A database of movie ratings since 1997. Includes film reviews, lists, and polls by Ian Cavalier.


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About Filmometer

This site is probably most useful for people who appreciate movies that stimulate thought and are looking for recommendations. You will find sorted film ratings and "15 Word Reviews" of every movie I've seen since 1997 (I'm sure I have forgotten a few). Films are rated and sorted on a scale from 10 to CRAP.

[david lynch]
David Lynch

My taste in cinema

I prefer independent films, foreign films, science fiction films, and films that people usually describe as weird. I ♥ subtitles. But I try to watch some of everything, Hollywood blockbusters and all.

When I watch movies, I want to be inspired, challenged, and entertained in equal parts. I like films that capture the absurdity of life. I like surrealism, innovation, and obscure cultural references.

I don't like perfect Hollywood endings, cheap sentimentality, or emotional manipulation. I don't like movies that prevent me from thinking and wrap everything up with a tidy artificial bow. I don't like watching films with moviestars whose celebrity power is greater than their acting ability. I don't like product placement. When it comes to rating films, Roger Ebert and I frequently disagree.

Here's what Swedish writer/director Roy Andersson has to say about the art of filmmaking:

You can't present solutions. A film should stimulate thought, encourage people to question things and invite reflection. That's what I hope for.

Dealing with issues and resolving them, that's our only option to make things better. To me, these "feel good" movies gloss over the facts. They help turn people into sleepwalkers. Somnambulists . . . who are surprised every time they're confronted with misery. Because they don't know the facts. Nothing has caused them to even reflect on it. The "feel good" trend is actually awful. We can't afford it. And you can feel good in other ways. You don't have to cover things up. I think the opposite is true; you'll feel better if you take charge of life and deal with problems . . . and ugliness. It's more satisfying. It's a richer and better feeling.

Hundreds of worthwhile quotes are available at quotedump.


What is this—how you say—CRAP?

Crap is English slang referring to feces; it is commonly used in speaking of things which are of poor quality. Such as most Jerry Bruckheimer films.

Contrary to popular belief, crap is not derived from toilet-parts inventor Thomas Crapper's name. It is, in fact, much older. It is one of a group of nouns applied to discarded castoffs in the 1400s, deriving ultimately from Late Latin crappa, "chaff." More information about crap.

Why do you use CRAP as part of your ratings scale?

Because I didn't feel like putting effort into trying to differentiate between bad films, awful films, terrible films, horrible films, and abysmal films (thus scores of 0-4 are combined as CRAP). The point is that all of these movies suck and probably aren't worth watching if they don't score better than 4 out of 10.

What are some random keywords to use when searching the reviews?

Here are a few, in no particular order: life, death, past, future, free, beautiful, love, fear, delusional, fire, water, wood, magic, samurai, hero, blood, game, blue, pink, technology, paranoid, myth, reality, hell, dance, write, silly, child, lame, drug, sex, breast, character, lynch, dogme 95, bruckheimer, johnny depp, lost highway.

What are the film criticism credentials of this Ian Cavalier guy?

Not much. I just like watching and thinking about films. I have taken film studies and filmmaking courses from Penn State University and the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon. But that certainly doesn't clinch any sort of film critic status. My imagined "authoritah" (use your Eric Cartman voice) comes to you third-hand from this one time when I met this one guy who knows this one director who made like this really acclaimed film at this one big festival and we hung out and stuff. Yeah, mostly it's that.

Who are your favorite directors?

Current directors such as David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Wong Kar-wai, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Linklater, Spike Jonze, and the Dardenne Brothers are in my pantheon. As well as Czech surrealist animator Jan Svankmajer, the Brothers Quay, and loads of classic directors.

See the first movie poll to vote for your favorite director. Be sure to keep checking back for the latest movie polls.

Why don't you update this site more often?

I'm a busy guy. This site is maintained under a generous grant from the Department of Whenever I Feel Like It.

Who designed this site?

That would be Oxygenesis Design, which is Ian Cavalier's web development and graphic design company, based in Oregon.

Do you have any movie recommendations? Perhaps you have a complaint to file about the film ratings or 15-word reviews? Ladies and gentleman, one and all, feel free to air your grievances! There's no need to wait until the annual Festivus celebration. Take this opportunity to share.

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