2011

On ratings

I don't know why I obsess over this in my head, but I do. You know, I've started this blog out for a couple of reasons. One of them was to keep an official record of my opinions on movies for other people and for myself. Sometimes I'd like to talk about a movie that no one else has heard of and instead of rambling on to someone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, it's better to try to understand it in written form as opposed to word of mouth. I know my opinion doesn't really matter much and I try to express that clearly to people. I hope you just consider my reviews as another opinion, not someone who is trying to over-represent himself. I know exactly who I am, and who I'm not. I like to consider myself as a likable and open-minded guy who generally tries to see the best out of movies and isn't out there to be provocative, but reasonable.

Part of that comes with ratings. The reason why I've instituted a ratings system is my belief in the theory that too many people these days have an 0-10 scale, but don't really use it from 2-9. Everything is either the worst ever or the best ever. If it's not the best, it's overrated. What we get from this isn't anything real of substantial and I feel that a lot of discussion is lost from it. I feel that many more movies fall in the 4.0 to 8.0 range than anything else and so far, I think I'm right on that. Keep in mind, I don't get to see very many movies and I would love to see more movies just to test that theory right. It's funny, sometimes I think about seeing bad movies just to see if they really are as bad as people say they are. But then I realize that I'm not that kind of guy. I just want to see movies that I want to see and rate them accordingly. As I've said before, that makes it so that I will be writing more positive reviews than negative reviews, typically. You know what? It keeps me happy and enthused. I think if I were to go see bad movies just for the sake of seeing bad movies, it'd make me a bit more cynical than I am. There are some soul crushing bad movies out there and I don't think I'd be able to handle seeing 50+ of those per year.

On the other hand, I admit I can get pretty enthusiastic on films that I think are great. This is especially true when they are movies from directors I love. I thought that this would cause a bit of a bias for me, but there really isn't. I didn't give Black Swan a perfect score because I love Darren Aronofsky, however, I do think it's a film that perfectly realizes his vision and scope. Thus, the perfect score.

It's interesting though because while I was excited to give Black Swan my first perfect score on this site and I still would give it a 10 out of 10, it's kind of a funny thing. Black Swan, to me, is a film that gets everything right. Most importantly though, it was everything that I wanted from the film. I wanted it to challenge my expectations, I wanted it to thrill and excite me, I wanted the performances to be strong, and I wanted it to look and feel amazing and raw. I felt all of those things with the movie, but I know people who didn't feel that way with it. And then the question remains... are there any flaws with it?

And that's an interesting question, here's my take on it...

Maybe. Maybe it has flaws. And this is where things get tricky. See, I don't think flaws are necessarily something a movie lives or dies by. I think There Will Be Blood has some minor flaws in it and I'd still give it a 10/10. The reason is that I love the film in every single way, even in its flaws. I admire the scope and epic scale of the film and am willing to embrace its flaws along the way. Much like Apocalypse Now. To me, Apocalypse Now is a bit bloated and overlong, but it's such a thrilling and captivating watch and the reaction I ultimately felt from it was so strong that it's a 10 out of 10 to me. There are other films like The Godfather or 2001 or City of God or Casablanca where I feel everything about those films are pitch perfect and it elicits a strong reaction from me. Those are 10 out of 10s too. I don't think every film has to have the same type of perfection in order to get a perfect score from me, but I do think I should feel that same sort of elation that I get when I know I have seen a truly great movie. I know that feeling and therefore I feel confident in giving perfect scores and you can rest knowing that I wouldn't give a perfect score to just any movie. They are movies that mean something to me and they are scores that I'll take to the grave with me. And that is something I think about before I give out that score. "Is Inception a 10/10?" Ultimately I had to say no. I think it was pretty perfect in its execution and I think it's a great film, but it didn't elicit a truly strong reaction from me, other than thinking that it was pretty effin' awesome.

The reason why I bring this up is because of "Drive." Since I saw Drive last week, I've been thinking about it a lot. Seriously, a lot. And I plan on writing a more in-depth piece about Drive within the next few days. There's a lot to talk about with the film and I've always been meaning to go into depth with certain films, the way David Bordwell and Jim Emerson do (they are amazing film analysts, even if I don't always agree with their assessments). Thing is though, Drive is a 9 out of 10 for me. I know that in my heart. But, I also know that it got to me. It stirred something up in me and I have a feeling it's going to stay with me for quite some time. There might be a film with better execution this year and it might rate higher than Drive, ultimately. But, just know that Drive will be in my head and in my heart this year, and at the same time, it's a movie that I can't let myself fully embrace (that is, giving it a 10 as opposed to giving it a 9) and it is those things that makes me want to delve into it more. Because, you know what? I don't even know if I truly understand why I feel this way and I'm hoping that by talking it out, I will understand.

So, be on the lookout.

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