Features

Your (New) Guide to the Flixist Reviews Guide

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Flixist, as a website, has been around in one form or another for over a decade. Since its inception in 2010, Flixist has grown and evolved into a much different beast than it was before. That’s a good thing, by the way. There’s always room to grow and change is good! In that time, we’ve made some not-insignificant changes to the way that we write, structure, and fundamentally think about reviews. Our format may have changed and will continue to change, but one thing will never change; we’re honest about our criticism.

Although we’ve gone back and updated the Reviews Cheat Sheet that our previous Reviews Editor Alec Kubas-Meyer wrote several years ago, which was based off the original Reviews Editor and co-founder Tom Fronzak’s guide wrote way back in 2010, we figured that it was time to finally put together a new one of these. Especially since the language of our review scores has just had its greatest change in years since we’ve gone back to a 100 point review scale.

One thing has not changed since our inception: We want our review scores, especially at the extremes of the scale, to matter. They do matter. They matter a lot. When we give a movie a score, we make sure that we can stand by that decision. If a movie is going to get an 8.0 or above, we make sure that we can talk about it and make sure that it really does deserve that score. We’ve reviewed more than 1,800 films and TV shows since we published our first review. Of those, only 10 movies and two TV shows have scored a 9.5 or higher. Only three of those movies have ever scored a perfect 10. Seriously. On the flip side, while a handful of films have scored a 2.0 or below in the past decade, only seven movies have scored between a 1.5 and a 1.0 with only one movie even scoring below 1.0.

We are proud of that.

People talk about using the entire scale. Some outlets try. Most don’t. We try, and we succeed.  A score is not an afterthought, and we don’t treat it like one. It is a fundamental part of the review. To give a movie or a TV show a score is to give it an identity. It won’t just be that movie anymore. It’ll be a number to anyone, both readers and critics, and that number has value and weight.

But a score represents a word, and that word represents a blurb. That blurb, ideally, represents the review itself. Flixist launched with a 200 point scale and has since dropped to 100. It then switched over to a 10 point scale and now we’re back to a 100 point scale. We find that the 100 point scale gives us more nuance, allowing us to actually utilize our scores fully. The specific requirements a film had to meet to reach any given category have changed immensely over the past decade. We have done this to make it easier for you, the reader, to understand where we are coming from and also for us, the writers, to get our own feelings across as effectively as possible. It was with that in mind that we revised those little blurbs. So without further ado:

10: Legendary. One of the best and most influential films ever made. Period. We will discuss this film for the rest of time.

9.5-9.9: Ultimate. This movie has literally changed what we should think films are capable of. You won’t feel the same after watching it.

9-9.4: Spectacular. An instant classic, one of the best films you will ever see.

8.5-8.9: Exceptional. One of the best films of the year. You should see it immediately, without question.

8-8.4: Great. Definitely check this one out. It is highly recommended.

7-7.9: Good. It’s easy to like this one. Some minor gripes here and there, but still fun.

6-6.9: Decent. Yes, this could have been better, but it is still worth your time.

5-5.9: Average. The white bread of cinema. There is nothing good or bad about this movie.

4-4.9: Subpar. This movie is not worth your time. Sure, parts of it may work, but only parts.

3-.3.9: Bad. There is little reason to like this movie at all. It’s only saving grace is that it is not broken.

2-.2.9: Terrible. Do. Not. See. This. You will immediately regret doing so and can barely derive any enjoyment from it.

1.5-.1.9: Repulsive. No one should subject themselves to this. You will be furious if you do, livid if you pay to do so. A complete mistake.

1-1.4: Atrocious. There are no redeeming factors in this movie. It is a waste of your time and life. The movie is completely broken.

0-.9: Insulting. An insult to cinema itself. If it shows up on your TV, throw your TV out the window. It has been sullied forever. Burning it is also an acceptable solution.

We have used every single part of this spectrum. Some of those numbers come easily, some only after a serious discussion with other members of the staff. But all of them come from the heart. Other film sites tend to cater to making 7s or 8s the new average, but we disagree with that. We are not like that. We are individuals, with our own feelings and beliefs but our reviews are statements of quality. Still, we embrace differing opinions. You may see a review published about how Cats was one of the worst movies of 2019, only to follow that up a week later with a feature talking about how Cats was pretty entertaining and enjoyable. Our review score, however, is our site’s quality gauge. We all judge movies based on our personal tastes and life experiences, and these are how our tastes color our perspective of film.

I know that some people will see this byline and think, “I trust these guys.” Others will say the exact opposite. We’re the same way with other critics, and we get it. That’s fine. In fact, it’s great. It’s that disagreement that creates compelling critical discourse. And that’s really what we’re all after. No one person’s opinion on a movie is going to be the exact same as someone else’s. Because movies are great by yourself, but the real fun begins when you share your feelings (good and bad) with the rest of us.

If you’re new to Flixist and you made it this far, welcome. We hope you like it here. And we hope that, whether you agree with us or not, you at least understand that what we say is what we truly believe.