There’s a phrase that I learned about recently that describes a lot of movie watching; ‘presumption disparity’ – it’s the difference between the actual reality and the perceived reality. If you walk into a bar and ask for a tropical drink – what the barkeep would hand you would be far different than what people in the tropics actually drink – that difference is the ‘presumption disparity’.
When I get really excited about seeing a movie – I’m wagering that it I have no ‘presumption disparity’ – and that it will live up to exactly what I want it to be. When I’m pleasantly surprised by a movie – it usually means that I expected the movie to be all right – but exceeded my expectations.
When I sat down to watch BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID – I thought it was going to be a more traditional western – but it turned out it was a kitschy buddy film. This affected my opinion of the film quite a bit – but is it the film’s fault? No. My ‘presumption disparity’ was too large and that is made it seem poor to me – I didn’t fairly judge it for the content that was – I judged it based on the content that I wanted it to be.
I try my hardest to go into movies with a 5 out of 10 mentality – and it’s the movie’s job to either improve on that score or degrade that score. It’s hard not to get excited about certain films – people are paid to figure out ways to get you excited and advertise based on that excitement. It’s also hard when you go in expecting a “classic” when you’re told over and over how great something is.
People have told me that THE BLUES BROTHERS is hilarious – one of the best comedies ever – which isn’t really fair considering that this praise puts an unfair burden on this film to deliver. Thus, when I finally get around to watching it my ‘presumption disparity’ is probably going to be way off – and I’ll think it’s overrated. Unless everyone of course is dead on and not exaggerating about their love for a film – which is a blog topic onto itself.
As I’ve been thinking of this ‘presumption disparity’ factor more and more – I decided to axe my ratings of ‘x out of x’ – and just give an honest opinion of what I watch. I will lavish praise on films I like and give reasons as to why I loved the film. I will cut down films I dislike and I will argue as to why it was not good.
I think cutting out a rating system will reduce the amount of high marks given out based on an initial exceeding of my ‘presumption disparity’ – which is more common than I care to admit. I also feel like it will give people more to think about if they chose to take my movie recommendations rather than “it’s a 5-star film so it better be great” – and with 5 followers – I’m really concerned.