Movie VS Film - My Rating System

You may have noticed that the last remark on my review of "The Kid" is a rating out of ten for 'movie' and 'film.' This is something I devised back in my radio days when I had a half hour slot on Radio Hampshire reviewing new releases, posing trivia quesions and giving various top tens in my 'movie trailer' voice. I am by no means the first person to differentiate between a movie and a film but I can almost certainly lay claim to be the creator of the movie/film rating system.

Michael Bay's "Transformers" - Movie 10, Film 3
But first, for those lost by this point, let me explain what I mean by movie/film. Of course I am working in generalisations, but a 'movie' is something that you go to watch at the cinema with a group of mates, lots of popcorn and with the expectation of being entertained, be that through Ryan Reynold's new comedy, The Rock's current blow-everything-up-but-has-no-plot movie or Meryl Streep singing with three actors attemping to do the same on a Greek Island. It can be fun, silly and is usually directed by Michael Bay or produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Afterwards you'll be chatting about how hot Megan Fox was, how awesome the fight scenes were or how you can't wait to see the sequal, prequal or remake (Hollywood does enjoy milikng a cashcow). It rarely wins any OSCARs outside of the Sound Design or Visual Effects categories.

Spielberg & Neeson - "Schindler's List," Movie 4, Film 10
A film, however, will win whatever OSCARs are left. They are created by auteurs: Hitchcock, Lynch, Allen and Altman, and they can usually be found at your local Art House cinema, or on the smaller screens at your multiplex. Historical dramas, melodramas and anything with enough social or polital context to actually mean something fall under this category and they are much preferred by people wanting to enjoy well developed characters, meaningful storylines and innovative cinematography.

Unfortunately things are not that black and white. First, audiences can be subdivided by their age, sex, ethnicity, social background and any number of other factors to change their view on a film. "Mammi Mia" could rate number 1 in any pensioner's top films of the last decade but most teenage boys would laugh at the idea of even watching it. So the rating you see is the opinion of a 25 year old film and movie fan. Second, a motion-piction can be both a movie and a film at the same time. It would be hard for anyone to give "Resident Evil: Extinction" a film rating of more than 2 or 3 but it would be almost impossible to get 90 percent of the general movie-going audeince (18 - 30 year old, lower or middle class men) to watch "Ghandi" or "Schindler's List" without there being some kind of woman involved. "Saving Private Ryan" or "Forrest Gump," however, appealled to millions of cinema-goers, boasted fantastic actors, big budgets and adventures that engrossed movie fans of all ages, but they had thought-provoking and meaningful stories, 11 Academy award wins between them and were beautifully and delicately directed.

Finally, I'd love to hear your opinions on the matter. If I've got it completely wrong - tell me! Comment your movie/film rating and see what others think of that too.

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Craig French said...

Hey, I recently decided I would commit to watching the top 250 movies on IMDB and blog about them. Before starting I thought I would do a search to see if anyone else was doing a similar thing and came across your blog.

The subject of your post above is something which I have pondered for quite a while. I agree that one individual rating cannot capture the dual functions of a film, being entertainment and art (some may say that only having two qualities is not sufficient as a film can also be educational, informative and much more).

To me, the terms 'film' and 'movie' are interchangeable words which mean the same thing. The only difference is that they have been derived in different ways. I appreciate that some people differentiate between a 'movie' and a 'film' in the way you describe, however these terms do not accurately capture the true differences between (for example) a hollywood blockbuster and art house film. On that basis, the rating system which I have often mooted is to give a mark out of 5 for art and a mark out of five for entertainment. This can then be combined to gove an overall mark out of ten.

This is just my personal approach. I think your rating system is better than the four / five star rating system often adopted by many websites and magazines as it gives more scope to differentiate between different quality of films (e.g. one film which is a four star may be much better than another film which is also a four star).

Hope your challenge and film course goes well when it eventually comes around.

Best of luck


The Film Genie said...

Thanks Craig.

I see what you mean about them being interchangable but I've always had in my mind a Hollywood Blockbuster 'movie' and an Art-House 'film.' I had a radio spot a few years back where I'd review films and I used this rating system then so I suppose I've just stuck too it. As long as people know what Movie and Film mean then they'll understand the system.

Good luck with your challenge. I've never been very quick at reviewing films, I always want to look deeply into them (especially as these are the top films or all time) so it takes a fair amount of research each time. It's a shame because I've got so many to watch but I won't start the next one until I've finished my previous review; or at least got somwwhere with it. I hope you can work through quicker than I am. Or maybe I should just take it at face value and write the first things that come to me. I suppose there are so many possibilities.

The Film Genie

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