How we grade film and TV

Criticism comes down to similar taste – do you agree or disagree. Whether you see eye to eye or not with Sound & Picture, we take our reviews seriously. Our goal is to offer critical views of how a film, television or online show succeeds or fails in the areas of story, cinematography, sound, picture editing, and visual effects.

Each section will be judged in terms of its appeal, believability, and effectiveness on a scale of 0.1 to 5.0, with 5.0 being the highest. The average of these denominators will factor toward its Final Verdict determining if it's worth your time and/or money.

Film Grading Scale is based 0.1-5.0, 5.0 being the highest.
Final Verdict is based on overall score.
-Don’t Bother (0 - 2.4)
-Rent It (2.5 - 3.4)
-Theater Worthy (3.5 - 5)

TV Grading Scale is based 0.1-5.0, 5.0 being the highest.
Final Verdict is based on overall score.
-Meh (0 - 2.4)
-DVR It (2.5 - 3.4)
-Tell Everyone (3.5 - 5)

A short list (in no particular order) of projects we find ourselves talking about the most and would have very high scores in these elements.

Cinematography
Film: American Beauty, Black Hawk Down, Braveheart, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Dances with Wolves, Doctor Zhivago, Gangs of New York, Gravity, Her, Inglourious Basterds, Mississippi Burning, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Rain Man, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, The Bourne Identity, The Day of the Locust, The Exorcist, The Fugitive, The Hurt Locker, The Thin Red Line, There Will Be Blood.

TV: 24, 30 Rock, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Frasier, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Lost, Mad Men, Modern Family, The Office, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under.

Sound
Film: Back to the Future, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Die Hard, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Gravity, Inception, Inside Llewyn Davis, Jaws, Les Misérables, Platoon, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Fugitive, The Insider, The Matrix, True Grit, Star Wars.

TV: Cheers, Battlestar Galactica, Boardwalk Empire, Californication, Chicago Hope, Deadliest Catch, ER, Game of Thrones, Helix, NYPD Blue, Shameless,The Amazing Race, The Office, The Walking Dead, The X Files, Weeds.

Picture Editing
Film: Apocalypse Now, Captain Phillips, Citizen Kane, Event Horizon, Goodfellas, Jaws, Memento, Paranormal Activity, Psycho, Pulp Fiction, Raging Bull, Requiem for a Dream, Saving Private Ryan, The Blair Witch Project, The Godfather, The Matrix, The Shining, The Silence of the Lambs, Fight Club.

TV: 30 Rock, American Horror Story, Arrested Development, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Deadwood, Lost, Louie, Six Feet Under, The Office, The Sopranos, The West Wing, True Detective.

Visual Effects
Film: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Avatar, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of Third Kind, Gravity, Inception, Jurassic Park, Life of Pi, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Abyss, The Thing (1968), Titanic, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

TV: Battlestar Galactica, Cosmos, Game of Thrones, Pushing Daisies, Rome, Sliders, Spartacus (2010), Star Trek: (Enterprise, Next Gen, Voyager), The Walking Dead.