The Guide to Review Grades


As I sit here listening to this disgusting documentary on Jeffrey Dahmer, I can’t help but think of all the people I know that hate the grades I give movies. Whoever you are…I’m thinking of you. Mm.

“You said B?! For THAT? What’s wrong with you?” Fill in the blank with whether the movie should have been graded higher or lower.

Well, la-dee-da! I have a system and not all movies are created equal.

Here’s something that I don’t think is generally thought of when it comes to reviewing a movie, understandably. After seeing so many, it can be easy to sink into a certain level of cynicism. You feel like you’ve seen it all and everybody’s moving the same way, the same tricks, blah blah blah.

But at the same time, you have to keep an opened mind, watching many movies that you just normally don’t care about. But you can’t judge it based on your own personal opinion right? Nope! Because you’re naturally biased.

Keeping in line with 'grades' and 'teachers' here's one, even though I hate it. Like I really hate this face.

Keeping in line with ‘grades’ and ‘teachers’ here’s one, even though I hate it. Like I really hate this face.

So what do you do? Well you grade. The grade is objective and fair, there’s no disputing that. But what does the grade mean? “Surely this movie is a ‘B+!’ How you could say ‘C?!’ A ‘C’ is terrible!”

Well, not really.

Let’s all agree that a movie you like can be different from a movie that’s good. A movie I often use as an example in anything, is Evil Dead II. I love that movie.


Blood unibrow

I have watched that movie God knows how many times since I was thirteen and I may never get sick of it based on how many times I’ve already seen it and I’m still not tired of watching it. A personal grade would be an A. In fact, just about everything that goes on You’ve Gotta See This is either a high ‘B’ or an ‘A’…personally.

Objectively, many of those movies are Ds. Evil Dead II is cheesy, with over-the-top acting, terrible special effects and the plot makes just about no sense. They even retold the first movie in the first fifteen minutes of the second one, making the entire first film null. But man, I can’t get enough.

That being said, consider the following.

A grades- Everything about it is of the highest quality, whatever it’s major strong points are. Does not have to be perfect in every category (story, acting, etc.) but whatever areas it excels in could not be done better than this film. You may have a hard time watching the film more than once for whatever reason, often times that the film’s content is so heavy that to watch it takes an emotional toll on you.

B+ grade- Near everything about this movie is flawless and in many cases, better than a grade movie in many ways save for hitting the high notes in as many areas. These movies are often more watchable than movies with a for the type of movie they may be. For instance, a really great Action film doesn’t have the same lasting themes seen in a well done drama, but it does so many things right and is just really fun to watch.

B/B- grade- Nothing particularly wrong about the film, just more things they could have done right. A consistently funny comedy with several scenes or lines that fall flat too often where it becomes noticeable, but there are enough scenes that have you remembering and quoting it later. You would watch it more than once, although not necessarily pay for it.

While not a comedy, Dredd is a solid B, with maybe a personal higher grade.

While not a comedy, Dredd is a solid B, with maybe a personal higher grade.

C+ grade- Fun, well made movie but lacking in enough areas that giving it a B would be reaching. You would watch this movie again but it’s not what it could have been. Too many dry spots where the flow should be more constant. Maybe plot holes are what’s holding this back. Either way, it’s too much to not notice although you can still enjoy this film all the way through. Rise of the Guardians is a good example of a C+ movie in that great ideas, good animation, and fitting voice acting are all there but enough slow, serious moments just become boring and tedious too often.

C grade- Right there in the middle. There are no defining moments/areas that push this in either direction. You won’t mind watching this again but you don’t mind it being erased out of existence. If this movie is based on a property you like, you may try to convince yourself that you like it more and try to watch it again, but it’s just not what you want it to be. People often take this as being a “bad” grade which it’s not- the movie could just lean a little more in the right direction.

C- grade- While this film is just below being decent, it’s still watchable. The issues in these films are just as noticeable as the positive things. In fact, the issues are just as present to the point that it might leave an overall bad taste in your mouth but you can’t say you hated it, you just cringe before you officially answer when someone asks you how it was.

Yesterday's Oldboy, unfortunately.

Yesterday’s Oldboy, unfortunately.

D grades- The name says it all. Just above failing, but hit a few spots here and there that make you think had more time and care went into this it could have been watchable but often times the people that made it just did it for the money. Few ‘D’ movies are made with real effort or it would have shown.

F grade- Do I need to explain myself here? While ‘C’ movies can be favorites among fans, F movies have no redeeming value past mocking incessantly with friends. That’s My Boy and Project X are great examples of awful movies. In these reviews it’s no problem to leave out the one positive thing you might have seen because the rest is so bad.

So there you have it. Unless a movie has a ‘D’ or and ‘F,’ the grade itself might not be as obvious and let’s keep in mind that when you like a movie, that doesn’t make it an automatic ‘A.’



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