Skip

Hollywood Career-o-Matic
June 7, 2011 6:43 AM   Subscribe

A visitor to the Rotten Tomatoes site can check out the data for individual Hollywood careers—that's how Tabarrok came up with the Shyamalan graph—but there's no easy way for users to measure industrywide trends or to compare different actors and directors side-by-side. To that end, Rotten Tomatoes kindly let Slate analyze the scores in its enormous database and create an interactive tool so our readers might do the same.
posted by Trurl (69 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
They say directors average ratings tend to go up the longer they keep making movies, on the assumption that they have more control over the quality than actors do.

And then there's M. Night Shyamalan.
posted by tommasz at 7:02 AM on June 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like this idea!

Type in "Christopher Nolan" and you'll see why he's become my favorite director in Hollywood. His movies are consistently entertaining.
posted by misha at 7:02 AM on June 7, 2011


Question: What happened to M. Night Shyamalan?

Answer: M. Night Shyamalan.
posted by bwg at 7:08 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Best Actor: Daniel Auteuil. With an average film score of 86 percent, Auteuil has appeared in the most consistently high-quality films of the last few decades.

On this theory, the seats are the best rowers in any rowing competition, since they are in 100% of winning boats.
posted by DU at 7:08 AM on June 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I see dead careers.
posted by Skeptic at 7:11 AM on June 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Ike, do your impersonation of David Caruso's career!"
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:11 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shyamalan will keep getting worse, until in a surprise twist he will make the greatest movie ever seen by humanity. That's my theory. He's doing it on purpose.
posted by dhoe at 7:12 AM on June 7, 2011 [28 favorites]


Answer: M. Night Shyamalan.

Well, it doesn't seem to help that everyone he touches (Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix) turns to crazy shortly after making a film with him.
posted by phunniemee at 7:12 AM on June 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


o shit you guys maybe m night is the happening
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:13 AM on June 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


phunniemee: "Answer: M. Night Shyamalan.

Well, it doesn't seem to help that everyone he touches (Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix) turns to crazy shortly after making a film with him.
"

Maybe that's a prerequisite.
posted by bwg at 7:14 AM on June 7, 2011


It's too soon after the Human Centipede 2 post for me to be comfortable thinking about M. Night Shyamalan touching Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:16 AM on June 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Antonio Banderas' graph is like the web of a spider on LSD...
posted by Skeptic at 7:17 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don Cheadle's looks the same. Also, check out Clint Eastwood (Dir.) vs (Act.)
posted by psoas at 7:18 AM on June 7, 2011


I do have to call shenanigans on Rotten Tomatoes rating of Equilibrium, though. That's a surprisingly good film, in fact a personal favorite, earning a respectable 7.7 over on IMDB.

But while the audience over at Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie an 82% rating, critics only came out at 37%?! I think someone's got a personal hatred on for Christian Bale that's coloring their reviews.

And that rating completely messes up the graph of his progression as an actor into hugely successful blockbuster films, which should only be marred by the hugely disappointing Terminator Salvation and maybe Harsh Times (haven't seen that one).
posted by misha at 7:18 AM on June 7, 2011


Ha! Uwe Boll, you smilin' sonofabitch.
posted by psoas at 7:23 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


M. Night's career is ready for an M. Night-style twist. "HE WAS DEAD ALL ALONG!"
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:23 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


John Modell, of the Onion AV Club, contributed to a fine piece about artists with the biggest gap in quality between their best work and their worst. He summed up my views perfectly with the lines: "This piece can’t possibly go live without mentioning both James Cameron and M. Night Shyamalan. Could there be a bigger quality gap between the icy cool of The Terminator and the pandering kiddie-bullshit of Avatar? Oh yes, there could. The Sixth Sense holds up remarkably well, and everything from there looks like a cartoon graph from a ’50s TV commercial, just down down down until you need to tape extra paper on the bottom."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:24 AM on June 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


> On this theory, the seats are the best rowers in any rowing competition, since they are in 100% of winning boats.

No. There are also seats in 100% of the losing boats as well. Daniel Auteuil's done a terrific job avoiding "losing" films.
posted by foggy out there now at 7:28 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, and this is too funny.

I see that Will Smith's graph goes way up at the end with his last movie.

So my thought process goes like this:

I have to get this movie. I've liked him in everything from Men in Black to I Am Legend, sometimes he slips up, but he can be dramatic, he can be comedic, I want to see this one that's rating so high.

Funny thing, but that last movie, it looks like it came out in 2009? Hmm. I don't remember Will Smith having a big blockbuster in 2009 or anything...

In the Loop? What's that? Let's take a look...

Looks like a British film. Why would Will Smith be in a ...OH! It's not THAT Will Smith.

But apparently, for graphing purposes, Rotten Tomatoes thinks the two men are one and the same.
posted by misha at 7:28 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


But while the audience over at Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie an 82% rating, critics only came out at 37%?! I think someone's got a personal hatred on for Christian Bale that's coloring their reviews.

Fifty-two reviewers don't have a personal hatred on for Christian Bale that they've managed to keep under wraps for every other movie he's ever done. The problem with Equilibrium is that it appealed directly to geeks and didn't bother being a good movie. The "twist" reveal of the bad guy? The heavy-handed pseudo-politics? The internally inconsistent treatment of emotion? Gun kata? All crap.

People who vote on IMDB are self-selecting and motivated to vote on films they love, especially ones they feel are "underrated." It's only barely a more accurate reflection of film quality than box-office receipts, especially in films that didn't make back a quarter of their budget in theaters.
posted by Etrigan at 7:33 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


What happened to M. Night Shyamalan?

That Last Airbender film at the bottom of the heap with a 6% Rotten Tomatoes score cost $150M to make but grossed $300M. I think a more appropriate question is what's happened to discriminating audiences?
posted by crapmatic at 7:34 AM on June 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


But no descent makes me sadder than that of George Lucas.
posted by Ber at 7:35 AM on June 7, 2011


The spiderweb graphs of Antonio Banderas and Don Cheadle have nothing on Samuel L. Jackson.
posted by mysterpigg at 7:40 AM on June 7, 2011


Now that is a career.
posted by Taft at 7:43 AM on June 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


No. There are also seats in 100% of the losing boats as well. Daniel Auteuil's done a terrific job avoiding "losing" films.

Yes, but the point is that "being in a winning vehicle" is not the same as "being good". How many good actors in terrible movies have you seen? And conversely, Keano Reeves was in Matrix.
posted by DU at 7:51 AM on June 7, 2011


I would love to see them somehow include the amount of money earned. We all understand an actor appearing in a dog to get the money for their next project.

The best I can come up with is

efficiency = salary / (100 - rating)

By looking at (100 - rating) we count how bad the film is. Efficiency is how many dollars they got paid for each bit of crap. High efficiency is a discerning performer; they'll do junk when it pays the bills. Low efficiency probably correlates with a coke habit.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:53 AM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


M. Night Shyamalan is deserving of such mockery.
posted by PepperMax at 7:53 AM on June 7, 2011


George Lucas is notably absent from the Directors list.
posted by DU at 7:55 AM on June 7, 2011


Yes, but the point is that "being in a winning vehicle" is not the same as "being good".

Well, that's why it's "Career-o-matic", not "Performance-o-matic". Incompetent people succeeding through association with good projects? Not limited to Hollywood.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:56 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Best Actor" usually means performance. If they meant "lucky" or "discerning taste" or whatever, they should have said that.
posted by DU at 7:57 AM on June 7, 2011


Directors' scores spike over time, presumably because only the best ones stick around long enough to make so many films.

Or because directors who have made 7 or 8 movies have enough reputation that reviewers cut them slack.

Except M. Night Shyamalan.
posted by escabeche at 8:03 AM on June 7, 2011


I'm just tickled that John Ratzenberger ends up with the highest average RT score of any American actor. It seems like cheating somehow, but it's still amusing.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:06 AM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Looks to me like a lot of actors who like to be working end up making up and down jumps almost movie to movie.
posted by dhartung at 8:06 AM on June 7, 2011


High efficiency is a discerning performer; they'll do junk when it pays the bills. Low efficiency probably correlates with a coke habit.

Which bucket do I put Nicolas Cage in? WHICH BUCKET?
posted by jng at 8:07 AM on June 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


George Lucas is notably absent from the Directors list.

Lucas has only directed half a dozen films, which is probably why. I snagged their RT scores and put together a quick Google Chart. Basically, he was good, then bad, then a little better.
posted by jedicus at 8:07 AM on June 7, 2011


Rotten Tomatoes assigns ratings to the movie, not to the actor, so we can't tell the difference between someone who usually performs well, and someone who is in a lot of movies with people who perform well (and write well, and direct well). They've measured one thing, and claimed it shows some other thing.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:09 AM on June 7, 2011


If you don't like the look of a graph, just add in Ed Harris - his graph will look like you just scribbled the other out.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:14 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love this tool. I wish I could graph stuff like this from IMDb's database.
posted by MrFTBN at 8:24 AM on June 7, 2011


Danny DeVito (Act.) is pretty impressive, with both a 99 and a zero to his name. (The zero came first).
posted by Quonab at 8:30 AM on June 7, 2011


I do have to call shenanigans on Rotten Tomatoes rating of Equilibrium, though. That's a surprisingly good film, in fact a personal favorite, earning a respectable 7.7 over on IMDB.

I know this thread isn't about Equilibrium, but your personal favorite movie sucks. Seriously, I'm with the critics on this one; that movie insulted my intelligence in SO MANY WAYS. Worse still, I watched it to the end. I still want the zero dollars back that I spent torrenting it.
posted by dammitjim at 8:31 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know this thread isn't about Equilibrium, but your personal favorite movie sucks. Seriously, I'm with the critics on this one; that movie insulted my intelligence in SO MANY WAYS. Worse still, I watched it to the end. I still want the zero dollars back that I spent torrenting it.

Equilibrium is one of those movies that has pretty cool action and philosophizing that sounds deep and intriguing until you realize it's all bullshit. At one point it's implied that hate crime laws lead to fascism. Trufax! Something for the Rand Paul or Tea Party set.

That Last Airbender film at the bottom of the heap with a 6% Rotten Tomatoes score cost $150M to make but grossed $300M. I think a more appropriate question is what's happened to discriminating audiences?

Those are decent numbers, but way less than what they wanted. Remember, marketing costs are usually at least equal to the shooting budget. If that turd was really successful, there'd be confirmation of a sequel by now. Thankfully I think that movie franchise is dead. (Seriously, no movie is going to be able to improve on the almost perfection of the series. Maybe if you tried to tell an original story in that universe it could at least be not terrible. Maybe.)
posted by kmz at 8:43 AM on June 7, 2011


I like Kate Winslet's graph, if you know what I mean.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 8:47 AM on June 7, 2011


Which bucket do I put Nicolas Cage in? WHICH BUCKET?

ProTip: Not the one with the bees.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:57 AM on June 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


It seems like every big name star careens from Oscar-bait to pure dreck, with the notable exception of Tom Hanks, who apparently decided in the early 90s to only star in good-to-great films. Curious then, that he decided to ruin that streak with a pair of (highly profitable) Dan Brown stinkers. More curious still that he decided to shoulder the burden of being a symbologist right as his two youngest children approached college-age.

Oh, American university system, has your greed sullied even Tom Hanks?
posted by Panjandrum at 9:23 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, American university system, has your greed sullied even Tom Hanks?

Well, they didn't qualify for work-study, so that money had to come from somewhere...
posted by indiebass at 9:28 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


How can I take Rotten Tomatoes seriously, knowing that Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull has a 77% fresh rating?
posted by norm at 9:35 AM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why doesn't Apollo 13 show up on Career-o-Matic? I noticed it was conspicuously absent from both Ed Harris and Tom Hanks' graphs.
posted by phunniemee at 9:37 AM on June 7, 2011


Best Actor: Daniel Auteuil. With an average film score of 86 percent, Auteuil has appeared in the most consistently high-quality films of the last few decades.

Surely this should instead be titled Best Agent?
posted by straight at 9:45 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


George Lucas is notably absent from the Directors list.

The list needs at least five entries, and goes back to only 1985. Lucas has directed three features since then. So also no Kubrick and no Terence Malick.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:46 AM on June 7, 2011


We need to get all Moneyball with these stats and figure out which makeup artists and gaffers have the best track records.
posted by drezdn at 9:48 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Total worldwide gross: 2.017 billion dollars (except for the last one, numbers from IMDB)

The Sixth Sense $672,806,292
Unbreakable $249,511,339
Signs $408,247,917
The Village $256,697,520
The Lady in the Water $42,285,169
The Happening $163,403,799
The Last Airbender $224,070,000

The Last Short Story I Sold $12
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:59 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


How to tell if you've got a career as "that guy!"
posted by blue_beetle at 10:18 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


(source)
posted by blue_beetle at 10:19 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


John Modell, of the Onion AV Club, contributed to a fine piece about artists with the biggest gap in quality between their best work and their worst.

For almost every artist mentioned in that piece, the "big gap" is a huge decline from awesome to awful. I'd love to see a list of artist that jumped the other direction. Who did mediocre or even terrible work and then suddenly did something fantastic.

Anyone have examples of that?
posted by straight at 10:20 AM on June 7, 2011


All I'm trying to do is help you understand that The Name of The Rose is merely a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory.

Hunt For Red October is a bit of an unexpected final high
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:29 AM on June 7, 2011


Who did mediocre or even terrible work and then suddenly did something fantastic.

One would not have pegged Debra Winger as a future multiple Academy Award nominee on the basis of this.
posted by Trurl at 10:43 AM on June 7, 2011


Best Actress: Arsinée Khanjian. In the mind of the American film critic, Khanjian can do no wrong—or almost no wrong. Films like The Sweet Hereafter (100 percent), Calendar (100 percent), and Speaking Parts (100 percent) have helped boost Khanjian's average score up to 84.7 percent.

Bah, she's slept with the directors of all of those movies.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:52 AM on June 7, 2011


Flea, from my favorite band ever has also been in some of my favorite movies. Back to the Future II, III, The Big Lebowski and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

I've never heard of Tough Guys but it doesn't look like I missed anything.
posted by zephyr_words at 11:10 AM on June 7, 2011


Who did mediocre or even terrible work and then suddenly did something fantastic.

I was thinking Jeff Fahey, but he was in Silverado and White Hunter, Black Heart, which throws him off at the beginning, and Messages (whatever that is), which throws him off recently. He's also been in massive amounts of TV. I enjoy watching him in anything, though.
posted by Huck500 at 12:29 PM on June 7, 2011


If you don't like the look of a graph, just add in Ed Harris - his graph will look like you just scribbled the other out.

You should try Steve Buscemi.
posted by Pseudonumb at 2:16 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


For almost every artist mentioned in that piece, the "big gap" is a huge decline from awesome to awful. I'd love to see a list of artist that jumped the other direction. Who did mediocre or even terrible work and then suddenly did something fantastic.

Anyone have examples of that?


Many, many. Jack Nicholson has about thirty credits before Easy Rider. Looks like the most ripping success was as Jaime Angel, a role he reprised three times on Dr. Kildare. Alfred Hitchcock directed 28 movies before The Lady Vanishes and about eight or none more before we get to Lifeboat. We begin the climb through the fifties (Rope, North by Northwest, etc) but by the time we get to Psycho, which is arguably what he best known for, we are on almost his sixtieth time in the director's chair.

I loves me so Kubrick, but I am in no hurry to see Fear and Desire or The Killer's Kiss again. Robert Downey Jr. Is immensely likeable and is in name-above-the title territory, but you would not have guessed that thirty years ago from Firstborn or Tuff Turf .
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:38 PM on June 7, 2011


I put in Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart and hoped so hard their graphs would make an X, but no such luck.

Look, Equilibrium was not a groundbreaking film, by any means. I rented it from Netflix for my kids and didn't go into it expecting to enjoy it at all. But, as I said, I was surprised how good it was, and it's a personal favorite as much for the cool costumes and fight choreography as the themes.

You can't seriously argue that Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, with its 77% critical rating, is more than twice as good as Equilibrium, at any rate. I mean, nuclear testing and refrigerators, aliens and senior romance vs. cool dude bashing heads and saving puppies? Please. They're giving Harrison Ford and George Lucas a pass because of the earlier movies.
posted by misha at 2:53 PM on June 7, 2011


Paul Thomas Anderson vs. Paul W.S. Anderson is kind of amusing, especially since it confused me greatly once a long time ago.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:27 PM on June 7, 2011


If you stop the graph at 2004, Jim Carrey definitely has the "awful to great" thing going on.

If you stop the graph at 2004.

Of course, the best actors aren't always going to be the most discerning. Check out Gary Oldman's graph if you want to see some real scribbling.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:36 PM on June 7, 2011


I just don't understand the appeal of Rotten Tomatoes. It's such a clumsy way to rate movies. Convert every review into a simple "thumbs up" or "thumbs down," then assign the percentage of total "thumbs up" as the score? By that logic, an inoffensive romcom with a ton of C+ to B+ scores could end up with 90%, while a challenging, polarizing arthouse film could get something like 50% or 60%. The effect's worse when every review, even on tiny blogs with no readership, gets factored in.

Despite its terrible redesign, I think the rankings at Metacritic make much more sense.

Taft: "Now that is a career."

Ned!

RYERSON!!
posted by Rhaomi at 9:03 PM on June 7, 2011


Christopher Walken's graph is also about as wildly scribbly as it gets.
posted by troublesome at 9:04 PM on June 7, 2011


For almost every artist mentioned in that piece, the "big gap" is a huge decline from awesome to awful. I'd love to see a list of artist that jumped the other direction. Who did mediocre or even terrible work and then suddenly did something fantastic.

Anyone have examples of that?


George Clooney's graph starts off with a zero (Return of the Killer Tomatoes), but the rest is mostly above 50%, including a 100% (Fail Safe).
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 1:41 AM on June 8, 2011


The career of Kevin Smith (Dir.) bears an uncanny resemblance to the Shyamalan graph.
posted by Skeptic at 4:37 AM on June 8, 2011


Christopher Walken's graph is also about as wildly scribbly as it gets.

I repeat what I've said about Samuel Jackson's career.

If you like the people you're working with (especially the director) and you're not hung up on artistic integrity, making a really bad movie is probably as much or more fun than making a great movie.
posted by straight at 9:04 AM on June 8, 2011


« Older Unit 731 - A Lesser Known Piece of WW2 History   |   Where's the drop? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post