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The Star System

A brief explanation of our rating system.

The Star (★) System

(or how we rate movies we love or hate)



Most movie criticism you read or listen to is made from a stance of Objective Quality, as in “This is one of the Best/Worst movies of All Time.” At We Watch Movies we don’t believe in this kind of valuation. Films, like all creative forms, are subjective experiences. I may love a movie or book or song that you may hate. Does this mean one of us is wrong? If Objective Quality can be applied to art then this must be the case. This may, of course, be however we don’t subscribe to this thinking.


On We Watch Movies each host assigns a Star Rating out of Five (5) with no half stars or other fractions allowed (we call this The Hard Choices Model).  These stars represent our level of enjoyment regarding a particular film. Sometimes this may involve comparing movies that are similar but is not meant to be a measurement against All Movies of All Time.


It goes something like this:


★   (1): An entirely unenjoyable experience. Think “Well there’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back”. A soul-sucking affair that might cause you to consider walking out of the theater. To quote Roger Ebert: "A horrible experience of unbearable length. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination."  Kill it with fire.


★★   (2): Not the worst movie you’ve ever seen but not really a good time either. Two star movies often have good or interesting ideas that are poorly executed. Not a movie worth hating but not one you’re likely to watch again


★★★   (3): Movies in this category are not terrible or incredible, in fact they’re just sort of there. The kind of movie you might catch the middle of on TNT and watch if you have nothing better to do.


★★★★   (4): Perhaps the most crowded tier of movies. Films of this caliber leave you feeling good after the credits roll (or sad if it’s that kind of story). You would recommend such movies to other people and you might just buy the Blu-ray when it comes out.


★★★★★   (5): In case you haven’t gotten the idea, movies holding the highest title we bestow on the films we watch are not required to be Citizen Kane. The only requirement is enjoyment. Not only will you recommend these films to people and for sure buy the Blu-ray, these are movies you sit people down in front of and say “You have to watch this movie”. Your favorite movies belong here, even if Rotten Tomatoes disagrees.