Friday, June 04, 2004

Sort-of-shameless self-promotion and explanation of the scale

The little "HBS Now!" button off to the right is for eFilmCritic/Hollywood Bitch-slap, a movie review site that has recently made the alarming decision to add me to the roster. What's going up over there is a somewhat modified version of what I'm doing here, although a lot will be exclusive to this site until I am cleared to add movies to their DB (shockingly, a lot of the Hong Kong stuff isn't in it).

It is a new experience trying to work with their irksome requirement to boil your review down to one sentence or so. I've been just ignoring that and using that space to try and interest people in reading the review, where I can expand and equivocate to my heart's content.

Somewhat amusing, though, is finding their five-star rating system more restrictive than the four-star one I use. Part of that is that I use quarter-star granularity, while that system requires me to enter only whole ratings. The definitions of what the star ratings mean is problemating, too:

***** - Awesome
**** - Worth A Look
*** - Average
** - Pretty Crappy
* - Sucks

Now, I consider "Worth A Look" and "Average" to be more or less the same thing, so there seems to be a large unfilled space between "Worth A Look" and "Awesome" for above-average but not extraordinary films. Jumping straight from "Average" to "Pretty Crappy" seems to leave out a place for underwhelming but not really dismal films. In contrast, here's what my ratings mean:

**** - Superlative
***½ - Outstanding
*** - Rather Good
**½ - Decent/Average
** - Below Average
*½ - Not Good
* - Repugnant
½ - Disastrous
0 - Actively harmful

... with quarter-star granularity. As a practical matter, few films will ever merit a 0, and self-selection keeps me from giving below *½ very much. I also feel like I give three-star ratings out like candy, but I gather that's the natural way of things for someone who basically sees the movie he wants to see, rather than what an editor assigns.

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