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2013 In Review

We love to review movies and making up our top picks for 2013 was even more fun. We were given a moment of pause when a reader wrote the following note which points out that a lot of our favorite films came late in the season. He challenged us to look back at the films from earlier in the year and think about whether the recency of our viewing influenced our favorite movies. Here’s his note:

I’m struck by a couple of things. One is how you are both heavily tilted in favor of movies currently showing or produced for the current Oscar season. It’s a human trait to be influenced by what we have most recently been exposed to. A good exercise for you might be to go back to movies time January-August 2013 time frame and make new lists out of that limited pool, and then see which if any of them might make your final choices for the year a little different than it is. ...

So we did go back and look at our reviews over the last year and the numbers are telling. First, here’s a histogram of our rating of the movies from 2013. The height of the bar represents how many movies got the ranking along the bottom of the graph:

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.03.37 PM


What this graph shows is that we have a nice bell-shaped curve indicating that our ratings are normally distributed. In other words, there were a lot of movies that were average (3 Reels) and relatively few that were terrible (0-1.5 Reels) and relatively few that were great (4-5 Reels).

Another graph shows how many Reels and Heroes we doled out in 2013:

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.04.04 PM


This graphic shows that (roughly speaking) the quality of a movie is related to the quality of the hero.

Finally, this next graph shows a plot of the quality of movies (in Reels) from the beginning of 2013 through to the end: (click to enlarge)

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 7.57.21 PMThere is a blue line through the middle of the graph represents the median (3.0 Reels). The gray area represents the months of January through April as well as October. Most films in those months were rated as 3.0 reels or less. Then during the yellow months (May-August) the ratings hover arond 3.0 (with an occasional spike). Finally the blue months (September, November, and December) had great ratings in the high 4.0-5.0 Reels.

So there is a reason that our “Best Films of 2013” picks favored movies that we saw more recently – the movies at the end of the year are actually better than the ones at the beginning of the year.

Thanks to David Thomas for his posting from our “Best Films of 2013” analysis from last January.


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