Posted by mike in at 6:43 pm on February 7, 2008

Here’s a summary of what I consider each of the star ratings to mean.

  • 4 stars (****)
    A significant achievement that is not only an instant classic, but also a true work of art. A movie that I’ll buy as soon as it comes out and watch many times over the years, as well as sharing it with others as much as possible.
  • 3½ stars (***.5)
    A great film with only the slightest of shortcomings. A good script, good performances, and good direction, but not quite as significant an achievement in filmmaking as a 4-star movie is.
  • 3 stars (***)
    A good movie that I’d gladly see again, but don’t quite consider to be among the very best. This might be a film that was largely enjoyable with only a couple of down sides, or it might be a film that was good overall and I enjoyed but doesn’t quite have the broad appeal or artistic merit of a higher-rated movie.
  • 2½ stars (**.5)
    A pretty good movie that’s worth seeing, but probably has some flaws or only appeals to a niche audience. Definitely go see it if it sounds like it’s your thing, but if not you might not enjoy it as much.
  • 2 stars (**)
    A border-line movie with significant shortcomings. Probably has some good parts and some redeeming qualities, but it’s got some serious problems too. I consider it to be very middle-of-the-road, but if it looks at all interesting to you it’s worth seeing to find out if you lean more towards one side or the other on it.
  • 1½ stars (*.5)
    A movie that’s not very good overall, but might have a redeeming quality or two. Probably not worth going out of your way to see, but maybe worth catching if you happen to get the opportunity.
  • 1 star (*)
    A pretty bad movie. Not much positive to say about it, if anything at all. Maybe it’s so bad it’s good, but more likely it’s so bad it’s just bad.
  • ½ star (.5)
    A really bad movie. If you’re unfortunate enough to ever sit through it, you’re likely to spend the entire time wondering how in the world it got made in the first place.
  • 0 stars (0)
    The worst of the worst. There is absolutely no reason for anybody to waste their time watching it under any circumstances. An insult to anybody who’s ever dreamed of making a movie but not had the opportunity.