What is a “Good” Movie? – My Quest to Find The Best Review Rating System

“What makes a movie good?”

If you ask 10 people that question you may get 10 different answers. Why is that? I think many times it has less to do with the movie than it does with the person viewing it.

We come from all walks of life, with different experiences, and have various tastes and interests. This is true of not just movie goers, but those who create the movies we love (or hate) as well. All of those things come into play with the movie experience.

While there are universally accepted rules, cinema in and of itself is an art form. Similar to a painting or a piece of music; movies are subjective, meaning different things to different people. It’s part of the reason I love movies so much. Two people can sit beside each other watching a movie and have completely different take-aways.

This subjectivity makes for great discussion, but it also makes it difficult to decide whether a movie is worth your time. Honestly, I’ve struggled with this in my movie reviews so far. At first, I did not want to give any type of numeric score, and now I’ve switched it up and decided some type of ranking system is inevitably necessary.

The problem is that giving one numeric score doesn’t comprehensively say everything you need to know about a particular movie. Sometimes, a movie may be horribly made, however it’s still enjoyable to watch. A recent example for me is xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. This movie, on a technical level, is hilariously terrible. However, it is so over the top and absurd that I had a blast watching it. I can’t bring myself just to give it a 3 out of 10 and move on. However, I also don’t think it deserves a high score just because it was fun. There needs to be more of a breakdown.

xXx Movie Vin Diesel & Deepika Padukone Stills
Vin Diesel and Deepika Padukone have a weird way of flirting in xXx: Return of Xander Cage.

So here is what I’ve come up with for my movie reviews going forward…at least until I change my mind again!

Feel free to give me your input: what are the deciding factors for you as to whether a movie is “good” or not??

Cinematic Quality – score range: 1-10

Is this a well made movie from a technical standpoint? story, acting, cinematography, music, visuals, etc.

Fun Factor – score range: 1-10

Despite whatever the quality of the movie is, how much fun will you have watching?

Worth the price of admission? – score range: 1-10

Plain and simple; is it worth it to pay good money to see in the theater, wait until it hits second run theaters or just Rebox it?

Re-watch Value– score range: 1-10

Some movies can be watched more than once, while others you wish you could get that time back.

Overall Score – The average of all of the above categories

Top 10 Christmas Movies That AREN’T Christmas Movies (But Really Are)

It’s the Holiday season and that means plenty of Christmas movies to watch. Whether its Home Alone, Elf, or Miricale of 34th Street, there are tons to choose from.

However, there are also movies that never intended to be Christmas movies, but have become traditions in their own right.

Here is my list of the top 10 Christmas movies, that aren’t technically Christmas movies…ranked in order of their festive-ness.

10. Edward Scissorhands


Tim Burton’s films all give off very similar vibes and Edward Scissorhands, starring Johnny Depp, is no exception. The most festive scenes include some time around a Christmas tree as well as a “snow-fall” scene with a twirling Winona Ryder.

9. Rocky IV


Rocky faces his toughest opponent yet: the constantly oiled up Russian, Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren. Rocky ends up training in the cold Siberian snow of Russia (apparently to be a reindeer in the picture above) and the final showdown takes places on the night of Christmas Eve.

8. Lethal Weapon


Here’s one that might be a little surprising. Despite Danny Glover “getting too old for this shit,” the first Lethal Weapon is surprisingly festive. Jingle Bell Rock plays in the opening scene, a coke-bust goes down in a Christmas tree lot, and Riggs (Mel Gibson) gets into the Christmas spirit with Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) family around their tree.

7. Iron Man 3


While the movie has one of my least favorite villains in the Marvel movie franchise, it’s still a solid entry and does take place at Christmas time. Tony buys Pepper a ginormous gift, crash lands in a snowy field, and spends time in a small town that’s decorated for the holidays.

6.Trading Places


This classic comedy about the age old debate over nature vs nurture stars Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. Besides the movie taking place primarily around Christmas and New Year’s, Aykroyd gets drunk and dresses in a grimy santa suit to crash a company Christmas party. Also, a very brief scene with a topless Jamie Lee Curtis could be argued as a Christmas miracle.

5. Love Actually


There was bound to be at least one romantic comedy to make the list, and Love Actually is a good one. The movie spotlights various couples and their quest to find love around the holidays. The movie includes a school play and a belligerent, over the hill rocker on a mission to have the number one Christmas song; promising to sing naked on live TV on Christmas Eve.

4. Batman Returns


Tim Burton apparently loves Christmas. Michael Keaton reprises his role from the original, and this time it’s Christmas in Gotham. The movie has a tree lighting ceremony, an ice princess, and the world’s most awkward mistletoe kiss by Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. This is also the only movie to show the Caped Crusader fight crime at Christmas. There is arguably more snow in Batman and Robin, however that movie is disqualified from the list on account of being literally the worst Batman movie of all time.

3. Harry Potter franchise


While technically more than one movie, the Harry Potter series boasts several scenes depicting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at Christmas time, including the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire. It helps that these movies are shown on TV frequently around the holidays.

2. Gremlins


What starts as a well-intended Christmas gift, turns into a nightmare for a small snow covered town on Christmas Eve. This movie was insanely scary as a kid, but now, watching it as an adult, it’s clear that it could almost be considered a comedy. There’s tons of references to the season, and very few monster movies can say that their creatures sing Christmas carols as they slaughter people.

1. Die Hard


Die Hard is hands down number one on this list and a Christmas season must watch. The movie takes place at a work Christmas party, there are several references to it being Christmas, and much of the film’s score is intermixed with carols. Not to mention that great scene with John’s message to Gruber: “Now I have a machine gun Ho Ho Ho.” This movie is such a Christmas favorite that people have made Christmas ornaments based on the movie. Check one out here.

Did I miss any? What is your favorite non-Christmas, Christmas movie? Let me know!