Not Exactly the MPAA

I’ve been told that my movie rating system needs an explanation. So, here it is…

My number rating system is pretty straightforward. A rating of 1 (or sometimes 0) means “horrible” and 10 means “a masterpiece.” What’s not as clear is that there are usually two areas in which I give a number rating. First is the Artistic Merit rating. This number represents a consideration of the film as a work of art. It reflects the cumulative effect of all aspects of a film: scriptwriting, acting, production design, cinematography, musical score, and so on. If I believe it is a well made film, it will receive a high Artistic Merit rating.

The second rating is the Personal Marks score. (Yes, my two ratings are initialed AM and PM. Ain’t I clever?) This represents how much I liked the film, regardless of its artistic merit. Sometimes I may enjoy a movie that isn’t the greatest piece of filmmaking (or vice versa) and I like to make a distinction between the two. “Fun to watch” doesn’t always equal “good art.” Kung Pow: Enter the Fist is one example. It’s hilarious and a blast to watch, but as a piece of art it stinks worse than Sean Penn’s humor.

On occasion, I might evaluate a third category: Theological Soundness. Thr3e, reviewed earlier today, actually got two such ratings: a +10 and a –10. The +10 represents the film as portraying life from a Christian worldview without a hidden agenda (i.e., using the medium of film as nothing more than a lame excuse for a sloppy “proselytizing message movie” that the masses can’t enjoy). It also gets a –10 rating because the underlying theological belief on which the story is based is nothing short of gross doctrinal error.

So that’s how I rate the movies I review. I hope that clears things up.