I had a theory about art, so I made this blog to test it.

My theory is that we can create an objective standard of art. Not one that will say "This is the greatest piece of art ever made, everyone go home." I'm not that silly. I think we can make a standard by which we can measure our subjective opinions about a piece of art; that is, we can create a scale with which we can weigh any work against any other, and decide not which is better, but which we personally prefer. And not along the lines of comparing, say, Terminator to Terminator 2, but comparing the Beatles to classical Greek sculpture. Not to say which one is better, but which one you think is better.

But I don't want to start out that broad. Down that road surely lies madness. If Newton had sat around puzzled until he could explain all the forces of nature with one theory, he never could have explained gravity to us.

So because I was a film student, I'm going to stick to my medium. There's enough cinematic variety that I think we can pose questions most people would object to answering. Just ask someone to compare Airplane! to Seven Samurai, or Casablanca to Dog Star Man, or Star Wars to Apocalypse Now. No sane person will tell you that these movies are comparable; yet, they are. If you're locked in a room with two movies you've seen before, and told you're not getting out until you watch one, you'll invariably pick one or the other.*

And because I'm a programmer, I think I can do it in 8 bits. So I will come up with a scale: a series of (necessarily subjective) questions with simple yes-or-no answers which can be arranged to create a rating for a film between 0 and 255.

My first system was 8 questions – each question corresponding to a bit, each yes to a 1, each affirmative answer to a point value depending on how important the question is. I don't know if it's right. Perhaps my last scale will be 255 questions, and the rating will just be the total number of yes answers. Perhaps there is no scale, and my theory is wrong. But one way or another, I intend to review movies (and assess the accuracy of my scales) until I find an answer.

*Granted, any one incidence of such could be attributed to whim ("Apocalypse Now is better, but I haven't seen Star Wars since I was a kid," or "I love Casablanca but I've never seen Dog Star Man, let's try that," or "Seven Samurai is four hours long, I want to get out of here"), but if you repeat this experiment a thousand times with the same sampling of movies, not only will you get sick of the movies in question and grow increasingly suspicious of promises of your release when the movie ends, I would posit that you'll also tend to pick one more than the other. But Monte Carlo methods of testing hypotheses are crude and, in this case, impractical, not to mention ethical issues involved in locking someone in a room and forcing them to watch movies, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style.