George Ligon recently approached the IANS Editorial Team with an exciting proposition. "IANS editorial team", he said, "I want to write movie reviews; movie reviews with a twist; movie reviews which use political and philosophical theories; I want to create a great amalgam of movie-review-theoretical goodness which will elucidate and illuminate both the films in question and the ideas discussed". "By gum", the IANS editorial team said, "What a fabulous idea". And thus a column was birthed. In this submission, George discusses his reasons for writing the column and the rigorously consider methodology he will utilise in doing so.
I proposed this column predominantly because I love movies, but also because I think that movies, and to a lesser degree video games, TV series, and summer beach reads, are the best place to explore the way political theory and philosophy become relevant to the average person. I hope that the reviews posted here will both inform and intrigue, and in the process spark some debate. Nothing would please me more than to see some guest contributions offering their own takes on movies I’ve reviewed, disagreeing with a philosophical point that has been made, or even offering up their own reviews of something new. That is the real purpose of this column, and I hope to see it fulfilled. Though an avid student of political philosophy, I make no special claims to knowledge here. What I express is my own opinion, and quite often may only be my opinion at that moment, subject to change. It is not my intention to persuade anyone of an idea, but merely to inspire people to look at movies in a different light.
My rating system
I am a huge fan of Roger Ebert’s rating system of 4 stars and how well he applied it, but I’m not going to steal it. This column has to balance the line between reviewing the movie and commenting on it politically and philosophically and in response to that challenge, this is what I’ve come up with. I will refer to as the PPH Rating:
Metric (Total Possible)
|Metric (Total Possible)||Score (__/10)||Explanation|
|Money Point (1)||1.0 = Own it
.75 = See it in cinemas
.5 = Cinemas off-peak
.25 = Rent it later
0 = Skip it.
|Enjoyability (3)||Sense of satisfaction, fun, and keeping you tuned into the screen.|
|Artistry (3)||Directing, Script, Acting|
|Political/Philosophical Value (3)||Prevalence of interesting political or philosophical themes|
My hope is that this system will prove both relevant to anyone who happens to just see the review score whilst continuing to serve this column’s purpose. Furthermore, this rubric will allow for a greater degree of continuity across the movie ratings posted here, which will make it easier for guest contributors. Of course, there will undoubtedly be times when the rubric fails to work, but we’ll address such exceptions as they arise.
Finally, the movies that I’ll be reviewing (I hope to do one a week) will be a mix of global blockbusters, Oscar-bait dramas, and eclectic independent films. I’ll do my best to keep it interesting and vary my choices every week, but what I watch and review will be based more on personal mood and preference than any overwhelming sense of duty to offer up something different.
I hope that you will read and enjoy this column, and perhaps learn something along the way!.
Let’s get started!
Stay tuned for this weeks reviews: they'll prove a treat for your boggled Friday brains.
By George Ligon (Columnist)