Here’s the master distribution graph for the 2011 list, and the ones for the previous four years for comparison. The solid lines in the graphs are all 4th order polynomial trend lines.
Now, for specific changes between the 2010 and 2011 lists:
New movies on the 2011 list
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2||2011||133||8.2|
|The King’s Speech||2010||125||8.2|
|The Social Network||2010||220||8|
|Elite Squad: The Enemy Within||2010||246||8|
|Mary and Max||2009||195||8|
|Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring||2003||247||8|
|A Beautiful Mind||2001||242||8|
|Beauty and the Beast||1991||249||8|
|Fanny and Alexander||1982||210||8|
|The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance||1962||237||8|
|His Girl Friday||1940||250||8|
|The Passion of Joan of Arc||1928||212||8|
Where are the recent summer movies? Many of the big winners of the 2010 Academy Awards have made their way onto the 2011 list, but none of the 2010 summer fan favorites, and only one from the 2011 summer season. Compare that to the 2010 summer hits that made it onto the 2010 list: Inception, Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, and Kick-Ass. Conclusion: the 2011 summer movie season was weak. But you didn’t need statistics or the IMDb list to tell you that.
Movies on the 2010 list that dropped off the 2011 list
|Letters from Iwo Jima||2006||214||8|
|Little Miss Sunshine||2006||244||7.9|
|Wo hu cang long||2000||240||7.9|
|Toy Story 2||1999||229||8|
|The Nightmare Before Christmas||1993||241||7.9|
|Planet of the Apes||1968||230||8|
|Bonnie and Clyde||1967||223||8|
|Anatomy of a Murder||1959||236||8|
|The African Queen||1951||221||8|
|Arsenic and Old Lace||1944||249||7.9|
|Shadow of a Doubt||1943||215||8|
|The Adventures of Robin Hood||1938||246||7.9|
So much for Kick-Ass. Great movie, but…Top 250 great? (Duke it out in the comments.)
Not much else to say here, except to repeat the annual ritual of lamenting the cruelty of the IMDb algorithm that pushes out classic movies to make room for new “classics.” Notably, the original Planet of the Apes has left the list in the same year that a new Planet of the Apes movie received high critical and audience praise. Fellow gorilla-themed classic King Kong is also gone, meaning that these Damn Dirty Apes have gotten their paws off of the IMDB Top 250 List…for now.
Looking back at the comments on these articles over the past few years, it’s clear that these lists and their content get people really worked up, in spite of all of the caveats downplaying any authority that the IMDb list may carry and the authority that any ranking list done on subjective grounds may carry.
So rather than try to tell people not to read into this too much, I’m going to give the opposite advice for those wishing to comment on this article: read into it all you want. If you think the data says something about the changing tastes of our times, the intensifying fanboy effect on IMDb rankings, the downfall of the art of film, or the downfall of Western Civilization, let it be known. If you think this is a pointless exercise and that I should be using Excel for more interesting pop culture analysis, let it be known.