a place in the sun (george stevens, 1951)
music friday: winterland

directors i have obsessed over

After watching all of those Johnnie To movies, we began to wonder how he stacks up compared to other directors whose movies I have seen in quantity. This was a challenge to my OCD self, so I went to the IMDB, which holds more of my ratings than any other site, and with a little exporting and spreadsheet-fiddling, I came up with a long list. I shortened it to every director where I had seen at least ten of their films. This is imperfect ... there are plenty of movies I've never rated, for example. But it was a relatively easy way to get an eyeball on my taste preferences, if that indeed is what this indicates. Here is the list:

Spielberg 17
Hitchcock 16
Scorsese 15
Ford 14
Coens 13
Woo 13
Allen 12
Kurosawa 11
Eastwood 11
Bergman 11
To 11
Linklater 10

(Whoa, I had no idea it would come out like a table.)

When we guessed, off the top of our heads, who would be atop the list, both Spielberg and Hitchcock came to mind. I'm still surprised we were so accurate. The single biggest surprise to me was Clint Eastwood. And the single most surprising absence to me is Howard Hawks. (He just missed the cut with 9 movies, and I'm sure if I looked more closely, I could find a few that hadn't been rated. The other Nines: De Palma, Godard, Kubrick, and Miyazaki.)

When I posted this list on Facebook, my wife immediately asked to sort those directors by their average ratings. Thus:

Kurosawa (11) 8.6
Bergman (11) 8.5
Spielberg (17) 8.1
Hitchcock (16) 8.0
Woo (13) 7.8
Linklater (10) 7.7
Scorsese (15) 7.6
Ford (14) 7.5
Coens (13) 7.1
To (11) 7.0
Eastwood (11) 6.7
Allen (12) 6.2

I usually think of myself as wishy-washy when it comes to the Coens, but clearly I like them more than I realize. Also, in my mind, when I assign these silly numbered ratings, I tend to start around 6 1/2. If I like a movie but don't love it, that's a 7. If a movie is OK and I don't hate it, that's a 6. This tells me I've seen a lot of movies by Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen without liking them all that much. (For what it's worth, Hawks averages 8.6.)

Finally, since I've gone this far, here's something I post every few years, using MovieLens, which offers better breakdowns of my ratings than the IMDB, and has almost as many of those ratings. They have three categories I find especially interesting. First, there are movies I've rated that others have not. The leaders here are Paju, and Fear. They have only been rated by one other person. (The movie I haven't seen that has been rated more often than any other is Dances with Wolves.)

Then, there are what they call "Unusual Dislikes", movies where my rating is significantly lower than the average. The winner is I Am Sam. (My entire review: "What a revolting piece of shit.") I gave it 1/10 ... the average rating is 3.58.

Of course, there are also "Unusual Likes", movies I liked more than other people did. The top two are The Birth of a Nation (1915) and The Rapture. I gave them both 10/10 ... their average ratings were 3.16 and 3.28 respectively.