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Breaking Down the SJ Rating

originally written: September 15, 2020
revamped: February 10, 2022

This is going to make me sound like some sort of high school English teacher, but I don’t even care.

The SJ Rating (“SJ” being a shortened version of Simply Jamilah) is a rating system I came up with for reviewing books, movies, & television shows.

The rating system is broken down into five categories, and each category is worth 20 points. Within those categories, there are four questions I ask myself, worth five points each. Each point equates to one percent, which is how I come up with the percentages on my literary reviews (and any future movie or TV review).

Here are the five categories:


1. appeal

  1. Is the title catchy or pleasing to the ear?
  2. Is the cover visually appealing?
  3. Does the trailer or synopsis obviously give away the whole thing?
  4. Overall, did it give a good first impression?

2. accessibility

  1. How much time was spent trying to obtain it?
  2. Did I have to pay an arm and a leg to access it?
  3. Did I have to travel for the experience?
  4. Was it easily obtainable?

3. outside opinions

  1. Is it award-winning or a big hit among the press & festivals?
  2. Is it popular? How long from the original release date did it gain popularity?
  3. What are other people and bloggers saying about it?
  4. Do people who know me think I’ll enjoy it?

4. ingredients

  1. Who are the cast, crew, and/or characters? Anyone familiar?
  2. Is this similar to other works by the author/director?
  3. Is there a good plot, and does it flow?
  4. Are there any themes or topics I can relate to?

5. experience

  1. Was the initial look and title deceiving? In a good or bad way?
  2. How was the overall style of the piece (writing, editing, cinematography)?
  3. Was it worth the time & energy?
  4. Were my expectations met or exceeded?

When I rate things, this is the categorical system I use; I hope this provides more insight on my thinking when reviewing and recommending books, movies, and television shows.

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