Why the W.I.P. Scale™ for Rating Movies?

For many years, as a moviegoer, I wondered what use stars were in rating films. It's 3 stars, it's 4 stars? Is 5 stars the high, is 4, is 3? Can a film get 0 stars? Some critics, frustrated by the star system, obviously, and never wanting to give a film 4 or 5 stars depending on what was their high, resorted at last to the 3 and a half stars. Astronomically speaking, what's a half star anyway. Meanwhile, stars don't sort very nicely in a spread sheet, ever notice that? So, many years ago, I decided, that if I were ever put in charge of creating a movie quality rating system that would be clear, simple, and easy for the average person to comprehend, I'd simply rate movies on a decimal numerical scale similar to our system of money. And, there you have it, the What I'd Pay (W.I.P.) to see a movie Scale or W.I.P. Scale™ for short.

The brilliant things, if I do say so myself, about using this scale are:

(A) There isn't necessarily an upper limit, and $0 would pretty much speak for itself.
(B) There is no need to come up with half of a celestial body to give myself more of a range. I technically have the 100s and 100s of possible ratings.
(C) I can sort all of the films I've seen with their W.I.P. Scale™ rating from top to bottom and there's no need for me to give you my top ten list. You can see, at any time, simply by looking at my W.I.P. Scale™ list for any given year, what I thought were the very best and worst films of the year. It's easy for me to generate this list, and spread sheets were built for it!
(D) It's flexible. Sometimes, I find I'm trending up in a given year. But, it's a lot easier for me to make room for that in my scale than someone who accidentally gives a film 4 and a half stars in March and then 40 better films come out by May. Therefore, I'm less worried about giving a movie a good rating that other critics. Nobody wants to be the one who gave a clunker high marks only to find out later it really was a clunker and you've got no room for the rest on your limited scale.
(E) What's a star worth these days anyway? Well, if I rate movies on a monetary scale which give a theoretical value as to how much I'd really be willing to pay to see a movie, such as $7.75, then you know exactly what that means, especially if the ticket is going to cost you $9. And likewise if I rate a movie $13.50. It should be worth your money.
(F) Everyone knows at least one critic with whom they never agree. "If he hates it, I knock people over getting into the front row." or "If he gave it a big, big, big, big high five, I volunteer to take my smelly Uncle Peabody to Church bingo on a Friday night in Kalamazoo." Well, you don't have to agree or disagree with me in general. You can simply look at my trends and see where you fall on my scale. If I gave a movie a $12 and you'd give it only a $9, just saw $3 off my entire scale and we should pretty much be in sync! Because I operated the W.I.P. Scale™ comparatively, and it's pretty easy actually to go through a list and say, "It's better than that, better than that, better than that, but not better than that, so this is a $10.75 film" than it is when over 75% of your movies are rated 2 or 3 stars which is my guestimate of the industry average, you're probably not going to find it that hard to use my scale to determine if you'll like a movie or not. If I put a movie way down the scale from a movie you liked, you're probably not going to like it and vice versa. Of course, I'm sure there are some people shaking their head saying, "Nope, Scoot, I loved Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" and you gave like $3, so nope we're never going to be on target." Ok, point taken, so accounting for those few anomalies, I bet we still agree more than we disagree. Try it, see if I'm wrong.

Ok, so in practical terms, I don't rate films lower than $3. It's my 0 stars. But, there's never been a movie made that didn't have some talent involved even if it was just in convincing people to put up the money to make it. And, I think that talent deserved something more than 0 stars. So, $3. Generally, speaking, I set $15 as the theoretical upper limit. To date (14 September 2008) only one movie has ever scored a $15. That's right. Only 1. See if you can find out which one. No, I'm not going to just tell you here and make it easy on you. I wish I could say the same for the $3, but there have been quite a few of those, though not a huge number relative to the number of movies rated (which is in excess of 700 as of this writing). Will I ever go over $15. Not likely. But, not impossible either. I reserve the right to. If a movie ever surpasses the one that I gave $15, then sure. It would be only fair. So far nothing as even equaled it since I started doing this big time.

Also, in practical terms, I try to stay on the 25-cents gradations. So, you won't find a movie that is rated $8.67. I could, but I don't I've really got a very good scale going with lots of room for really categorizing films. I don't need to subdivide further. I've got 49 gradations with which to work vs. the traditional 11 if you use 5 stars and half stars. So, I'm comfortable with the scale; but, again, I reserve the right to rate a movie off the quarter-intervals if I want.

Well, that's probably all you needed to know about the W.I.P. Scale™ but were afraid to ask! Post comments if you want. Thanks!

W.I.P. Scale™ Defined
• $15 incredible movie, could be one of the best movies of the year, ignore all other films
• $14 this is a MUST see film, go this Wednesday, TiVo® “LOST”
• $12-$13 um, ok, what are you waiting for, go this weekend!
• $10-$11 very good, definitely see it (even in NYC)
• $9 average, see it
• $7-$8 wait for the second run movie house
• $4-$6 see it on DVD
• $3 – don’t see it
© 2006-08 movieEVERYday.com
note: the W.I.P. Scale™ is a trademark of movieEVERYday.com

No comments: