Those Cursed Stars

Most publications top off movie reviews with a star rating. “Every reviewer I know hates the fiendish things, for the same reasons readers, editors, and publicists like them. Star ratings boil down critical analysis – the careful weighing of pro and con, the appreciation for the nuances of camerawork and performance, the baited hook of scorn – into a snap judgment that can be instantly grokked by a harried parent or slapped across a two-page ad spread. Gripe though critics may, unless we’re one of the dainty pashas at The New York Times or The New Yorker, the stars – or some system of dingbats like them – are a fact of the workplace, like spam or carpal tunnel.”