Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Personal vs Objective Rating Systems

Colin Marshall muses:
Me brains cannot compute the concept that how much I liked a film — or a book, or an album, or whatever — and how good it "really is" could be two distinct values. How much do I like Maborosi? I find it pretty much perfect. But how good is it? Well, pretty much perfect. That's why I called it that three sentences ago.
This is something I grapple with too. In my opinion the most accurate rating of a movie is the like-minded crowd's opinion, the closest approximation of which can currently be found on imdb. But I also rate movies with my own scores, which shouldn't be necessary if imdb's are the true ratings.

Here is my working definition. Imdb's scores are still the current accurate rating of how good a movie is. When somebody asks me whether a movie I have seen is good, I don't tell them my personal opinion because I recognize that I am probably biased. I tell them its score on imdb.

However, I am also willing to admit that imdb's ratings are not perfect--they are just currently the best. So I will speculate on which movies are underrated / overrated on imdb. And to do that, I rely on my own opinion. I define the most overrated movies by the ones that have the greatest negative deviation between my own score and imdb's score. By that metric, currently Crash, Slumdog Millionaire, The Apartment, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Escape, The Hangover, Gran Torino, and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) are the most overrated movies ever.