Watching my watching habits

About 5 months and close to 50 posts later, I figured I had enough reviews to take a statistical look at the movies and TV shows I watch. Sort of an "on the media" for this section of the site, if you will. Looking at two things for this. First is my tag counts for all my posts on this blog. Second is my list of rated movies on Netflix. (Getting to the Netflix rated movie list is thanks to this Greasemonkey script.)

To begin, what do I really watch? Here is how the genres play out. At first glance that looks surprisingly normal. Left to my own devices it would probably have read Weird - 90% and Science Fiction - 10%; but this on the other hand is remarkably balanced.

Science Fiction, naturally is up at the top because, well, have you seen the rest of this site? Like everyone else I cannot refuse a good thrill and Thriller is a joint leading genre. I watch a fair bit o' Horror. Beyond just the screams, that is the only genre I can watch without feeling guilty that I am watching something that the wife would also like to see. Drama and Comedy are a product of compromise - when I want to watch SciFi and the wife wants to watch a Romantic Comedy, we end up picking something from these two genres.

Conspicuously missing are a couple of extremes - romantic comedies that every guy has to watch (which will probably not be reviewed unless I strongly dislike them) and my own guilty pleasure - SyFy reruns of low-budget creature features. I guess it is a good thing they are not in here, because then the list would indeed look 90% weird & 10% everything else.

Moving on. I am not sure where the bias is - in our stringent movie selection process or in my awarding of stars. I would imagine more in the former. Nevertheless, if I count my number of movies with each rating, there is a definite bias towards the happy place. Other than a few, most movies we watch seem to be either really good or positively delightful. I had to get to the bottom of this - are the movies I select biased in themselves, or am I generally rating them too high?

So I did the same with the extracted ratings from Netflix. Unfortunately since Netflix only allows full stars, I had to "round up" my ratings on this blog as well. Comparing the two, it turns out, I am a happy rater. See the similarity between the titles I chose to rate with Netflix and the titles I chose to write about (does it really matter which is which?). That does it. This means there is a lot of opportunity to choose, view and review a lot more crappy movies that I have ever had. It is time to dust up the old snarky bone and sarcastic tooth.

Warning: going geeky. Finally the analysis big guns. Since I already had the data from Netflix, decide to slice and dice it to understand the quality of the movies I watch. This includes a total of 428 movie ratings. The size of the bubble is the number of movies watched in the genre. Horizontally it is the average rating. Genres to the right have a higher rating than those on the left. And the height represents the variance. Higher means a greater spread of ratings in that genre.

The bigger bubbles are bubbling to the top - the more movies I watch in a genre, the more variety in the ratings. Romance, sitting at the bottom left corner is consistently lowly rated. Television is the most highly rated - makes sense because the shows I would commit to on Netflix are going to be the more highly rated. The last comment relates to the cluster in the top middle of the chart. Comedy is a genre I am most ambivalent about, there is so much potential in the genre, but it consistently ranks low. Unlike a Drama, there are no outstanding Comedy movies or horrendous ones. Just consistently mediocre.

Phew. Giving data to a man with excel, is like running on a treadmill. There is a lot of activity, with very little actual work. Ditto with this post. To summarize, I am not as weird in my movie tastes as I like to think I am. I don't view or review enough crappy movies. And there aren't a lot of those awesome comedies anymore.

February 26, 2011


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