Monday, 17 December 2007

Movie reviews: Get it together

Film reviewers: can we please, for the love of all that is holy, agree on a single rating system? It seems every time I see a poster or other advert for a film it's plastered with star ratings. But some reviewers use a system of zero to four stars and others use zero to five stars. Can't you see that unless you standardize this, it's meaningless?! If I see a film with four stars, does this mean it's at the top of its scale and so "The best thing ever: miss this and you'll be excluded from every conversation for the rest of time and forced to fake-laugh when people quote lines of dialogue to each other whilst secretly you're dying inside!" or does this mean "Meh..."? Certainly, if I see a film with 5 stars, I can be pretty sure it's in the former category, but that's only until someone starts using a six-point scale and then the whole problem begins again.

As with so many things in life, psychology has the answer. As anybody with even a passing knowledge of the subject will know, to a first approximation our minds can only conceive of around 7 different levels of anything. That suggests that a six-star rating system would be optimal, with zero stars being one of the seven categories. You'll note that this mirrors recent developments in hotel ratings, which clearly proves I'm right.

Now at this point you might argue that because it's possible to award half-stars, we already have 9- and 11-point scales. To which I say: I'M NEVER WATCHING A FILM AGAIN BECAUSE IT'S ALL BECOME TOO STRESSFUL!

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