Last year, I undertook a challenge to watch 500 movies in one year. I'm currently tabling the book I'm writing on the experience just so that I can process it all.

But this I can say: It was gruelling. Watching movies continuously is harder than you think. It's an enormous undertaking that requires time management skills of steel.

It also takes an insane amount of documentation. I kept a lengthy list of how many movies I had seen, as well as the ratio of new vs. rewatched. Every movie was also rated on Netflix.

Netflix really impressed me in the course of that year of movies. Apart from private foundations and pirates, they were the only ones who seemed to give a damn about preserving film. Their efforts have now extended into reviving films that may not have seen the light of day otherwise. It's a relief that this effort is still plugging along.

Netflix has given off the impression that they care about movie culture and all the nuance it requires. Then they had to go and announce that they were getting rid of the star system.

It's understandable why Netflix is losing the star ranking system. On a base level, I understand perfectly: crunching numbers on how much to recommend something with five different choices must be mind numbing. Their algorithms must have taken a long time to create. There is art that goes into maintaining a statistical machine that knowledgeably recommends movies to someone, down to the fraction of a star. Having a simple thumbs up/thumbs down system must lighten the engineering load considerably. As someone who works in social media and analytics, I understand this burden. I'm still not convinced changing the system is the right move.

Because here's the key factor that sets Netflix apart from every other streaming service out there: the library. They're film nerds to the core and are willing to stockpile the old and obscure to serve their customers. Part and parcel of that willingness is nuance in rating those movies. Netflix will give you exactly what you want--but how bad do you really want it? They ask because they care.

During the challenge, I wasn't able to find any streaming service (legal or otherwise) that could serve up the 1990 edition of The Handmaid's Tale. But Netflix knew what it was. In fact, they were tracking it down. It's at the top of my queue now. They estimate I'll give it 3.5 stars.

Netflix provides more than just physical or streamed entertainment. They're the only personal film archive available to the average person. Even if I haven't had any new movies sent to me this month, the money I give to Netflix buys me a living, breathing list of everything I've ever seen and my sentiment about it at the time. Netflix is my living film field journal.

Without the nuance of the star rating system, Netflix will become disgustingly similar to the imitators trying to replace it. There's nuance to their work. They care (or at least market themselves as caring) about movies. Without nuance, movie appreciation is worth nothing. A thumbs down is just too vague for my purposes.

Brit McGinnis is a copywriter and author of several books. Her work has appeared in Paste, Business2Community and many other fine publications. She lives in Portland.</p>