Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Top Chick Flicks

For at least 20 years, people have debated the elements that constitute a Chick Flick. While many have posited their conclusions, the definition has always inherently subjective. Until now. Thanks to the glorious entity that is the IMDb, we actually have some data to work with. The website was originally created by some guy in England because he was seeing so many movies, he couldn't keep them all straight in his head. Since its inception, each movie has been rated on a scale of 1-10, 10 being wicked awesome, and 1 being utter trash. The great thing is, anyone who's a member can vote their opinion on any movie. We utilized these rankings when we uncovered the Hidden Gems of the IMDb's Top 250 a few weeks back. But now we're doing something a bit more scientific. We're using the rankings to determine which are the chickiest chick flicks around.

Our methodology is simple. The IMDb nicely breaks down the vote averages by demographic group. Men, women, and ages by gender. After culling through every "chick flick" we could think of, we have come up with a list of the movies that have the largest gap between sexes in average vote. We assume that if women like a particular movie much more than men do, it is inherently "chickier." One could argue that Remains of the Day is a tooooooootal chick flick, but lo and behold the men have given the film a higher average rating than women (7.9 to 7.8). Therefore, this movie is not inherently "for chicks." Four Weddings and a Funeral only has a voting gap of 0.2, therefore it is surprisingly not that much of a chick flick.

However, before we get started, we must state that your help is needed. We went through all the films that came to mind, including everyting Streisand, Bullock, Roberts, Middler, and Keaton (both Diane and Michael) have ever done, but surely there ar some we forgot. Please, if you think of one that's missing, leave your choice in the comments, and if you have the time, look up the gap. So, without further ado, we present the Top 13 Chickiest Flicks.

10 (tie). The Divine Sectrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Men: 5.1
Women: 6.3
Diff: 1.2

The tagline was "Mothers. Daughters. The never-ending story of good vs. evil." You think a guy wants to see that? I'm surprised the gap isn't bigger. Incidentally, the female under 18 love this movie (though there are very few of them who've voted). I haven't seen this, and in case you can't tell, I don't plan on it.

10 (tie). Never Been Kissed
Men: 5.4
Women: 6.6
Diff: 1.2

Little known fact -- men have no interest in seeing Drew Barrymore do much of anything. In this movie, she plays a reporter who goes back to high school to find out what the kids are thinking these days. She falls for a teacher who (a) probably wouldn't date his students and (b) is way too good looking for Drew Barrymore. But it's a cute enough cookie-cutter idea that clearly is meant to appeal to women before men.

10 (tie). Beaches
Men: 5.9
Women: 7.1
Diff: 1.2

I think frequent contributer Kozy really likes this movie. Or maybe he cried during it or something. I can't remember for sure. Getting back to the point, people often point to this movie first when they think "chick flick." As the evidence shows, it's with good reason. I often think of a rating over 7 on the IMDb is a pretty decent endorsement from the moviegoing public. And anything under 6 is a pretty clear thumbs down. That this one straddles those measures is perhaps mere luck, but I'm recommending women go see it and men do not.

10 (tie). Mama Mia!
Men: 6.4
Women: 7.6
Diff: 1.2

I mean, this one isn't surprising, right? Actually, I'm surprised the gap isn't bigger. 6.4 is kind of high for men. Most of the guys I know only pretend to like ABBA so they can get women to go to bed with them. I figured at some point someone would point out that this gender-based vote-splitting is not taking into account that many of the male voters could be gay and therefore aligning more with women. I don't think this argument holds water in general. Gay men are not going to be feeling the love for the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. However, I am willing to guess that ABBA is another story, and perhaps they would be more into this output. Even if that's the case, enough women have voted their hearts on this one to put Mama Mia! near the top.

6 (tie). Waiting to Exhale
Men: 4.6
Women: 5.9
Diff: 1.3

For a long time, I've wondered why popular movies targeted at African Americans always have low ratings on the IMDb. Invariably whenever the new Tyler Perry picture is released, it starts in the Bottom 100 of the IMDb. That's From Justin to Kelly territory. Waiting to Exhale is an example of a popular film with low ratings. Regardless of whether the users of the IMDb don't get the black culture, it's at least nice to see that chick flicks are colorblind.

6 (tie). Practical Magic
Men: 5.2
Women: 6.5
Diff: 1.3

Here's what I know about this movie. It stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sisters who are witches. Well, they don't know they're witches until they find out that they are. Also, Stockard Channing and Dianne Weist show up making it a movie about old and young ladies for old and young ladies. I have nothing more to offer as I had no idea such a movie existed and only stumbled across it by accident. So there you go.

6 (tie). Hocus Pocus
Men: 5.7
Women: 7.0
Diff: 1.3

The reason this is a Chick Flick not hard to sum up. In fact, I'll do it in ten words: The movie stars Bette Middler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. Also, they intentionally ugly up caParker. Also, they're supposed to be sisters. And yes, I realize we just covered that territory in the last film. Anyways, I have no idea why this is getting a 7.0 from the ladies, but perhaps it's "cute". At this point, I think it's fair to say that a movie about witches who are sisters is not going to appeal to men.

6 (tie). Ever After
Men: 6.4
Women: 7.7
Diff: 1.3

This is a remake of the story of Cinderella starring Drew Barrymore. I don't need to explain this further, do I? It appears quite clearly that women love this movie.

4 (tie). Now and Then
Men: 5.5
Women: 7.0
Diff: 1.5

Cravenly devised as a female version of "Stand By Me", this features four girls when they're young paired with stories of their lives as adults. The adults: Rosie O'Donnell, Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith (who I thought all women hated...), and Rita Wilson. I really don't know much about this movie other than what I wrote in the first sentence. I suppose it's kind of like the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" except with a lower rating.

4 (tie). Twilight
Men: 5.7
Women: 7.2
Diff: 1.5

The newest film to make the list, Twilight has been dividing couples all over the world since its release last year. Many, many fights were had on a number of issues ranging from the sparkly skin, running around on treetops, and Edward's goofy family. Several sequels are in the works (however with more competent directors). We'll see if the series can work its way into the top 3!

3. Yentl
Men: 5.9
Women: 7.5
Diff: 1.6

Babs had to make the list somewhere. And here she is. She plays a Jewish girl (not a stretch), who has to dress up to look like a boy (uhhh, ok I'll say it - also not a stretch). Also, Babs directed and co-wrote the thing and was already 41 years old when she played the Jewish girl-boy.

2. Dirty Dancing
Men: 5.8
Women: 7.6
Diff: 1.8

The odds-on favorite and potentially real champion after all (we'll get to that in a minute). Every girl loves this movie and the 7.6 is pretty clear evidence of that. Guys can take it or leave it. Perhaps nobody puts Baby in a corner, but somebody did knock her out of the expected position of the Chickiest Chick Flick of them all...

1. Sex and the City
Men: 4.8
Women: 7.1
Diff: 2.3

A differential of 2.3? Now, perhaps this makes perfect sense. This is clearly a movie targeted to women and their female friends and family members. However, I am somewhat suspicious of the 7,441 people who gave this movie a "1". 1s and 10s always get a lot of votes, but I have to wonder if men who are sick of their girlfriends forcing them to see the show logged on and voted it down even though they've never seen the film at all. The IMDb is an imperfect system in that if enough a-holes independently decide to mess with the mechanics, the works can get fouled up. But based on our methodology, Sex and the City is the clear winner of the Chickiest Flick in history.

I should note, that there was one movie I rejected out of hand that had a differential of 3.7(!). That film is Bratz, and the reason I did not include it was because the high female rating was almost completely driven by girls under 18 whereas the male voters were almost entirely older than 18. So it wasn't an apples-to-apples comparison.

If there's time, I will try to look at the factors that are driving this differential. In the meantime, if you have any that you think belong in the Top 10, please leave a comment and we'll check it out. A complete list of all the movies we looked at can be found here.


PMaz said...

How about "The Joy Luck Club"? I hated that movie, but interestingly enough, my wife hated it too.

M.R.G. said...

this posts are awesome! let me know if you need help searching thru imdb or developing a complicated score theory. sadly i´m a total chick flick ignorant...

Josh said...

Where are the adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels?

Kozy said...

I have a suggestion, that given a slight voting nudge (currently 1.1 differential) is a sure fire add to your list - PS I Love You. I only saw the preview for this one, but I can't imagine any self respecting man getting anywhere near that piece of crap.

Reed said...

PMaz, "The Joy Luck Club" was a 0.9. Just missed the cut by a bit. Sorry you didn't dig it.

Josh, The Notebook was a 0.8. A Walk to Remember 0.9. I neglected to look at Message in a Bottle, but it's only a 0.2 because everyone thinks that movie sucks. Nights in Rodanthe is a 0.6. By the way, I'd never heard of this guy before. But I assume you're just well-read.

Kozy, great call on PS I love you. I had already forgotten that movie existed! Time will tell if it makes the cut. It is added to the list.

Anonymous said...

Steel Magnolias? Terms of Endearment?

Reed said...

Steel Magnolias nearly made the cut with a 1.1. Terms of Endearment, quite surprisingly, only has a gap of 0.3!

LemmusLemmus said...

Any plans for a "most male" list?

Reed said...

Yes, that's something I'd like to undertake, Lemmus. It's going to be a heckuva lot harder, though. The candidates aren't so obvious because it's much harder to predict which "guy" movies the ladies actually like.

Reed said...

Another near miss: Quarterback Princess. A made for TV movie about a high school quarterback who is a girl. Played by Helen Hunt. Diff= 1.1

Anonymous said...

I think you will find a new champ chick flik with Twilight: New Moon

Reed said...

New Moon currently clocking in at a whopping 3.1 differential. However, it's way to early to call it official yet, but if there are more movies to follow, we could just rename this list "The Twilight Saga."