A Year of Rating Stuff

22.10.20 - Mark

For the last year I've been rating the books and movies I've read or watched (and then bothered looking up on Amazon) and I just entered the last book I finished (Scalzi's The Android's Dream) and I skimmed over the 25 books and 100 or so movies I've rated in the last year and started thinking about how I actually rate them.

Books I tend to rate higher. I'm using an 10 point scale (5 stars in half star increments) and I tend to rate high. The lowest rating I've given was 3 stars to William Gibson's Spook County which was lower than the 3.5 I gave to Children of Men (the book, not the movie) which is off because I liked Spook Country a whole lot more than Children of Men.

I think part of the reason is I was comparing Spook County to other Gibson works that I love, and felt that Spook Country wasn't hitting the same pace. In a similar vein I was comparing Children of Men to the movie. The movie was amazing (and is one of the few that I've bought since getting Netflix) but the book was slow and had a lot less action, I'm not the type who likes reading scenes that take place in Bed and Breakfasts. The other part is that I have a low tolerance for bad books if something is less than average - like the books you're forced to read in High School English class, or ill advised college textbooks that get selected because there was a great sales pitch from the publisher - I don't finish it.

To an extent the same is true with movies. If I managed to sit though the Dukes of Hazzard with out massive brain damage I'd probably rate it under 1 star (I've got the common sense to walk away when it's on) but I've got a higher tolerance for bad movies that only eat up an hour or two of my life (I managed to walk away from The Fast and the Furious 3 - Toyko Drift more or less unharmed and it got 2.5 stars) Overall though, I rate movies more on enjoyment than cinematography or story, or plot, or acting. Snakes on a Plane (which got points for campiness) is a whole different beast than Helvetica (a smart visual documentary about fonts) and they don't have anything in common with The Last King of Scotland (which had great acting) but I gave all three 5 stars.

Something to think about if you ever look at my ratings.

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Penn and Teller: Walmart Subversives

19.49.27 - Mark

Penn and Teller would be proud of the stunt they're pulling off in Walmarts across the country.

My Brother is 17, doesn't drive, and the only photo ID in his wallet is a school ID that doesn't have his age on it. But he has money and likes movies. Tonight while running some other errands he tagged along to buy The Aristocrats, (wikipedia article on the joke). While we're there we also see Million Dollar Baby and The Aviator as a packaged deal for $20. Since we liked both movies he decides to get them as well.

I grab and pay for my things, and he's behind me with the movies. The walmart clerk passed the movies over the scanner and about the time the thing beeps for age verification we remember that Million Dollar Baby is rated R. Well, he doesn't have an ID, and I've gone though so I can't show my ID and have him (or me) pay, and none of our other tricks to deal with some of Walmart's Minor Protection Program thing will work other than come back later (its really not an efficient program).

However, The Aristocrats goes though. Turns out it's unrated, as in not R. So he forks over his $20 and we walk out of Walmart with it in all its obscene glory, but not things that were up for dozens of Academy Awards, and (typing this as I'm watching the Aristocrats) are far more "family friendly".

BTW, go watch the Aristocrats. If you don't mind filth, its funny as hell. If you do mind filth, go watch it anyways. You anal-retentive types need to loosen up. Life is a sick, disgusting, perverted world, but it's a hell of a journey.

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