Effective Jan 1, 2021 We Will Only Recommend Movies 4-Star and Above

Our new review criteria will only have recommended movies be 4, 4.5 and 5-star movies.

This one might be on the controversial side for some, or maybe it will make sense. This piggybacks on a 2020 post, see: How All Movie Review Rating Systems Are Flawed

Have been thinking about this a little while, definitely a lot more over the holidays. With so many movies available to watch and looking back at our 5-star review scale, we need to make a change that benefits closer to what we truly would recommend to friends.

Yes, readers, you are friends. If we recommend something, it should be indicative of something we thought was not just good, but great.

Before getting back to our own review ratings and this 2021 change, let’s look at how Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer aggregated score is flawed.

Rotten Tomatoes’ numerical rating is not an average review score as the percent indicator may suggest, but it’s a measurement of consensus. Every review, whether it’s a middle of the road review, an extreme positive, or an extreme negative, is converted into a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, and the final percentage indicator only specifies what percent of reviewers gave it a positive score to any degree. As a result, the Tomatometer disproportionately benefits safe, middle-of-the-road movies and penalizes polarizing movies that have a lot of rave reviews but a handful of detractors.

Wonder Woman 1984’s Release Highlights Major Rotten Tomatoes Flaws

Clearly, middle of the road movies shouldn’t be recommended, it creates a false positive overall. We don’t want to participate in that any longer. We want to create a recommended movie list that consists of great to excellent films.

After all, would we recommend 3-star reviewed movies to people we know offline? Our closest friends and family? Probably not. These 3-star movies are basically slightly above average movies on a 5-star scale. There is no point in saying they are recommended.

If we examine the 783 movies we’ve assigned on a 5-star rating scale since August 2019, this is how the breakdown of star reviews looks so far:

22.2% = 174 out of 783 = 4-stars and above

22 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Love it, Must See
41 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Amazing
111 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Great
= 174

Essentially 1 out of 5 movies we see would meet our new criteria for a recommended movie.

No, we’re not going to go back and edit the 3-star and 3.5 star out of 5 movies we’ve previously reviewed and take out any recommendation. That sounds too much like work and at the time we reviewed the film, we felt it was recommended to see 😉 I have edited the home page to reflect our new recommended criteria.

Going forward, only 4-star 4.5 and 5-star movies and TV shows will be recommended. This list is much smaller and better represents what we felt is the best

If some sort of 2020 retrospective recommended list is created and posted here, then we will follow our new recommended criteria.

Is this subject to change in the future? Of course. Like I said back in May, all rating systems are flawed. It’s our opinions. Some of these movies and TV shows we recommend others will not think as highly and some that we only give 3.5 or less stars to, others will think are higher. Subjective, indeed.

If we go back through every movie seen in theaters in 2020 only *2* movies would be recommended under our new 4-star+ recommended criteria: 1917 and Let Him Go. Would probably have given The Invisible Man 4-stars instead of 3.5 if I could go back and rewatch, because both of us really enjoyed that movie. No Tenet, no Wonder Woman, no Bad Boys 4 Life that took in the most money at the domestic box office, and the list goes on.

Hopefully, this gets us a little closer to a movie or TV show we would truly, honestly recommend to our friends, which, in our book anyway, is the goal worth striving toward.

As always, your commentary is welcome. What type movies do you recommend? How good does a movie have to be in your mind to recommend to your closest friends?


8 thoughts on “Effective Jan 1, 2021 We Will Only Recommend Movies 4-Star and Above

  1. Right. So I’m no fans of algorithms, and write exactly such yesterday. I like to write raves, or slams, but am happy to skip movies which would prompt a mediocre review. So I’m trying to do what RT can’t; reflect the content of a movie in a useful way, not just reflect conformity in terms of concensus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aggregating movie reviews is a complex issue. We don’t have a good answer on how to solve this one yet. Something I’m thinking about however, because I think it would be useful to provide data like RT, Metacritic and others do someday … but that more accurately reflected movie fans true feelings about whether or not they’d recommend a movie. The “like” button is too common. Maybe we need to know what people *LOVE* to be better evaluate the metrics?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And that sounds positive to me. Guy that sits behind me at press screenings is RT affiliated. Hasn’t reviewed a single film for years. RT reviewers are predominantly old, make and write for papers which fired them five years ago. The lack of diversity, or herd mentality, renders it fake news. People quite RT ratings, and yet know or care not for who created the reviews. It’s an outmoded system, hopefully washed away in 2021…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Completely agree re: rotten tomatoes. In fact I try to ignore that site until after I’ve seen the movie; it’s too easy to feel like “this should be good” or vice versa before I see something. I also like your rating system, mine is very similar. Basically 4 stars or better means I’d definitely watch again. In fact looking at your “designations” for your stars, I pretty much feel the same way!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t give many movies a full 5 stars simply because there are so few that will reach that level of being an evergreen ‘classic” (like my choices might go to the likes of Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and likely that kind of rating might apply more in hindsight than in the moment.
    Over the last few years, the highest I’ve gone is 41/2 and even 31/2 might be an enjoyable and rewatchable flick. I could even watch lower rated movies over and over simply because they entertain.
    I’ve only seen the RT ratings as an overall aggregate and not necessarily applicable to a movie in question. kinda why I stopped paying attention to Oscar winners for more than a decade now. Just like I don’t determine how good a movie is based on their box-office returns. Those are just not good yardsticks to determine the quality of a movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good thoughts, thank you for adding to the discussion.

      Box office revenue definitely isn’t a good guide to how good a film is. There have been some great films that didn’t do business at the box office. The Wizard of Oz is one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

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