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Cigarjoe's 3% rule


cigarjoe
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I stumbled upon this when I was doing some research on The Golden Age of American Westerns. It was partially influenced by a TCM Western thread where we all made lists of the Top 100 Westerns. Most folks came up with basically the same 100 Westerns. Oh they may have listed them in different orders, with their personal favorites on top but we still agreed on most.

There were roughly about 3,000 Hollywood Westerns produced in the 1939-1973 "Golden Age of The Western" period. Out of that 3,000 as I mentioned above about 100 are top notch so 3% of most Westerns produced. 

Continuing on to the Spaghetti Western sub genre, I came up with about 18 Spaghetti Westerns that are top notch. After those the quality drops drastically. There were roughly 600 Spaghetti Westerns produced between 1964 and 1976, that curiously works out again to 3% that are top notch.

So, now I'm wondering if the 3% rule works out the same for other genres. I'm not a big aficionado of other genres so I'm asking the board if the same  3% rule works for, Musicals, Precodes, Dramas, Gangster Pictures, Cult, War, Adventure/Action, Superhero, Romance, SiFi, Horror, etc., etc.?

I'd be interested in your findings

 

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According to IMDb, I've seen 3,481 horror movies (that is, movies that they label as horror; I may not agree with many of their categorizations). Of those 3,481 movies, I rated 12 with a 10/10 rating, or an A+. I rated an additional 31 with a 9/10 rating, or an A-. So that's a total of 43 movies I ranked as exemplary out of 3,481 total. 

Sci-fi: 2,065 seen, 19 rated 10/10 or A+, 35 rated 9/10 or A-. Total of 54 out of 2,065.

War: 836 seen, 11 rated 10/10 or A+, 31 rated 9/10 or A-. Total of 42 our of 836.

 

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29 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

According to IMDb, I've seen 3,481 horror movies (that is, movies that they label as horror; I may not agree with many of their categorizations). Of those 3,481 movies, I rated 12 with a 10/10 rating, or an A+. I rated an additional 31 with a 9/10 rating, or an A-. So that's a total of 43 movies I ranked as exemplary out of 3,481 total. 

Sci-fi: 2,065 seen, 19 rated 10/10 or A+, 35 rated 9/10 or A-. Total of 54 out of 2,065.

War: 836 seen, 11 rated 10/10 or A+, 31 rated 9/10 or A-. Total of 42 our of 836.

 

Got to go by total produced for Horror, Sci-fi, War, within reason of course.

But if you are going by total of each genre seen then....

Horror 43/3481 = 1.2%

Sci-fi 54/2065 = 2.6%

War 42/836 = 5.02%

percentages may change a bit if going by total produced 

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54 minutes ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

My corollary to Sturgeon's Law: Some (if not all) of the top 10-15% may also be crap. And in the case of large bodies of work, that may mean staggering amounts of excrement.

So Polly how many Precodes are top notch?, and how would you define Precodes, what I'm asking is where do Precodes as a definable entity actually start, we know that 1934 is probably the cut off. There would have to be someplace where films were getting racy enough to be noticed by the moralists.

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OK as an artist, I'm the opposite of a mathematician*. I have to decide by "feel" or "instinct" most of the time.

I'll go out on a limb and say yes, when looking at musicals, pre-codes, adventure movies.....it seems like 3% of them are "great" while 97% are just ok, flawed or meh. But I'd guess that's only because I've been watching movies a long time, seen a lot of um, "lesser" films and becoming more critical as I go along.

In a particular genre I like a lot, like "pre 1970 Disney animated features" or "magician/seance fantasy" films, I think my percentage of what I'd call "great" rises, because I just enjoy those types of movies, even the ones with flaws in the story.

And what about those of us who like bad movies? Only 3% of Blacksploitation movies are really good, top notch? Or rephrase-only 3% will be enjoyed by a general audience? I find just trying to break movies down into genres/categories difficult and controversial.

*it is amazing how much math is incorporated on a daily basis in my art studio, especially fractions. Glad I paid attention in school!

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

OK as an artist, I'm the opposite of a mathematician*. I have to decide by "feel" or "instinct" most of the time.

...

*it is amazing how much math is incorporated on a daily basis in my art studio, especially fractions. Glad I paid attention in school!

Hmm ... and what makes you think mathematicians don't  "feel" or use "instinct" most of the time?:)

I never knew any mathematician who just woke up one day and said "I will create some mathematics today." Instead, they observe something, wonder about it, try to make sense out of it, describe it, agonize over getting it just right ... hey, that sounds a bit like an artist, too. My background includes a lot of art, by the way ... I type this as I stare at a Dürer print above my computer, a gift from a student.

I'm glad you find fractions useful. Whenever we got to that unit, my pre-service elementary school students would freak out and complain "I am never gonna teach this stuff."

Anyway, apologies to cigarjoe for my using up about 14% of his thread.

 

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"Sturgeon's Law" is also known as the famous 80/20 rule; and (if memory serves) originally came from the monk Mendel's experiments with cross-breeding peas. This hasn't translated fully well into the world of Linus Pauling but I believe some of it has. Science is not my best topic. Anyway, in any workplace you can always find some manager who understands it. 20% of your workers wind up achieving 80% of the results. They're the go-getters.

But I'm not at all sure you can graft any of this thinking into the sphere of cinema where almost everything depends on subjective reactions (except 'bare facts' like budget/revenue).

I remember a poll once where movie fans were asked, "do you enjoy 'The Wizard of Oz', yes or no? --you would think the answer would be 100% positive, right? After all who dislikes that movie? Only mental patients right? Not so. I think the response was something like 70% yes, 30% no. Said another way: 30% of people polled dislike the most lovable flick ever made! :o

p.s. TopBilled's remark about B-movies is something I very much concur with. For a slew of unfair and regrettable industry and marketing reasons, these flicks have never been given their due. But they are a world unto themselves and well do they repay one's exploration.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

I remember a poll once where movie fans were asked, "do you enjoy 'The Wizard of Oz', yes or no? --you would think the answer would be 100% positive, right? After all who dislikes that movie? Only mental patients right? Not so. I think the response was something like 70% yes, 30% no. Said another way: 30% of people polled dislike the most lovable flick ever made! :o

 

So what other Over the Rainbow Noirs do you like?

Oh, yeh, that's the only one.

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It's all relative as to what "top notch" means.  Perhaps top notch could be the top 10%, but that is also relative to each individual.  Could mean top 15 or 20% as well.  In most colleges, theoretically the top 20% is a B and that puts you on the dean's list.

For example, several years ago a leading train oriented publication hired someone to rank the 50 or 100 greatest train movies.  I believe he was a Hollywood type, not a railroader or modeler.  Some of his choices were ludicrous, such as Narrow Margin with Gene Hackman was specifically excluded, whereas one movie that has someone walking across a train yard during the opening credits is rated very highly.  No other trains in movie at all.

Oh and as for The Wizard of Oz, never liked it and never watch it.  Saw it once in youth and once as a young adult.  Wasn't any better the second time.

I'm sure I have favorites that I consider top notch which would be rated mediocre to OK by many on this board.

It is also a moving target.  While most of the spaghetti westerns of the 70's, to include Clint Eastwoods would rank high at that point in my life, they don't anymore.  Whereas some others rate higher now.  And no I am not going to look for specifics.

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2 hours ago, TheCid said:

It's all relative as to what "top notch" means.  Perhaps top notch could be the top 10%, but that is also relative to each individual.  Could mean top 15 or 20% as well.  In most colleges, theoretically the top 20% is a B and that puts you on the dean's list.

Oh and as for The Wizard of Oz, never liked it and never watch it.  Saw it once in youth and once as a young adult.  Wasn't any better the second time.

I'm sure I have favorites that I consider top notch which would be rated mediocre to OK by many on this board.

It is also a moving target.  While most of the spaghetti westerns of the 70's, to include Clint Eastwoods would rank high at that point in my life, they don't anymore.  Whereas some others rate higher now.  And no I am not going to look for specifics.

That's the thing. These lists and definitions of "top notch" are all subjective. What is 3% of "great" films to one person may be .5% of great to another.

Spaghetti westerns? Never saw one that I really liked. Twenty minutes of buildup to a climax with plenty of closeups of sweaty faces only to have a final four seconds (tops) of gunfire. Boring and predictable as hell. So for me there are 0% of those westerns worth talking about. It's all subjective.

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21 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

So Polly how many Precodes are top notch?, and how would you define Precodes, what I'm asking is where do Precodes as a definable entity actually start, we know that 1934 is probably the cut off. There would have to be someplace where films were getting racy enough to be noticed by the moralists.

Aficionados generally consider "precodes" to start with the coming of sound (some silent movies include themes or content that offended the censors and made Will Hays fret, but if there was no outright nudity or explicit sexuality and the intertitles were sufficiently vague, the filmmakers had plausible deniability). So that sets the period as 1927-June 1934, when the Motion Picture Production Code developed an enforcement mechanism. I would thus define Precode films as 1) films made by American producers for American audiences 2) dating from this period, and 3) featuring content that the MPCC found offensive. To paraphrase Justice Stewart on pornography, you know it when you see it, if you are looking for that sort of thing.

 

I wouldn't know where to begin to define or count "top notch" Precode films. Part of that is that I will watch just about ANYTHING from 1934 or earlier, and I have seen some stinkers that way. Probably there is a top 3-10 percent of films that are truly great, and a bottom 80-85 percent that are only of interest to fanatics like myself or completists who want to see everything their favorite star made.

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I like this topic and I like statistics. It can work for some genres but, not others (like most things). For comedy, it could never work for example. Its all subjective but, still its fun.

It would be hard for me to call any modern horror movie good. Or most spy movies bad.

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On 12/25/2018 at 7:47 PM, scsu1975 said:

97% of the stuff you learn in school is crap. However, mathematics is very useful, as you people are aptly demonstrating.

Hmmm...now why is Paul Simon's Kodachrome coming to mind after I read Rich's first sentence here???

(...oh yeah...THAT'S why!)

 

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On 12/25/2018 at 6:25 PM, cigarjoe said:

 

...There were roughly about 3,000 Hollywood Westerns produced in the 1939-1

...So, now I'm wondering if the 3% rule works out the same for other genres. I'm not a big aficionado of other genres so I'm asking the board if the same  3% rule works for, Musicals, Precodes, Dramas, Gangster Pictures, Cult, War, Adventure/Action, Superhero, Romance, SiFi, Horror, etc., etc.?

 

 

What ?  Whaat?? cigarjoe, how can you say this? You are one of the biggest aficionados of film noir on these boards !  I can't believe my ears ! (as Anne Baxter said to George Sanders).

So, ok, I know you're going to say noir is not a genre, you can apply the term noir to any of the film genres you mention above, etc. etc.  I know, the tuning fork thing.  But still ! It was a shock to me to read those words: to wit,  "I'm not a big aficionado of other genres."  (Meaning genres other than the Western.) But you are !

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20 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

Hmm ... and what makes you think mathematicians don't  "feel" or use "instinct" most of the time?

Oops sorry. As often happens, the day after posting something I look at it again and think "why did I say that?" Heh, "instinct" and "feeling" comes from an intelligent guess, from previous knowledge & experience. When I consider my next artistic move, my brain is "calculating, calculating..." all kinds of different formulas.

19 hours ago, TheCid said:

It is also a moving target.

Exactly. Your opinion often changes as you stated, and I'd venture to say 3% is a bit too exact. Everyone has an opinion about movies and it's very difficult to conclude what's "good/not good". While there's a handful of tried & true old chestnuts, there's always going to be an opposing opinion.

And I agree-comedy is just about the most dividing genre of all! (plus, I hate "categorizing")

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2 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

What ?  Whaat?? cigarjoe, how can you say this? You are one of the biggest aficionados of film noir on these boards !  I can't believe my ears ! (as Anne Baxter said to George Sanders).

So, ok, I know you're going to say noir is not a genre, you can apply the term noir to any of the film genres you mention above, etc. etc.  I know, the tuning fork thing.  But still ! It was a shock to me to read those words: to wit,  "I'm not a big aficionado of other genres."  (Meaning genres other than the Western.) But you are !

Yes missw Noir is a pan generic, style. 😎

If I wasn't such a big Western Fan both American and Euro/Spaghetti and actually researched the total production numbers I wouldn't have noticed that 3%. 

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