December 6, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Podcast Reaction: Defining The Grade And Defending Jenny Edition

What makes Wonder Woman a 9 or a 10? The movie, not the character or the actress. I can't write in italics for this blurb.

But This week on the podcast, the guys and Jenny talked about Wonder Woman and even checked Jenny’s own memory for her own words.

But the guys also took Jenny to task a wee little bit for her giving Wonder Woman a lower rating than they did.  Now, I could talk about Wonder Woman more, and Gods and Goddesses know the movie deserves the discussion, but instead, let’s talk about arbitrary ratings systems.

Watson’s ideal arbitrary rater.  Who has worse problems?  Watson, or the people who keep posting these pictures I keep finding for this running gag, or me for looking for them?

So, here’s the thing.  Jimmy said during his own Wonder Woman review that I am not a harsh grader.  He then gave the movie the exact same 9 out of 10 both Jenny and I did.  Here’s the thing:  I approach rating anything the same way I do when I grade papers in my professional capacity as an English teacher.  I grade papers all the time.  And while I didn’t do so at first here, gradually I started to think of the stuff I rated whenever I review, oh, anything, along those same lines.  As it is, Jimmy’s comment struck me as something I wanted to talk about, and now that the guys were on Jenny’s 9 to their own 10, I have an excuse to do so.

So, anyway, I don’t generally like giving perfect scores.  If you get a 10, or an A+, from me, you truly earned it.  My general feeling is that there is always room for improvement.  What got a solid 10 from me lately?  Logan.  Logan took the familiar superhero genre and did something new with it in a masterful way.  It said goodbye to characters and the actors who played them in a highly appropriate, highly emotional manner.  YouTube personality Nerdwriter1 explained it much better than I ever will, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to run this, so let’s look at this SPOILER-FILLED video on Logan in particular and the superhero genre in general.

But let’s move away from that.  What do the rest of my grades mean, particularly when I turn a reaction column on the work of others into a totally self-centered discussion of myself.

So, a nine-and-a-half is a solid A.  A 9 is basically an A-/B+.  A 9 is fine movie, one that’s trying to do something mostly new, but has a few things in it that I would classify as minor quibbles.  The movie (or book for that matter) works for the most part, but has some small things about it that prevent me from saying it’s a full 10.  For Wonder Woman, while the movie as a whole did have a more nuanced look at the superhero origin, it still hit the same story beats that almost every other superhero origin has, particularly in the form of the giant CGI battle at the end of the thing.

In a nutshell, Jenny was right about her rating.

Now, an 8.5 is a solid B.  It’s fine, nothing super special, but nothing really wrong about it either.  I largely liked what I saw, but I didn’t love it.  I would probably go for a sequel if there is one.  I gave Force Awakens an 8.5 to the rest of the podcast’s 10s because it was a good movie, but not a great one.  It largely recycled the original Star Wars and that was that.

An 8 is a B-.  That means the movie/book/whatever is competent, but aside from one two things is largely generic.  I gave this grade to Kong: Skull Island.  There wasn’t much special about the movie aside from John C. Reilly’s comic relief character and the strong Vietnam allegory running through the movie, it was a standard, well-done giant monster movie.

7.5 is a C.  At best a C+.  It’s passing, but also has one strong thing in there somewhere to maybe make it worth seeing, though not enough for me to recommend.

A 7 is a C-.  That’s barely passing.  That means there isn’t much really wrong with the movie, but there also wasn’t anything really right with it either.  I was mildly entertained and that was all.  The most recent Pirates of the Caribbean was right there.

6.5 is a D.  It’s most likely just boring.  There may be one good element, but not enough to recommend the whole.  That’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

6 is an F.  That means the work committed the cardinal sin for a piece of entertainment more likely than not:  it was boring.  That’s Baywatch to a tee.

So, there you have it.  My rating system explained.  Sure, I do sometimes, though rarely, go below a 6, but that’s just a failure no matter how you slice it, so if it’s less than that, it’s not only boring, it’s bad.  I had to go looking, but I did find something I gave a much lower rating to, and it deserved it.

And keep in mind my ratings are often first impressions.  Sometimes in hindsight I think I would give things worse ratings on a second viewing.  You know, for stuff like Batsoup.

But that’s just me.  Jenny’s still right.

Look how happy she is here knowing she is right.
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