Should I Give Grades?


Hi friends!  I want to ask your opinion.  One thing as a movie blogger I have struggled with is rating or ranking the films I see.  It’s one thing if it is the Pixar reviews or Disney Canon reviews and they are films I can watch multiple times really crafting an “expert” opinion.   I feel more confident in those reviews; although, some of the early Canon reviews I think I was a little bit tough (particularly Bambi and Pinocchio) because I didn’t have much experience writing reviews. But when I am reviewing a new movie it is hard to have that kind of exposure to the film and it is mostly a response to my gut reaction.  It’s tough to take notes although sometimes I do.  I think most readers understand the difference between new and previously released films but I wonder if the grading system I use sometimes hinders me a bit in giving that response.

Here’s what I mean.  There are a lot of films that I enjoy and would sincerely recommend them to people.  That said, I see the flaws and feel they are an average film.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  This according to my grade gets a C grade.  B is really good and A is in running for best of year. But it seems to me that people can become to fixated on the C grade and ignore all the positive things I said in the review.  Sometimes I wonder if people read the review at all and just looked at the grade.

In general I think I’m actually a little bit too generous with the A grades.  After all I gave 22 As in my Disney Canon ranking.  That’s almost half. I gave 10 of the Pixar films A grades.  And yet recently I’ve been accused of being a “tough critic”.  This is mainly I think because of my disappointment in the Minions movie.  However, if you actually read that review I think I was far nicer than many other animation bloggers I know.  In fact I said:

“A friend of mine asked me if she should still see and I said yes.  It’s fine but just know it is made for little kids without a ton of grown up appeal…However, it does look nice and is bright and colorful and the beginning 20 minutes is a lot of fun”

Here I was telling my friends go see it but my giving it a C- (just a hair below average) means I am a tough critic?  I don’t get it?

One thing I have noticed is in my video reviews for my youtube channel I don’t give out grades.  Not out of design but honestly most of the time I simply forget. I just give my response to the film and people seem very happy with that.  I wonder sometimes if people listen to what I say a little bit more because I didn’t give a grade?

Sometimes I feel like the judges on Dancing with the Stars that get booed anytime they say anything negative about a performance.  I’ll say tons of great things about a film and then have a few things I didn’t like and people focus on those instead of all the good stuff.  That can be very frustrating as a writer.

I’ve had people say a ‘you should have given it a B’ but when we actually talk about our experiences and reactions they aren’t that different. It’s just what defines a C to me is a B for him or her.  That makes me want to throw the grades out!

I don’t know.  What do you think?  Do you see value in having a grade at the end of the review?  Is it something you care about?  Do you think I am a tough critic?  Sure I have my preferences but there are very few movies I totally dog (Maleficent I’m talking to you…).

Please give me some feedback my lovely readers.  Do you like the grades or can I do away with them and just write my thoughts on the film?  That’s what I did for Scrooge Month last year and it worked out great.  No grades needed.

Thanks for your help with this!

My Favorite Disney Canon Scores


Hey guys!  I think you will all enjoy this a lot.  I love a great score to a movie.  I’m a lover of classical music and when you have a story behind said music it makes it even better.

I have a little hobby of collecting scores of all types and then listening to them while I work.  This isn’t as distracting as vocal music can be but you still get the entertainment and the story.

I thought it would be fun to put together a list of my favorite scores.  Some of these are part of strong movies and others are not.  So the quality of the movie doesn’t really affect the value of the score.

That said, some of these are integral in making the movie work.  Rescuers Down Under, for instance, uses the John Williamesque score to give the feeling of an Indiana Jones type adventure very effectively.

I also tried to put in some variety because I don’t only like epic scores but also the electric video game feel to Wreck It Ralph and the pop anime influence of Big Hero 6.

If I had to pick 2 favorites it would probably be Lion King and Bambi because in both films the score tells a lot of the story, especially Bambi.  Instead of having sound effects for rain, it is music.  Without the score Bambi would be a much weaker movie.

(Also I’m not counting Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 or Sleeping Beauty since those aren’t original scores. If I did they would clearly be the top)

What are some of your favorites?

This list is in no particular order

Beauty and the Beast by Alan Menken

Great Mouse Detective by Henry Mancini

Black Cauldron  by Elmer Bernstein

Rescuers Down Under by Bruce Broughton

Frozen by Christophe Beck

Treasure Planet by James Newton Howard

Mulan by Jerry Goldsmith

Pocahontas by Alan Menken

Hunchback of Notre Dame by Alan Menken

Pinocchio by Leigh Harline and Paul J Smith

Bambi by Frank Churchill and Edward H Plumb

Little Mermaid by Alan Menken

Lion King by Hanz Zimmer

Snow White by Paul J Smith and Leigh Harline

Wreck it Ralph by Henry Jackman

Big Hero 6 by Henry Jackman

Alice in Wonderland by Oliver Wallace

Princess and the Frog by Randy Newman

Winnie the Pooh by Sherman Brothers and Buddy Baker

Atlantis: The Lost Empire by James Newton Howard