It’s been a long time coming, but here’s exactly how my own ratings–and by extension, any of this site’s writer’s ratings–work, starting with rule 1:
1) If I like the movie, it gets a good rating.
Rule 1 also happens to be the only rule. Of course, how much the writer likes the movie goes into exactly how positive or negative the number is. No movies are rated against each other; each film should be judged on its own merit, or lack thereof. A bad score doesn’t mean the movie is “bad.” It simply means one of us didn’t like it.
Our use of quasi-scholarly language should in no way reflect upon the film in question–it should only reflect poorly on us for not being able to write in any other manner.
Additionally, no review or rating will ever, ever reflect upon a movie’s box office totals. As noted sack of crap H.L. Mencken once said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” The only issue in question should be if our own broke, unintelligent review of something jives with your own estimation of that film, and not whether our tastes or opinions coincide with that of the greater American filmgoing populace.