There is no concrete, definitive way to review movies. All art, including film, is subjective, and I am a very firm believer in that. All we have are our own thoughts and opinions on a subject. That’s why I get confused by people that call themselves professional critics. Sure there are people who have a deeper knowledge of the aspects of good filmmaking and film history, but they are no different from you or me. In the end they are just sharing their thoughts and opinions as well.
I have no troubles with sharing my opinions on movies, but I can struggle with giving it a “rating”. That’s why I developed a system to use that helps me share both my thoughts as well as calculate a score that accurately represents them. It’s a little something I named after my favorite Western movie of all time. I call it The Good, the Bad, and the Tally.
So How Does it Work?
There are three parts to my reviews. Two of them cover how I feel about a film and the third covers the different aspects of what I think makes it good. Let’s start with the first two parts, or opinion sections.
The Good and the Bad
These may seem a little self-explanatory, but they’re still worth talking about. The Good is everything that works for a film, anything that stands out in a positive way, and all the aspects I enjoyed. On the flip side, The Bad is everything that doesn’t work for a film, anything that stands out in a negative way, and all the aspects that I didn’t particularly enjoy about a film. It’s just an initial opinion described in a more detailed manner.
Here is where things get even more detailed. This is where I attempt to conjure up a score from 1 to 10, and consists of all the elements that I think make up a great film. Let’s break down each element!
Performance: Performances are a huge part of cinema and can truly make or break a film. A standout performance can even make an ok film into a great one.
Direction: A director is the leader of the entire film. They’re responsible for getting the best performances out of their actors, how to accurately put a story on screen, and they have the final say on how the film looks in the end (if a studio doesn’t step in that is). Clearly, this is an important role, and it can be obvious when it is done poorly.
Production: This category has a lot rolled into it. It can be anything from cinematography, to sound mixing, set design, or visual effects. Anything that helps make what we see on screen look its best in conjunction with its themes, tones, and story.
Writing: A movie simply isn’t a movie without a story. The difference between good writing and bad is the difference between a well thought out, interesting, rich story and a clunky, disjointed, shallow one.
Score: A good score can help a movie tenfold. It elevates the emotions, situations, pacing, and pulls you into the world it is helping to create. A great score is not only memorable on its own, but also connects us to the film in meaningful way.
Entertainment: This last element is another matter of opinion. Entertainment is how well a film holds our attention, but entertainment can mean different things outside of just having fun in the theater. If a film succeeds in what it sets out to do, such as a drama wanting us to feel for its characters and story, or a comedy wanting to make us laugh, then that definitely adds to this element.
Each of these categories are scored 1 to 5 using the scale below.
1 – Awful 2 – Bad 3 – Good 4 – Very Good 5 – Amazing
Once these are tallied up it gives us a total score from 6-30. I then take that number and divide it by 30 to give us our final score! It’s just that easy!
Again, this is all my own personal opinion, so if you don’t agree with it that’s totally fine! I enjoy hearing different thoughts on films and would love to discuss them, so be sure to tell me what you think in the comment section!