Two Cents Worth: What’s Your Rating System and Why?

imagesIt’s time once again for you to give me your Two Cents Worth!

This week, I’m curious to hear from all of my fellow bloggers what sort of rating system they use and why.  Additionally, if you don’t use a rating system, why is that?

I’ve seen bloggers use letter grades, scores out of 10,5, 4 and even 3, pithy recommendations like “See It”, “Skip it” and “Buy It”, or no rating aside from a final summarizing sentence.  I personally opt for a combination of methods, applying a score out of ten followed by a short categorization based on that score (9 being “Incredible” and 1 being “Participation Point”.

Finally, do you consider yourself a generous scorer or a harsh scorer?  I consider myself as leaning towards the side of generosity with most of my scores falling between 6.5 and 8.5, since I usually do try to stay optimistic when reviewing films so as to enjoy them as much as possible.  On  the flip side, I have never and will never rank a film as a 10/10.  My favorite movies of the year are all 9/10 level, but even my favorite movies of all time would wind up at about a 9.5.  This is because I do not believe there is any such thing as perfection in film;  I have never seen a movie in which not a single scene, character or line feels like it could have been done better.


About r361n4

I'm a student at the University of Washington Majoring Business. I've always loved movies and my goal is to work on the financial side of the film industry. Until then though, I figure I'll spare my friends from my opinions and shout them from a digital mountaintop for anyone who's interested. After all, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody blogs about it, does it really happen?
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50 Responses to Two Cents Worth: What’s Your Rating System and Why?

  1. Nick Powell says:

    My rating system is me listing The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for a film. Sometimes Good, Better, Best or Bad, Worse, and Worst. Then give a score out of 10. This year, I have reviewed 364 movies and have given a 10 twice. The Princess Bride and Catch Me If You Can.

  2. Jane says:

    I don’t use a rating system … I just say whether I like a film or not. This year I only reviewed films I saw in the theater. Next year, I may adopt a rating system and widen the variety. We’ll see …

  3. I started out of 10, but have since switched to five. I’ve thought about changing it again, but I think I’ll keep it for now. I’m pretty generous when it comes to score, I’ve only given a few ones and quite a bit of 5’s, but I mostly give out 4’s.

  4. drzeek says:

    Honestly, my ratings are arbitrary. I use the 5 star scale, but it’s the words that matter to me. I guess I just like to provide some sort of gauge for people, but in a world where something like Ghost Rider 2 exists, which is terrible, but also a movie I was entertained by, for example, stars just don’t do justice.

    • r361n4 says:

      I hear that, I try to mix entertainment value and quality in my scores but it doesn’t always work. For example, from a filming point, Ted wasn’t better than say, Silver Linings Playbook, but I’d watch Ted any day over the latter simply because I enjoy comedy so much when it’s done well

  5. Shrey Khetarpal says:

    I used to rate films on a 5 star scale with 5 being the highest. Then I got a little irritated with people questioning the rating and comparing two films I rated (especially fanboys). I also found that people took those stars too seriously so I dropped that. Now I only write about the film and how it made me feel… People actually don’t miss the rating scale and I find it liberating too as at the end of the review I don’t have to put a number…

    • r361n4 says:

      that’s an interesting point, I haven’t gotten too many people complaining about my ratings compared to other movies yet but I’m sure it’s bound to happen sooner or later. It’s amazing how some people can just go into defensive mode when they see a score they don’t approve of and shut themselves out to all other possible opinions

  6. Shrey Khetarpal says:

    And I think I am usually generous but some films bring out the worst in me 😉

  7. Lindsey says:

    I score out of 5. 1 = bad, 2 = pretty bad, 3 = decent, 4 = good, 5 = very good (and a 5/5! or “super five” is the highest rating you can get on my blog). I thought about going with 10 but 5 just seemed more simple, and it works well so I’ve stuck to it. My favorite scoring systems are the word-based ones, with the high scorers getting a “Wowee!” and such, but I wasn’t clever enough to come up with five categorizations that way, haha. I consider myself a pretty generous scorer because I can find at least some sort of value in just about any film, but looking over my ratings throughout the past year I’ve realized I give fewer 5s and super fives than I thought!

  8. I usually just give a bottom line summary sentence. I think that I am a pretty harsh critic and I tend to be most critical of the story, because if the story is bad, nothing else really matters.

    • r361n4 says:

      Interesting, it must be frustrating to you from that angle with how much hollywood tends to recycle storylines. For me, the more movies I watch the more the plots seem to mash together so I tend to focus more on things that set stereotypically plotted movies aside like writing. Weirdly enough I do a summary sentance too but I do mine at the top of the first paragraph, so I’m not even sure anyone notices, lol

  9. Tyson Carter says:

    Out of 10 for me. I will give out a ten for certain films. Goodfellas is a 10. All day, every day! It is PERFECT 🙂

  10. johnlink00 says:

    So, I had to go and make it more complex for myself. I give scores on a scale from 1-10 in the categories of FILM (the filmmaking and thematic elements), MOVIE (strictly how entertaining it is), ACTING (in an animated film this considers voice work and character animation. In a documentary this is switched to EFFECT to describe how effective it is in getting its point across, and WRITING (self explanatory, but I put parenthesis behind everything else, so… yeah).
    If something strikes my fancy which I think is worth a bonus point, then I’ll give it one. Usually this is for something like music, or fight choreography, or casting, or spectacular cinematography.
    Then I add up all these numbers and divide it by 4. I recently did Reservoir Dogs, and it looked like this:
    FILM: 7; MOVIE: 10; ACTING: 8; WRITING: 9; BONUS: 1 (for music)
    FINAL SCORE: 8.75
    I tend to be generous more than not. But I’m not afraid to rip something. Really, I love movies, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this. I don’t consider myself a cynical moviegoer.

    Oh, and despite the complexity of my scoring system, I really try to make the article the feature. The ranking is a way of looking back at things and giving myself a clear indicator of how I felt about something. But I don’t even consider the scores until I’m done with the article, since getting my thoughts down usually effects how I perceive a movie (another reason I started writing about every movie I watch).

    • johnlink00 says:

      And a quick post note, since my comment was clearly not long enough… I’ve ranked 494 movies as of today, and nothing has ever gotten the perfect 10 at the end. Tied at 9.75 are Shawshank, Casablanca, The Insider, and Usual Suspects.

      • r361n4 says:

        Glad to have another person who doesn’t give out perfect scores 🙂 494 movies is damn impressive, only 6 away from the big 500!

    • r361n4 says:

      Damn, that’s a great system. If I were to change anything about my rating system it’d be to have different categories of score to give a more comprehensive view of the movie. Closest I do right now is have separate paragraphs in the review for similar categories.

      I feel like it’s hard to both love movies and be a cynical reviewer, since most of us enjoy watching movies and try to look on each film we watch with a positive attitude. Of course a lot of that depends on the movie, but my view on optimistic moviegoers is that it makes it that much more fun and interesting when you finally tear into something

  11. pgcooper1939 says:

    I used scores out of ten for a while, but eventually switched to a letter grade system. I’m not entirely sure why I switched things up, but I’m glad I did.

    I feel I’m a very generous scorer. If I think I film deseres an A+ I don’t deny it out of not wanting to give it too many A+s.

    • r361n4 says:

      Lol, interesting to see that The Hobbit did not receive your generosity in your latest review. What would a D+ translate to out of 10 out of curiosity?

      • pgcooper1939 says:

        Either be a 5.5 or a 6, depending.

        And lol, way for me to claim generosity the same day I publish that review. I suppose that review isn’t the best example of my kindness.

  12. “On the flip side, I have never and will never rank a film as a 10/10.”

    Then…. by definition, your rating scale really goes to 9.5. Thats an odd ending point….


    I use Scholastic grades, because I’m more comfortable with the feel of what they mean. I set the balancing point betweeen good and bad at B-/C+ with B- being my lowest “Good” grade and C_ my highest “Bad” grade. Mainly because when you ask a person what they thought of an average movie, they wont answer C, they’ll answer B. This is why Cinemascores trend high.

    It makes me a high grader, but… seems to be workin for me.

    • r361n4 says:

      Definitely makes sense, the Cinemascores reference especially. I think if I did Letter Grades a B- would be my lowest recommendation as well, but as I do it right now my lowest “fresh” rating (if this were rotten tomatoes) would be a 6.5/10.

      As for the 9.5, I suppose that would be true that a 9.5 is a 10, but I think it’s just one of my personal semantics issues that a 10/10 suggests perfection, and I don’t think I’d be comfortable labeling any movie as perfect

  13. sati says:

    I have 0-100 points system. I find scores like 1-10 even with possible halves thrown in there not accurate enough for me. There is a big difference between 86/100 and 95/100 both being 9/10 really, but still it’s almost a whole grade apart. I only gave 100/100 once, to Black Swan.

    In addition I have images showing the grade between 1-10 in the end of the review, featuring my favorite comic book character – Harley Quinn – along with a funny comment 😛

    • r361n4 says:

      Love your scoring format, it’s a shame Quinn never made it into a Nolan Batman movie. I agree with scores out of 5 or so being tough to make things specific, I do out of 10 with increments of .5 but with the sheer amount of movies I’ve seen this year I almost wish I’d gone down to the first decimal place entirely

  14. I don’t have a rating system as I think it can encourage people to not actually read the review and just check the score out. However, I do get that it can help give a visual summary of how much you enjoyed a film. I was toying with doing some kind of rating at some point or maybe a quick summary paragraph for those who don’t want to or don’t have time to read the whole post.

    Also, I do agree with you that no film is perfect but I still think a 10/10 is a possible score, maybe for a film you consider exceptional and an absolute must-see.

    • r361n4 says:

      I think for me a 9.5 is essentially a 10/10, but I can definitely see how 10/10 would at least be symbolic of a strong recommendation. I think for something to be 10/10 for me I’d have to not be able to think of any possible way of arguing against it, which hasn’t happened yet

  15. Ryan McNeely says:

    I don’t do ratings. It’s such an arbitrary system; your feelings on a movie can change from day to day, plus there are so many different aspects to consider. I just explain what I liked and what I didn’t like about the flicks I review. What I feel works or doesn’t work.

    • r361n4 says:

      I completely understand that, I definitely feel my opinions for a lot of movies changing over time and it is true that a lot of people just skip to the score when they’re reading a review. I think my reasons for having a score is to give some sense of comparison to my viewers, as well as something to go off of when I’m looking back at how I felt about this year’s movies

  16. I use stars, from 0 to 5. I have given 5-star ratings but they’ve been few and far between. Still, I consider myself a generous scorer.

  17. Niejan says:

    I use the letter grade system (A++/*, A+, A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D, D-, F), because it really fits the type of movie reviews I write: simple and to the point. Using the 1-10 grading scale would have surely given me more possibilities, but comparing movies would have been easier. Not necessarily a bad thing. However it may cause confusion if people try to find some kind of logic in the system while there is none to be found. The A-F scale seems, on the other hand, pretty vague and can be interpreted flexibly.
    I am very generous in handing out A-plusses or A-stars – I have recently given Skyfall an A+ though it doesn’t mean it’s a perfect movie. Also, I don’t use B- or C- because I always want to look on the bright side, giving every movie a chance to shine.

    • r361n4 says:

      Interesting, that makes sense though. Glad you scored Skyfall so Highly, it’s one of the four movies this year I’ve given a 9 to as well which is more or less my version of an A+

  18. I honestly have no Idea why my score is in percentages but it is and i am not going to change it haha. Recently I have been doing more detail into the categories that make up my score. I wouldn’t say I was harsh but i can be if i really didn’t like something 😀

  19. I don’t really use a rating system because there are so many ways to judge a movie. I write based on my own personal enjoyment of a movie, but there are lots of movies that I recognize as well made movies that just don’t like. And some movies that are good the first time, but you never want to see again. How do you score movies like that?

    When I’m recommending movies to others I’ll usually do it based on how much you should spend on it: is it worth full price, matinee, redbox, netflix, or when there’s nothing else on TV. I really like the letter grading system too.

    • r361n4 says:

      I completely get what you’re saying about movies that are good the first time but you wouldn’t want to see again, Killing Them Softly and Les Miserables were like that for me this year, whereas I scored Ted the same level as both and enjoyed it much, much more. I try to group entertainment value into my scores pretty heavily, which is why I gave The Dark Knight Rises a 9 and a lot of other “better” movies lower scores

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