How do movie critics arrive at star ratings? Jonathan Rosenbaum
crunches the numbers in a witty, illuminating piece in today’s Chicago Reader. Rosenbaum’s one of the most invaluable writers about film we have, and I've never seen a critic of his gifts grapple publicly with the algebra that separates a three-star movie from a two—no meaningless distinction, since critical consensus is now weighed by the pound and averaged like a high-dive score.
The movies he discusses are CRASH, MINDHUNTERS and MONSTER-IN-LAW. (My favorite bit is the automatic extra credit for J-Lo, just because.) And his open declaration that he gives movies X amount of credit because he admires what they're trying to do (even if, as with CRASH, it may be mitigated, balanced out or canceled by poor presentation) strikes me as extraordinarily honest. Good stuff.