If you’ve only reviewed a few films, it isn’t hard to grade on a scale; when you’ve reviewed hundreds of films and people start reading you, they start to see discrepancies (whether real or imagined.) It isn’t possible to rate every film against every other film, and words like good, bad, perfect, and awful don’t always set right with those who put their time and effort into doing the best they can (nor does it mean they get a pass, however.)

The most ethical way in my mind to rate films is by my own recommendation (a word I use on EVERY review) since this is MY opinion. Four skulls to zero skulls is used to signify my personal highest recommendation to my least. If you still need a breakdown:

  • 4.0 out of four skulls 4.0 out of Four Skulls. My highest recommendation. I will see this again. I suggest buying a ticket at the theater. Everyone should see this. I will eventually own it.
  • 3.5 out of four skulls 3.5 out of Four Skulls. Highly recommended. Can’t wait to see this again. Should be seen at the theater. Most moviegoers should see this. I may eventually own it.
  • 3.0 out of four skulls 3.0 out of Four Skulls. Mostly recommended. I may see this again. Worth a ticket at the theater. Many moviegoers should enjoy this. Might purchase it on sale.
  • 2.5 out of four skulls 2.5 out of Four Skulls. A viewable recommendation. Watchable at least one time. Worth a matinee price. You shouldn’t hate yourself for watching this. Ownable in the $5 discount bin.
  • 2.0 out of four skulls 2.0 out of Four Skulls. A genre fans only recommendation. Watching once may be palatable. Set it in your rental queue or watch on a movie channel. You may feel soiled watching this. Ownable as a gift.
  • 1.5 out of four skulls 1.5 out of Four Skulls. A genre fan warning recommendation. Watching once may cause emotional stress. Set low on your rental queue or record on a movie channel. You’ll need a shower after watching this. Regift back to whoever gave it to you.
  • 1.0 out of four skulls 1.0 out of Four Skulls. A couch potato recommendation. Watching once may be once too many. Avoid your rental queue or skip through your recording. You can’t scrub this movie off fast enough. Wouldn’t keep if you gave me a copy.
  • 0.5 out of four skulls 0.5 out of Four Skulls. A poor recommendation. Watching once may be hazardous to your health. Cable channels should avoid showing this, even late at night. You may be tainted for viewing this. Owning this is a sure sign of dementia.
  • 0.0 out of four skulls 0.0 out of Four Skulls. Reserved only for my lowest recommendations. I cringe when I see this film’s name. No media outlet should show this. No one should see this. You couldn’t torture me into taking a copy.