Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Netflix Shares Some Fascinating Socio-Geographical Data

After stumbling upon an interesting Netflix related blog post on Google Reader (which is awesome by the way) yesterday, I visited the original New York Times article today on the advice of SS, who postulated that it could make an interesting blog post. After playing with the slidey-bar for about half an hour, I realized he was pretty perceptive. There is a wealth of raw socio graphic data in these Netflix charts, and it doesn't take much effort to draw some interesting, if flawed, conclusions.

First. Everyone loves Brad Pitt.

This is the Netflix ranking for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the David Fincher, Cate Blanchett and Mr. Dreamboat himself film from last year. As a rule, the darker the red, the more popular the film.

2nd. No one liked Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, The Bucket List, or Bolt.

The greater Boston area is a hodgepodge of ethnic groups and demographics, but even in the melting pot of Boston, movies like Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (NO I WILL NOT LINK IT) fall on deaf ears. This restores some of my faith in humanity, although I thought Bolt was cute.

3. WTF is up with Bedford, MA (01731)

The above picture is the popularity of the universally loathed Renee Zelwegger rom-com New In Town. See that little red splotch? That is Bedford. And that's not all.

This is a map for the film Milk, the fantastic Gus Van Sant film, for which Sean Penn won an Oscar. Everyone loved this movie, but sure enough, there's Bedford up there, pale as a ghost. Here are the top 10 Netflixed movies from last year from Bedford.

1. Twilight
2. Seven Pounds
3. New In Town
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Burn After Reading
6. Role Models
7. Paul Blart
8. Eagle Eye
9. The Changeling
10. Nights in Rodanthe(!!!)

So we have 3 Oscar Nominated films, a respectable comedy and 6 abysmal excuses for art. What gives? Here's my theory. This rinkydink corner of Bedford has only one person with Netflix account, and he is perpetually drunk. Staggeringly, profoundly drunk. That's still no excuse to rent New In Town. Maybe SS should move to Bedford and stop dragging down Arlington's top film list?

Finally, here is the most hilarious graphic of them all (I'll explain why in a minute)

The above graph shows a tiny blip of popularity, between Arlington and Cambridge, before fading into oblivion. You'll never guess what film this is, and even when I tell you it will probably mean nothing to you unless you live in this area (as I do). This map is for the film Coraline, a good flick to be sure, but not worthy of the smear of seemingly random interest in the middle of the Ivy-educated upper class. Well my friends, if you've ever ridden the Red line in the last YEAR, you'll know EXACTLY why this film piqued so much interest. Between Harvard and Central square, there is an entrancing flipbook-style trailer for Coraline, and it remained there for MONTHS (and I mean like at least 8 months) after the movie came out in theatres. Someone almost certainly forgot to take it down, but as you can see from the graph it paid hilarious dividends.  Advertisers listen up! You can still get through to bored, groggy people riding public transportation so long as you beat them over the head with it every day for 8 months! And they say no one rides the T.

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