On Friday I talked about my personal approach to rating movies, a system that revolved around price, immediacy and convenience to watch. To refresh your memory:
- 5 Stars: Full-Priced Movie at the Theater
- 4 Stars: Matinee-Price Movie at the theater
- 3 Stars: Netflix Discs/Rental
- 2 Stars: Netflix Watch Instantly/Amazon Instant Video/Cable
- 1 Star: Couldn’t pay me to watch the movie
Today I want to talk about the expectations game. We saw Mission: Impossible 2 this past weekend. My expectation was a 3-star movie. After watching it, I’d rate it 2-stars. Pretty mediocre movie all the way through. A week ago we saw a movie called The Lives of Others. Had no idea going in but we did wait for the Netflix disc so I would rate this one a 3-star movie. Once watched, it was easily a 5-star, one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and I would have paid full price to see this in one of the local theaters.
While I can’t take full credit for this observation (Joe Posnanski wrote about this ages ago and helped solidify my vague thoughts on the concept) the real value of a movie is the difference between the expectation and reality. A 1-star expected movie that turns out to be a 2-star movie is actually a better value then the 3-star expected movie that turns out to be 2-stars, even though they were both rated 2-stars at the end.
So Mission: Impossible 2 was a disappointment. It rated out lower then I expected. The Lives Of Others was a huge success. Not only did it turn out to be a great movie but so far exceeded expectations that I talk about it every chance I get.