What Twenty Movies From 2017 Will You “Really Like”?

Dunkirk is #2 on the 2017 Objective “Really Like” Top Twenty

When someone sets out to make a list of the movies that you, the movie enthusiast, will probably “really like”, the compiler of the list starts out with a significant disadvantage. The person creating the list doesn’t have any idea what kind of movies you, specifically, really like. So the list, almost by definition, has to be made up of movies that have mass appeal. Mass appeal isn’t enough though. Justice League was the 10th highest grossing movie at the box office last year but it doesn’t belong on this list. It wasn’t a very good movie. My criteria is simple. An Objective Top Twenty-worthy movie has been seen by a lot of movie viewers, earned critical acclaim, and those who have seen the movie have “really liked” it. I think there were 26 movies in 2017 that met that simple criteria. But, a top twenty can only have twenty movies.

Here’s my 2017 Objective Top Twenty:

2017 Objective Top Twenty
As Of March 29, 2018
2017 Released Movies  Academy Award Points  # of IMDB Votes Rotten Tomatoes % Fresh Cinema Score Metacritic Objective “Really Like” Probability
Star Wars: The Last Jedi                   4.0    344,932 91% A 85 75.65%
Dunkirk                   8.3    370,530 93% A- 94 75.49%
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2                   1.0    354,476 83% A 67 75.33%
Get Out                   4.1    284,533 99% A- 84 75.13%
Baby Driver                   3.0    282,234 93% A- 86 75.13%
Fate of the Furious, The                     –    156,915 66% A 56 74.76%
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri                   7.2    194,450 92% NR 88 74.72%
Blade Runner 2049                    5.2    269,568 87% A- 81 74.24%
Wind River                     –    111,829 87% NR 73 73.76%
Kong: Skull Island                   1.0    198,846 75% B+ 62 73.65%
Wonder Woman                     –    391,299 92% A 76 73.53%
Thor: Ragnarok                     –    280,784 92% A 74 73.53%
Spider-Man: Homecoming                     –    295,065 92% A 73 73.53%
Logan                   1.0    463,842 93% A- 77 73.38%
Alien: Covenant                     –    191,925 67% B 65 73.04%
War for the Planet of the Apes                    1.0    162,154 93% A- 82 72.88%
John Wick: Chapter 2                     –    220,753 89% A- 75 71.93%
It                     –    259,121 85% B+ 69 71.93%
Split                     –    256,100 75% B+ 62 71.93%
Beauty and the Beast                    2.0    202,321 71% A 65 71.92%
Movies with Female IMDB Rating at least .2 points > Male Rating are in Bold
Movies with Male IMDB Rating at least .2 points > Female Rating are Underlined

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the movie that I can say with the greatest confidence that you, no matter who “you” is, will “really like”. Even with that, there are about 24% of you who probably won’t “really like” this movie. It’s up to you to figure out where you probably fit.

I’m sure that you’re reaction to the list is similar to my reaction to the list. Some of the movies on the list I’ve seen, or I’m interested in seeing, and others I have no interest in seeing. That’s okay. My hope is that you will use the list to identify those movies you’ve been thinking of seeing and feel confident that there’s a high probability that you will “really like” the movie experience. I’ve personally seen nine of the twenty movies and “really liked” all of them. There’s a handful of the remaining movies on the list that I plan on seeing. There’s another handful that I probably won’t see anytime soon.

Also, the list is dynamic. Because it’s data-based, it can change over time. Movies rise and fall as they get exposed to a broader audience. Two of my favorite movies of 2017, Lady Bird and The Big Sick aren’t in the top twenty. Academy Award Best Picture winner The Shape of Water didn’t make the cut. Those three movies have the data to support inclusion from a quality standpoint but haven’t been seen enough yet. A year from now that could change. For now, the data is what the data is.

Enjoy the list. Use it as just another data point in your quest to select movies that you will “really like”.

 

 

 

With Oscar Nominations Announced, the 2017 Objective Top Twenty Takes Shape

Now that we know which movies have been nominated for Academy Awards, all of the factors that go into the 2017 Objective Top Twenty are populated with some data. The only big unknown in the race is which movies will win Oscars on March 4. Just to be clear, the Objective Top Twenty isn’t about who will be crowned as the Best Picture of the year. It is about which 2017 movies have the highest probability that you will like them. Academy Award performance is just one of the indicators. Here is the status of the race so far.

Now that we know which movies have been nominated for Academy Awards, all of the factors that go into the 2017 Objective Top Twenty are populated with some data. The only big unknown in the race is which movies will win Oscars on March 4. Just to be clear, the Objective Top Twenty isn’t about who will be crowned as the Best Picture of the year. It is about which 2017 movies have the highest probability that you will like them. Academy Award performance is just one of the indicators. Here is the status of the race so far.

2017 Widely Released Movies Objective “Really Like” Probability
Blade Runner 2049  76.58%
Coco 76.23%
Wonder 76.23%
Dunkirk 76.06%
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 76.06%
Logan 76.06%
Lion 75.85%
Thor: Ragnarok 75.64%
Only the Brave  75.64%
Greatest Showman, The 75.57%
Florida Project, The 75.50%
Loving Vincent 75.50%
Monster Calls, A 75.46%
Wonder Woman 75.45%
Spider-Man: Homecoming 75.45%
Get Out 75.32%
Hidden Figures 75.21%
Salesman, The 75.19%
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 75.14%
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 75.14%

The separation among all twenty movies isn’t great. In fact, there is only a two percentage point difference separating the top thirty two movies. A few ratings changes over the next couple of months can significantly reshape the race.

To determine which movies are considered “widely released” in 2017, I use the wide release date used by Box Office MojoThe Post was released on Dec. 22 in nine theaters. It wasn’t until Jan. 12 that it was released in theaters in all markets. So The Post, along with Oscar nominated films, Molly’s GameI, TonyaPhantom Thread, and Call Me By Your Name will be considered for the 2018 Objective Top Twenty instead of 2017. And, 2016 movies like LionHidden Figures, and The Salesman which weren’t widely released until 2017 are on the 2017 list.

So, you might ask, why aren’t The Shape of Water with its 13 Oscar nominations, Darkest Hour with its 6 nominations, and Lady Bird with its 5 nominations, in the top twenty. It goes back to my earlier comment about how close the top 32 movies are. All three of these movies could win a major award on March 4 and end up back in the top twenty. It’s that close.

So check back each Monday for the Objective Top Twenty updates. There are still some changes to come. The cake may be in the oven but it isn’t baked yet.

Add a Year Here. Tweak a Formula There. And, the Objective Top Twenty Looks Very Different.

I was able to add 1998 to the Objective Database last weekend. The extra data allowed me to factor in Oscar wins to the algorithm. But, it was one little tweak to the Oscar performance factor that dramatically altered the Objective Top Twenty this week.

I was able to add 1998 to the Objective Database last weekend. The extra data allowed me to factor in Oscar wins to the algorithm. But, it was one little tweak to the Oscar performance factor that dramatically altered the 2017 Objective Top Twenty this week.

For the Oscar performance part of my algorithm I created five groupings of movies based on their highest Academy Award achievement. If a movie won in a major category it went in the first group. If it was nominated for a major but didn’t win, it went in the second group. If it wasn’t nominated for a major but won in a minor category, it went into the third group. If it was only nominated in a minor category but didn’t win, it went into the fourth group. Finally, if it wasn’t nominated in any Oscar category, it went into the fifth group.

In terms of what percentage of the movies in each group that had an average IMDB rating of 7 or better, here are the results:

Best Oscar Performance: %  7+ IMDB Avg. Rating
Major Win 90.3%
Major Nomination 87.7%
Minor Win 79.7%
Minor Nomination 71.7%
No Nominations 59.8%

Wins seem to matter, particularly for the minor categories. Major nominations clearly are better “really like” indicators than minor nominations. It’s the no nominations grouping that’s most revealing. If a movie doesn’t get at least one nomination, the odds of it being a “really like” movie are dramatically reduced. This led to my discovery of some faulty thinking on my part.

If movies like DunkirkLady Bird, and Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, all movies headed towards major Oscar nominations in January, are treated in my algorithm as if they failed to earn a single Oscar nomination, those movies are being unfairly penalized. It was this flaw in my system that needed fixing. Now, those movies that haven’t gone through the Oscar nominating process are designated as Not Applicable. No Oscar performance test is applied to them. Without the weight of the No Nomination designation, many of the movies that didn’t get their first release until 2017 have risen significantly in the 2017 Objective Top Twenty rankings.

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Get ready for a Thanksgiving treat. Now that 1998 has been added to the Objective Database, we can reveal the Objective Top Seven Movies from the years 1992-1998. Adding Academy Award Wins to the mix will shake up those rankings as well. Check in next Thursday after you’ve taken your post-turkey dinner nap.

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The wide releases this weekend are Justice LeagueThe Star, and Wonder, but it’s the limited release, Mudbound, that I’ll be watching closely . This movie, set in the post-WII rural American South, is being mentioned as a Best Picture contender. Here’s the thing though. Most people won’t see it in the movie theater since it opens simultaneously on Friday on Netflix streaming. Can a movie that is more widely viewed at home than in the theater gain Academy Award traction? Stay tuned.

 

The Objective Top Twenty Doesn’t Account for Personal Taste

Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time introducing you to the 2017 Objective Top Twenty Movies. But, let’s be clear. It isn’t my list of the top twenty movies so far. As a matter of fact, I’ve only seen a handful of the movies and I may only see a handful more in the future. There are some movies on the list that I’ll never watch. At the end of the day, which movies you watch on the list is a matter of personal taste.

Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time introducing you to the 2017 Objective Top Twenty Movies. But, let’s be clear. It isn’t my list of the top twenty movies so far. As a matter of fact, I’ve only seen a handful of the movies and I may only see a handful more in the future. There are some movies on the list that I’ll never watch. At the end of the day, which movies you watch on the list is a matter of personal taste.

The Objective Top Twenty is ranking of movies that, based on available data today, I’m most confident are good movies, regardless of personal taste. Hidden Figures and Lion are at the top of the list because there is more data available for those movies than any of the other movies on the list and that mature data continues to support the quality of those two movies. I can say with a high degree of confidence that both of these movies are really good movies. On the other hand Blade Runner 2049, which probably is a good movie, just doesn’t have the data support yet to confidently support that subjective opinion.

While I’m confident all of the movies on the Objective Top Twenty are good movies, I’m not confident that you, personally, would “really like” every movie on the list. In fact, I’m fairly confident you wouldn’t like every movie on the list. Our personal taste in movies reflects our life experiences. Those movies that we “really like” somehow connect with our memories, our aspirations, our curiosity, or represent a fun place to escape. Not every movie on the Objective Top Twenty is going to make the personal connection needed to make it a “really like” movie for each of us.

So, which of the Objective Top Twenty should you watch. Other than using the websites I promote in this blog, most people use trailers to see if they connect with a small sample of the movie. If it’s an Objective Top Twenty movie and the trailer connects with you, that’s not a bad approach. The only caution is that sometimes a trailer leaves you with the impression that a movie is about X when it’s really about Y.

My recommendation is to use at least one personal rating website that will model your personal taste in movies. I use three, Netflix-DVD, Movielens, and Criticker. There are links for all three at the top of the page. I’ve created a subjective “really like” model to go along with the objective model used to create the Objective Top Twenty. Here’s a ranking of the Objective Top Twenty based on the probability today that I will personally “really like” the movie.

2017 Released Movies Subjective “Really Like” Probability Objective “Really Like” Probability My Rating for Seen Movies
Hidden Figures 74.3% 76.78% 7.9
Lion 74.0% 76.00% 7.9
Wonder Woman 73.2% 71.39% 8.5
Dunkirk 72.7% 70.71% 8.4
Patriots Day 72.7% 71.01%
Spider-Man: Homecoming 71.9% 71.39%
Logan 71.3% 70.71%
Big Sick, The 69.5% 70.56% 8.4
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 69.2% 71.01%
Only the Brave  62.6% 71.01%
Monster Calls, A 62.2% 71.01%
Land of Mine 61.2% 74.72%
Salesman, The 59.2% 75.18%
I Am Not Your Negro 56.0% 75.18%
Kedi 52.4% 70.56%
Florida Project, The 51.6% 70.56%
Truman 50.8% 70.56%
20th Century Women 50.5% 75.21%
Silence 48.7% 72.78%
Lucky 45.7% 70.56%

The movies that I’ve seen so far are, for the most part, the movies at the top of the list. I’ve, in effect, ranked the Objective Top Twenty based on those movies with the greatest probability that I will “really like” them. I am certain that I will watch all of the top nine movies on this list. I will probably watch some of the remaining eleven movies on the list. I will definitely not watch all of them.

However, you choose to do it, the Objective Top Twenty needs a personal touch when you use the list to pick movies to watch. I can only guarantee that they are good movies. It’s up to you to figure out which ones will be “really like” movies for you.

Will “You” Really Like This Movie?

If you reviewed this week’s Objective Top Twenty, you might have noticed something other than five additional movies on the list. You might have noticed that, other than Hidden Figures holding onto the number one spot on the list, all of the rankings had changed.

If you reviewed this week’s Objective Top Twenty, you might have noticed something other than five additional movies on the list. You might have noticed that, other than Hidden Figures holding onto the number one spot on the list, all of the rankings had changed.

A few month’s back I mentioned that I was developing a new objective database to project “really like” movies that are not influenced at all by my taste in movies. This week’s Objective Top Twenty reflects the early fruits of that labor.

The plan is to build a very robust database of all of the movies from the last twenty five years that finished in the top 150 in box office sales for each year . I have 1992 through 1995 completed which gives me enough movies to get started with.

The key change in the “really like” formula is that my algorithm measures the probability that users of the IMDB database will rate a particular movie as a 7 out of 10 or higher, which is my definition of a “really like” movie. The key components of the formula are IMDB Average Rating, Rotten Tomatoes Rating, CinemaScore Grade, and the number of  Academy Award wins and nominations for the major categories and for the minor categories.

In future posts, I’ll flesh out my logic for all of these factors. But, the key factor is the capability to measure on IMDB the percentage of IMDB voters who have rated a particular movie as a 7 or higher. When you aggregate all of the movies with a particular IMDB average rating you get results that look like this sample:

Avg. Rating % Rating 7+
                8.5 92.8%
                8.0 88.8%
                7.5 81.4%
                7.0 69.2%
                6.5 54.7%
                6.0 41.5%
                5.5 28.7%

Note that, just because a movie has an average rating of 7.0, doesn’t mean that every movie with a 7.0 average rating is a “really like” movie.  Only 69.2% of the votes cast for the movies with a 7.0 rating were ratings of 7 or higher. Conversely, every movie with an average rating of 6.0 isn’t always a “don’t really like” movie since 41.5% of the voters handed out 7’s or higher. It does mean, though, that the probability of a 7.0 average rated movie is more likely to be a “really like” movie than one with a 6.0 rating.

These changes represent a start down a path towards a movie pre-screening tool that is more useful to the followers of this blog. It is a work in progress that will only get better as more years are added to the database. But, we have a better answer now to the question, “Will you ‘really like’ this movie?”

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If you’re going to the movies this weekend, chances are that you’re going to see Blade Runner 2049. The early indications are that it is going to live up to the hype. You might also check out The Florida Project, an under the radar movie that is getting some apparently well-deserved buzz.