Sunday, September 21, 2008

The thin tail of imdb's top movies

The average score for movies on imdb is 6.7, and all of the movies on imdb's top 250 hold a score of 7.9 or above (adjusted), which means that they are truly the cream of the crop. But it is intriguing that even among these top movies certain ones are able to stand out as the best. Here is a frequency diagram that shows the distribution:

The general trend throughout is that the higher the score, the lower the number of movies are able to achieve it. Note that I chopped off all of the 7.9s because the scores ended there so it was impossible to know how many 7.9s there are on imdb as a whole. It is truly amazing to me that some movies are rated so much more highly than all others.

Since there is no rating system like imdb for most forms of art, this distribution raises some questions. Does this distribution apply to all art forms or just movies? If it just applies to movies, what makes them so special--is there less cognitive dissonance?

If it applies to other art forms as well, what does that say about our tastes? Perhaps there is something inside of us that is able to know when art is of high quality, even when we are unable to put our thoughts into words. And that is where a pure numerical rating system shines the brightest.