More Action Movie Science (feat. JCost)
March 26th, 2015

Jay Cost has jumped in and taken Santino one better, by digging up the Rotten Tomatoes scores and recalibrating the Action Franchise Rankings By Science. Jay put his data set here, and included some fancy advanced statistics like mean, median, and standard deviation.

The result has Indiana Jones up top, followed by the Connery Bond movies, with Mission: Impossible firmly in the middle.

This is a really helpful reminder of how bad data can lead to bad science. Look, I’m as open to the subjectivity of art as the next guy. But Rotten Tomatoes is just garbage and I become automatically suspicious whenever I see an article try to justify a statement by appealing to RT numbers.

For instance, maybe you don’t love the original Mission: Impossible like I do. I can understand that. That’s a Subjective Response to Art.

But RT scores Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull Nuking the Fridge substantially better than it does Mission: Impossible. And that’s just wrong. Nobody really thinks that. Indy 4 is a punchline and M:I is, at worst, a cult classic. Hell–RT says that Moonraker is better than the original M:I. Have you seen Moonraker? It’s schlock.

But if you don’t cotton to M:I, look at the RT scores for the Bourne movies. I love the first two Bournes. Great flicks. But the third is terrible, easily the worst of the series. Yet RT scores Bourne 3 far above either of the first two Bourne movies. As I said, this is just wrong. As the Marxists used to say, objectively so.

All of that said, JCost is awesome for doing this.


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