I have to agree with Dennis and CDR Tacket on this one. Too often, reviews -- especially about fan films -- have no real relevance to what I'm looking for in a review and apart from marginal grammar skills and the occasional incorrect fact cited as if it were the word of God, about all I can ever really count on finding out is whether or not the reviewer liked the visual effects and how bad the acting usually is.
Example: the note that Tacket references above about Smithfield:
"It seems that she only gets to have temper tantrums. That can only last so long before her character becomes a word that rhymes with “snitch.”
First of all, don't call her a bitch if you aren't prepared to call her a bitch. It's already demeaning, but even if it's accurate don't sugar-coat it. This isn't first grade. Secondly, so the fuck what? Perhaps she was written this way. Perhaps it was a by product of the actress' performance. Perhaps there's just something we don't know yet because the story is unfolding slowly? Just seems pointless to go to the effort of rhyming it out and not have any kind of follow-through beyond the fact that the reviewer thinks she "only gets to throw tantrums."
It's just one example of the minor, points that really don't matter a hell of a lot to me with regard to a film being reviewed. I've watched every episode Farragut has released and honestly, Smithfield never came across this way to me; yet while the reviewer makes sure to include this little tidbit, it is otherwise not an in-depth review, it's all sizzle and no bacon.
Which is not to say that it is a valueless review; quite the contrary. Really, any review will have something of merit to it, and perhaps I've just gotten spoiled by Altair's review blog over at LeviathanDances... but for what it's worth, for what I'm looking for personally in a review, it needs to be more well-rounded. It can still be critical, but there needs to be some meat to it.
I'm not saying Randy is guilty of this alone or that all his reviews are done thusly, or that ALL fan film reviewers are. I'm just saying that there are far fewer people writing reviews that are, to be blunt, qualified to do so, versus the ones who aren't that do. What about the story? What about the choices our characters make, especially in context with what we know about them?
Secondly, words cannot convey how much I agree with Dennis and the assertion that a fan film awards show gimmick is a bad, terrible, destructive and just plain stupid idea. There's enough competition already; assigning nebulous levels of quality (who decides what constitutes quality?) will only further divide the fanbase, seed ill will between producers, and point a bright shiny light on what is an otherwise pleasant, under-the-radar sect of fandom.