A: A superior piece of filmmaking overall. Excellent script and production, close to technically flawless. A pictures are the ones you list when discussing movies that are your favorites. Accommodates some errors or problems, but generally a cut above the norm.
Examples: Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941); Breathless (Godard, 1955); Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Burton, 2007)
B: Better than average, B movies (which are to be distinguished from “B pictures” of a double bill,) are fun, likeable, and showcase some craftsmanship in production. Usually have more technical difficulties or other problems that keep them from being A level. These are movies I can like, but are not so amazing I would rave about them to my friends the next day.
Examples: Across the Universe (Taymor, 2006; which although I dislike I am prone to respect technically); Big Trouble in Little China (Carpenter, 1988)
C: Average. Run of the mill. Overall forgettable. Usually they do nothing wrong, but they also don’t do anything right either. The vast majority of films are C pictures.
Examples: You, Me, and Dupree (Russo & Russo, 2006); Get Over It (O’Haver, 2001,)
D: D movies make you cringe in your seat and not because of subject matter. They are bad, but not unwatchable.
Examples: Ghost Rider (Johnson, 2007); Ultraviolet (Wimmer, 2006)
F: I can think of no legitimate reason to recommend this movie. I very rarely give out F’s.
Example: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (Miller, 2003); Norbit (Robbins, 2007)