May 2008

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Jonathan Kelly

Regarding your arc description a film magazine from the UK (orignally called Film I think!) has something similar. It has a line graph representing excitment levels showing where the peaks and dips are with a brief description of what happens at that point. And I must say it's pretty accurate.

I feel some of your options could be used to standardise reviews. Maybe not all of them as they might not apply, eg. Scariness in "Meet the Spartans". Unless the fact that somebody thought it would be a good idea to make this crap scares you that is........

Simon Jester

Sounds like a good idea for a website. I suggest calling it

Paul Dove

As usual I checked out your blog and then went to look at today's dilbert strip. Why has been changed to re-direct to when it's still only a beta. You do realise that many of us can't see the cartoons there!

All I get is a brief flash of the cartoon before it's replaced by "loading strip...", but it never does load the strip. So I have to go backwards and forwards many times, each time getting just a glimpse of today's strip. Please, bring back to old archive until you have the bugs fixed in the new flash based one.

Paul Dove

The index that I'd like to see is the smoking/goodness correlation index. A zero indicating no smoking in the movie, 1 - only the evil characters smoke, 5 - many characters of all types smoke, 9 - only the good characters smoke.

I need this because often movies are spoilt because my wife frequently makes comments like "Don't they know that it looks bad when the hero is shown smoking", or "I'm surprised that he smokes, he's being portrayed as clever so I can't believe that he would be stupid enough to smoke".

She's ok with movies were only the bad guys smoke because that's now an accepted cinematic cliché, and she doesn't care if they give themselves cancer, but if anyone else smokes then we need to be warned of that in advance.


As a rule, the quality of a movie is inversely correlated to the number of awards it has won.


That movie makes you feel depressed, like the world is leaving you behind.

It made me feel old, too


Seriously - no-one has yet pointed out that the summary isn't even correct:

1) The main character is not a 'bad guy'
2) The bad guy doesn't kill him

Sounds like you didn't like a film you didn't pay attention to - hardly a shocker. I guess that could be a class of reviewing in itself.

Ability to not pay attention and still follow plot: 1

If you're purely interested in the plot and don't care about the other 'irrelevant' detail, then just read the synopsis in Sight & Sound - save yourself 2 hours.


"As a rule, the quality of a movie is inversely correlated with how long it takes to explain the entire plot. That’s why I stay away from movies with titles like Volcano, Inferno, Titanic, and Snakes on a Plane. I feel I have a sense of where those plots are heading."

It took me a minute to decipher this paragraph, until I realized you just didn't think it through. You basically said that movies with simple plots are higher quality, and you prefer movies with less quality.


I have a sneaking suspicion that the chance of winning an Oscar is very closely related to how soon before the awards the movie was released.

In theaters in May the year before? Not a chance of winning.

In theaters January/February just before the Oscar awards? Can win even if it's terrible.


Ok I'll try this out

House of flying daggers
Arc: High – Low – High – Low
Star Power: 0 – I had never heard of anyone in this before
Mumbling Quotient: 10 or 0 Has subtitles, so depends if you can read
Bladder: 5
Artistry: 10 The most beautiful film I have ever seen
Sadism: 0 Lots of killing though
Originality: 10 It’s a kung fu love story, with colour codes scenes
Incomprensibility: 6 Plenty of twists, all explained at the end
Humor: 2
Scariness: 2
Suspense: 10
On the SAM (Scott Adams movie) scale this scores low, but is one of the most enjoyable movies I have ever watched


Bladder should not be a numeric value. Usually you'll find the length of the movie somewhere. Also, most people do well even through two and a half hour. I think it's a rather negligible value.

Further, I don't think you should know if there's a happy ending or not. That really takes some joy out of watching. Cause, you know, it's all about surprises and so..
Nevertheless, I would recommend a speed-value. How awake your mind has to be throughout the movie.

Anyway, nice conciderations,


Mumbling thing is easily dealt with by using subtitles. You either watch a movie from the 50s when they knew how to articulate or you watch a new movie with subtitles.

As to incomprensibility that's a quite individual thing - it depends on how stupid you are. Or how used you have been to the Hollywood movies throwing the explanation in your face. Or how capable you are of imaginative thinking. But that shouldn't be a problem for a cartoonist, right? Unless you're watching the movie to relax, not to think...

On a further note I wanted to ask you - is it legal to publish a Dilbert cartoon on my blog that I like? I'm figuring it's basically promotion for you, but since it won't dissapear from the archive as it does on I wanted to ask you if that's ok or not.

I started to read Dilbert in 1995. I loved it. Then you started with office related and I totally didn't get it anymore. Then I grew up to be an office worker and now I love it again. =)

Indian Stallion

I am guessing it's No Country. I loved that movie.

I would recommend one more rating. Sleaze. How sleazy is it? Cos I like..err I mean don't like watching sleazy movies which are demeaning to women.


Come now Scott, you need a little uncertainty about what you're going to get when you watch a film, otherwise the whole experience is kind of pointless. You run a restaurant, yes? When you go to an unfamiliar city do you eat in a chain restaurant or try something local? The one-offs give the best (and admittedly, sometimes worst) experiences.


Great ideas, Scott.

Now could you please apply these ratings to the design of your new flashy website?

And can you please bring the old website back??

P.S. A reader suggested adding a motion sickness rating, too. This category in view of the new would be particularly useful/revealing.


The bladder factor is a good one but it isn't always equated to film length. If the film can grip you at the right parts you can forget about any physical discomfort (even the guy behind you sticking his knees into the back of your seat)


Congratulations on the new web site - take all the things you are not supposed to do on web sites - put them all on yours. Great inverse reference site for new programmers - ‘Go look at this site and if you do any of these things you are a crap web designer and programmer’. Excellent finally giving something back to the industry.


I have a very simple guideline to movies - average rating.
I don't bother with movies rated below 6.0 unless it's some specific gender I like. Movies rated 6.0-7.0 are ok, but nothing spectacular. I usually pass on those. 7.0+ rating justifies buying a ticket and I am rarely disappointed.

I found out that the correlation between the imdb rating and my enjoyment/perception of the movie is actually quite high.

Obviously, this won't work for everyone. Specifically you, Scott, as "No Country for Old Men" has an exceptionally high rating of 8.5 (#59 in the Top100). And it was well worth my money, thank you.


Funny, I'd have thought you would've liked this one, Scott: No Country For Old Men was about how no one has free will. The baddest bad guy in the film goes around trying to explain this to everyone else.


Yeah, sadism is something I'd like to be warned about too.


I felt like my money was more well-spent on the trailers than on the actual film.

Jaime Bakulic

Hey, I'm a movie critic! I work at, and today I watched the premiere of Charlie Wilson's War (some movies can be really late in countries like mine, this movie will feature in May here). So I'm here, thinking... what the hell, let's do it!

(hope you haven't watched this movie yet, so this review becomes actually useful)

arc: low(ish) - reaaaally high - reaally low.

Star Power: Tom Hanks-10; Julia Roberts-5; Philip Seymour Hoffman-5

Mumbling Quotient: 3

Bladder: 10 (you can make it all the way)

Artistry: 9 (specially with colours)

Sadism: 2 (it's only implied)

Originality: 5 (since it's based on a true story, this category is kind of tricky)

Incomprensibility: 5 (not very, not slightly)

Humor: 9

Scariness: 2 (Giulani generates some fear, but that'd be it)

Suspense: 1 (very little, then again, unnecesary)

This was fun to do!

OK, now I'm going to bed.


I watched a movie just like that last night. I saw the beginning, and then napped until the part where he killed the guy, thus improving the quality of the story.


"I am a legend" is a good movie. Even I saw it a few weeks back and enjoyed it very much.


You could've just said:

"Unless it's the biggest blockbuster hit of the year with the biggest star of the month, I DON'T WANNA KNOW ABOUT IT". Lucky for you, that's exactly what studios aim for.

I take it you're not much of a fan of indie-cinema or anything with subtitles?

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