Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Four Is the New Five

There has been a major policy change at John and Dave's Pop Culture America. After a high-powered, top-secret meeting between myself, Dave, and Dougie, age 7 (Yvette didn't show up), we have decided to significantly alter the movie reviews presented on the program.

So far in the long illustrious history of J&DPCA, we have given the bottom line on movies using a five-point scale. An all-time great like Into the Wild received five PCAs while a gigantic steaming dollop of animal stool like Fred Claus would get zero PCAs.

Five seemed like a nice round number. Manageable. Like bouncin' and behavin' hair.

Well, no longer.

Inspired by Saturday's guest Dann Gire and our long-time admiration for the great Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, we are changing the movie review point system to the classic four-point scale.

From now on, deathless classics like Michael Clayton will receive four PCAs, while a sad plop of droppings like Because I Said So will still receive zero.

So what does this mean for you, the proud Pop Culture American?

It means that our reviews will be more readily comparable to those of some other critics for whom we have loads of respect (see names above). No more performing complicated mathematics to effectively compare and contrast.

It means that it takes three PCAs to recommend a film. Two and a half is about middling. Two means it's not terrible if you like that sort of thing. One and a half means a bad movie with maybe something here or there to enjoy, but not enough. One means pretty darn crummy across the board. A half of a PCA is a failure in all aspects, including stuff that shouldn't be failing (like the action stinks in an action movie). And zero PCAs is willfully inept and moribund, a film where you'd rather sit and stare at the blank screen for two hours than have them project it again.

On the positive side of the scale, three PCAs is a solid recommendation, plenty to enjoy and no glaring flaws. Three and a half is a top-notch movie, captivating from beginning to end and with an element or two that are truly spectacular. And four PCAs means this movie went beyond simply being a fun time at the picture show; this movie caught me at a very personal level. Or it could also mean that every element in the film is executed at the very highest level and all those elements mesh seamlessly.

Four's good.

There's a reason why Gene and Roger and Dann have used this scale for all these years. It's time we got into line.

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