Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

November

Walks you out of an emotional underworld back into the light —Marty Mapes (review...)

Cox lives three times in November

" I’d let a fish lick me if it would get me out of this wheelchair "
— Betty White, Ponyo

MRQE Top Critic

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I’ve often wondered whether we at Movie Habit were too generous with our positive reviews. If we are, that’s understandable; after all, we choose which movies we’re going to review; nobody assigns us to cover the obviously bad films. So a little skew toward the positive is to be expected.

But exactly how kind we were being? How would you measure?

Matt Anderson writes about movies big and small and is our second-longest-running contributor
Matt Anderson writes about movies big and small and is our second-longest-running contributor

Luckily, we have a database that we can mine for some statistics. We looked a list of how each critic rated each movie. (Our scale goes from 0 to 4 stars in 1/2-star increments, with 2 1/2 stars being roughly the boundary between "recommended" and "not recommended.") We then looked at the median, which is a good way to get rid of outliers. Then, because the medians were so similar, we calculated the average. Finally, since we have it, we included the total number of reviews from that critic in our database. By the way, a redesign of our web site is in the works, and we expect to be able to make this sort of data available, updated automatically with each new review we write. For now, though, we’re using an abacus, a pen, and paper (figuratively). These results are as of February 10, 2008.

As it turns out, we’re pretty kind, especially if you consider that 3 stars is a recommendation. The kindest reviewer is Anand, followed closely by John, Risë and Andrea. When these guys dislike a movie, you might want to think twice before buying a ticket. On the flip side, Pablo, Ryan, and Nick are the hardest to please. You might look at the movies they do recommend and give them another thought.

Falling in the middle are Matt and Marty, our two most prolific writers. Indeed, the Movie Habit composite is right there with them.

So without further ado, here is how “kind” Movie Habit’s current crop of critics is, in order from kindest to most skeptical. Bear this in mind when you see the next glowing review or scoffing rejection. You might want to take that recommendation with a grain of salt (or perhaps with a pound of the stuff).

We’ve also added this information to the sidebar of each critic’s “About Us” page.

Anand Ramachandran

Median Rating 3 stars
Average Rating 3.08 stars
Number of Reviews 12

John Adams

Median Rating 3 stars
Average Rating 2.99 stars
Number of Reviews 74

Risë Keller

Median Rating 3 stars
Average Rating 2.98 stars
Number of Reviews 63

Andrea Birgers

Median Rating 3 stars
Average Rating 2.96 stars
Number of Reviews 99

Movie Habit Composite

Median Rating 3 stars
Average Rating 2.84 stars
Number of Reviews 1,720

Matt Anderson

Median Rating 3 stars
Average Rating 2.84 stars
Number of Reviews 280

Marty Mapes

Median Rating 3 stars
Average Rating 2.83 stars
Number of Reviews 1,026

Ryan Hurtig

Median Rating 2.5 stars
Average Rating 2.64 stars
Number of Reviews 29

Pablo Kjolseth

Median Rating 2.5 stars
Average Rating 2.54 stars
Number of Reviews 39

Nick Reed

Median Rating 2.5 stars
Average Rating 2.44 stars
Number of Reviews 50
  • rise: I feel compelled to point out that since I contribute only occasionally, I tend to pick things to review that I have an interest in seeing, which may amount to quite a bias toward what I see. Conversely, I didn't bother to review a small handful of indie films I've received screeners of over the past year. If I can't get through half an hour without feeling I should be doing something else, I eject the DVD and don't write it up at all. Most movie critics at papers see a much greater percentage of the films that come out and if I had to do the same and write up everything I ever see, my averages would likely be a lot lower. February 18, 2008 reply
  • Marty Mapes: Ditto. February 18, 2008 reply