Introducing: Numerical Ratings, from Trog to M*A*S*H

A few readers have expressed the opinion that the blog would be enhanced by my own numerical ratings, in addition to the IMDB ratings I’ve included from the start. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I think they’re right.

Yesterday I went back and assigned a 1-10 rating for each movie I’ve already reviewed. Starting today, every review I write will come with a number from 1 to 10 as well. You can see the ratings for all of the movies I have reviewed here.

I’m proud of the writing I’ve done on Boffo, and I’m mildly concerned that a rating for each movie will detract attention from the content of the reviews. The site is really about the reviews and not about the ratings; I hope that always remains so. In the end, however, I believe that the reviews are good enough to withstand that kind of distraction, and I think that the ratings will improve the reader’s experience on the site, make it more fun. I truly hope that the ratings spark discussion and disagreement in the comments — this site is about my subjective take on the most popular movies of our time, and it’s to be expected that readers will disagree, sometimes vehemently, to my judgments. I welcome that discussion.

Working with the IMDB ratings for the last couple of months has led to an inescapable confrontation of their considerable flaws, as a coherent system. A huge percentage of the movies end up with IMDB ratings between about 6.5 and 7.5 — the reason for this is that most movies receive votes only from the people who liked that movie. This pushes most IMDB ratings up, which means that a 6.8 rating has little meaning, in the sense that it doesn’t tell you much about whether the movie is likely to be good or not. There are a few other quirky aspects to the IMDB ratings, and I’ll get to some of those on another occasion.

Unlike IMDB, I will be using the entire spectrum of numbers — there are 1s, and there are 10s. This has the weird effect that a rating of 8 on Boffo might well be a “lower” de facto rating than an IMDB rating of 7.8, since there might be more movies (as a percentage) that are higher on Boffo. Eventually, I plan to introduce a method that flattens the steep IMDB bell curve, to place the IMDB ratings on a more directly comparable scale, so that it’s easier to see when and how I truly diverge from IMDB; right now it’s all a bit opaque.

In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy the ratings, and I also hope to hear your views!

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One thought on “Introducing: Numerical Ratings, from Trog to M*A*S*H

  1. Paula says:

    I was told there would be no math involved in reading this website…

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