Print Story Full load: Indian Monsooned, stats, IMDB analysis, Hero
By tmoertel (Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 02:35:02 PM EST) (all tags)
I'm drinking a cup of delicious, fresh-brewed coffee – Indian Monsooned Malabar – and I'm loving it oh so much. Sometimes, you just need a cup of good coffee.

I am also thoroughly enjoying The R Project and Emacs Speaks Statistics. Can statistics be fun? Sure! Just do your stats from within Emacs, and you can't not have fun.

On a related note, inside you'll find more fun analysis of IMDB's movie database and amazingly insightful charts and graphs that will make you more powerful than you can possibly imagine (if your imagination is sufficiently limited). Seriously, the charts are cool. Take a peek.

Also, I saw Hero last night. (No spoilers within.)

Indian Monsooned

When I don't roast my own coffee, I buy it from The Coffee Tree Roasters, which is just ``CTR'' for those of us in the 'Burgh. Their coffees are remarkably good. (CTR's ``Espresso Classico'' is what I use as a measuring stick for my own espresso roasts and blends. It's often better than my own. Or maybe it's more precise to say that mine often isn't as good as theirs. Yeah, that's it.)

Right now, I'm drinking CTR's Indian Monsooned Malabar. When I first saw the beans (years ago), the roast was so light that I thought their roaster had made a mistake. But, nope, it was fabulous. And, having since roasted monsooned Malabar myself, I agree that lighter is better. Live and learn.


Statistics, R, and ESS

I wrote about this stuff on the community projects site, so I won't repeat it here. If you're curious, R is responsible for the pretty pictures of IMDB's database stats, below.


More IMDB database fun

To play around with R, I have been taking a closer look at data from the Internet Movie Database. Using R's charting capabilities, it's easy to pick out interesting characteristics of data sets. For example, look at this series of histograms that shows the distribution of movie ratings (average of votes) by genre:

Note: The genre titles are on top of the corresponding histograms.

Compare Film-Noir's tight, right distribution to Horror's widespread, low lump. Can we say that, as a genre, film-noir movies tend to be more reliably ``better'' than horror flicks? It does look that way, doesn't it?

What other interesting things can you see? Share your thoughts in a comment.

Here's another telling chart. This time, we compare movie ratings by approximate year of release:

It looks like movies have been getting progressively worse since the early 1900's. The nadir appears to be the early 1990's, no doubt attributable to brilliant Hollywood fare like Mannequin: On the Move, Problem Child 2, and Vanilla Ice's glorious Cool As Ice.

But in the mid 1990's the situation reversed: Movies started getting better. (Or at least audiences started liking movies more.)

Now take a look at 2004. We're three quarters through the year, and it looks like we're bucking the improvement trend. Yes, in 2004 we've taken a big step backward in movie quality. Surely, Catwoman can't explain all of the backsliding, can it? Perhaps SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 is lending a harming hand?

Fascinating stuff. Grab a copy of IMDB's database and start digging.



This is a movie to see on the big screen. The visuals are impressive (though at times the CGI fails to carry the vision). The use of color is uncommonly powerful.

The plot, too, is good. I especially like how the story used my cynicism against me. Just when I thought I had uncovered the Hollywood formula behind the seemingly too-shallow story, the plot proved me wrong by revealing hidden depth.

Naturally, the martial arts sequences were very good.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, as did my wife. The filmmakers were reaching for a higher plane of art and occasionally reached it. Where they failed (and it is an imperfect film), I can forgive them – for having tried in the first place.


End note

Darn. I finished my coffee.

The empty cup mocks me.

< attention eann infidel | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Full load: Indian Monsooned, stats, IMDB analysis, Hero | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
um, what? by infinitera (5.50 / 2) #1 Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 04:15:07 PM EST
Self-selecting sub-groups of raters don't let you state anything of the sort.

I was for the war in Iraq on humanitarian grounds, and remain so. — MNS
Hence the quotation marks around ``better'' by tmoertel (5.00 / 1) #4 Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 05:51:37 PM EST
Regarding my question:
Can we say that, as a genre, film-noir movies tend to be more reliably ``better'' than horror flicks?
My use of better here means ``more strongly preferred by its audience.'' Because to most people better means ``more strongly preferred when judged on identical criteria,'' I used quotation marks to indicate that my intended sense was weaker. Sorry if my meaning wasn't obvious.

Too bad IMDB doesn't provide enough information for me to be able to select the subset of votes that were cast by people who were both film-noir and horror buffs.

Write Perl code? Check out LectroTest. Write markup-dense XML? Check out PXSL.

[ Parent ]
I'd posit two likely causes by Dr H0ffm4n (3.00 / 0) #10 Mon Aug 30, 2004 at 08:59:35 PM EST
  1. There are many more horror and sci-fi films and reviewers than film noir. The distribution will appear wider as it is not such a specialist audience.
  2. Bad film noir isn't film noir at all, just plain crime or somesuch.

[ Parent ]
I just returned from seeing Hero by Greener (5.00 / 1) #2 Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 05:03:32 PM EST
I'll bet there'll be a lot of disappointed people who went to see it based on what they saw in the commercials. Especially with Quentin Tarantino's name attached to it. Much of the symbolism and eastern philosophy will be lost on them as well I'm sure. The three 12 year olds behind me didn't know what to think of it and it sure wasn't what they expected. Especially when they realized it was subtitled.

Some of the translation irked me though. It seemed as if much of the nuance of what the characters were saying was lost as the subtitles seemed quite simplistic. I don't know Chinese though so that may have just been the way it was written but I doubt it.

Colorful but by EvergrowingPulsatingBrain (3.00 / 0) #3 Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 05:24:27 PM EST
just too ... lightly connected to reality. Flying - give me a break. And stylized fights. Not realistic enough to satisfy my inner 14 year old.

All the self-sacrifice was noble but, there was too much of it, it should be a centerpiece not a theme - almost like they were pushing it at you. I don't know why it bothers me, I guess because it's for something inhuman & abstract, the unification of China.

BTW it's the same story as 'The Emperor and the Assassin' which is mostly good, and more grounded.

[ Parent ]
On wirework by Greener (3.00 / 0) #5 Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 06:09:30 PM EST
Keep in mind that this is a film made by and fore a completely different culture. When Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon first came out the wirework really bugged me until I realized it is a way to highlight the grace and style involved in martial arts. Tai Chi is another example of that grace. I much prefer it to the wirework in hollywood films like Romeo Must Die where the wirework seems forced and unnatural and is done to for it's gravity defying wow factor targeted at the inner 14 year old.

This is a Chinese film so of course the themes are going to be different than western films and more geared towards Chinese ideals. The line where the King mentioned the 20 ways to write 'sword' was unnecessary and wanted to standardize and simplify it to just one seems to parallel modern China to me. Eliminating diversity to make everything equal. Did you know China has only one timezone yet spans 5?

Maybe I'm just reading too much into it though. That's the thing about symbolism, everyone gets something different out of it.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I did by EvergrowingPulsatingBrain (3.00 / 0) #7 Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 09:19:27 AM EST
Some guy on IMDB said that the unity theme may have a modern application after all, Taiwan; and that with your quote about writing a character one way instead of 20 makes me suspicious of government influence (you know, the old Maoist 'out with the old'), not that it is necessarily so.

Actually what irritated me is the glorification of spiritual & mental harmony, which you can only get after years of disciplined dedication. Which puts it out of reach of ordinary people, so why make that the ticket to entry in the movie world? I think that instead of a distant mental harmony, that, via AI, we'll get to it our own Western way; slowly and reproducibly come to measure it, interact with it and perhaps create it. Ach, that's a bit out there but those are at the root of what irritated me.

[ Parent ]
We require... a photoshoppery! by ti dave (3.00 / 0) #6 Sat Aug 28, 2004 at 08:11:05 PM EST

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

Progressively worse? by TurboThy (6.00 / 1) #8 Sun Aug 29, 2004 at 09:31:07 PM EST
No. The thing is, that nobody remembers, knows or wants to watch the bad movies of, say, 1947, whereas many of the IMDB crowd has been to the cinema and seen such tripe as Deep Impact, Titanic and Lost in Space recently. To make a fair judgement of the quality of movies vs. time, it seems to me that you should examine only movies released after IMDB was instituted.
Sommerhus til salg, første række til Kattegat.
Selective re-release ? by tmoertel (5.00 / 1) #9 Mon Aug 30, 2004 at 04:02:00 AM EST
Could we not also surmise that the movie studios aren't paying to have the "bad" older movies restored and re-released on modern media because they fear that too few people will pay to watch them?

Write Perl code? Check out LectroTest. Write markup-dense XML? Check out PXSL.

[ Parent ]
Full load: Indian Monsooned, stats, IMDB analysis, Hero | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback