Cinema Matters #6: Picking Movies Worth Seeing

June 2014
Cinema Matters #6: Picking Movies Worth Seeing

I believe cinema matters.  This is a continuing monthly series of personal thoughts on film in no more than 750 words.

There are so many movies showing in theaters.  Most are bad, a few are good, and with the cost of movie tickets rising, surely there must be a way to pick a film worth catching on an evening out with your loved one. 

You find reviews, half the time they either describe the entire plot (that’s revealing, not reviewing), or don’t really tell you much about what you wanna read.  Some reviews go on and on, a thousand words long.  Who really wants to read an essay?  Some reviews are only a few lines, they don’t say much.  Are they even reviews, you ask yourself. 

Perhaps there’s a reviewer whom you follow, whom you like, not because he or she writes well, but because both of you consistently share similar tastes and views.  You trust him or her to make movie choices for you.

It’s hard to find such a reviewer.  I used to trust Roger Ebert, but now he’s gone, and he’s sorely missed.  I think he was one of a few who could be truly regarded as a critic.  The rest are simply movie reviewers, like myself.  I used to think I was a film critic, but that self-aggrandizing phase is over. 

Throughout my journey in film, I have always searched for the best way to determine if a movie is worth seeing, or in my case, reviewing.  You see, reviewers like moviegoers also need to be selective.  One simply has no time to see all the movies, and why see a potentially bad one when you could watch something with a better prospect? 

I am lucky to be able to make movie-going decisions on my own, using a formula that I feel has done fairly reliably for me.  It’s a simple formula that I have streamlined over the years.  It used to be more complicated, but it wasn’t necessarily more effective. 

It is most useful when you are unsure if you should watch a particular movie.  If you are already intrinsically motivated to see a movie, don’t bother to use it.  Nevertheless, please feel free to test the rigour of the formula.  It isn’t perfect, but it works most of the time for me.

You will need:
ET’s Formula ©:
(A + B + C + D) / 4 = ____ %

A – IMDb Rating (convert to %)
B – Metacritic Score (most of the time it is conveniently located beside the IMDb rating)
C – Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer
D – Rotten Tomatoes Average Rating (just below the Tomatometer; convert to %)

ET’s Chart ©:
70.0% and above:  GO WATCH THE DARN MOVIE
64.9% and below:  DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME

Do allow me to run through a few examples:
1.     Begin Again (John Carney, 2014)
(A + B + C + D) / 4 = (74 + 60 + 71 + 63) / 4 = 67.0% = YOU MAY CONSIDER NOT TO WATCH

2.     Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman, 2014)
(81 + 71 + 90 + 75) / 4 = 79.3% = GO WATCH THE DARN MOVIE

3.     Transformers: Age of Extinction (Michael Bay, 2014)
(67 + 31 + 16 + 38) / 4 = 38.0% = DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME

4.     Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, 2014)
(72 + 62 + 73 + 66) / 4 = 68.3% = YOU MAY CONSIDER TO WATCH

For this formula to give you a more reliable gauge, a minimum of the following would be useful:
  • 1000 user votes for IMDb rating
  • 20 critics rating for Metacritic Score
  • 20 critics reviews counted for Rotten Tomatoes
Of course, by mathematical law, the greater the numbers the more accurate they are a reflection of collective audience and critics sentiments.  Remember, my formula is just a gauge.  The decision is still yours.

So go try it out.

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