Saturday, October 08, 2005

Snap Judgments & Other Minutae

I started "grading" films in 2002 and I've struggled with it. Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I hate it. Sometimes I'm lenient (2002). Sometimes I'm totally harsh (2003). Often I change my mind... at least when it comes to the plus or the minus. But mostly I find it interrupts the natural flow of letting a movie age for me. And I hate coming to the end of the year going. OK... well this is my top ten because the grade says it will be! I hate being pinned down. You may say: But you're the one giving the grades. But I say 'Oh, do shut up --I'm a Gemini. I'm allowed to do this.' I'm allowed to rebel against The Man (myself) when he tries to box me in. So, now whenever I have not totally decided I shall list two grades... because snap judgments are not what I'm about. I need the movies to percolate a little.

So take it for what it's worth.

In other news... please do not be shy about commenting here on the blog. I don't only write for myself... and I know you're reading. I have statistics ;) If you don't comment I may think the latest entry totally bored you. Would I be correct?


Anonymous said...

No matter what rating system I've tried (I've decided on the use of a **** scale), there are going to be "borderline" calls which make the whole thing seem frustrating.

The blog is entertaining...sometimes it's just easier to comment on some issues than others. I am I supposed to respond the (entertaining) cat story. Rarely am I "bored". :)

Glad to see you loved GNaGL! I take it David Strathairn is headed for a Film Bitch nomination (alongside Viggo and Tony Leung)?

John T said...

I always love the blogs, it's just I don't always have something to say.

However, I think, for my own personal ratings systems, the only way to go is either awards (end of the year) or written reviews recommending or not recommending-it's difficult for me to pinpoint down A, A-, C, etc., and I don't like the star method-not enough room for errors.

Anonymous said...

Just like the others guys have said, sometimes I just don't have anything even remotely interested to say. So I won't write a reply. But I always read your stuff and am never bored (how could I be?).

On grading. I use a out-of-10 scale AND a letter grade that run parallel. Like, I have a database (using excel) where I enter ever every movie, tv movie, short fil, etc that I see and give it a rating out of 10. But when I'm writing mini-reviews for my blog or whatever I give a movie a letter grade. say for instance I give a film an 8 or an 8.5, they both equal a B+. I like letters because it provides for wriggle-room. A number is just, like, I GIVE THIS MOVIE A 9. No give or take on it. I dunno... I'm not making sense.

Whatevs. I'm sick, gimme a break.


Anonymous said...

I use a 1-10 scale, but then, I've only given a 10 to about four movies in my entire life, and 9 to just about fifteen or so. Ugh, I'm such a whore.

adam k. said...

Haha. I am never shy about commenting. And I suppose, if I don't comment, it IS actually because the post bored be (or in rarer cases, that I just had nothing to say... or in even rarer cases, that I haven't been reading the blog for a day or two). But my silence on the blog is a rare occurence... I am rarely bored. Very fun blog.

I really like your grading system, Nathaniel! I've started thinking of movies that way myself. I like how the letters sort of correspond to how the movie gelled as a whole, rather than just being a linear number scale. Like, C+ for instance, usually means "mixed bag" or "generally mediocre and boring but with enough good or even great stuff to make it watchable" (I think Cold Mountain was the most spot-on C+ you ever gave). Whereas B-, I think, means more, "generally solid and involving, but with some problems"... which makes sense... it's essentially a good, or B level, movie, but more problematic or boring in some way to be a true B. Whereas B+ is also essentially B level but with enough perks to make it more special. And A- would be really an A-level, all-around excellent film... just not quite "magical"... which is of course what makes a film an A. Am I reading the system correctly?
I especially love your C grade (i.e. "shrug")... meaning, I assume, not a bald film per se... but not at all good either. Solidly mediocre.
Speaking of C movies, you gave Prizewinner a C, but it is not there on your grade page. Is part of you still in denial? Yeah, me too.

Anonymous said...

Javi, you're one of THOSE graders are you? The really stingent ones! No offence meant when I say that though. It's just with me that if I see a movie and think that the movie itself did what it was trying to do and did it well and I had a great time watching it why not give it a high score?

A+s are much rarer than 10/10s though because A+ equates to the ones that just grab me and never let go, not during the movie, not after the movie and hopefully not 10 years later.

I remember Roger Ebert's response to a Steven King article saying that he was too leniant and gave out 4/4 reviews willy-nilly (1. he sorta does tho, and 2. what the hell is 4. I've never understood that system) and that 4/4 should be reserved for the Unforgivens or the Schindler's Lists. Ebert's responce was something along the lines that if he reserved 4/4 for movies of that calibre then they'd be able as common as Unforgiven and Schindler's List. Why not celebrate if a film is great, because a movie like Mulholland Drive or whatever was never trying to be a Schindler's List, instead it did what it did and it did it fantastically., that was longwinded (again)


Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, I never believe your blog is boring! Usually, I don't have enough time to comment or I just don't have anything of note to say. I guess I will start to comment more often. Your blog rocks my socks, though. Don't think it doesn't.

~Alex H.

Anonymous said...

Glenn, lol - Yes I love to be a bitch with the ratings, but the true reason is to underline just how much I love and adore the "9" and "10" films.

Funny you bring up "Mulholland Drive" - THAT's one of the lucky bastards to have gotten a 10 from me. (And it's twenty times better than "Schindler's List".... lol I got carried away).

Anyway, I always thought "10" was the same as "A+" Am I wrong? What was the last film you gave an A+ to?

(Sorry for my English....)

Anonymous said...

Okay, 10 and A+ do correlate occasionally but I save A+ for the truly special movies that, if I could got to 11 I would. The last A+ from me was Dogville.


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