Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How To Rate A Movie

I opened a Netflix account a few months ago, and have been enjoying the movie-watching opportunities it's offered. I generally don't see many movies, so this has been my opportunity to catch up on all those "have to see" films.

Facebook offers a feature whereby your Netflix ratings (which Netflix uses to determine what kind of movies you might like and suggests them) are posted on Facebook for all to see. So when I gave the second Fantastic Four movie two stars, my friends saw that I didn't think much of the movie. Likewise, when I ranked High Fidelity as a five-star movie, Facebook automatically relayed that information.

As my ratings have become public, I've started to give them a little more thought, and the most recent movie I've watched has given me some trouble: Taken. It's by no means an intellectual movie, and it doesn't have that big twist that's been seemingly mandatory ever since The Usual Suspects came out. But I found it very entertaining, and also thought it had a satisfying ending.

So the dilemma is this: Do I rate the movie with regards to how impressive it is, how thoughtful the script is, and how powerful it is? Or do I rate it simply with how happy I was to have watched it afterward?

I choose the latter. For me, the ultimate test of a work is not (and never has been) whether the piece showed expertise or inspiration, but whether or not I enjoyed it. I gave The Rock five stars a couple months ago, and unknowingly used this exact logic.

I've spent most my life enjoying "lame" music, watching "nerdy" movies, and just generally being a "geek" or "dork." I like what I like, and after 29 years of life, maybe it's time to fully embrace that. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to listen to some Michael McDonald, watch a couple Harry Potter movies, and see if that Magic: The Gathering game has come out for the Xbox Live Arcade yet (it apparently has).

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