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Let's catch a flick, or 303 of them....
November 4, 2012 6:16 AM   Subscribe

IMDB top 250 (+ 53 ) films in 2.5 minutes. (some NSFW content)
posted by HuronBob (45 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
AHHHHHH. My brain is way too happy for what that was.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:27 AM on November 4, 2012


Cool.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:31 AM on November 4, 2012


I was surprised to see Monkey Bone (imdb), Encino Man (imdb), Dudley Doo-Right (imdb), and Bio-Dome (imdb) take such prominent positions in the list. Apparently IMDB voters had a soft spot for Paulie Shore and Brendan Fraiser....


You didn't see them? Go back and watch it again!
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:37 AM on November 4, 2012


Looks like one of those movie studio ads they put on DVDs.
posted by orme at 7:07 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if this dude posts any of his stuff in higher quality anywhere? I realize DVD source is 480i to begin with, but it would be nice to have a version with more than 17MB of data in it to watch on a television.

Brilliant work, check out his other videos too...
posted by trackofalljades at 7:18 AM on November 4, 2012


Nice compilation but what a terrible list of movies.

Skyfall is #246? It doesn't even come out until Friday.
posted by octothorpe at 7:21 AM on November 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there are list of movies as they appear in the video? I couldn't place scenes of single people on cots at at :57 seconds in or the one with the kid moving the glass at 1:22. Anyone, anyone?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:27 AM on November 4, 2012


Nice compilation but what a terrible list of movies.

There are many lists of movies out there compiled in many different ways for many different reasons. This one is very simply crowdsourced, it's about as "curated" as a reddit thread. It does what it says on the tin, as we often say here. If you don't like it, I suggest selecting another tin?
posted by trackofalljades at 7:29 AM on November 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


or the one with the kid moving the glass
Stalker.
posted by elgilito at 7:32 AM on November 4, 2012


I couldn't place scenes of single people on cots at at :57 seconds in

Requiem for a Dream
, no?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:37 AM on November 4, 2012


You should watch Stalker, Brandon. All of you should.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:40 AM on November 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Skyfall is #246? It doesn't even come out until Friday.

It's not his fault the USA is behind the rest of the world.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:01 AM on November 4, 2012


This was enjoyable for a bit, but yeah, it reminds me too much of the "omnibus trailers" as I call them that you find on DVDs. "Hey, don't you just sit around with friends and family reminiscing about movies from UNIVERSAL?! Doesn't everybody?"
posted by dhartung at 8:16 AM on November 4, 2012


Ugh. Hate the editing.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:27 AM on November 4, 2012


I couldn't place scenes of single people on cots at at :57 seconds in

Requiem for a Dream, no?


Indeed.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:29 AM on November 4, 2012


I haven't watched "The Shawshank Redemption" in eons, and although I liked it, wouldn't put it anywhere close to my list. It doesn't show on basic cable all the time (don't know about pay cable, but don't remember seeing it there often when I had it five years ago), haven't seen it highlighted at Netflix or anything, it's not nearly as talked about or referenced in the larger American media culture all the time in the same way, say, that the "Godfather" films are. So I'm guessing that it's No. 1 rating keeps getting reinforced, because it was No. 1 when imdb was just starting this list?
posted by raysmj at 8:46 AM on November 4, 2012


Yeah, seemingly weird list. You get this effect in IMDB ratings because users decide for themselves which movies, out of all movies in the database, to rate. I've always thought it was kind of interesting, and I wonder if there's a name for this effect within the field of polling.

What I assume is happening with entries like "Big Fish" being in the top 250 is: mostly IMDB users are not interested in this film, and if you required every IMDB user who's seen it to assign a star rating, its average would weigh down much closer to "meh." But if a movie does not generate a wide swath of lasting interest, the only people who bother to vote on it are its devoted fans. If 40K users loved it and voted, while 200K users had opinions ranging from thinking it was pretty good to not liking it at all but never cared enough about it to look it up, log in, and rate it, then the "crowd" appears, inaccurately, to consider it one of the greatest films of all time. For my money, Big Fish is in fact (as shown on this top 250 list) a better movie than Jurassic Park, but I'd bet that JP would be the higher entry on that list if every IMDB user who has seen both movies was pushed to rate them both.

Maybe the term "unscientific" is enough to cover the phenomenon.
posted by damehex at 9:24 AM on November 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I noticed Home Alone in there. That's not even in the top 250. It currently has a 7.2 rating; #250 has an 8.0.

So, um, yeah.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:46 AM on November 4, 2012


What I assume is happening with entries like "Big Fish" being in the top 250 is: mostly IMDB users are not interested in this film, and if you required every IMDB user who's seen it to assign a star rating, its average would weigh down much closer to "meh." But if a movie does not generate a wide swath of lasting interest, the only people who bother to vote on it are its devoted fans. If 40K users loved it and voted, while 200K users had opinions ranging from thinking it was pretty good to not liking it at all but never cared enough about it to look it up, log in, and rate it, then the "crowd" appears, inaccurately, to consider it one of the greatest films of all time. For my money, Big Fish is in fact (as shown on this top 250 list) a better movie than Jurassic Park, but I'd bet that JP would be the higher entry on that list if every IMDB user who has seen both movies was pushed to rate them both.

It's actually a lot more involved than that:
The formula for calculating the Top Rated 250 Titles gives a true Bayesian estimate:

weighted rating (WR) = (v ÷ (v+m)) × R + (m ÷ (v+m)) × C

where:

R = average for the movie (mean) = (Rating)
v = number of votes for the movie = (votes)
m = minimum votes required to be listed in the Top 250 (currently 25000)
C = the mean vote across the whole report (currently 7.1)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:48 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I noticed Home Alone in there. That's not even in the top 250. It currently has a 7.2 rating; #250 has an 8.0.

Yep, Home Alone would be one of the 53 other movies he included for whatever reason....
posted by HuronBob at 9:49 AM on November 4, 2012


About The Shawshank Redemption: So I'm guessing that it's No. 1 rating keeps getting reinforced, because it was No. 1 when imdb was just starting this list?

I think you might just be underestimating how many people really like it. I used to find it entertaining to look at how the IMDB list changes over time, and new films with a strong fan base regularly start out at #1 and gradually float downwards as the general public's more lukewarm appraisal catches up with the fans' obsessive top rating. Any film that stays at the top has to have a lot of long-term appeal.

Also, looking at the ratings stat page for The Shawshank Redemption, more than half of the voters are identified as from outside the US, so even if it's no longer showing much on US TV, it may be a reliable TV standby in much of the rest of the world.

One thing I find odd about the IMDB votes is how few of the voters identify themselves as female: the 558,000 males to 93,000 females on that page is a huge imbalance and I don't know why it exists.
posted by Azara at 10:04 AM on November 4, 2012


I was surprised to see Monkey Bone (imdb), Encino Man (imdb), Dudley Doo-Right (imdb), and Bio-Dome (imdb) take such prominent positions in the list.

Those movies are nowhere near the IMDb top 250. All of them are rated far below average. (The average movie rating is 7.1).

Perhaps you just saw clips of these movies in the video. That's because the video is full of movies that are not top 250, which strikes me as mission failure.

It's actually a lot more involved than that:

You left out a key qualifier in your quote too. Only the votes of imdb "regular users" are used to generate the list. IMDb intentionally doesn't clarify what a "regular user" is (so people don't know exactly how to manipulate the system), but I suspect it's something like users who have rated large numbers of movies on the website, at regular intervals, over a span of years.
posted by dgaicun at 10:08 AM on November 4, 2012


Wow, that proves it. More is better.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 10:28 AM on November 4, 2012


It is important to note that this is the top 250 + 53.

I think people may be keying in on movies in the +53 group that are actually rated very low on IMDB. I assume the editors put them in here and there because they helped make the final production look better.
posted by eye of newt at 10:39 AM on November 4, 2012


One thing I find odd about the IMDB votes is how few of the voters identify themselves as female: the 558,000 males to 93,000 females on that page is a huge imbalance and I don't know why it exists.-- Azara

Yeah, for the male-bonding movie Shawshank Redemption. The recent female bonding movie Pitch Perfect has more female voters than male (though I expected it to be even more lopsided).
posted by eye of newt at 10:45 AM on November 4, 2012


Azara: But it came out in 1994. Most people only got onto the web in the second half of the 1990s, when "Shawshank" was still big on video.
posted by raysmj at 11:39 AM on November 4, 2012


Azara: "I think you might just be underestimating how many people really like it."

I've noticed it's nearly a constant in the small DVD collections of people who aren't that into movies, nestled in there between The Matrix and Gladiator. I'm not saying that movie buffs don't enjoy it, but it seems to have a very broad appeal.

I haven't seen it since it was in theaters, and vaguely remember enjoying it. Then again, I was 14, so take that with a grain of salt.
posted by brundlefly at 11:46 AM on November 4, 2012


Re: "The Shawshank Redemption", I think that's because so many viewers don't realize that Andy Dufresne was actually guilty, and they're rooting for a murderer the whole movie.
posted by inigo2 at 12:20 PM on November 4, 2012


The Shawshank Redemption is anomalous in many ways: directed by a guy who had never done a feature film, adapted from a not-especially highly regarded Stephen King novella, starring the unconventional leads of Tim Robbins (who tended toward quirky comedies) and Morgan Freeman (who, Driving Miss Daisy aside, was firmly in the supporting actor world) and populated with a bunch of Hey-It's-That-Guy character actors. It opened at 13th place in the box office and hit its peak success three or four weeks later when it had cracked the top ten. For comparison, four weeks ago Atlas Shrugged Part II opened in 11th place at the box office and is already a footnote.

The box office figures suggest it was far behind such deathless classics as The River Wild and Timecop in the fall of '94, yet it has continued to slug it out with The Godfather for the #1 slot on IMDB for years now. Whodathunkit?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:20 PM on November 4, 2012


It's actually a lot more involved than that:

The formula they use corrects for a smaller sample size, but it can't magically correct for who voted for movies. The Avengers' highest position on the list was #25, on May 8th, right after its' opening weekend, when movie theatres were filled with people in home-made Iron Man costumes, and the only voters were the ones who had to see it when it came out. It's dropped to #119, as those voters are joined with people who saw it a few weeks later because it looked better than the forgettable romantic comedy, and eventually, the people who watched it on the airplane or because it was on TV on a Tuesday and they were bored will join the ranks.

I actually played around with the formula they use, and in plain words, it basically takes the movie's ratings from everybody and then adds in 25,000 more voters who give it a 7.1 rating. (The 25,000 voters are the minimum needed to be in the top 250 and 7.1 is the overall average rating.) This means having a lot of votes is incredibly important, because of this adjustment, which is part of why Shawshank is #1: it has the most votes on the list with over 850,000. The Dark Knight is the close #2 (830K), and there are only another 20 movies with even half as many votes as Shawshank; The Empire Strikes Back is the least-voted-on of these. It is not possible for a movie with nothing but 10/10 ratings, but the minimum of 25,000 votes to rank higher than about 30th on the list.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:21 PM on November 4, 2012


Also, looking at the ratings stat page for The Shawshank Redemption, more than half of the voters are identified as from outside the US, so even if it's no longer showing much on US TV, it may be a reliable TV standby in much of the rest of the world.

I read somewhere that The Shawshank Redemption (despite a famously rotten start) is now considered by UK TV stations to be the single most valuable movie for generating advertising revenue: it appeals to a wide audience which includes relatively expensive to reach young men. People don't mind repeat viewings. It is shown frequently.
posted by rongorongo at 12:26 PM on November 4, 2012


It's the film equivelant of Girl Talk!

Turns out the film equivelant of Girl Talk is headache inducing.
posted by tempythethird at 12:42 PM on November 4, 2012


Re: Shawshank Redemption, I just think more people every day are using highly advanced movie recommendation systems that know us better than ourselves.
posted by neustile at 12:47 PM on November 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Shawshank has been the top rated movie on imdb since the late 1990s. Here is a Wall Street Journal article from 1999 on the movie's unexpected popularity. They interview the director, Frank Darabont, who is hilariously bemused by its ranking: "What, are you people nuts? We're talking about the Godfather here!"
posted by dgaicun at 1:35 PM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I'm guessing that it's No. 1 rating keeps getting reinforced, because it was No. 1 when imdb was just starting this list?

Well, it wasn't #1 years and years ago -- Star Wars held that spot for a long, long time, evidence of the overwhelming geek culture of the net. It was finally supplanted by The Godfather some time around 2000, and it appears Shawshank eventually climbed to the top some time in the next five years.

The list has always been plagued by what Wikipedia calls recentism, with new releases climbing into the top ranks and then gradually subsiding; The Dark Knight took #1 this way, and as Homeboy Trouble indicates, The Avengers has seen a similar rise and fall. I think there's a sort of peak experience effect with votes like this -- people go to see a blockbuster and come away, well, entertained like hell. So they give that movie they just saw 10 stars or whatever. It's very much not someone sitting down and ranking the best movies they've ever seen against each other.

Similarly, the formula is in part a reaction to the habitual, and somewhat social, process of rating that goes on. Most voters, I've understood, rate a movie to give it a higher or lower rating than the displayed average. I'm certainly susceptible to that myself. That is, they see a movie with a respectable 7.4 rating and say "No way! That's an 8 at least!" and maybe even add a star for good measure. (I'm not sure how they measure this, exactly, but I assume it has something with e.g. the average difference that individual users apply.) So what you get is people actively gaming the system. It's not a scientific dataset by any means, but then almost no social media dataset really is. The list also more generally is simply pulling historical ratings forward through time, so somebody's judgement of a movie's value in the 1990s is still part of that dataset.

what a terrible list of movies.

I don't think it's terrible per se, unless you feel that the actual rankings are a problem (i.e. that no list can ever be non-terrible if Shawshank is #1, some syllogism like that). Many of them are classics, many of them are on the Library of Congress or AFI lists, and so forth. Citizen Kane is on the list at #44; Casablanca at #25. Vertigo, which famously supplanted CK on one list this year, is #47. Star Wars is right beside The Seven Samurai. M is on there; Paths of Glory is on there; so are Metropolis, Rashomon, and Bicycle Thieves. So I think someone working their way through this list is likely to discover a lot of great movies. Are those going to correspond exactly to the rankings on this crowdsourced list? Probably not. I don't think it aspires to be a ranking of greatness, but it clearly does rate durability.
posted by dhartung at 1:45 PM on November 4, 2012


Shawshank was #1 in 1999. I remember that quite distinctly, for reasons having little to do with the movie (getting into imdb more then, moving into a new town, having a film studies major next door, etc.).
posted by raysmj at 2:27 PM on November 4, 2012


I noticed Home Alone in there. That's not even in the top 250. It currently has a 7.2 rating; #250 has an 8.0.

Yep, Home Alone would be one of the 53 other movies he included for whatever reason....


This was addressed in the first paragraph in the description of the video:

"This list does change infrequently, and I began the project over a month
prior to November 1, 2012, so attention to my haters...Yes...I KNOW
some of these movies are not on the top 250. 53 Titles to be exact
(as of 11/1/12)."
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:30 PM on November 4, 2012


A Wall Street Journal article from April 1999 on the popularity of "Shawshank," with a mention of its No. 1 ranking at imdb. Reasons for popularity suggested include: Heavy promotion by TNT, which acquired cable broadcast rights to it, and Internet Shawshankmania.
posted by raysmj at 2:57 PM on November 4, 2012


<pissy singsong voice>spoiler alert</pissy singsong voice>
posted by mattoxic at 4:06 PM on November 4, 2012


Shawshank was #1 in 1999.

I was just going on memory -- the Internet Archive is, alas, spotty on the IMDB's early years (they got 403'd many times) and I can't check. But I was tangentially close to the project since its early days on rec.arts.movies, as far as that goes, and I'm as sure as I can be that Shawshank supplanted Godfather which supplanted Star Wars. This is more of a datapoint about the audience for IMDB in the early days of the web than it is for Shawshank.
posted by dhartung at 5:40 PM on November 4, 2012


The WSJ article from 99 says that Shawshank moved into the top spot circa 1997, which was about 15+ years ago.
posted by dgaicun at 5:48 PM on November 4, 2012


I've got to watch me some of that Shawshank Redemption. I love that movie.

Now that I think of it, I never bothered to watch it when it was released on film, cassette or DVD because of whatever reason and told all my friends that it was trash. Amazing how a person can change.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 6:41 PM on November 4, 2012


Well, it wasn't #1 years and years ago -- Star Wars held that spot for a long, long time, evidence of the overwhelming geek culture of the net

Not as long as you think; Star Wars was #1 for the first year from April 96-97, and briefly in late 1997 and a few months in spring 1998. It hasn't been #1 since May 1998. Star Wars was above The Empire Strikes Back until May of 2005.

Shawshank was #1 in 1999. I remember that quite distinctly, for reasons having little to do with the movie (getting into imdb more then, moving into a new town, having a film studies major next door, etc.).

In the second half of the 90s, the IMDB rankings were more volatile; Shawshank was 1st, 2nd, 3rd and even 4th on occasion, like in late 1999 behind The Godfather and Schindler's List, as well as -- remember how naive we all were? -- American Beauty. It spent from mid-2000 to mid-2008 as a pretty steady #2 behind The Godfather, only briefly bumped down by the first Lord of the Rings movie in early 2002, the third one in late 2004/early 2005, and by Inception briefly. Shawshank finally passed The Godfather on September 10, 2008 and has never looked back. I wouldn't be shocked if algorithm tweaks (like adjusting the minimum number of votes needed) was behind the swap.

These facts (and many hours of lost time) are brought to you by the IMDB Top 250 History, which is an incredible time suck but super-awesome. Are those going to correspond exactly to the rankings on this crowdsourced list? Probably not. I don't think it aspires to be a ranking of greatness, but it clearly does rate durability.

Yeah, it's not perfect (nothing will be), but it manages to meld a healthy respect for the classics with a populist aspect that does a remarkable job of addressing all styles and aspects of film, especially given the basic mechanism of random people voting. It's a list where a recent arthouse film like A Separation can rub shoulders (and just passed) a classic of action movies like Die Hard, with the next three spaces above being occupied by Princess Mononoke, The Sting, and The Bridge on the River Kwai.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:03 PM on November 4, 2012


Here's the single best movie to ever breach the IMDb top 250.

It's somehow fallen to 4.7. What happened Internet??
posted by dgaicun at 7:39 PM on November 4, 2012


Homeboy Trouble: I'm gobsmacked. Especially for the Shadow Top 50 -- also a very respectable list.

American Beauty, though -- a flawed but still lovely film in many ways; I think it spoke to aspects of our culture that were suddenly less important after 9/11. I really wish Kevin Spacey were still turning in iconic performances like Lester Burnham.
posted by dhartung at 10:47 PM on November 4, 2012


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