I had only just yesterday come up with what I thought was a foolproof five-star rating system that would effectively and simply give readers a good idea of what I thought of every movie.
And then I saw "Slumdog Millionaire," and it ruined it all.
Why? Well, I couldn't give this movie just four stars. There are a lot of good movies coming out this time of year, and this one stands above most - it's more than likely to receive a good deal of Academy nominations, including best director and screenplay.
And yet, I didn't want to give it five stars either. That's the highest rating I can give, and I really want to reserve that for what I feel are outstanding movies that go into the movie "Hall of Fame" - the kind of movie we're lucky to get one of each year.
Just to give you an idea. Movies that I'd give five stars to include films like Pan's Labyrinth, Children of Men, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood. Movies that are, in my mind, perfect revelatory jewels of film making, or ambitious amazing failures that will live forever.
And I am a movie lover. I appreciate how hard it is to make a good movie. Movies like Batman: The Dark Knight and Valkyrie are professional, entertaining, and what we largely go to cinema for. But something like "Slumdog Millionaire" does that, and something more - it give us a special vision and take on the world. Kind of like "Little Miss Sunshine," they not only entertain but provide a unique artistic vision, even if they aren't necessarily in the list of top-ten movies ever made.
So what to do?
That's why I had to come up with four and 1/2 stars. I hated doing it, because the five-star system was so perfect. But it was the only way I could give Slumdog the recognition it deserved, without diluting the five-star rating for those films are are truly one of a kind.
For those rating purists out there, you're probably as upset about this as I am. But I hope you understand why I saw no other way out of this impossible conundrum I'd set for myself.
And one other point. You probably won't see many one or zero star ratings on this site. That's because I pick the movies I'm going to see myself - and like you, if I think a movie is going to be crappy, I pretty much stay away. That isn't to say that I won't guess wrong, now and then. "Get Smart" being a good case and point. But since I think I'm pretty good at picking good movies to see, you're going to be much more likely to see three, four, and five star rating on this site than one-star. Unless of course it's a DVD movie. Because I'm pretty much a movie whore, and once I've seen everything that's available for rent, I'll pretty much watch anything.