Thursday, November 10, 2011

System 2 Re-reviews

Here are short re-reviews of the past three movies I've reviewed. In this post I'm only addressing the questions that are new to System 2, and using the same answers I gave to the System 1 questions to recalculate the new System 2 ratings. For the impatient, here are the new ratings without any comment:

The Big Lebowski System 2 rating: 255, or 11111111
Gun Crazy System 2 rating: 178, or 10110010 
Ils (Them) System 2 rating: 56, or 00111000

The Big Lebowski

Personal Connection: Yes

I think the only personal connection I need to mention is my tendency (especially recently) to tell people that they're out of their element, or that "that's just, like, your opinion, man," or saying, "Fuck it, dude. Let's go bowling." I think this movie taps into something about tedious everyday existence, despite being absurd and unbelievable, that connects with everyone.

Intent: Yes

In my original review I said "Yes" for artistic intent and "No" for technical, but since my "No" was on such a slim margin I think that their overall intentions merit a "Yes". The arguably questionable CGI doesn't bring down how hilariously brilliant their plotting is, or even how well-thought-out the rest of the technical aspects are. I should've given it a 255 under System 1, and I have no excuse no to under System 2. 

Execution: Yes 

Both executions got a yes in the past review so I feel no need to justify this.

Theme or Moral: Yes

If the theme is nihilism, pointlessness and absurdity, I'm all for it. If the theme is fun, over-the-top entertainment, I'm all for it. Either way, it's a win.


I'm happy that Lebowski has a perfect score under my new system, but I'm sad that so many other Coen brothers movies share that score. Perhaps I need to review each of them individually and really go in-depth and think about them. (Perhaps I should stop trying to pre-calibrate my systems.)

Gun Crazy

Personal Connection: No

This is very much one of those movies I enjoyed but didn't really feel personally invested in, and I believe I said as much in discussing several of the other questions.

Intent: No 

In the System 1 review, I failed the artistic intent but gave the technical intent a pass, but the technical intent's logic rode highly on the back of the execution. Removing the technical/artistic distinctions, I think the intentions clearly don't get a pass. 

Execution: Yes 

Again, I answered both execution questions with a yes. 

Theme or Moral: No

Much of this is expounded upon in repeatedly and in detail in my full review, but the 50's-era over-moralizing (likely forced by the production code) makes any good movie a bit cheesy at times. Not that I think the moral of a movie should be "crime pays, go on an armed robbery spree," but it could be less on-the-nose about it. Also, the theme of obsession is somewhat stretched – it's hard to buy that anyone could be so literally singlemindedly into shooting guns that the only way he can make a living is through armed robbery. 


I feel a good deal better about giving this movie a 178 than a 231 just as a gut-level reaciton. It was good, but not 90% "perfect" in my opinion. This score is about 70%, which I'm okay with.

Ils (Them)

Personal Connection: No

If I've never had my house broken into, and I didn't feel that the characters were real people or that the places where real places, with what will I have a personal connection? Riddle me that.

Intent: No

Both intentions got the same answer, but this time it was a negative.

Execution: No

In the System 1 review, I gave the artistic execution a pass for decent acting and reasonably effective scares, but failed the technical intentions for the unmotivated use of handheld in scenes that didn't need it and the apparent lack of an overarching, cohesive vision. There seems to be a pattern with these cases of artistic and technical conflict: one opinion is strong and the other is weak. So I'm saying "no" for execution – decent (not great, mind you) acting doesn't overcome other problems with execution.

Theme or Moral: No

The moral, I suppose, is that people are capable of terrible things. Which undoubtedly they are, but the movie doesn't really address that. Honestly, I don't see that it really has themes or morals, just scares.


This is perhaps a rather tumultuous ratings plummet for a movie that is pretty well reviewed in other places, and for one that I haven't gone back to rewatch, and for one that clearly isn't as bad as a Michael Bay movie, but I'll stick with this for now. I wonder if perhaps this new scale is skewed towards certain extremes – if perhaps the questions are too similar, so that movies that pass always pass, and ones that fail always fail. Perhaps I should just shut up and review more movies, which is the equivalent of actually, you know, gathering data instead of just sitting here overanalyzing my theory.

Overall Conclusions

I think I feel a bit better about most of the actual ratings I'm getting, but worse about the distribution of ratings (specifically the clumping of Coen brothers movies at the top). Of course, only time and data will tell. Time to review a busload of classic noirs!

No comments:

Post a Comment