Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Movie Rating System

Sorry, the Motion Picture Associate of America (MPAA) is sticking with its flawed movie classifications. The rating system I refer to is an updated formula I will use on the rare occasion that I write a movie review. (One such occasion is coming soon!)

I used to rate a film based on two criteria: its artistic merit and my own personal preferences—i.e., how much I enjoyed it. My desire was to provide a clear distinction between the objective and the subjective. A poorly made film might entertain me, whereas a high caliber film might leave me cold and unemotional. I wanted to separate what I liked from what I thought was good.

This is still my desire, but I want to be a little more specific, and hopefully a little more helpful. So, I have revamped my old system and come up with a three-tiered approach when reviewing a movie. Below I will give a brief description of each level of evaluation.

CONTENT (C)
This section will deal with the thematic and moral elements in the film—those areas that could be considered objectionable or problematic for a viewing audience. The goal will be to observe the content through the lens of Scripture. Sexual and violent content, for example, will be evaluated not only on their presence (or lack thereof), but on the nature in which they are handled. Both are acceptable plot elements when handled with discretion, and certainly inappropriate when handled obscenely or pornographically. Even a genuinely good message can be soured with faulty or immoral methods.

ARTISTRY (A)
Here, I will focus on the screenplay, cinematography, acting, directing, editing, musical score, and/or whatever artistic elements catch my attention. These can, to a certain degree, be dealt with in a more objective way than the other two sections. A bundle of clichéd sayings equals bad writing. A microphone in the shot equals bad cinematography. A jump cut equals bad editing. And so on.

PREFERENCE (P)
This is where I will share my personal reaction to the movie: did I find it enjoyable, engaging, boring, infuriating, or a combination of the above? Did I like the film? Did I personally consider it worthwhile?

And there you have it: a movie review formula divided into three parts. I will give a numeric rating of 0-10 for each section (0 being horrible and 10 being amazing). I will then combine those numbers to come up with a total “CAP score”—an overall percentage that reflects my recommendation (or lack thereof).

Depending on the movie, I may divide my review completely into these three sections, or I may have several general things to say beforehand. Whatever the case, this is the new model I will be working with. I’m excited about it, and I hope you are too.

Stay tuned for a review of a soon-to-be-released movie coming to four theaters near you (if you live in the Knoxville area).

1 comment:

ameyer13 said...

Having the ability to choose what films we watch is what freedom of choice is all about, and the rating system has been getting much stricter in how they rate. I have been a film lover since childhood and grew up in a very conventional family with a high level of control placed upon me which included film as with everything else. I do believe looking back that there is a point where too much sheltering is unrealistic and produces a naïve young adult who gets thrown into a world they are not prepared for. Yet, I also feel there are precautions parents can take very easily and there are so many parental controls available and good entertainment especially depending on the provider being used as the source of the entertainment. We don’t have to go out to the movies anymore if we don’t want to; we can stay home and have an abundance of options including rentals online. My blog for which I moderate is based on film but one of the topics that was brought up is what’s best for our children and what too much control over their worldly preparation is. Because I love to write and I require a resources that allows me the movies and TV options necessary to give me an array of choices. It was a bit shocking that Comcast wasn’t making 100% digital programming available plus had such limitations in their programming and initial free equipment. International channels were quite limited which means my writing would suffer on that level and they were not offering HD free for life. This certainly would not work due to the type of writing I do which is all based off movies and the actors surrounding them. Now I did find that with Dish Network I can get more programming and movie channels for far less money plus a free Sling Adapter which fits me as I travel a lot and need to bring my services with me. I ended up changing jobs and started working for Dish Network, still traveling a lot but understanding better how all this is possible. Now I am clear that whatever makes it easiest to work and enjoy my own hobby is what is necessary which brings happiness to me and my internet family.