Grading the Movies

Before I started reviewing films professionally, I used a letter grading system, like the one used by Entertainment Weekly critics (which I eagerly devoured from cover to cover each week as a teenager), to rate films.

I've since graduated to a star-rating system employed by most print critics, but I find that since there are less ratings to choose from, my opinion isn't always as readily known, especially when you start comparing films that I gave the same star rating to.

I'm not planning on changing my system, but I thought I would take a look at some films currently playing in theaters and assign them a letter grade just to give you a better feel of my feelings on each movie.

88 Minutes: D+
Alexandra: A-
Baby Mama: B-
The Band's Visit: A+
Battle for Haditha: A-
Beaufort: A
The Children of Huang Shi: D
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: C
The Counterfeiters: B+
The Edge of Heaven: B+
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: B+
Iron Man: B+
Kung Fu Panda: A-
Mongol: B+
My Blueberry Nights: B-
OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies: B+
Priceless: A-
Prom Night: F
Reprise: A
Savage Grace: D
Sex and the City: B+
Son of Rambow: B+
Speed Racer: B-
Then She Found Me: A-
The Tracey Fragments: B
Tuya's Marriage: A-
The Unknown Woman: C+
Up the Yangtze: A-
The Visitor: A-
Water Lilies: A-
When Did You Last See Your Father?: A-
The Year My Parents Went on Vacation: A
Young @ Heart: A-


Daniel said…
There's no perfect formula, is there, Matthew?

I think I interpret your star ratings correctly for the most part, but the grades obviously speak my language as well.

I think you have a good balance here. Clear the straight "A's" are must-sees, and anything lower than a B- is a should-avoid.

I'm pretty amazed with the number of limited releases you get your hands on. Keep up the good work.
Anonymous said…
Call me crazy, but I am almost ready to abandon ratings all together, my writing should speak for itself, people are so lazy they'll just take one look at the rating and not read the rest of your review.

While it is not true for everyone, it is for the majority of people out there.
Mattie Lucas said…
Thanks Daniel. I try to stay as up to date as possible. It's not always easy though.

Nick, I've thought about that, but I can't do it. I'm too anal about categorizing the films I see. I even arrange them on my shelf by how much I like them and what grade I've given them. I keep a constant running list every year of each film I see in order from best to worst. I like being able to put a symbol on my review that sums it all up. Call me old fashioned, but I doubt I'll ever break away from that.
Anonymous said…
It is most definitely easier said than done, I am anal too - check out my Film Reviews page as proof. I even change ratings all the time, which may annoy people, but that is me; utterly unconventional.

I doubt I will ever not use ratings, but I do think about it.

And what did thought do? Exactly.

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