I'm not talking about BBFC ratings - that is a rant for another day - but star ratings, or ratings out of 10 for books/films/anything.
Take this example posted recently on a forum I peruse...
Killer elite. 20 years ago, a film with Robert deniro was something worth watching. No longer. Awful script, crap plot, poor casting (somebody was supposed to be sniffing around with a welsh accent - I never heard one) and so many technical and historical inaccuracies it made star trek look like a documentary. Clive Owen looked embarrassed, deniro a bit bewildered. When Jason statham is the best bit of film (he wasn't bad really, but you don't expect much with him) that says it all.
So, a harsh review like that...must be a dreadful film, and you would guess a dreadful score. The rating given?
Yup...a mid-point score, which suggest an average, and moderately enjoyable film. Blimey, I'd hate to see what that person considers a 1/10!
Then you get the folk for whom the number 8 seems to echo around their brain, to the degree that it means a film is good/bad/amazing/shite/anything at all. There was a regular troll...I mean poster....over on the said same forums who rated every bloody film 8/10 (aside from a handful of cases where he managed to mis-type the number 6). He would then, elsewhere, comment that some of said 8/10 (or 6/10 mis-types) were "awful" films!?!?!?
Now, it isn't just armchair critics, watching dodgy pirated downloads who are this bad - even printed crits are guilty of it. Take a gander at the latest Empire/Total Film/SFX/Whatever, and you will likely see examples of what I refer to as 'reviewer snobbery' whereby the review will praise the film/etc, but they will slap a 3 stars (out of 5) so they don't look stupid in front of their peers ("You gave 4 or 5 stars to an action film? Are you mad? You need to save them for some French arthouse crap about a man who is in love with his poodle!") The Metro famously reviewed X-Men 2 with a praising review that explained how it was so well structured, acted, and directed, and was an amazing film...then gave it 3 stars!! This is also know to be a condition that arises over time, when a reviewer will rave about something, slapping 5 stars on it and saying it is "Amazing!" but will then (once they see they are alone in the praise) forget this a year later and slag the film off so they don't look daft (best example....Lost In Space. A film much derided these days, yet seemingly enjoyed by reviewers when it was released).
Then you get the audience idiocy. Those folk who see a review has 6/10 (or 3 stars) and say that it must be crap! No...6/10 is an average score. It represents a reasonable, yet forgettable product....which can sum up the majority of summertime blockbusters or comedies. Indeed I have rated 'Ray', 'X-Men: The Last Stand' and 'Batman Forever' as 3 star films...all flawed, yet all films I was glad to watch.
Anyway, who cares what a reviewer rates a film? At the end of the day it is one person's opinion, and opinions are like arseholes...everyone's got one, and they are usually full of shit. Find out for yourself, and never trust a star-review. Especially from me...after all, I rated Superman Returns as 5/5!