If I'm going to keep doing this, I should say something about the ratings. They're on a scale of 10, which is obvious, and it probably seems like I'm a grade inflator ... everything seems to get a 7 or an 8. This makes a good lesson in statistical analysis, because I'm preselecting the movies. If I think I won't like a movie, I won't usually watch it. In fact, when looking over the rating system I use as a guide (MovieLens), I basically don't add anything to my list of must-sees that doesn't have a "we think Steven will rate this" recommendation of at least 8/10. So anything less than an 8 is perhaps a disappointment to me. In truth, a 6 is something I can take or leave, a 7 is decent, an 8 is something I'd recommend, and 9 or 10 is saved for the best of the best. Anything below a 6 pretty much sucks.
I've done this a few times in the past, but here's another one: ten movies I've rated, one for each rating from 1-10, to give an idea of where I'm coming from:
1: I Am Sam
2: Shark Tale
3: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
4: The Black Dahlia
5: Marie Antoinette
6: Spider-Man 3
7: Michael Clayton
9: Children of Men
10: City of God
Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007). Ben Affleck is very Boston. It's time I accepted this ... just because he was born in Berkeley doesn't mean anything when he spent almost his entire childhood in Massachusetts. His directorial debut is a solid job. The movie isn't earthshattering, but it does its work well. I'm not much of a Casey Affleck fan, but his brother gets as much out of him as I suppose is possible. And my beloved Amy Ryan more than deserved her Oscar nomination.
Two Women (Vittorio De Sica, 1960). Sophia Loren became the first winner of a Best Actress Oscar for a non-English role. The other nominees included Audrey Hepburn, Piper Laurie, Geraldine Page, and Natalie Wood. The movie isn't as good as its classic status would indicate ... Jean-Paul Belmondo as an Italian intellectual rebel doesn't quite work, and Loren's Oscar was a typical "hot babe shows she can act, what a surprise" nod more than anything else.
Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956). I first saw this film 15 or 20 years ago, and thought it was about me, and my "addiction" to caffeine. Watching it now, it still seems to be about me, only the drug has nothing to do with it ... the portrait of a psychotic dad hits way too close to home.