Linearly Regressed Movie Watching

Although I know all the cool kids use Netflix, I've been a customer of Blockbuster Online for awhile. I have a hopelessly long queue, both movies and TV shows. I can, of course, move things up and down in the queue.

I started wondering if there was some way I could optimize the queue. All the movies have ratings at the Internet Movie Database (IMDB); most also have ratings at Rotten Tomatoes (RT).


So I did the Statistics 101 thing, aided by some Perl web-crawling scripting and Gnuplot: a scatter plot for each movie in my queue that had both an IMDB rating and a RT rating. (click to embiggen):


I've seen worse data! They look kind of correlated, so let's also put in the linear best-fit line:


Looks almost like science! For anyone who knows what "correlation coefficient" means: it's 0.79 for this data.

Some miscellaneous observations:

  • The data should not be taken to represent anything general about IMDB and RT ratings. For example, I've either already seen, or decided I don't want to see, very high-rated movies. Similarly, there aren't a lot of dreadful movies in the queue. So the movies in the data aren't necessarily representative of movies in general

  • RT advertises their "Tomatometer" ratings prominently, but I used their fine-print "Average Rating" instead. The Tomatometer is (roughly) the fraction of critics who liked the movie; the Average Rating is more comparable to what IMDB does: each movie gets a score between 0-10.

  • Fun facts: although IMDB rates movies from 1-10, there are only two movies at IMDB with ratings greater than 9: The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather. And there are only 38 movies with ratings under 2. I'm pretty sure the lowest-IMDB-rated movie I've ever watched is Epic Movie, which has a 2.2.

  • The movie up there in the northeast corner of the plot is The General, a silent Buster Keaton movie from 1927. It gets an 8.3 at IMDB and an 8.8 at RT. I'll move that up in the queue.

  • Down there in the southwest corner with IMDB ratings under 5.5 and RT ratings under 5.0: M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening; The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; and Balls of Fury (the ping-pong comedy with Christopher Walken). Maybe I shouldn't bother with those, at least not until I've seen every other better movie.

  • Somewhat interesting are the outliers: Eagle Eye was relatively despised by the critics (RT rating: 4.6) but the rankers at IMDB didn't think it was that bad, giving it a 6.8. (In the same boat: War, with Jason Stethem and Jet Li, 6.2 at IMDB, 3.9 at RT.)

    The other way around: the RT critics adored Sidekick, a direct-to-DVD underperformer (7.3 Average Rating, 100% on the Tomatometer). But the IMDBers were like, eh!, giving it a mediocre 5.7.

    Not sure what to do with those.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 2:06 PM EDT

URLs du Jour


  • Pun Salad must link to Rich Galen's explication of the latest financial scandal: He Madoff With All the Money.

  • It's getting to be that time of year where people write up their "Best of 2008" lists. (It seems to get earlier every year, doesn't it? Isn't it risky to do that with a couple weeks left in the year?)

    Anyway, connoisseurs of the mugshot photo will want to enjoy this collection from The Smoking Gun. There are semi-famous people: Andy Dick, Heather Lockyear. And number 10 is from the Concord (NH) Police Department, who busted Peter Abramczyk back in September after he advertised himself as a "passable crossdresser" on Craigslist. Frankly, he's not going to be confused with Heather Lockyear anytime soon.

  • Quote du jour is from Frank J at IMAO, who's talking about Chelsea Clinton as a possible replacement in her mom's Senate seat:
    We're conservatives. We have jobs, families, responsibilities. Because of this, we have a very limited supply of rats' asses.
    Truer words were never spoken. Well, maybe they were, but these are still pretty good.