Thursday, April 24, 2008

Movie Reviews

We don't do movie reviews on our blog (though perhaps we'll start now!) but all three of us are avid movie-goers, and I for one am an avid movie-review reader. I've always regarded the time I spend sitting in a theater as precious and the experience of watching a bad movie as hateful, so I read movie reviews not only to learn about various movies that I probably won't go see, but most especially to read about movies I'm thinking about seeing so I can decide if they are worth my time and money. Of course, movie reviews (like all acts of criticism) are famously subjective and I find myself reading between the lines trying to figure out if something the critic hated is something I'll like (or vice versa.) In this vein, Scott Adams (via Andrew Sullivan) proposes a new system of movie reviews that will actually tell you something concrete about the movie you're thinking of seeing and whether it's worth your time or money. Here are some of his categories:

For example, I want to know if a movie has a happy ending, even at the risk of ruining the surprise. Is the arc of happiness something that starts high, dips for dramatic impact then ends on a high note? Or does it start high and just keep dropping until the movie ends and you want to swallow a bottle of sleeping pills? So I recommend an arc description, such as this example:

Arc: High – Low – High

Next, I need to know the mumbling quotient. How many times do you have to turn to the person next to you and ask “What did he say?”

Mumbling Quotient: 7

And how long is this movie? Can my bladder make it all the way or is this a two-pisser?

I have a hard time with any movie with a plot so complicated I can’t understand it. I have a right to know ahead of time whether I will be able to decipher the story I am paying to see.

Incomprensibility: 4

Given how loud movies are these days I don't generally worrying about mumbling (even with my hearing as bad as my wife says it is) but I certainly would like to know how much of my soda it is advisable to drink before the movie even begins. Also, I would add in a category for movie adaptations of books that would tell you how much the movie deviates from the storyline of the book, but that might be a personal quirk.

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