Movie Review Ratings - Giving Out a Perfect Score - Your Thoughts

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lou Sytsma, Jul 15, 2002.

  1. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Quite often members throw out a perfect score for a movie.

    Fan boy reviews aside - does anyone believe there is such a movie? A perfect movie?

    To me a perfect score is unattainable.

    Within a genre one could make an argument for giving a high score.

    A perfect score, would be a movie that cuts across the lines of taste and is universally respected.

    To give a popcorn movie a higher rating than a well made piece of film does not make any sense.

    A well made genre movie would not only have to suceed at being compared to similar movies but also with films outside of it's genre.

    A difficult task to be sure - much like comparing apples to oranges.

    What one would say to having a perfect movie being released in a new version such as an extended cut or director's cut.

    If it was perfect in the first place then a new version would be unnecessary.

    Interested in reading other member's thoughts.
     
  2. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Yes there are perfect movies. Its a matter of taste, but there are really too many to name:

    2001 A Space Odyssey
    The Godfather & Part 2
    The Seven Samurai
    Citizen Kane
    A Clockwork Orange
    Jaws
    Schindlers List
    One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest
    Apocalypse Now
    Amadeus
    Goodfellas
    Raging Bull
    The Wild Bunch
    Dead Man Walking
    The Empire Strikes Back
    Blade Runner
    Superman The Movie
    The Good The Bad And The Ugly

    Etc etc etc
     
  3. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Lou,
    As my ratings are specific to me, there are various "perfect" movies I have seen. But they are only perfect to me. No film will ever cross EVERY divide, and have EVERYONE love it. People are too different. I don't think any film will ever be flawless either. But a perfect score, in my oh-so-scientific system ( [​IMG] ), merely indicates that the film was as good as it could be in my flawed eyes.
    My last perfect film: Black Hawk Down
    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  4. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    I never associate a full four star film to being a "perfect film". To me, it just means that it is an excellent film.
    I agree. Why anyone would give AOTC the full four star rating is beyond me. [​IMG]
    ~Edwin
     
  5. Brian Kaz

    Brian Kaz Second Unit

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  6. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  7. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    And I laughed!
     
  9. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    So did I!:b

    Interestingly enough - even using the - yes it was perfect to me! line of thinking - I would still be hardpressed to give out a perfect score.

    Case in point - is Chuck's mention of Blackhawk Down. While this was a well done technical movie - to me it suffered because I never got to know the men as real human beings. The actors were all pretty interchangeable. Therefore the impact of that movie was diminished to me because I had no connection with the characters.

    That does not make it a perfect movie to me.
     
  10. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    And to me, BHD was perfect, because characterization was not at all necessary to get the point of the film. I usually get upset when I hear about public servants (of all types) getting hurt or killed - not because I knew them intimately, but because I knew them by proxy - they served. What else matters in this situation?

    By not going "Hollywood" with the characters, they remained real (not actors) and supported the point of the film. They reminded me very much of people I know who have served (in different roles, but the type is eerily similar). I knew them as well as I needed to - any more would have been unnecessary and distracting. BHD is not a narrative film, or a character study. It is experience-based, and succeeds very well on that.

    So my point remains...no film will ever be perfect to everyone. But films will be "perfect," and get appropriate scores, to individuals.

    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  12. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    At the nasty risk of fooling about with the point of this thread, more on BHD, as a rejoinder.
    Individualizing the members of the team (which the book very admirably does - it has the room to breathe, and a different focus than the film) would be counter-productive to the crux of the film. "LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND."
    The critical elements fundamental to these men's character as it relates to the story/event are amply displayed in the film. While the viewer may not know each man as a person, he knows the commonality they all share - they serve abroad in the US Army. Ridley did not go the usual route and show each soldier's foibles and beliefs to give the viewer a handle on the film. It was not necessary (for me, admittedly, YMMV). They shared a bond, which was established early, and they believed in each other.
    Everything extraneous was removed. We knew those soldiers as most of them knew each other. Surface stuff, names, faces...and that's about it. Some were tight, and some were not. In the field, it did not really matter. In doing this, the soldiers who fought in Mog could be any soldier serving then or now. They were soldiers...not Corporal Smith or Specialist Black, as played by actor xxx. It was a very focused film, tight and uncompromising. It's very lack of development made the story bigger in my eyes.
    Rich,
    I'd love to see that documentary. I read the book for a more accurate picture myself.
    Lou, sorry about running away from the point. Every film has room to be better, but as works of art, films are intimate with the audience, and defy our ratings anyway. We give high marks to the ones that touch us. We give high marks to the most creative and sound. Sometimes, we just give high marks because of gore and zombies and chainsaws.
    After all, isn't Blue Crush technically the perfect concept. Good looking surfing hotties - that's true high concept. Speaking of which, where is North Shore on DVD??
    Going from BHD to Blue Crush in one paragraph,
    Chuck
     
  13. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    No problem Chuck. Rich had an interesting point. I saw the documentary as well and found it to be a more personal view of the encounter.

    It would seem to be safe to say that for an individual a perfect movie is possible. For the masses such a goal - whether it be music, movies, other forms of art - is unattainable.
     
  14. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Perfect films?
    I wish that reviewers had a rarely-used 5-star rating to say that not only is a film excellent but that because of its outstanding merits it's one of the best films ever made. I don't know of any reviewer that would go out on a limb enough to do that though Ebert does have his "Great Movies" column which sort of does though he wisely doesn't claim them to be perfect.
    Do I think there are perfect movies? Maybe. I have a very hard time finding fault with:
    Goodfellas
    The Seventh Seal
    All About Eve
    The Bicycle Thief
    Gone With the Wind
    Casablanca (though the flashback is somewhat weak)
    The Passion of Joan of Arc
    and...
    Rear Window
    If any of these had to be rated perfect I would say The Seventh Seal and All About Eve. By perfect I mean flawless performances, multi-layered and intertwining plots, an economy of superfluous dialog and/or scenes, outstanding cinematography befitting the film, and all of it considered and deliberately fitted together with the whole equaling more than the sum of its parts to say something outstanding and revealing to the human condition; something that makes the film able to stand the test of time.
     
  15. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    As others have said, if by perfect you mean universally loved, no there's no such thing.

    The following are as near perfect as it's possible to be in my opinion:

    The Apartment
    Rear Window
    Casablanca
    Citizen Kane
    Dr. Strangelove
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    2001
    The Gold Rush
    Toy Story
    Young Frankenstein
    Back to the Future
    Adam's Rib
    Double Indemnity
    A Hard Day's Night
    The Maltese Falcon
    Groundhog Day
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
    Sullivan's Travels

    off the top of my head
     
  16. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Obviously ratings are personal; they're how that viewer judged the movie, and how it affected them. There are very few objective criteria (I dunno, giant stupid plot holes, visible boom mikes, anything starring Adam Sandler) so you're left with subjective stuff like acting (bad/great), pacing (slow/fast), cinematography (ugly/pretty), etc.

    Also, many people are not particularly nuanced in their opinions; things "suck" or make "Citizen Kane look like Batman and Robin". Even on a 1-to-10 scale, you get more 11 and -5 than 3 or 7.

    I don't believe in giving scores within genres per se, but on the flip side, you can't take points off because a genre doesn't work for you, for whatever reason. For ex, Hard Boiled is close to perfect for me. But some might complain that there are "too many bullets" and the gunplay is "silly". To me, these are not valid complaints -- they're part of the foundation of the genre, like the couple getting together at the end of a romantic comedy. While it's legitimate and valuable for some reviewer to say, "I'm put off by this genre, and if you're like me, you won't like it either," unfortunately that often boils down to a simple numeric rating that distorts the average. Perhaps in those cases, the reviewer should recuse themself from giving the rating.

    The "turn your brain off" "popcorn" summer category is definitely not legit. If it's action/superhero/video game or whatever, they can be judged on those merits, but a stupid bad movie is stupid and bad, no matter what the time of year is.

    The highest score does not mean perfection, because there is no such thing. It can mean no appreciable flaws, and some elements of greatness. The problem with occasionally using five stars is that you'll be tempted to give 4-1/2 stars, which is kinda odd (excellent, but not quite great?). What Ebert does with his Great Movies makes more sense.

    //Ken
     
  17. Iain Jackson

    Iain Jackson Second Unit

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    Well, when I score films I've seen (on a scale of 1-10), I'm not necessarily scoring them on their technical or artistic merits, but on their ENTERTAINMENT VALUE. Sure, it's always a bonus when a film is both entertaining and artistically excellent, but at the end of the day, films (in my personal opinion) are there to entertain and if they fail to do that for me, then I will not give them a good score. As a result, a 'popcorn' film can still score highly - a good example is The Mummy (1999 version). Sure, it's fairly stupid and the acting isn't fantastic, but it's still good fun and highly entertaining, so I would give it a fairly high score.
    Back to the main subject of the thread - Because I'm generally not scoring a film on it's artistic or technical merits, this means that whenever I give a film a score of 10 out of 10, it doesn't mean that the film is perfect in any way, just that it is top-quality entertainment. That said, I still only give films a score of ten very rarely (and generally they aren't just popcorn films).
    Of course, this is only my system, and I'm sure that a lot of you would disagree with it, but it works for me and I'm happy. [​IMG]
     
  18. Eric Thrall

    Eric Thrall Stunt Coordinator

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    Keep in mind that if someone gives a movie 4 stars, or 10/10 on a ratings scale, he/she isn't necessarily saying that the movie is perfect. If you decide you will never give out a ten, then you've taken a limited rating system (only 11 possible ratings, 0-10) and limited it even more. If I rate a movie a 10, that doesn't mean it's perfect. If the scale was 0-100, maybe it would be a 96. No perfect movie has ever been made - every movie has flaws in it, even the best of them!
     

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