Why I Do This And How It Works

Welcome to Filmsquish.com. I am your host, Jack "Squish" Lessard. Rather than merely using the flourish of words to explain how great a film is, I have developed a rating scale, inspired by the same system invented by wine critics: Each of the five categories that make up the elements of film are scored equally on a scale of 1 to 10, one being the 'worst ever, not even salvageable as kitsch,' and 10 being 'the best you will find'. A score of 7 deems a category 'an average professional rating'. The total times two equals its percentage rating. 

Here is the guide for overall scores:

90–100 = An extraordinarily memorable film, displaying all the attributes expected of a classic. Film of this caliber is worthy of being seen by everyone as I feel it would contain universal appeal and not only help define, but lead further innovations of its genre.

83–89 = An outstanding film of exceptional value. I consider these terrific cinematic experiences, and are definitely important films of their genre.

70–82 = An average to barely above average film with little distinction except that it is soundly made. In short a straightforward, innocuous movie.

63–69 = A below average film with noticeable deficiencies, though they may still have an appeal to forgiving fans of its genre.

50–62 = A film I deem unacceptable.

10–49 = The worst a film has to offer, deserving of spoiler status. The only saving grace is that the review will be full of scathing comments, and perhaps a few expletives. Some of my best rants can be found here.

My Criteria

The five categories assessed are the following:

Performance will cover not only the skill of actors portraying the characters on screen, but also includes the director’s ability at guiding his cast and crew.

Cinematography includes stunts, special effects, innovative costumes, shooting angles and photographic skill. In short everything that covers the visual spectrum of film.

Script covers not only how well a script is written, but how well the story elements are expressed (especially when rating Silent Film).

Plot not only covers how interesting the story itself is, but includes continuity. Films with glaring plot holes tend to be less enjoyable, don’t they? Don’t worry, no spoilers.

Mood will cover the themes of a film and how immersive the world is. This category includes the musical score, the pace, the tone and all the other little things that makes a film distinct.

Finally, continuing with the wine theme,

Aftertaste will not be a rating per se, but my way of adding an afterthought. Oftentimes I will admit that a film is not technically that good, but that I loved it nonetheless and recommend it regardless of the score. This happens often with Horror, as I’m very forgiving of the genre, with the full knowledge that it’s technically or poetically flawed. Other times I'll reminisce on other similar films, or discuss some angle of social commentary.

The wonderful thing about this website is that no single category can make up for the others. My approach does not let my passion for the visual make up for the acting flaws of a film. I don't let a picture’s inspirationally poetic words be the be-all and end-all of my review. I look at each of the major components, and then make an overall assessment based on those, rather than focusing on one thing. This way I hope my audience can assess for themselves what they deem important, and even a film that I would consider mediocre could, by my descriptions, be exactly what you’re looking for.


My Opinion On Spoilers

We read two kinds of film reviews: Those that talk about a movie, and those that talk around a movie.

Those that talk about a movie provide the service of assessing a film in its entirety. This is great for people who've already seen a film and want to explore other aspects of it, or for those who don't care if they know the ending.

Those that talk around a movie do so to help you solidify an opinion about whether to see it or not. I detest it when people ruin a film by telling me the end, or giving away important plot elements, and though my Plot category speaks of the overall story's premise, and may use a scene or two as an example, I will not tell you how it ends or what the big climax is.

However, I may see an obscure movie that's so bad I have to convince people not to see it. I might on those occasions whip out the spoiler as a punishment to the producers. Trust me, if you're going to see such a film, it's for torture, not because you're on the edge of your seat to know how it ends.

This site's content is mostly film reviews, but also includes reviews on collected shorts, Television and the occasional editorial commentary. Though my focus tends to remain in the Art-House category, I review all kinds of genres, from Documentaries to Musicals and yes, even the rare Romantic Comedy.

One last thing: This site is brand new and if you encounter any errata or have any suggestions whatsoever I welcome the comments. There's a lot of stuff here, and I can't possibly have made zero mistakes, regardless of my perfection... so let me know.

Now go and enjoy!

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