1:offensive.2:crap.4:has its moments.6:good.8:pushes the envelope.10:masterpiece

I wouldn't bother explaining this, but I do occasionally take flak for giving a movie a 6, and then have to explain "no, that means I thought it was pretty good!" while people assume that nothing would be under a 5 like it's a school grade and blah blah blah. So here you go:

Normally, I wouldn't even try to quantify the quality of a film, especially on a scale as fine as 1-10. But I like to participate in the IMDb, and they have a 10 point rating system. And besides, if I were to use a scale, it would likely be a five-star system, and then inevitably I'd end up wanting half-stars anyway, so there you go.
Now, ranking the quality of a film is still pretty impossible, as everyone has their own scale of what makes for a good movie. And I guess it goes without saying that how I rate a movie is based on my own opinion of how good it is. But I thought I ought to explain what makes a good movie to me, and then you might have an idea why such and such only scored 8 where this other thing scored 10.
I like a film that sucks me in and suspends my disbelief. What I like even more though is a movie that stays with me after it's over. Something I think about, scenes I remember, styles that make me want to rip them off. So when you get right down to it, what I'm ranking is how much positive mindshare the film wins in my head. The top end of the scale are films that stick in my head, the middle are forgettable, and the bottom end get remembered for how bad they are.

Here's a rating breakdown:

10 - [A+] Brilliant. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean flawless, it just means that it's inventive and pulls off what I didn't know films could do. And it does it well, every scene belongs and fits, the entire film is a cohesive work with no apparent compromises, it will probably influence cinema in general from then on, and it especially hits home for me. The hitting home thing is really the only thing that seperates movies that score 8, 9, and 10. 10s will stick in my mind forever, a part of my cinematic vocabulary, and often a part of my emotional vocabulary. These films mean something to me.
9 - [A] A great film, pretty much brilliant and groundbreaking, but there's probably just a little thing in it that irritates me, like it has a couple scenes that don't quite gel with the whole, or maybe it's a little too long, or most likely the subject matter just didn't quite grab me at the core. But I'll remember it.
8 - [B+] Pushes the envelope. What lands here is either a really inventive film that works well, or a fairly conventional film that is so superbly executed that it raises the bar. A lot of serious-subject crowd pleasers end up here. An 8 is still a great film, just not one that really resonates with me. I'll probably forget most of it pretty quickly, but the viewing experience itself was great. Or I'll remember it and it hits home, but the viewing experience is a bit rough, the execution a little blurry.
7 - [B] This should be a movie that's more than just good, but not quite great. But what ususally ends up here are flawed experimental films. A film with a really cool new concept, but a flaw due to the concept that prevents it from being a really great viewing experience. Or maybe it's a superb movie that fell apart at the end. It's still recommended.
6 - [C+] Good. This film does what it set out to do. But it doesn't do more. It's a fine way to spend a couple hours, but you won't be enriched. Pedestrian, but solid.
5 - [C] Par. It's not a bad movie, it's just not that good. Pretty forgettable. Nothing special. Fine to kill time. But not recommended.
4 - [C-] Has its moments. Fundamentally, the film doesn't gel together. The scenes don't mesh. But a few of the scenes shine, and it was almost worth it just for those few moments. But it can't be recommended as a whole.
3 - [D] This is a film that has alright moments, but on the whole is pretty lame. It drags. And it never really quite shines.
2 - [E] Crap. This movie is actively bad. A failure. The competence of those involved is called into question. It never grabbed me, and I spent most of the movie waiting and wanting it to end. A lesson in what not to do. The only redeeming value is it's not quite as bad as SOME movies I've seen.
1 - [F] Offensive. This movie made me actually angry at the filmmakers. It's almost laughably bad, but it's bad beyond being a joke. It just hurts. I care so little that I consider walking out. And when I don't walk out (cause maybe it redeems itself a little by the end) I regret it. The only thing it has going for it is that it seems to have been created without any glaring technical flaws, ie the pictures seem to move.

That about sums up how it currently stands. My tastes will probably change. What should also be noted is that I might change my mind on a film after a while and bump it up or down a point. I'm usually not very locked to the number I pick, so keep in mind that pretty much every film is on an edge up or down, every rating carries a +/- of 1.

You might notice that the ratings seem to lean toward 8, instead of bell curving toward 5. That's just the result of me not bothering to go see movies that I think will be average and boring or lame. It's unfortunate that I don't see more bad movies, they're so much fun to tear down. Which reminds me, most of my reviews focus on the flaws of the film, even though the film ends up scoring 8. That's just me trying to explain why it's not a perfect score, why I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. So it's not that I'm hyper-critical, I'm just... uh.. okay, I guess I'm hyper critical. But I do genuinely like all films that score over 6.