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Low Concept Film Ratings

Separate the wheat from the chaff
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Hollywood seems preoccupied with producing "high concept" films. These share the characteristic of being almost entirely focused around the potential for marketing the film. A high concept film can always be described in a succinct one-line blurb that often becomes part of the film's ad campaign.

Some examples include:
"The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" high concept: the babysitter from hell
"Godzilla" high concept: giant lizard attacks New York
"Armageddon" high concept: killer meteor threatens Earth

Unfortunately this focus on ease of marketing often results in a dearth of such non-essentials as clever writing, an intriguing plot and character development.

I propose an addition to existing movie rating systems that endeavors to communicate this to potential moviegoers. The ratings board will attempt to sum up the story of the film in simple language. This is the film's "concept". Suggestions can be offered by the filmmaker as a starting point.

The number of words in the concept is divided by 5, fractions are discarded, and the result is subtracted from 10. The minimum value is 1 (nobody wants a zero on their rating).

This results a score of the "concept" of the film, ranging from 10 for true high-concept blockbusters (less than 5 words), down to 1 for complex psychological dramas (40 words or more).

If you are looking for simple fun, look for a 9 or 10. If you want something a little more pithy with an actual plot, look for a lower number.

Clearly this not a reliable indicator of film quality, but at least it gives you some clue of what to expect.

krelnik, Oct 28 2002

definition: high concept http://www.screentalk.org/art043.htm
Not sure I agree that Casablanca is high concept, but you get the idea [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Rating Zone http://www.ratingzone.com/
Collaborative ratings as desired by [horripilation] [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

[link]






       And 11/10 where the concept is already in the title: e.g. "My Stepmother is an Alien".
whimsickle, Oct 29 2002
  

       'The 10 Commandments': "God's pissed"
'Dude Where's My Car?': "Sweet"
'Hamlet': "Great Dane"
'Ishtar': "Succulent"
phoenix, Oct 29 2002
  

       //what's wrong with reading a review//   

       1. Some people don't like reading reviews, feeling they give away too much of the story.
2. Too easy. This is the halfbakery, after all.
krelnik, Oct 29 2002
  

       I would rather drop ratings completely and instead consult a web site that invites you to rate movies you have seen, and then recommends other movies based on the ratings of people whose tastes are similar to yours (and such a thing must exist already). When you open the site, it lists the movies playing in your area with ratings tailored to your tastes and the tastes of friends and family (assuming they also participate). When you get home, you log in and rate the movie according to a standard questionnaire. The longer you participate, the better the system gets at recommending movies to you and everyone else. If they got celebrity critics to participate, you could also choose to see what trusted critics would choose.
horripilation, Oct 30 2002
  

       There are in fact sites that work precisely as you describe. I'll see if I can dig one up.
krelnik, Oct 30 2002
  

       Until he stopped doing the film reviews for the BBC, I always found Barry Norman to be a reliable guide to cinema going. If he hated a film then I would love it. If he loved it then it was probably a load of old guff.

krelnik, your system is overly complicated. What's with the subtract from 10 bit? Why not just divide the 'concept' by five to get a rating, fractions round up. So a rating of 1 is a film with a simple concept and the more complex the film, the higher the number goes.
DrBob, Oct 30 2002
  

       Well I originally had it that way, DrBob, but I thought it might be confusing since the term "high concept" is already well established. The formula as stated is so that a "high" concept gets a high number.   

       I also thought this would make it more palatable to the studios, since their big risky blockbusters would get high numbers. Anyone who cares enough to seek out a good, thoughtful film will be intelligent enough to understand that a "low concept rating" doesn't mean bad at all.
krelnik, Oct 30 2002
  

       That's a shame. I liked the idea that, if the concept rating is a higher number than you can count to, you probably aren't going to enjoy the film.
DrBob, Oct 30 2002
  

       Who would officially decide upon the 'concept' blurb?
Jinbish, Oct 30 2002
  

       I'm thinking it would have to be the ratings board, so that they couldn't be manipulated by the studio. The studio would suggest a blurb, and the ratings board (after viewing the film) would approve it and derive the rating from it.   

       The actual concept blurb need never become public if that is not desired. Some movies with twists or complex plots might not want to reveal spoilers. As an example I would give "The Sixth Sense". The concept blurb "Kid sees dead people" doesn't really do this film justice, but a blurb that did would probably reveal the ending.
krelnik, Oct 30 2002
  

       Isn't that the one with the dead psychiatrist walking around?
thumbwax, Oct 30 2002
  

       Yeah, he's Luke's father too.
krelnik, Oct 30 2002
  

       Either I don't fully understand, or I'm not sure this is as objective as it would at first appear.   

       Which of these films is high/low concept?
i) The Big Lebowski
ii) Star Wars
iii) One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
iv) When Harry Met Sally
v) Manhattan
vi) The Matrix
vii) Terminator
zen_tom, Jun 29 2005
  

       Star Wars, The Matrix and Terminator are all high concept. The others are not.   

       Star Wars - Teenage boy joins rebels fighting against an evil space empire. LCFR = 8   

       Matrix - Robots have enslaved humanity inside a lifelike VR world. LCFR = 9   

       Terminator - Robot comes from future to assassinate woman. LCFR = 9
krelnik, Jun 30 2005
  

       Star Wars - Father son rift.   

       Matrix - There is no spoon.   

       Terminator - I'll be back.   

       These are all 10's!
daseva, Jun 30 2005
  
      
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