This is a special Rika request. Scroll down for the full list of what equates at each point level!
I probably should have done this from the beginning, but it's high time I explained how I determine a film's final rating. This will be used as a reference guide from here on out at the top of the blog. Also, I want to reiterate that I try to be as fair and objective as humanly possible. It should go without saying, but I don't just throw around 1s and 10s based arbitrarily on whether or not I liked a movie. Yet, I'm sure anyone who has read my reviews has thought at one point, "what is this guy smokin'?" Well, here is the breakdown of how I operate.
What is Relevant?
There are two main contributors to the score of 10. One half is in regard to the production quality. This includes things like cinematography, music, special effects, etc. Essentially, all of the technical aspects, and the items easiest to control by the filmmakers, are in their own category. After all, the merits of a competent crew should not be disregarded because of a script written in crayon. So, if a movie looks and sounds amazing, regardless of overall quality, it can still achieve the maximum potential in production quality. Another important part is my forgiveness for low-budget versus high-budget. I try to take into account what the filmmakers had to work with which is why I usually go easy on low-budget movies. I believe this leniency is the only way to be fair...assuming they don't squander their budget anyway. To sum it up, this is why a movie that I hate, like "The Force Awakens," can still end up with a 6.5/10; it's production quality heavily compensated for the horrendous plot problems.
The other half of the equation is significantly more subjective: the story and characters. I will add that I lump acting into this category as well since it is up to the actor to bring a character to life in a meaningful way. Needless to say, the story is the single most important part of any movie unless we're dealing with a musical or something. What might be good or entertaining for one person might be the "worst movie ever" to another person. I try to look at things from multiple perspectives including the casual viewer, critics, elitists, and even groups like the potheads and idiots. This is why I sometimes factor in how would others react to things that wouldn't bother me especially when it comes to horror movies. Just because I've seen people ripped limb from limb doesn't mean the target demographic may have. Regardless, you can't help what you like, and, as they say, there's no accounting for taste. I just make sure to justify my decisions every time.
Finally, there are, what I refer to as, bonus points. You may have noticed the many lovely ladies I feature on this site. Well, they are one aspect of what constitutes possible bonus points. Pandering, fan service, T&A, tasteful shenanigans, shots of pizza, nurse and/or schoolgirl outfits, theme songs based on the film's title, casting a member of Hello! Project, killing Channing Tatum, etc. can, on occasion, boost a final rating. This is why films like "The Machine Girl" can get such a high rating.
Sexy Japanese girl, schoolgirl outfit, clothes getting ripped off for no reason, Gatling gun for an arm...that all has to count for something!
The Rating System
The highest honor a film can achieve (save for that one 11/10 I gave to "Yo-Yo Girl Cop"). I reserve this rating for a film that is as close to perfection as a movie will probably ever get.
Ex. "Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back"
This is for films that are so close to perfection that you can taste it. However, one problem or another holds it back.
Ex. "The Ring"
For films that are legendary, but they possess at least one glaring flaw or some other, considerable detractor such as a bad character.
Ex. "The Monster Squad"
Still in the legendary zone, but maybe a technical flaw is screwing things up or a huge plot hole was overlooked.
The last tier of legendary status where the debate becomes more real. Maybe it's amazing, maybe a bit overrated, but still undeniably awesome.
Ex. "Trick 'r Treat"
We are now in greatness territory. There are flaws, errors, or limitations that hold back the film in some capacity, but it's still far, far above average.
Ex. "Dark City"
This spot is for films that are great, but there is something significant keeping it out of legendary status such as bad special effects or an actor hamming it up.
Ex. "It Follows"
Definitely above average, remarkably good even, but the issues with the film are clearly apparent. Usually this is where story or production difficulties emerge.
The most basic level of what would be considered "good." You could have a great story but a cheap production or vice versa. Alternatively, the film could be a moderate combination of above average in both story and production.
Ex. "Night of the Demons"
The final level of above average, and it's ever so slight. This rating is for movies that have at least something of acknowledgement, but are not quite a legitimately good film.
Ex. "Ring of Curse"
Here we have pure mediocrity. This doesn't mean the film is inherently bad, but it is not worthy of being called above average. This rating is for films that simply exist to kill time with and then forget entirely; you may or may not be entertained along the way.
Ex. "The Grudge 3"
This rating in particular can be about failed potential or the beginning of bad movie territory. This rating represents below average but sometimes encompasses amateur mistakes or a failure to utilize a budget or ideas effectively.
Ex. "Devil's Due"
This is the beginning of truly bad films. It could be outright shit or it could be a situation whereby the film turned into a complete debacle. I do want to note that this is the last tier where you would probably find any worthwhile, redeeming qualities.
Ex. "Grave Halloween"
We now enter the anger phase. This is when movies start to waste your time or money and you grow wary of the bullshit. Though...there may still be one, final silver lining no matter how minor it is.
Ex. "The Bell Witch Haunting"
This rating is just like a 3.5 except it lacks that silver lining or, perhaps, has nothing but a few pander moments or laughs to amuse the audience.
Ex. "Batman Forever"
We are now officially in fuck you-land. These movies are infuriating in their stupidity or lack of quality. You may find yourself punching your couch in frustration as you torture yourself into watching.
Ex. "Troll 2"
This rating is for pure nightmares put to film. They are horrible in virtually every way. Yet, someone on the set, kind of, understands one thing...like how to keep a camera straight. There's at least that going for the film, right?
Ex. "The Room"
We have entered the homicidal range as you, the viewer, will want to kill someone or everyone involved in the production. This tier is so shitacular that even a single titty flash might be the only thing worth giving a point toward.
Ex. "Asian School Girls"
This tier is reserved for films you can't believe even exist. A part of your brain and/or soul is lost upon watching this level of film. In fact, you begin to wonder whether it should be classified as a film to begin with.
Ex. "Howling VII"
This is when you're probably watching something whereby the script was written in feces across the walls of a padded cell. The ONLY thing separating this from the lowest rating is something--anything--that could be classified as "coherent."
Ex. Mercifully, I've yet to dish out this rating.
Congratulations...you are watching something akin to "La Fin Absolue du Monde" and are probably ripping out your own intestines in order to "play" it on the projector. This classification would be for a "movie" so horrendously putrid--so soul-crushingly moronic--that you question life itself, lose whatever faith you had left in humanity, and probably end up on suicide watch soon afterward.
Ex. God help me when I have to give out this rating!