Something I've noticed, including in myself, is a tendency to want to neatly classify films and scores in piles: the good pile; the bad pile; the guilty pleasure pile; and so on. Also to statically rank things and give them score.
Here's the thing: what if it's not really like that?
What if it's not so black-and-white?
What if it's no so static?
What if merit is not so one dimensional?
Take Guy Hamilton and Lewis Gilbert. Good box or bad box? Well, here's the paradox. Guy Hamilton helmed one of the great classic James Bond films, Goldfinger. Lewis Gilbert helmed another evergreen favourite, You Only Live Twice and revived a flagging franchise with what many (but not all) consider to be the best of the Roger Moore films, The Spy Who Loved Me. And yet between them they ushered in everything that was wrong with the 1970s Bond films: playing it too much for laughs; too much gadgetry; and the abandonment of intriguing Fleming-esque plots in favour of serial gimmickery.
My feelings on these directors is multi-dimensional and it cannot be expressed by simply boxing them, ranking them or giving them a score.
Take Moonraker. I jokingly berate it with a fantasy alternate title: Carry On James Bond. And yet I actually quite enjoy watching this movie. Why? For the risible script? No! To see Jaws romance Dolly? No! But I do love its pre-title sequence and the combined contributions of Ken Adam, John Barry and Derek Meddings. Moonraker is a case of all the great stylistic contributors being on staff, on form, it's just they're adding their layers of much-loved Bond style to the carcass of a turkey. Still, it just demonstrates my feelings on this film are not so one dimensional as I might pretend.
As for staticness, if my feelings about James Bond films and scores was really as static as I pretend, why would I ever choose to watch The Man With The Golden Gun, one of the most lowly ranked Bond films? And yet, sometimes it's the choice I do make. Surely, in that moment, at least temporarily, that's the one that will gratify my needs.
There's fault and virtue available to be found in almost anything. What we actually find may depend on what we go looking for; and what biases we might have in our approach to it. Also, what we find on Monday may be different to what we find on Tuesday, should our mood be different.
I understand why we box, rank, score and pretend it's all very one dimensional and static. It's all part of the intellectualization process. We just seem to have this need to sort and classify. However, I think this just obscures the more dynamic and multi-dimensional relationship we really have with films and music. And this is why I think reviewing needs to get less about boxing, ranking and scoring and needs to get more about finding the words to express the dynamic and varied attributes of a work.