Here 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.