Stars Shmars– AATM Switches Up Its Rating System

Sad StarsHere at A(AD!)ATM, we’ve been using the universally recognized “star” system for our film reviews. It’s a system that’s been around a while, it’s well used and it works… but for all its recognition, the star system isn’t all that nuanced. How does a silly, brainless crap fun-fest like G.I. Joe nail three stars, while a well-executed and surprisingly effective film like District 9 receives the same score? They’re both entertaining in their own right, but one feels destined as a cinematic touch-point while the other is already fading into poptastic obscurity.

After some back and forth about how we rank films, we think it’s time to hook up with a better system. Here’s how we got there:

As is, we usually critique films based on this scale:

  • Four stars = “A” grade: A must see, top of its class, successful in virtually every way: Fantastic.
  • Three Stars = “B” grade: Minor flaws, but succeeds in entertaining and remains worth seeing for its merits: Great.
  • Two stars = “C” grade– Meh. More flawed than successful, but still a movie that could be enjoyed on some level: OK.
  • One Star = “D”– An embarrassment. A big, dumb waste of money: Lame.
  • Zero stars = “F”– Waste of life experience, worthless and utterly devoid of any merit. A film for idiots or the depraved: Crap.

OK, since we were already grading films then magically changing them into stars, why wouldn’t we simply use the grade-based measurement– one that allows some nuance (IE- B+, B, B-) and a little more insight via a system most everyone can relate to? Light bulb, Epiphany and… scene.

So there it is– Stars are out, Grades are in. And with Andy’s upcoming review of Whip It, we think it works in both clarifying our takes and making our critiques a little more accessible. We hope you will too.

7 comments On Stars Shmars– AATM Switches Up Its Rating System

  • I, for one, am excited about this news. Can your esteemed radio hosts posthumously grade movies after we finally get them on DVD two years later?

  • Poop yes. What you got?

  • Good deal, but yeah..about your radio show..

    Ive listend to a couple of your podcasts and i have to say i enjoy it, you guys actually talk movies and shoot the shit which imo is good radio..and without an advertisement every 2 minutes.

    Jeannie turned me onto the Doug Wright show a couple years back and besides wanting to punch Doug “the pompous air bag” in the face, i also like it but, the constant advertising and butt kissing that goes on leaves little time for Steve Salles to actually talk about and review film.

    Besides the broken links to some of your podcasts and the reviews that seems to be a week behind i dig your guys show.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Hey, thanks Danny. It’s great to hear some feedback. Keep us in line.

  • While we’re here, I try to catch the radio show whenever possible. Easy on the background music and sound bites, please. I find them both distracting and know a couple others who do as well. Other than that, bang-up job. I find Misters (Mrs.?) Vinton and Morgan to be quite knowledgeable.

  • So when is the website going to change to :)

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