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 2012-10-09 8:20 AM EDT